How to Create a Great Workout App: Types and Features

Workout apps, the most popular type of the fitness apps, are seeing more startups entering the market every day. No brainer why these apps are so popular: app users are paying more attention to be fit on the one hand and to be free in organizing their training sessions whenever and wherever they want to. Those apps that can provide an effective solution to this problem can get their share of the market.  


Key Figures on the Workout App Revenue Opportunity and Market Capacity

A workout app is a mobile application providing a set of exercises and recommendations how to perform them. It acts as your personal trainer and guides you through the exercise process.

The current situation in the market states that workout apps are in high demand. Revenues in the segment of fitness apps are expected to exceed $2,6 billion in 2018, with workout and weight loss apps making by far the biggest share with 73% of the whole market in July 2017.

The success of such workout apps as Map My Fitness, Workout Trainer and FitBit are drawing the attention of startups. Numbers prove that this attention is well deserved, with $31 thousand of daily revenues coming from fitness apps as of July 2016.

Apart from paid apps, other monetization strategies are in place to generate the indicated revenues:

  • In-app purchases, which offer additional content, such as meal recipes, workout music, etc.;
  • Freemium model, which enables a customer to get high-value content, in addition to the offered free data, for a fee;
  • Ads, which are often present in fitness apps, in accordance with the global mobile advertising trend, within which the volume of ads in mobile apps has been steadily growing and is expected to reach 63% of the global digital ad market;
  • Sponsored content, in case of a partnership program with other businesses, like a local gym or a specialized store;
  • E-commerce development, which is realized through the selling of branded goods and fitness products.

Building a Workout App: Choosing the Right Type of Solution

As usual, the first step in the workout mobile app development is figuring out what you want to get in the end: who is your target audience?; which problem of the audience will your app be solving?; what will be the monetization strategy of the app? etc.


Key types of workout apps

  •         Logbook apps. These apps contain libraries of preset exercises and to-do lists. These are the basic workout apps from the point of view of their functionality. Their aim is to replace paper workout journal by planning, organizing and logging gym sessions. The most famous apps of this kind are HeavySet, FitBod and Simple Workout Log.

Being quite basic in an application, these apps usually possess a minimalist design and a simple user-interface.


     •        Personal trainer apps. These apps, in accordance with their name, don’t just provide a set of exercises but are supposed to accomplish what a personal trainer at the gym does, i.e. to ensure that exercises are done correctly. Hiring a personal trainer is quite a serious investment with an average pay rate of $50 per hour. These apps enjoy their popularity helping users cut their fitness costs while providing an individual training approach. They provide descriptions of preset exercises with the help of 3D images, videos, detailed descriptions; they can prepare custom training programs on demand, and connect a user with a certified trainer, usually when buying a premium account. The best examples here are 7 Minute Workout, Aaptiv and many others.

              Workout apps paired with devices. The growth of IoT application development market and the availability of smartwatches, handbands and other wearable devices to middle-income consumers account for an ever-growing success of fitness apps. Nowadays integration of fitness apps with IoT products has become commonplace. All the data collected with the help of a wearable device shows up on the smartphone screen.

Another application for IoT technologies is smart sports equipment. The expected 3% annual global market growth rate from 2016 to 2020 proves it.

Set of Basic Features that Make an Average Workout App

The features present in any workout app, no matter what its category is, are following:

  •              Authorization form. It includes both signs in/sign up forms and tends to use both registrations via an email address and the user’s social media account to be chosen by the user.
  •              Personal profile creation. As a fitness app involves a personal approach to a training process, user identification is essential. For goal tracking, the app user needs first of all to provide personal information as well as health details.
  •              Library of pre-set exercises, including description files, videos and images. An essential feature of workout apps is a library of pre-made sets of exercises registered in video or having a detailed description, often with 3D images. Generally, part of this collection is free and provided once the app is downloaded while paying users can get a premium access to particular training programs or can get a customized program.
  •              Search form. It permits an app user to navigate in the library of exercise sets and get the right program with the help of filters.
  •              Push Notifications. This function helps to receive reminders, and thus get motivated to train regularly and not to miss training. Motivation is one of the top 3 reasons why people use fitness applications, according to the Statista report.
  •              Social features integration. A possibility to share workout goals, compare the data with friends and stay in tune with their fitness plans serves as a great source of motivation. Such apps as BodySpace and JEFIT Workout are actively using it. Leaderboards and challenges are also among the popular ones.

Going Further with Workout App Creation: Unlocking Extra Features

The features, usually associated with extra functionality in fitness apps, include:

  • Premium accounts. They unlock such features as exercise variations, provide a workout history, give access to HD videos or permit a user to have an individual program mapped out for them by a professional trainer.
  • Personal Trainer function. A wide use of chats connect workout app users with certified trainers and add to the popularity of such apps. With a real-time trainer, an app user can get a custom training program tailored to their particular needs and stay accountable for their progress. That’s why more and more workout apps are introducing this feature, with the market leaders like WorkOut Trainer also following the trend.
  • Live streaming features. Some apps – for example, Flive – offer a chance to personalize such training programs to the maximum, with live streaming features added to the app functionality.
  • Gamification features. Third, the introduction of gamification features is appreciated by users. Different workout apps use different extrinsic factors to give users an extra nudge for progress. For example, Superhero Workout uses the power of storytelling and encourages a user to complete various exercises in order to activate weapons, shields, and get other superpowers. These power-ups give users a chance to indulge themselves in a virtual adventure of protecting the Earth from alien invaders. The app Pact makes it work in another way by employing real-time betting: a user bets on reaching their fitness goals, and gets paid in case of success or pays to the others if he fails.


Integration with Wearable Devices: Following a General Trend

With an expected growth of smartwatch sales, the integration of personal physical fitness tools and apps with mobile and wearable technology is expected to become a de facto standard in the industry.

An automatic synchronization of an app with a wearable device makes it easier to track the efficiency of exercises and collect user data including heart rate, calories burned, and the number of reps or record weight. Devices that can be used to extend a fitness app capabilities include wristbands and armbands, chest straps, smartwatches, and a lot more of others.

Taking into account the market share opportunity and user demand for wearable technology to be part of their fitness routine, integration of your fitness solution with a wearable device comes as a key part of your growth strategy.

If this is not something that lies within your in-house competency, you can always entrust such a project to a software development firm with the right set of skills.



With an evident success of workout apps on the market, their quantity will be only growing. The development cycle of an app either with a basic set of features or refined with extra functionality like gamification or customized training programs within the training app is not always just a snap. If planning to make the app compatible with wearable devices, keep in mind that it will add to the development process as well. At the same time, the revenues which can be earned in the segment, make it worthy.  

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