Is There a Place For AI In Your Next Workout?

Its biggest advantage might be a subtle one

Exercise equipment
Will AI have a significant effect on exercise?
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A lot has been written in the last few months about AI technology like ChatGPT — and what effect it might have on various professions. It’s enough to leave you wondering where AI might go in the future, and the extent to which it might gain a foothold — or more than a foothold — in the fitness space.

In the 21st century, technology has expanded the information available to people while exercising; fitness trackers and fitness apps make logging things like step counts and even one’s heart rate that much easier, while the social components of Peloton’s services wouldn’t be possible without widespread fast internet connectivity. But it’s also worth noting that one can get and stay fit without a single app or power outlet in sight.

All of which makes AI taking on a major role in fitness seem — at least to this writer — relatively unlikely. Earlier this year, an article at MIT Technology Review pointed out that some people had begun using ChatGPT to generate workout routines for themselves. In CNET’s in-depth look at AI and fitness, Giselle Castro-Sloboda explored a few ramifications of AI technology on exercise — and pointed out that the workout plan it generated for her was well-organized but lacked important information, such as rest time.

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One of the interesting takeaways from Castro-Slobod’s investigation was the way that AI is used in the background to fulfill certain tasks. She noted that Peloton uses AI to monitor technique, and that some personal trainers have made use of AI to research different exercises for their clients.

That also gets to one of the ways in which AI is unlikely to get beyond a certain point, at least in parts of the fitness space. One of the advantages to working with a trainer in a gym is the fact that they can demonstrate something to you while they’re right next to you.

Barring a huge leap forward in robotics or virtual reality, this is something for which a person is necessary — and a reminder of AI’s limitations.

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