There are hundreds of workout and fitness apps out there, which makes it difficult for any new gym trainer app to stand out. The good news for mobile app developers is that there are a few solid examples to follow. One fitness app that has managed to rise above the competition is Freeletics Bodyweight, which is part of a series of apps that includes Freeletics Gym and Freeletics Running.
The Freeletics workout app works on both iOS and Android, and it offers ‘training journeys’ that can be customized for each user. Their personalized training program is based on a ‘freemium’ model, including both free single exercises and paid longer-term options. The coaching programs take 6 to 12 weeks, are well-rounded and highly customizable, depending on a user’s weight, fitness level and intended goals.
We’re going to run through all the things that make the Freeletics app one of the best fitness apps out there. We’re also going to look at some of the weak points of the app, as well as check out some competitors, to help fitness app developers in their quest to build a similar – or better – training app. If you’re looking to create a fitness app of your own, reach out to us to see how we’d do it.
Freeletics app review: is Freeletics worth it?
The Freeletics Bodyweight app has a clean, fresh-looking and intuitive UI design, and is fairly easy to use. The first time you use the fitness app, you’ll be asked a few questions about your fitness level, your weight and height, and the ultimate goals you want to achieve. You’ll also need to create a free account, using either your email or social media profiles. This will unlock access to a database of workouts that best suit you and your fitness need.
What makes Freeletics stand out from other fitness applications is the fact that it aims to turn the user into their own personal trainer, in a way that is both effective and fun. Certain elements of gamification are nicely defined in their mobile product, and they encourage you to strive to reach your personal best. Examples include point scoring and timing for each training you work through, competition against other users, and even rules of play.
The great thing about this personal training app is that each workout in Freeletics has a set of videos showing users how to do those exercises for maximum results. Oh, and did we mention the cool workout names? Greek mythology fans, prepare to be amazed!
So, should you bother using Freeletics?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons we’ve seen.
- Freeletics is totally personalized, so the focus is entirely on fulfilling your workout goals
- You can do your fitness routine pretty much anywhere, anytime; you just have to open the app and get moving
- You can find motivation and inspiration in your user feed, which shows success stories and workouts of the week
- Half of the exercises are blocked out in the free version, while the coach feature, which is the highlight of this app, doesn’t even offer a trial version.
- The app is not on the cheap side, either, starting at €34.99 for 3 months.
- The videos that show you how to perform the exercise have to be downloaded on your phone before actually playing, which can take up a lot of storage space.
This is a great all-in-one workout app, but you’ll have to pay the premium version to enjoy it: you have a ton of exercises and workout plans, you can keep track of your results and challenge yourself to do better every time you use it.
How others do it: Industry best practices and similar fitness apps
Freeletics is definitely one of the most popular fitness apps available today, but that’s not to say it hasn’t got serious competition, both in the Apple Store and in Google Play. Similar training apps like Seven, 8fit, Aaptiv, Fitbit Coach, or Nike Training Club have numerous mobile users, and they each bring something different to the table. Let’s see what Freeletics competitors propose as workout mobile products.
Nike Training Club stands out through two things: first, that it’s the only product in this series that is free; secondly, that its business goal is obviously engagement and not monetisation. The app stands out through quality content that’s updated regularly, training plans, badges and streaks to encourage retention, as well as live events and a feed to foster community. Of all the fitness apps we’ve tested, it’s also the one that keeps the most simple filters and workout types, going for straightforward workouts that grow in complexity rather than a diversity of activities.
Fitbit Coach is a companion to the fitness wearable and offers the most customised onboarding experience, by actually walking you through a series of exercises and asking for your feedback. The workout sessions have live recordings of coaches talking you through the exercises, making them close to a real-life experience, as well as programs you can select and a varied database you can browse and save favourites for later. The UI feels a bit complex in places, and the many options can be overwhelming for a first time user.
Seven comes with a very straightforward value proposition, which is offering 7-minute workouts of varying difficulties. As expected, you’ll also find plans and collections to choose workouts from. What’s different is that instead of investing in the workout experience, which is kept straightforward, with 3D animations and pre-recorded instructions, Seven has invested a lot in developing their fitness community and has focused on the engagement side of their app. You’ll find the UI playful, strong gamification, with many badges to unlock, as well as many opportunities to challenge and interact with your fitness friends in the mobile app.
8fit is the only app we’ve included in this series that includes both workouts and meal planning, but you’ll find these types of apps can be a niche of their own. Their workout types are also limited to 6 categories, but the workout experience itself is well-built (with video and audio and description intermissions where needed), and new content uploaded regularly. This fitness app also includes a meal planning section where you can select your preferred diet, exclude ingredients, and set up shopping lists. Of the apps we’ve tried, 8fit has one of the cleanest and most enjoyable designs.
Aaptiv is only available on iOS at the moment, but it stands out through its approach on the workout sessions. Instead of investing in video recordings, all workouts are audio recordings of a coach walking you through the exercises and a playlist that’s weaved into the routine. From the user feedback, it’s a great hit with people who dislike checking their phone screens while switching exercises. For beginners, there’s also a video archive that offers more in-depth explanations for new exercises. It’s also one of the most committed fitness products we’ve seen in bringing in new content, with new releases made available every week.
How we’d do it: Create your own workout app with Tapptitude
Fitness as a vertical is diverse and intersects with other fields, as well as the varied interests and goals of a diverse audience. People use fitness products because they want to lose weight, keep in shape, manage their health, cope with their mental health, or as a passion. More than downloading a mobile app, using such a product involves a lifestyle change that affects one’s body, the image about oneself, eating habits, daily routine, and much more. Ignoring these intersections or being unaware of the expectations of the audience you’re trying to reach is bound to make for a bumpier ride. That’s why the most important step in creating your own fitness app is in your own hands and starts before we even start designing.
If you’ve seen the examples we’ve shared here and spent some time looking up fitness apps, you’ll find that each has a positioning that makes it stand apart. Whether it’s the type of workouts offered, the coaches, the user experience, or the audience they address, each product positions itself in a way that stands apart from all the other fitness apps available. In the same way, you’ll need to figure out how your product will stand out. Will you focus on specific types of workouts? Do you want to stand out through gamification and engagement? Do you already have a following as a personal trainer, and wish to engage your community more through an app? Depending on where you’re starting from, and which products you see as your strongest competitors, you’ll be better equipped to define your positioning. And don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. As part of your brand building, positioning is something you’ll be able to refine as you iterate on your product, but it’s important to be aware of the process.
One of the key drivers of retention for fitness apps is the quality of the workout experience, and this is something we can help with. Whether it’s setting up the playlist, the previews of the exercises, and making sure the player itself works seamlessly, we can support you in making sure the workout experience is seamless both from a UI and a technical perspective. Including warm-up and cool-down sessions for more intensive workouts, as well as a short feedback check-in at the end of a workout, will contribute to the user’s experience and also help you in tracking their feedback.
With wearables readily available, integrations with smartwatches or various trackers will help users record and understand better their activities. More than tracking the workouts and daily activities, you can use IoT integrations to transform workouts into a living room activity. For example, we can integrate your product with Chromecast or Apple TV, and your users will be able to follow the workouts on their TV in the living room.
User acquisition, engagement and virality loops
As workout apps are at heart products that promote a healthy lifestyle, engagement and virality loops are very likely to make or break your product. Simple things, like making sure a user schedules their next workout, can influence a lot how the product will perform long term. Being able to sync phone contact and Facebook friends to compete and encourage each other will foster engagement. Being able to share completed workouts, badges or streak achievements would also foster support for the user on one hand and potentially more users for the product itself. Finding opportunities to create such loops for your product is something we can help with, but they will depend on the specifics of your product.
Product iterations are the norm
As a product owner, you need to get used to the fact that some product things will not work and your product is a living thing that needs care and investment every day. It’s very likely that the MVP that we develop for your workout app will get updated with additional features and UI iterations. Your product’s success depends on people using your product repeatedly, and that means they will get used to the app flows and interactions you make. Make sure important version updates, especially when they include new features or a new design, receive great planning and product marketing before and after release.
Fresh workouts to try out
The last component that makes a fitness app stand out is the quality and performance of its content, meaning the workouts and exercises people look up and follow. The best apps have a working content team that produces, edits, and creates workouts that users can try on a regular basis. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly updates, you’ll need to find a way to monitor and review your content and keep it fresh.
If you’re thinking of building or improving a similar app, feel free to reach out to us with any product ideas or questions. Check out our previous digital products we’ve built and send us a message to see if we’re the right fit for your brand.
Erika is a full-stack marketer passionate about the intersection between technology and social impact. She mixes research with content design and a human touch to help people and startups succeed in delivering value through their work. When not writing or talking to people, you’ll find her reading or quoting Hamilton for any life situation.