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What At-Home Fitness Companies Can Learn From Top Fitness Apps

| October 9, 2020

The fitness industry has come a long way in recent times, thanks to modern technology that includes various wearables and fitness apps that track data. These applications and supporting accessories make it easier than ever before for users to log their fitness journeys and reach more ambitious goals. From a business perspective, you need to consider the “what, how, and why” of these apps to create something of value and compete in the market.

Many of today’s big players offer interfaces that connect third-parties, for example, the Fitbit which is supported by a wide variety of activity trackers. Businesses that are looking to enter the market with a product should use this as a kind of baseline to understand the value of making their product as friendly as possible to capture the highest number of users.

We’ll start by looking at Apple’s new solution followed by a couple of other popular products on the market. From there, we’ll discuss the merits of building an app that functionally works with “everything.”

A quick look at Apple Fitness+ app before launch

Like many other big players, Apple Fitness+ aims to be a one-stop solution for all your fitness tracking needs. Among its main selling points is its ability to connect seamlessly with Apple Watch which allows users to easily interface with the platform as they work out. In addition, the Apple Watch offers modern biometric features, like the ability to monitor heart rate which is useful for fitness tracking.

Apple Fitness+ builds on the Apple Health platform with a bigger focus on working out, making it a true fitness app. In this sense, the app will parallel the Google Fit app and other popular activity trackers by giving iOS users the ability to track a variety of metrics from their device such as steps taken, distance traveled, heart rate, and more.

We’re expecting Apple to utilize HealthKit SDK (or possibly something new) that will enable third parties to build connectors to share data with the platform. This setup will be ideal for smaller companies that build fitness trackers as it will allow their app to remain relevant and take advantage of the powerful analytics that will be included in the Apple Fitness+ app.

The Equinox and Peloton apps and why they’re considered among the best on the market

There are a couple of providers, like Peloton and Equinox, that offer top-of-the-line fitness apps that track work out data as well as offer other unique features. Each is a little different as the Peloton app is mainly used in conjunction with their home fitness equipment while Equinox’s app provides information on services (think work out classes) as well as a fitness tracker.

Peloton app and equipment

The Peloton platform – which is integrated into the exercise equipment they sell as well as available on the App Store and Google Play – is considered one of the most popular fitness apps on the market. The system directly integrates with the equipment they manufacture for precision tracking of metrics for cycling and running. They also sell accessories like their own heart rate monitor, earbuds, and even shoes, just to name a few.

One of the big selling points of the Peloton platform is its ability to connect to other health apps like Apple Health and Strava. This is ideal for users that like to have their fitness data consolidated into a single app for a better overall view. Users can also delve into more specific details of their workout by exploring the Peloton app on their machine or view information on their Android or Apple device.

The Equinox app

Equinox is considered one of the most premier gyms in Northern America. Their expansive brand ostensibly hits every area of fitness by providing luxury gyms under the Equinox name as well as through partner locations and subsidiaries.

As a modern gym, they also offer a fantastic fitness app that’s available on both the App Store and Google Play. The Equinox app serves as a central information hub for registered users, providing a vast amount of information such as fitness program schedules, workout plans, as well as tracking features you’d expect from a fitness app. Unlike a lot of gym apps that use a formulaic play on the same thing, Equinox is custom built from the ground up, giving it a tailored feel for interacting with its many features.

Why building integrations is the way to go

If you’re building a fitness app then you have a couple of different options at your disposal. You can go all-in and develop something that can compete with the likes of Google Fit, Apple products, Strava, My Fitness Pal, and other big names. While this seems like the best way to grab the biggest possible chunk of the market share, the reality is that creating a platform that “plays nice” with other platforms is likely the better way to go.

For some solutions, this is undoubtedly the best way to go. An up-and-coming product we built for the at-home fitness solution, JAXJOX, runs on their equipment’s integrated systems where it tracks performance on the devices themselves, similar to the Peloton app. It comes as no surprise that Forbes calls JAXJOX the future of fitness. “Beyond fitness-tech products, my vision is to close the gap between fitness and health,” says JaxJox CEO Stephen Owusu.

If your idea is to build something similar (e.g., a fitness cycle, treadmill, elliptical, or weight machine) then it would be ideal to take advantage of APIs like HealthKit as this enables customers to use their fitness data wherever they like. Unless you have some holistic setup like Peloton or JAXJOX, keep in mind that the ability to capture, analyze, and share data among systems is one of the biggest factors in user retention.

A lot of fitness trackers have their own merits but most aren’t comprehensive in the sense that they track every kind of workout. For example, Strava tracks a ton of different “moving” activities like running, walking, cycling, kayaking, and much more but it doesn’t offer anything in the way of tracking strength training. As such, Strava users who do more than just cardio tend to link their accounts with other, more comprehensive platforms.

One thing you need to figure out is what workout niches you want to excel at tracking (and possibly, interpreting) then focus on developing these functions to be the best it can be. Even with a loose idea, the finer details of the UX can be refined during a Design Sprint which will manifest in your fitness app prototype where it will be thoroughly examined by test users.

Unless your app offers all-inclusive fitness trackers and analytics for workouts like weightlifting, running, yoga, and so on, you’d be best served by building up one area then exploring integration options. You can use the aforementioned Apple HealthKit, the Google Fit SDK, the MyFitnessPal API, or some other solution’s tools for building integrations.

From here, you simply need to make sure that whatever you do, you do it better than rest and market yourself as such!

Blue Label Labs can build your fitness app

We are a company that understands the needs of people and how a great fitness app can add substantial value to a workout routine. At Blue Label Labs we believe in top-notch branding and a focus on user testing to deliver the best product possible. Feel free to reach out to us and ask how we can help you build your fitness solution.

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