Linda Krestanova5 min

10 Key Elements of a Fitness App - Applied by Arnold Schwarzenegger & Celeb Workout Hub Barry's

ProductDesignEngineeringSep 22, 2023



Sep 22, 2023

Linda KrestanovaCommunications Manager

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We’ve hustled hard in the fitness game. And since 2004, we’ve seen that game change. What turns casual users into loyal customers is different now than it was way back when. It takes specific features to push the envelope — and those features need a lot of attention to hit the spot. 

STRV’s got some street cred. We never hammer out just another app and make sure every product can go head-to-head with the best of them. But how do we do that specifically for the fitness space?

To explain, let’s focus on two types of fitness apps that make up the bulk of our experience: brand-based and influencer (individual)-based. 

Over the years, we’ve pinned down five core elements per each type. These don’t include the obvious; excellent content and a distinctive identity are a given. We’re here to look at the must-haves that leave a lasting impression. 

And since talk is cheap, we’ve also come armed with proof. To showcase these core elements in action, we’ll be using two fitness products designed and built by STRV. 

Barry’s X (Brand)

The best community-driven workout in the world goes digital, bringing Barry’s renowned energy online.


  • 4.9/5 on the US App Store
  • 1,500+ ratings
  • 20,000 monthly class participants

The Pump by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Influencer)

A community-building workout platform connecting Arnold Schwarzenegger to his fans, supporters and fellow training buffs.


  • Top 20 on the US App Store (Health & Fitness category)
  • $1 million in revenue generated in the first 3 days 
  • 5,000 lifetime memberships sold in just 72 hours

Fair warning: The key to results of this caliber isn’t just piecing some features together — it’s how you combine those features, and how complex yet seamless you make them. 

And yes, both Barry’s and Mr. Schwarzenegger already had a massive following long before an app came into play. But that’s not enough. 

Today’s users are as unforgiving as ever. No matter the brand or name attached, they won’t stick with a product that doesn’t consistently provide value. And why should they? There’s another A-list app one click away. 

Now on to big business. Here’s how you make it to the home screen. 

Fitness Brand - 5 Key Elements

“I can’t say enough about the work the team has done to bring something to market that is so innovative and so top-notch. The quality, attention to detail, design — it all looks so great.“

— Jenna Hauca, SVP of Digital & Marketing at Barry’s 

#1 Social & Gamification 

Employing digital opportunities inspired by top social apps lets you strengthen your community in a whole new way.

Barry’s X use case

  • Connects global Barry’s community
  • Instant reactions (think Insta Live)
  • Rewards for progress & progress sharing

#2 Just Like the Real Thing

Integrating key touchpoints of your brand’s in-person experience into the digital setting merges both worlds.

Barry’s X use case

  • Red Room filter
  • 20+ weekly live-stream classes
  • See & Be Seen feature
  • Instructors push you to keep going
  • You can do the same for others

#3 Exclusive Online Options 

Giving all users a reason to download your app includes those who don’t immediately see the appeal.

Barry’s X use case

  • Fully customizable privacy settings
  • Exclusive membership opportunities
  • Moderator fully controls distracting noises (made by users, etc.)

#4 Insights via Integrations 

Providing health and progress insights using a variety of tracking gets users close to having a personal trainer.

Barry’s X use case

  • Apple Watch, HealthKit, treadmill
  • Read/track workout performance
  • Integrated with Barry’s Loyalty program
  • Shows users’ tiers + tier progress

#5 Multi-platform Presence 

Don’t leave anyone out. Being available on every platform is a great way to let your fans know they all matter.

Barry’s X use case

  • iOS, iPadOS, macOS, Apple Watch
  • Android phone, Tablet
  • Web, Web Admin

Fitness Influencer - 5 Key Elements

“Launch has been a wild day and I think I exceeded my tweet quota once, but I see so many comments on how beautiful the app is, and we couldn’t have done it without you.“ 

— Daniel Ketchell, Co-founder of The Pump

#1 Personalized Journey 

Exceptionally diverse workouts make users at any stage of the fitness journey feel like they belong. 

The Pump use case

  • Detailed onboarding to customize results 
  • Exercise programs with ~16 variations 
  • Tailored workout routines (based on goals & fitness level)

#2 Assorted Content

Expansive content beyond workouts gives users plenty of reasons to open up your app, even on rest days.

The Pump use case

  • Robust, continuously updated library of 
  • Fitness & health exercises 
  • Images & video demonstrations 
  • Guided content & inspiring tips 

#3 Community Building

Making mutual connection central to the app (instead of it feeling like an afterthought) creates an authentic vibe.  

The Pump use case

  • Non-toxic environment 
  • Space for user interaction of all sorts
  • Asking for support 
  • Sharing advice
  • Celebrating victories  

#4 Personality-driven

When the main attraction is the name behind the app, double down on what users expect — and then some. 

The Pump use case

  • Replies to comments by Arnold himself 
  • Content controlled by Arnold & team 
  • Design embodies Arnold’s presence 
  • Golden Era & 70s vibes

#5 Behind the Scenes

Providing a look into the history, creative process or future plans of your content brings users into your world.

The Pump use case

  • Never-before-seen Arnold footage
  • Personal reflections about current topics written by Arnold

Flex Your Unique Strengths & Pull Out All the Stops

A killer fitness app rocks workouts tailored to your brand's style, then goes ten steps further by surprising users with special touches that leverage your strengths in a whole new way. 

For Barry’s, this means capturing the beloved real-life experience while giving people additional avenues to track their progress and pursue some friendly competition. As for The Pump, it’s about having Arnold’s wisdom in the spotlight while using him as an anchor for a community of like-minded individuals — and shining a spotlight on their victories and advice, too. 

And one last tip: A flashy brand rarely beats one with heart. Get to know your users before assuming you know what they want. Despite the elements we just outlined, every product is its own beast. Learn from others, then find your unique take and offer what only you can. 

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