Student creates top-rated fitness app

Sonali Menon, News Reporter

When computer science junior Jibran Khalil became unmotivated to complete his fitness journey, he decided to develop a fitness app, which went on to reach No. 1 in the health and fitness category of the Apple app store on Sept. 13. 

Khalil said the UT workout community at Gregory Gym inspired him to develop My Workout Group, a fitness app for iPhones dedicated to group encouragement and goal setting. Khalil began developing the app in February and it officially launched for iOS on Sept. 13 and now has over 60,000 downloads.

“I noticed that there were a lot of really passionate and motivated people (at UT),” Khalil said. “Once I surrounded myself with those people, I was way more likely to achieve my goals.”

The app allows users to create workout groups with their friends, share their progress and encourage each other to work out through a “nudge” feature. Khalil said the app targets Generation Z and integrates familiar social media concepts like streaks and leaderboards. 

“Whenever you lose your streak, you go to the bottom of the leaderboard in your group,” said  Musab Abdullah, a computer science junior and app beta tester. “Obviously, you want to see yourself on top of the leaderboard, so I’m going to try to make sure I work out.”

Khalil said his promotions on TikTok contributed to the app’s success. He said the beta version, which was released in July, received 20,000 downloads by August.

“I actually had people asking me, ‘Hey, can you open up the app and just show me what it looks like cuz I want to download it whenever it comes out,’” Abdullah said.

The recommended amount of weekly exercise is 150 minutes, according to Harold Kohl, an epidemiology and kinesiology professor. He said it is crucial to develop positive behavioral strategies to reach this goal. 

“Several of the things we know (that) work are baked into this new app, namely social support,” Kohl said. “I think we should be open to studying how that kind of platform can be used for successfully changing behavior.”

Khalil said he updates the app in response to reviews and beta tester feedback. 

“The support has been amazing,” Khalil said. “I’m just working nonstop to make sure that this is the best app (it) can be for people who are trying to improve their fitness.”