If you’ve ever attempted a new fitness routine, you probably know that sticking to your workouts can be a challenging feat.
Considering that it’s already difficult enough to attract and retain app users, it can seem almost unfathomably difficult to build a user base that will allow your fitness app idea to succeed.
That can lead you to wonder: how do the leading fitness apps manage to succeed? Well…
Creating a leading fitness app starts with innovative features that will distinguish your app from competitors and provide real value to users. With the right approach, you can make an app that will bring people joy to use – and that spells significant success.
Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done to imagine a set of features that will allow your fitness app to lead the pack.
The best way to start creating your new fitness app is to look at the various successful apps on the market for inspiration. You can see what these apps do to provide value to users – and research the areas where they fail to deliver.
Well, you’ll find it easy to get started by reading this article. Aside from analyzing the current state of the fitness app market and how leading apps succeed, we’ll also provide our expert analysis on popular fitness app features you need to know about.
Better yet, when you’re done reading this article, you’ll have all of the information you need to start brainstorming your very own innovative fitness app.
“I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’, it will be about health.”
Tim Cook – Apple
How Do Leading Fitness Apps Succeed?
Fitness apps are extremely popular with health-conscious people across the world. With the advent of smartphones and smartwatches, they have become commonplace in the fitness world. Many app creators have found success by offering fitness solutions.
The market for fitness apps is enormous. In fact, it’s projected to reach a market size valued at 5.41 billion US dollars by 2030 – and developing a successful fitness app may allow you to take a piece of that profit.
There’s no doubt that the future of fitness apps is optimistic. Statistics indicate that around 15% of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 have fitness or health-related apps installed on their phones.
Various types of applications are popular with users. The largest categories are activity tracking apps, diet and nutrition apps, and exercise and weight loss apps. These apps are available on various smartphone ecosystems, smartwatches, and web apps.
Innovation is a key component of the fitness app ecosystem. Creating applications that provide value to users is the key to success. Many successful fitness apps on the market accomplish this with features like smart device integration, detailed fitness metrics, and even artificial intelligence.
With that, it’s easy to wonder: what distinguishes successful fitness apps from the rest?
Well, it starts by providing value. The most successful apps know who their users are and provide features that will add tremendous value to the lives of their users. Additionally, they usually have excellent side features and ease of use features that allow them to stand out from competing applications.
If you want your app to succeed, you’ll need to understand what your potential users value. And that starts with determining who your users are.
Finding Success By Finding Your Niche
Most fitness apps on the market distinguish themselves by catering to different niches. For example, some apps cater to nutritional management or seniors, while other fitness apps focus on popular activities like strength training.
Understanding who you want to cater to is the most important thing you can do when developing an app. Once you know who you want to use your app, you can research the following:
Nutritional management apps don’t succeed because they have good workout videos or customizable UI colors. While these features do appeal to many users, there’s no shortage of alternatives that do it better.
What makes nutritional management apps succeed is their full suite of indispensable features. When users find an app with a comprehensive food database and easy-to-use tracking, they will be encouraged to keep using the app and share it with friends.
You can see this example play out time and time again. Consider how these features encourage users to keep using nutrition-focused fitness apps.
It’s easy to see why these features are so essential for nutrition-focused fitness apps. Without these features, users would quickly become annoyed by the significant amount of time and energy needed to track their diet — and it wouldn’t be long until they quit using the app entirely.
As you brainstorm potential features for your fitness app, you should consider what features will provide value to your intended users and what features will reduce any inconvenience or downsides of using your app. When your app is convenient to use and valuable, users will keep coming back.
10 Key Features From Leading Fitness Apps
It’s safe to say that virtual reality will be a defining feature of fitness apps in the future. These VR fitness apps are fully immersive and highly rewarding to users. There’s an incredible amount of potential in the world of VR and no shortage of new and innovative ways to create amazing fitness experiences for users.
While GPS tracking isn’t essential for every fitness app, it’s a staple for apps encouraging users to engage in outdoor activities like running or biking. When you use GPS tracking in your fitness app, you can easily calculate how much your users exercise and provide valuable metrics that will keep them coming back.
Allowing users to tailor the fitness app to their own preferences and goals is a necessity, no matter what kind of fitness app you’re creating. Users find it pleasing to easily adjust the app’s behavior based on their preferences and goals at a given moment. This versatility also reduces the likelihood of users becoming irritated with your app.
If your app offers exercises, it’s also important to make sure that users have a wide variety of exercises to choose from. Not everyone has the same fitness goals, and ensuring that users are able to choose from plenty of interesting workouts targeted to their goals will improve user retention.
There’s no shortage of external hardware devices that can make it significantly easier for users to manage their fitness. Many smart watches, for example, are used by fitness enthusiasts to track their heart rate, calories burned, and even how many steps they’ve walked.
If you want to retain fitness enthusiasts, it’s important to make sure that your application offers integration with the most popular types of external hardware used for fitness. Integrating with devices like Apple Watches and Fitbits will allow your app to reach a much wider pool of users. The same goes for connections to stationary bikes and treadmills.
Much like personalization, virtual coaching is a fitness app feature that helps users reach their goals. This feature is distinct because it simulates the experience of having a real-world fitness trainer through the use of an app — and there’s no shortage of ways to keep users excited.
Much like a real fitness trainer, your virtual coach can rely on push notifications and daily reminders to hold users accountable. For an extra touch of immersion, you can even encourage users to work out with videos that simulate guidance by their virtual coach.
While it might seem odd for a fitness app, community and social features can actually make users more compelled to keep up with their fitness goals and continue using the app.
When an app offers users the opportunity to compete with a leaderboard or share their accomplishments with friends, they will feel an intrinsic motivational desire to chase their accomplishments — and for you, that will result in a loyal user base.
It’s one thing to integrate with smartphone GPS and external devices like Fitbits, but if you want to keep users coming back, one of the most important things you can do is process the data and provide your users with smart activity metrics.
These metrics can be adjusted according to your users’ goals and your fitness app’s intent. For example, suppose you’ve created a fitness app that’s meant to help seniors get cardiovascular exercise. In that case, you can provide users with metrics that help them understand whether they’re getting enough activity.
Ease of use features are an understated aspect of fitness apps, but if you want to keep your users coming back, they’re one of the most important things to develop. You should make sure that your user interface is appealing and responsive, and that the app doesn’t come with any frustrating bugs or issues.
While a non-responsive button or a few spelling mistakes might seem like small issues, even tiny errors can be the reason that a user quits — so it’s important to make a well-developed app.
If you’ve ever forced yourself to go through with a few particularly long and exhausting workouts, you probably know how easy it is to lose motivation. Loss of motivation can be a disaster for your app since it also results in a loss of users.
One of the best ways to encourage and retain users is to introduce gamification. Whether you intend to have your users walk to virtual prizes located in specific areas or reward the top exercisers on the leaderboard with special prizes, providing continuous affirmation to your users will encourage them to continue using your app.
Everyone has different fitness goals. If you want to make a fitness app that will attract and retain users, it’s important to ensure that your app accommodates every user’s unique interests and helps them reach their most important goals.
If you’re making an exercise and weight loss app, your goal should help users understand whether they’re on the way to building muscle or losing weight. If you’re making an activity tracking app, you should help users understand whether their activity meets their goals (such as if they ran enough steps in a particular week).
Applying Leading Features To Your App
Creating your own fitness app can seem like an intimidating process. After all, there’s already so many apps on the market — and it’s difficult to imagine how you could draw users away from them.
The market only continues to grow with each year, however, and there’s no shortage of unique users whose needs you can attempt to meet. And when you consider including features like gamification and community sharing, it’s safe to say that the possibilities are endless, too.
Whether you intend to appeal to virtual reality fanatics who want cardiovascular workouts or would prefer to make an app with manageable workouts for busy workers with sedentary lifestyles, the most important thing you can do is understand what your users want — and then exceed their expectations.
You don’t have to fight to bring your idea to life alone. If you’re ready to create your dream fitness app, it’s time to work with the experts. We are experienced mobile developers who have delivered incredible software applications to clients since 1989.
Your dream fitness app can become a reality. Please feel welcome to call our team of software experts today for a free consultation on your fitness app project idea.