Video Monetization

The Ultimate Guide to Fitness App Development: From Idea to App Store

By Noah Landsberg and Adaire Smithwick
20 Min Read

Learn More about Fitness Memberships

A fitness creator taking a break during her workout session, smiling while browsing through a fitness app on her smartphone, with a water bottle and dumbbells placed beside her on a purple background.

Nod if any of this sounds familiar:

You want to grow your fitness business and have realized that creating and owning an app is the next step. You’ve seen other fitness content creators take the leap, but you’re not sure what it takes. 

Is it as complex as learning how to code? 

Expensive as hiring a team of developers or an agency? Do you need special app development process skills? 

Exhausting as project managing it all and trying to run your fitness business?

Or could there be another way to make your fitness app idea come alive and get it into the hands of your community without the steep and expensive learning curve?

This is your easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide with all you need to know about fitness app development. You’ll learn how to conceptualize, build, and launch your own fitness app without needing to know a lick of code

You’ll also see how easy it is to launch your app, and learn how to retain members.

But before we dive into the practical steps of creating a fitness app, there are details about the fitness app market you should know. Details that will help you create your own fitness app. 

The Fitness App Market at a Glance

Fitness apps became popular during COVID. People needed a way to stay in shape, and lockdown proved hard to navigate without a sense of structure to routine. Interestingly, years later, that rise in fitness app usage hasn’t whittled away.

Market research we’ve conducted shows that Uscreen customers who invested in their own membership apps have 8x more paying members. They also generate 10x more subscription revenue than those without apps.

Watch-time has also doubled on their exclusive membership content. Whether on mobile apps on phones, tablets, or smart TVs, people want to enjoy content on devices they love. 

A Growing Market

The global fitness app market, previously valued at USD 1.5 billion in 2022 is set to grow from USD 1.7 Billion in 2023 to USD 6.5 Billion by 2031. 

A snapshot shows fitness applications in the workout and exercise apps category as the fastest-growing and largest segment, beating out nutrition and fitness-tracking apps. 

an infographic showing a snapshot of the fitness app market with a global market size of USD 1.5 billion
Source: Skyquestt

Growth for wellness app solutions hasn’t just been about more apps coming to market. The average spend on a fitness app per user has risen from $13.92 to $17.84 between 2023 and 2024 too. According to Statista, users could spend as much as $22.55 in 2026. 

a line graph plotting the increase in average revenue generated per user for fitness apps up until 2028
Source: Statista

Of the key players in the fitness app market only two, Strava and Fitbit, command 10%+ market share. Combined, the top fitness apps account for 47% of the fitness app market, leaving room for new entrants to carve out a piece of this large and growing pie.

graph showing the market breakdown brand shares in the fitness industry with Strava and Fitbit holding 16% and 10% respectively.
Source: Statista

Common Fitness App Features Users Want

Several consumer trends have influenced the digital fitness industry. They paint an interesting picture, one that will help you figure out how to deliver an app people want to use or to start an online fitness business.

Personalization and Convenience are a Must

Personalization is a major drawcard for fitness enthusiasts. App users want to be able to easily integrate workouts into their lifestyles. This includes what could be considered basic features, like the ability to pick and choose workouts, and the flexibility to design custom plans.

Machine learning algorithms and AI have become a key component in the fitness industry. Some health and fitness apps use AI to learn user workouts and provide suggestions on the most optimal exercises for the best results.

The Need for a More Holistic Solution 

Fitness enthusiasts want more than a single-purpose app. This is why add-ons like alternate fitness training programs, workouts, meal and nutrition planning, and goal-tracking functionality are common across top-performing fitness apps. 

Key players in the health and fitness app space, like Strava, Fitbit, FitCoach, Muscle Booster Workout Planner, Home Workout, and Home Fitness for WeightLoss offer between 2 to 4 additional features, proof that adding a little more functionality can capture a larger crowd. 

Community Engagement is Essential

Digital health and fitness apps allow users to connect with like-minded people, making them feel like part of a group. A study into the impact of online fitness communities shows that communities have a positive effect on people’s health and well-being. 

It’s because community engagement fosters a deeper sense of personal investment. When you grow an online fitness community around your business it creates a support structure with people cheering each other on towards their fitness goals. And this improves app users’ engagement and loyalty to your fitness app. 

Adaire Smithwick

While most people probably won’t say they’re joining your membership site for community, I guarantee they would say they’re sticking around for the community or people. By investing in your community through consistent engagement, you have the ability to build the relationship with your members while encouraging them to build relationships with each other. We’ve seen this impact retention in very positive ways for our customers because communities are one-of-a-kind and people don’t want to leave their friends!

Adaire Smithwick | LinkedIn
Community Manager at Uscreen

Fitness App KPIs You Should Know

Building a winning fitness app can’t happen without an understanding of the metrics that point to how well your app is performing. As you consider which fitness application process you’ll follow (more on this below), be mindful of these metrics.

Here’s a look at 8 that will help you tell where to focus your energy to grow your fitness business along with formulas for more complex metrics. 

  • App Installs: Installs indicate how many times your app has been installed. 
  • Daily Active Users (DAU): Daily active user count shows how many people use your app each day and this number is typically averaged out when reported.
  • Average Session Time: Knowing how long users spend on your fitness app helps measure engagement. It’s also useful when exploring ways to create more experiences that they enjoy. Formula: Average Session Duration = Total Session Time/Number of Sessions
  • App Ratings: It’s no secret that ratings matter. Customer feedback is likely the first and most important measure of how well your own fitness app meets user expectations. Higher ratings are ideal, however, paying attention to low ratings can help you spot and improve issues that can lead to more downloads, subscriptions, and in-app purchases.
  • Average Revenue Per User: A look at how much revenue each user contributes to your bottom line helps. Formula: Revenue per User = Total Revenue/Number of Users
  • In-app Purchases: Tracking in-app purchases helps you measure how much revenue is generated from purchases during app usage. 
  • Subscriptions: If you’ve built a community around your fitness business, monetizing it with a monthly subscription, tracking the number of members is important. Membership platforms typically show subscription numbers so these should be easier to get your hands on. 
  • User Retention rates: Linked to subscription rates, retention shows how many users use your app after it’s been installed. An uptick or drop-off in the number can offer clues to what’s working or not in your business. Formula: User Retention Rate = ((E-N)/S) x 100. User Retention is based on 3 values. E represents the end of a period, N the number of new users during a period, and S how many users present at the start of a period. 

Types of Fitness Apps

Fitness apps fall into different categories, often all under the umbrella of wellness apps. In the fitness category, you’ll find a collection of apps that include yoga apps, weight training apps, weight loss apps, cardio apps, and more. These types of apps are segmented into three categories.  

Activity or Fitness-Tracking Apps

Ideal for tracking output, activity apps on phones or smart watches monitor workouts. Users can track calories burned, steps taken, distances covered during cardio workouts, and speed. Advanced activity monitoring fitness applications are able to monitor heart rates, plot performance over time to show trends, and have geolocation functionality for detailed performance reporting. 

Diet and Nutrition Apps

Diet and nutrition apps provide nutritional information on food users consume. Most apps track the caloric value of specific ingredients, complete meals, and provide eating plans with shopping lists for convenience. 

These kinds of fitness apps come with advanced features like barcode scanning to help users quickly determine the nutritional value of ingredients when shopping, goal tracking, and integrations with fitness trackers.

Workout Apps

Workout apps provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform specific exercises. These are perfect online fitness business accompaniments. They can include users’ fitness journeys, offer complete training programs, including a workout menu, and more, to help your customers reach their fitness goals.

This is something Uscreen customers enjoy with their customer apps. And when you start working on your custom fitness app with Uscreen, you’ll learn that you can monetize your own workout app in different ways.  

It’s also perfect for anyone from personal trainers to an up-and-coming fitness influencer because our white-label fitness app is so versatile. Workout apps can offer video tutorials as a subscription service, and you can also sell fitness programs and content like eating plans, downloadable trackers, and more. 

How to Create a Fitness App in 10 Steps

Managing the creation of a fitness app involves a multi-phased approach. Think of these as crucial building blocks that support each other to form a well-designed, and valuable app people want to download and use. 

1. Identify Your Ideal Customer

Before you dive into your app idea, take the time to perform market research on your ideal customer. Start by deciding who your app will be designed for because this will determine your app’s features, tone, and promotion strategies. 

Do you have an existing following? Chances are, you’re not starting from scratch. Tap into your YouTube channel and other social media channels to gather the following information about your audience:

  • Age, gender, location, preferred workout style.
  • Average income, how much they’ll pay for an app.
  • What they like and dislike about other fitness apps or programs.

💡PRO TIP: Survey, interview, and study potential members to figure out user needs, preferences, and problems with current fitness apps. You can get qualitative data from this and find out what’s going on in the market.

Adaire Smithwick

Your members are your best source of feedback and encouragement because they’re already bought in! One of the best tactics you can use is talking to your members regularly. I recommend choosing a handful of members and inviting them to a coffee chat where you ask them some questions about what they’re loving and what could improve. From there you can start to make some of the improvements they shared. Plus, regular customer interviews help build the relationship with your members — and chances are, they’ll stick around a lot longer because of that!

Adaire Smithwick | LinkedIn
Community Manager at Uscreen

Once you have a better idea of who will use your app, you’ll know how to reach them with your app. 

Studio Bloom, for example, has a specific target audience, which is pre- and postnatal fitness-goers. The brand has been training women through pregnancy and postpartum for over 12 years with fitness classes, guided programs, and cross-platform personal trainer/coaching support.

Studio Bloom’s app hosts a variety of classes from core, cardio, HIIT, cycle, and its signature BirthPrep class for pregnant women. It’s perfect for Studio Bloom’s audience. Members can stream workout tutorials on their iPads, iPhones, and smart TVs.

studio bloom's mobile app

It also includes a Fitness Tracker for Apple Watch so members can:

  • Monitor stats during workouts.
  • Track calories burned, heart rate, and active energy. 
  • Sync all data to Apple’s Fitness app.

It’s the perfect app for women dedicated to maintaining and enhancing their wellness before, during, and after pregnancy. It caters specifically to their unique physical needs and fitness goals during these critical phases and community engagement adds the right amount of support along the way.

2. Research Your Competition 

Standing out amongst workout apps is the goal. To reach it, you want to understand what your competitors are already offering. You must identify underserved areas in your market and then add features or services to address them.

Use App Marketplace Research

Start by Identifying the top-performing apps in your niche. Analyze their top functionality, user experience, pricing, and app store reviews.

Look at the ‘about’ section of each app for a list of features. You’ll find that most, if not all apps, share a breakdown of features they come with. But don’t stop there. Get your hands dirty. Download and test competitor apps for the complete user experience.

What features do users love? What are their pain points?

Say you’re comparing 2 competitors: HomeFit and WorkoutPlus. 

  • HomeFit: Offers a variety of workout plans, like bodyweight workouts, equipment tutorials, and mindfulness sessions. It integrates with wearable technology like smartwatches to track performance. HomeFit has a freemium version with in-app purchases and a premium version at $20 per month.
  • WorkoutPlus: Focuses on high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It’s a paid app that provides real-time feedback through machine learning, has social features for community challenges, and its API can sync data from MyFitnessPal, FitBit, and Nike Run Club. WorkoutPlus is $70 per month with a 14-day free trial.

You learn that, with HomeFit, users love the variety of workout types. However, they find the options overwhelming and the frequent upsells annoying.

WorkoutPlus users love the personalized workout routines and community aspects. But, they find the price is too high and have privacy concerns surrounding AI. 

Some conclusions you can make may include:

  • People appreciate workout variety.
  • They desire a clean, simple interface.
  • Community features are strong engagement drivers.
  • Quick and accessible workouts are preferred. 
  • Technical performance is crucial. 

Perfect, now what does this mean for your fitness app? How can you take these insights and apply them to your fitness app development? 

Gather your findings and create a list of must-have elements that speak to each conclusion you’ve established. Here’s what that could look like:

  1. Present a user-friendly design that offers a range of workouts without overwhelming choices.
  2. Integrate community and gamification features. 
  3. Offer quick, high-quality workout options. 
  4. Have a monetization strategy that isn’t intrusive, like a membership. 
  5. Ensure your app has near 100% uptime and that bugs are fixed immediately. 
  6. Provide a clear channel for feedback and support inquiries. 

3. Define Clear Goals

Define the scope of the project clearly. The good news is that if you’ve completed your research, setting clear goals is easier. 

Questions you should be able to answer at this step include:

  • What specific problems will your app solve?
  • What features will your app have?
  • How do your goals align with your business objectives, like growth and the products or services you offer?

Next, you’ll need to decide on the type of fitness app you want to create. There are many options:

  • Healthcare app
  • Workout plan app
  • Meal plan app
  • Nutrition app
  • Weight loss app 
  • Pilates/Barre app
  • Wellness app 
  • Strength training app 
  • Yoga app

Health and fitness apps can provide highly personalized workout plans and offer virtual coaching sessions. Maybe you want to create educational content around mindfulness and yoga that people can stream to their smart TV, like The WKOUT.

A screenshot of WKOUT's personalized fitness programmes available to users

4. List Out Your Must-have Fitness App Features

Longer lists of features you can build into your app exist. And as exciting as it may be to want to build the ultimate fitness app, the truth is, you don’t need every feature to produce a successful app. 

What should you consider? This list of 12 features is a great starting point. It covers key functionality you’ll need to share branded content, build a community, and more. 

  1. Video On Demand (VOD): Upload and organize your fitness videos so they’re accessible anytime, anywhere. 
  2. Live streaming: Host live stream fitness video workouts, Q&A sessions, or seminars to engage your audience. 
  3. Membership capabilities: Sell your app for a monthly fee and give members access to a community and exclusive perks. 
  4. Payment integration: Manage membership dues through an integrated payment system that supports various payment methods.
  5. Customization: Tailor the look and feel of your app to match your brand. This includes customizing your video library and branding.
  6. Community building tools: Create discussion boards to facilitate a sense of community among your users. 
  7. Analytics: Track user engagement, video views, subscription growth, and more.
  8. Built-in marketing tools: Use free marketing tools for email campaigns, promotions, or coupons to attract and retain subscribers.
  9. Push notifications: Remind members of upcoming events or new routines, or send a little note of motivation right to their phones. 
  10. Content security: Protect your content with secure hosting, SSL certificates, and encryption to prevent unauthorized access and distribution.
  11. Multi-language support: Cater to a global audience by providing content in multiple languages, expanding your market reach.
  12. User profiles: Allow users to create profiles, track their progress, save favorite videos, and receive personalized content recommendations.

5. Choose a Monetization Model

There’s more than one way to monetize your fitness app, but what matters most is the value exchange. You have to establish a monetization model that people are willing to commit to and here are 7 effective strategies for fitness apps:

1. Freemium Model: Offer a basic version of the app for free, which includes essential features. Users can then opt for a premium version that includes advanced features and content such as personalized workout plans, nutrition advice, or detailed performance analytics. This model attracts a broad user base with the free version while encouraging conversions to the paid tier for enhanced experiences.

2. Subscription: Charge users a recurring fee (monthly or yearly) for access to premium content and features. This often includes exclusive workouts, advanced tracking tools, and ad-free experiences. Provides a steady revenue stream and fosters long-term user engagement and loyalty.

3. In-app purchases: Allow users to buy additional content or features within the app, such as individual workout plans, one-time coaching sessions, or specialized diets. This model offers flexibility for users to customize their experience and provides incremental revenue opportunities.

4. Advertising: Integrate ads into the app experience. This can include banner ads, video ads, or sponsored content. You’ll generate revenue from non-paying users and can be tailored to be minimally intrusive to maintain a positive user experience.

5. Affiliate marketing: Partner with fitness-related brands to promote their products or services within the app. Earn a commission on sales generated through these promotions. When done well, affiliate marketing enhances the app’s value proposition by artfully making relevant product recommendations while generating additional revenue.

6. Sponsorship and partnerships: Collaborate with fitness brands or influencers to sponsor certain sections of the app, such as workout videos or challenges. This thought leadership approach increases app credibility and can bring in significant funding while providing users with high-quality content.

7. Paywall for exclusive content: Lock certain high-value content behind a paywall where users need to pay to access this premium content. Paywalls encourages users to pay for access to valuable content, especially if it is unique and not available elsewhere.

8. Sell merchandise: Selling branded merchandise or fitness equipment that complements your app’s content can be an additional revenue stream. For example, yoga mats for a yoga app or resistance bands for a strength-training app.

You can use a combination of these monetization strategies to generate revenue with your own workout app, but be sure to do the groundwork first. To create fitness apps that people love, successful creators understand their target audience and continuously optimize the app’s offerings to meet their needs. 

6. Gamify Your app Experience

Gamification is a major component of the app creation process, and for fitness applications, it’s especially important. Blending gamification into your app’s creation helps users develop stronger levels of commitment.

Research also shows that gamification may enhance the efficacy of therapeutic-based apps, reduce depressive symptoms, and activate reward-mediated neural pathways.

💡FUN FACT: We’ve built a gamification feature into our fitness apps that can be linked to an Apple Watch. It’s a feature all Uscreen fitness app owners can offer their clients. Users can track how many workouts they have completed, helping them develop consistency and more commitment to improving their health. More on this later.

A fitness instructor engaging in a workout session is displayed on a tablet screen with a live viewership count, while an Apple smartwatch on the right shows the duration of the workout, heart rate, and calories burned.

7. Choose a Development Path

Now you’re at the most important stage of creating a fitness app: How you’ll make it. There are 2 main fitness app development options:

  1. Develop the app yourself
  2. Lease the app from an OTT platform

Let’s weigh out your options.

Develop the App Yourself

While you may have heard that you need coding skills and experience, you don’t. You can easily find a mobile app development company on sites like Upwork and Fiverr. 

This is a good route if you prefer to have total control over the app. If you don’t mind a bit of project management to realize your app idea, or overseeing a lot of moving parts like hosting, payments processing, plugin-ins, and maintenance, then you could try developing the app. 

But you should know that it’s costly. When you build a fitness app on your own, you can easily spend between $10,000 and $20,000. The development process can take between 3 to 6 months to create too. And that’s not factoring in maintenance costs and ongoing hosting fees. 

Sounds like a drag, right? Fortunately, there is an easier way.

Lease the App From an OTT platform

The easiest and most cost-effective way to create a fitness app is by leasing one. OTT platforms like Uscreen let you lease a white-labeled app for a fee. With a no-code app builder, you don’t need to know how to code. You don’t need to worry about the technical stuff, like hosting and maintenance either. 

Instead, you get to benefit from a powerful set of fitness app features designed to propel your fitness business to where you want it to be.

With Uscreen, you get:

  • An app that syncs automatically with your Content Management System (CMS). Whenever you produce new content for users, it’s added to your library for quick and easy sharing.
  • One ops and management platform. No more switching between apps and learning how to use and manage different tools that consume precious time you could spend on growing your fitness empire.
  • Full control over your audience so you can engage with them. You’ll know who your customers are, have their email addresses to run marketing campaigns, and get insights on how they are using your app.
  • Amazing support to help you out. We’re just an email or call away and ready to help you build a powerful, well-oiled business.
  • Less hassle because there’s no steep technical learning curve. We take care of your app’s technical management so you don’t have to worry about bugs or maintenance issues. All you’ll have to do is keep sharing quality content with simple uploads to your video library.
  • A fully branded experience. White-labeled means your app is 100% yours. Clients will see your branding, creating a deeper sense of brand affinity — especially in a crowded market.
  • Ability to stream to major platforms like Roku and AppleTV. Clients get to take your content and stream it wherever and whenever. It’s the ultimate convenience without the technical jargon or headache.

Power Nation by Tony Horton is a great example of a Uscreen client with an app. Members can watch all course content and even share it with others. With a simple scroll and tap, they can see a description of the course and jump to the next lesson.

screenshot showing power nation's app where you can download workouts for offline.

Jump Rope Dudes is another. Community is a strong and important pillar to build your fitness business around. Jump Rope Dudes founder Dan Witmer has leveraged Uscreen’s built-in community features to create a supportive space for members as they work towards their health and wellness goals. 

screenshot showing Jump and Rope's community post

Launching an app with Uscreen is simple:

  1. Set up a Uscreen account and place an order for your app. 
  2. Get your video website ready by adding content.
  3. Set up your app developer account.
  4. Give us your app requirements.
  5. Wait four to five weeks while we build your app. 
  6. Test your new fitness application.  
  7. Submit your app for approval in the App Store.

Once approved, your app will be live and ready to use by your members. Even after you’re live, we’ll handle the backend maintenance and continue to optimize your app in the background. 

đź’ˇFUN FACT: The average iOS app built by Uscreen for creators has an average 4.9 out of 5 star rating. 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

8. Submit Your Design Requirements

Typically, this step is a little more complex. It involves sketching out the structure and layout of your app and creating user stories to guide the fitness application development process. It’s a little different when you lease an app from Uscreen. 

All you need to do is provide us with some branding elements:

  • Your logo
  • Color scheme
  • Typography
  • Images and videos

Uscreen creates fitness apps for creators just like you and knows how important it is to see progress, especially when you’re launching something new. To give our clients peace of mind, we’ll keep regular communication about design updates, and you can rest assured that our entire team is working to see your vision come to life. 

9. Test Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

After 4 or 5 weeks, you’ll get a beautiful fitness app to test out. You can release the app to a focus group to gather feedback. 

Make sure your app is intuitive and performs well, and report any slow load times or potential bugs to the software development team. 

10. Submit and Publish 

Once you test your app and give us the green light, we’ll submit it for approval to various app stores. Apps published on platforms like Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store must adhere to specific design guidelines.

The Uscreen team is familiar with these and will submit your fitness app to these stores for you.

Build Your Fitness App With Uscreen

If your goals are to build a niche fitness membership and generate a stable income, an OTT app is the way to go. Uscreen’s fitness apps provide intuitive, easy experiences for iOS, Android, and smart TV devices that fitness influencers and entrepreneurs like Yoga with Adriene and Chris Downing rely on. 

They’re able to drive membership sign-ups with professional and beautiful apps and do so without the hassle of handling technical issues like bugs, hostings, software updates.

Want to join them? Sign up for a free demo of Uscreen today and learn how we can help. 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

Fitness app development FAQ

How much does it cost to create a fitness app?

An app with basic features can cost you between $10,000 and $20,000 to develop if you hire a fitness app development team. If you want to use an OTT platform like Uscreen, you’ll work directly with fitness app developers who have extensive experience in creating wellness apps, and only pay a monthly subscription for use of the platform.

How long does it take to develop a fitness app?

App development can take anything from 4 to 5 weeks with an OTT platform like Uscreen. It can take longer to build a fitness app, between three to six months, with a fitness application development team, depending on the systems and processes you’re using.

Can anyone make a fitness app?

Yes, you can make your own fitness app. It requires planning the app’s features (like workout routines, diet plans, progress tracking, etc.), designing the user interface, and developing it yourself or hiring developers. Membership site platforms like Uscreen let you make a fitness app without any software knowledge or technical expertise.

Can you make money with a fitness app?

Yes, you can make money with a fitness app. You can make money as a fitness influencer by selling workout or diet plans, offering exclusive content, advertising, affiliate marketing, in-app purchases, subscriptions, in-app ads, or partnering with fitness companies.