How to use Lean Startup in fitness app development?

If you’re looking to build a workout or fitness tracker app, you want to get it to market as soon as possible. Here’s how you can create your own workout app using lean startup techniques.

It’s estimated that over 86 million people in the US use at least one health and fitness app on their phones every month. This works out at about one in four people.

Whether you use a fitness app to track your steps while you walk the dog, or a workout app so you can measure your reps at the gym, fitness is a big business. In fact, it’s estimated that the fitness app market is worth over $1.1 billion.

This means that if you are planning to create your own workout app, it’s important to get it right to stand out from the crowd.

Here’s how you can use the lean startup method to build a fitness app that everyone wants to download.

Fitness application development with lean startup: how it’s grown over the past few years. Lean startup in fitness app development

Lean Startup fitness application development. How it has grown over the past few years?

We’re a lot more invested in our health and fitness than we were ten years ago. With a staggering 40% of people around the world now overweight, people are keen to do what they can to become healthier and live longer fitter lives.

The other reason why fitness app development has grown is the rise of technology. Faster 5G networks, the growth of edge cloud technology, and the introduction of the internet of things (IoT) all make it easy for us to monitor our health. Wearable fitness tech means we can log our steps and heart rate without thinking about it.

The great thing about fitness application development is that there are a lot of options available. You can:

  • Develop an activity tracking app where people can monitor their steps, the stairs they climb, and their heart rate;
  • Build a workout app where people can log the exercise they do and the calories they burn;
  • Develop a nutrition app where people can monitor the calories and nutrients they consume and monitor their weight;
  • Build a yoga app where people can learn a variety of yoga and low-impact exercises;
  • Develop a meditation app where people can destress and learn how to unwind after a hard day.

Some of the most popular fitness and workout apps currently on the marketplace include:

There’s definitely a lot of variety in this app marketplace, and with a bit of forethought and customer research, it can be easy to find your niche.

What is lean startup methodology, and how can I apply it to fitness app development?

What is lean startup methodology, and how can I apply it to fitness app development?

When you build your fitness app, you want to get it to market as quickly as possible. That way, you can launch before your competitors do and start building up your fanbase.

How do you make sure you launch your app as quickly as possible? Through the use of minimum viable products, or MVPs. A crucial part of the lean startup process, an MVP is a no-frills version of your workout app that you can launch as soon as possible and add features to over time.

Nearly half of all features in a software system are never used by customers. This means that with an MVP, you save time and money by focusing on the features your target audience wants to see.

MVPs, weights and fitness apps: an analogy

Think of an MVP as a set of weights. You may be tempted to start by lifting a 100kg weight. You may think this is a reasonable starting point, but the truth is,  you may struggle if you’re not a seasoned weightlifter.

Instead, you could start off lifting 10kg, which is a nice simple place to begin. As time goes on and you get used to the weight, you gradually start adding more and more until you get to 100kg. That way, you get to the same endpoint, but you’ve started sooner and had a much better experience.

How much money and time can you save when building your fitness app with the lean startup?

You need to make every cent of your budget and every second of your time count when you’re launching a startup.

By using lean startup methodology and an MVP to help get your fitness app to market, you could save 40% of your budget and 25% of your time.

If you want to know more about lean startup methodology and how you can use it to grow your business, these blog articles are a great start:

How to decide what features you want when you develop a fitness app with lean startup.

How to decide what features you want when you develop a fitness app

When you first start generating ideas for your fitness app, you will likely come up with a long list of features you want to include.

This is only natural. No doubt you’ve looked at the competition, seen what they’ve done, and want to compete with the features they provide.

It’s all very well and good wanting to compete with Fitbit, but their app has been around for eight years. (Plus, they likely started with an MVP too!)

When you have a list of features for your fitness app, it’s essential to review them one by one to see if you want to include them in the first iteration of your app. Here are our top tips.

  • Look at your target audience. By knowing more about whom you want to focus on, you’ll have more knowledge about what features you want to include. For example, if you’re targeting your fitness app at an older audience, you may decide to include an onboarding feature for users who are a little less tech-savvy;
  • Look at your competitors. As we mentioned above, it’s not wise to try and go toe-to-toe with long-established businesses. However, look at recently launched fitness apps and see what features they have included. If they haven’t incorporated a feature that you were planning to roll out, think about why this might be the case;
  • Think customerfirst. When determining which features to keep, consider your app through the eyes of a user. This will help you take an objective look at what stays and what goes;
  • Don’t be afraid to be brutal. You may have your heart set on including a particular feature, but it’s best to leave it out unless it adds value. The same goes for easter eggs. They may be a cute idea, but it’s best to save them for later on in your app’s life cycle;
  • Keep things simple. When it comes to a fitness app, the easier to use, the better. If you’ve just done an intensive spin class, you’re not going to be in the right headspace to access a difficult-to-handle UX. If you’re logging what you’re eating, you don’t want it to take ten minutes while your food gets cold. You can use this simplicity to your advantage when creating your MVP by limiting the features available;
  • Take a methodical approach. There are a lot of great techniques that help you prioritize the features you want to include. We’re fans of the MoSCoW matrix. With the MoSCoW matrix, you sort your features into the following categories:
    • Must have – which features are non-negotiable?
    • Should have – which features aren’t mandatory, but will add value?
    • Could have – which features are nice, but won’t have much of an impact if they’re left out?
    • Will not have – which features aren’t necessary at this moment in time? 
Which fitness app features will you keep with the lean approach? Lean startup in fitness app development

Which fitness app features will you keep with the lean approach?

The crux of the article… which features should you keep in when building a fitness tracker app? 

Here are our thoughts.

What to keep in your MVP

  • Onboarding features. Unless your fitness app is really simple to use, a short onboarding tutorial can help users understand how your app works, increasing the chances of them continuing to use the app;
  • Social media login. Letting users sign in through their existing social media accounts improves the user experience and makes using the app more convenient;
  • Fitness tracker sync. If a user has a wearable device, the option to synchronize their data with the app will make using it much easier;
  • User profiles. It’s important to let customers input personal data such as height, weight, age, and gender. This allows them to personalize the app to their specific needs and get recommendations that are right for them;
  • Push notifications. While push notifications aren’t essential for all MVPs, they can be good to include in a fitness app. Reminding your users to exercise or weigh themselves keeps them coming back, increasing the chances of not only them succeeding, but your app succeeding too;
  • Payment gateway. Getting the monetization model for your app right is important. A payment gateway lets customers either subscribe to your app or pay for additional features. You can implement a third-party system to help save time.

What to lose from your MVP

  • Two-factor authorization. While two-factor authorization is a nice feature, it can be hard to set up. Leave it out of your MVP and come back to it later;
  • Geo-location. Geo-location can help users track their runs and walks, but it’s not entirely essential. Save it for a future itineration of your app;
  • Social sharing. Many long-established apps let users share their workouts on social media. Again, this is something that is ‘nice to have’ and better suited for a later version, especially as the number of customers you have increased;
  • Language settings. If you’re launching in one country, stick to one language to start with. As you grow and roll out to more countries, you can then add additional languages;
  • In-app chat. While it’s vital to offer a feature where app users can contact you with any questions or bug reports, we recommend starting with an SMS messaging service. This is easier to implement, and by responding to all requests, you can get helpful feedback.

Want to see our process in more detail? Here’s how we used lean startup methodology to create a weight loss app.

In summary: stay lean with the right approach to your fitness app

In summary: stay lean with the right approach to your fitness app

With lean startup methodology, you increase the odds of your startup succeeding. By creating an MVP, you can focus on the features that benefit your customers the most.

Here’s our final tip for building the perfect fitness tracker app. Don’t forget to get feedback from your customers. Creating a short Google Form or Typeform and sending it to your app users lets you see how they are enjoying the app, and what features they would like to see.

If you’re planning to develop a fitness app in the year ahead, whether you’re focusing on meditation, food tracking, or exercise, we wish you the best of luck!

Want to know more about developing a must-have health and fitness app? Check out this article!


Build a workout app that everyone wants to use with You are launched

We specialize in the lean startup methodology, meaning when you work with us, we can help you get your app to market quicker and more cost-effectively.

This means your app users won’t be the only ones making gains!

We’ve worked with a wide range of fitness and healthy-eating app developers, so you can be sure we know the best way to get your startup launched in good time. No shortcuts, no misunderstandings… just an exceptional app that customers want to download.

Contact us today and see how we will get your fitness app to market

Scroll to Top