MuscleHack - Interview with the developer of a fantastic app

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

Yes, I did have some previous coding experience. I began developing MuscleHack in my 3rd year of college after I started a Computer Science degree. I had done a fair amount of programming in Python and with web applications, but my experience with Android was very minimal. I took on the MuscleHack project as an opportunity to dive into the world of mobile app development, and it was well worth it.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

The most challenging aspect of the app was the workout tracker portion. The tracker is outrageously complex, because it consists of a ViewPager, and each page holds a list of your exercises with TextViews for the user to enter their weight and reps.
When scrolling, the TextViews must not receive input and it was a challenge to get this working properly. It was also hard to figure out when to save the user's data.

It would have been a lot easier for each exercise log to be a separate dialog, such that the user edits it and explicitly saves their data. However, I wanted to keep the list-within-ViewPager structure because it makes it incredibly easy and fast to enter your workout information.

Another challenging aspect was the timer which rings when your rest time is complete. I had issues in which the timer would not ring on certain devices because the timer would ring when the application was in the background, and sometimes Android would put the process to sleep. I had to learn a lot about the Android system to understand how to create a Foreground Service which would make sure to alert the user when the rest time was complete no matter what.

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

My favorite app is probably Google Maps. I use it almost every day, and I love everything that it can do. It is truly one of the most useful apps of all time, and it is a stable and good-looking app.

I also love Spotify because it has a minimalistic style with dark colors. I think the light color theme is overused and it's cool to use apps that opt for a darker scheme.

YouTube is also a great one. I love the picture-in-picture feature so you can watch YouTube videos in the background. It works great all the time.

How long have you been working on this app?

I've been working on MuscleHack for 4-5 years. I barely update it anymore, but it was under active development for 3 years. I first released the Android version and then the iOS version. Releasing it on both platforms was a ton of work, and for the most part I neglected the iOS version because I use Android in my personal life.

This development took forever because I first made a web app but was unsatisfied with how sluggish it was. So I rewrote the app two more times, once for Android and once for iOS, and this was my first app I published on either platform, so it was a super steep learning curve for me.

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

I wanted the user to have all the information they needed to learn how to build muscle. That's why I included an exercise bank and a training manual with the scientific basis behind the program. I also wanted the workout timer to work well because the user needs to know when their rest time is up. And I wanted to make it really easy for the user to record their progress and see how much weight/reps they were able to do the previous week.

In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.

MuscleHack is one of the best fitness apps out there because it is 100% free. There are no ads, no payments, no subscriptions. It's a great app to install and basically keep forever because there is no cost to keeping the app on your phone.
It also gets the essential features right: You have a great workout plan at your fingertips (which I have personally used for 8 years), and it's easy to record your progress.

Other workout apps add lots of extra features that you don't really need (such as workout videos and social network features) so that they can charge a subscription. MuscleHack purposefully leaves all this out to provide users with a streamlined experience.

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

No future plans, really. I developed this app in collaboration with fitness guru Mark McManus, and really this app serves as a platform for him to advertise his more advanced workout and nutrition books. Once I completed the app and released it, I continued doing maintenance on the app. But because the app is free and always will be free, I can't afford to work for free. So I address some crashes and bugs if they come up, but for the most part, I just focus on my job at Google.

Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?

Download the app, it's free! And tell your friends about it. I don't get any money from more people using the app so I don't care about that part, but I genuinely believe it's an app that will improve your life if you stick with the program. I really believe in this workout because it truly stimulates muscle growth. Give it a try!


About App:

Join tens of thousands of others and pack on muscle like never before with Targeted Hypertrophy Training (THT) by Coach Mark McManus from - completely free.

This app features:
- The THT Workout Tracker (most important section)
- The THT Exercise Bank - list of all approved THT exercises with tutorials
- The THT training manual
- MuscleHack blog (Mark's latest tips)

Log and track your THT workouts straight on your device to ensure that you are building new slabs of muscle week on week!

And there's more! Keep up to date with Mark's latest free tips on training and diet. You'll never miss another muscle-building or fat-blasting tip from Mark.

If you are new to THT training, Mark recommends you start with the 3-day per week full-body routine in the 8-12 rep range.

This app will keep a log of all previous weights and reps. Attempt to set a new Personal Best in every workout - that’s what it’s all about progressive overload.

Please leave a positive review of the app. Thank you and enjoy your new gains!

Categories: Health & Fitness

Date: April 23, 2021

Developer: Juanito Taveras



App URL in iTunes


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