Fit for the future - ChatGPT and fitness

Ever wondered if your friendly neighborhood AI, ChatGPT, could take over an instructor’s job? We’ve all seen the headlines: ‘Who will you be after AI replaces you?’

The IMF recently stated that forecasts indicate 40% of global jobs will be replaced. Bill Gates noted that each new technology brings initial fear, followed by new opportunities. We explored this further and uncovered solid reasons why your coaching is irreplaceable and what AI actually means for you in the fitness business.

Always a New Surprise.

A spokesperson from OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, pointed out that AI generates varied responses to each question and it sources information from the internet up to September 2021.

This diversity, though interesting, poses challenges to consistency and reliability. Both of which are needed for dependable results. It doesn’t ask for those extra details that give you better answers either.

When Advice Goes South.

OpenAI emphasizes that ChatGPT is a research tool, warning that it might sometimes deliver inaccurate and biased content.

Curious I asked what advice it would give a 40-year-old aiming to get fit like Arnie. ChatGPT 4 suggested it was achievable to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger with dedication. Take 2: Chat recommended striving to be the best version of oneself.

I asked this a number of times and I never gave it specific data or even current fitness level. Not once did it seek the critical details for my personal plan.

It appears to have good intentions, but sometimes, its suggestions can push the limits.

Inconsistent Much?

One day, ChatGPT told me to double-check its workout with a coach. The next, it’s telling me to listen to my body and rest. And sometimes? It forgot the safety brief altogether. Talk about mixed messages.

Repetitive Movements = Yawn

We all know that sticking to the same routine can become monotonous. Unlike instructors who keep workouts dynamic and engaging, ChatGPT often sticks to repetitive patterns unless prompted otherwise.

AI doesn’t wear your shoes

ChatGPT doesn’t tailor workouts to your individual body shape, history, or the unique aspects of the health journey. It can’t. It doesn’t see you; it doesn’t know you. It works with what you tell it, and even then, its understanding is limited to data patterns, not personal experiences. It tends to skip the get-to-know-you part, which can leave its fitness advice feeling a bit generic—like a one-size-fits-all plan.

Adaptability: A Human Trait

While our coaches adapt to your mood, your energy levels, and your progress, ChatGPT operates on a static input-output basis. If you’re not explicitly telling it to change things up, it won’t. It doesn’t get bored, but you might. The competitive edge here? Adaptability—and that’s a human trait.

Says who?

A study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine had coaches with PHD’s in sports science and significant experience on the field evaluate AI-generated training plans. The conclusion? Coaches are irreplaceable due to their role in motivation, monitoring, and adjusting training plans, aspects that ChatGPT currently cannot replicate.

The best fitness advice, the most customized experience, and the most engaging interactions remain the realm of human coaches. ChatGPT is here to complement, to challenge, but not to conquer.

This leads us to question how AI will shape the future of fitness businesses

We’re already working on it.

AI is set to change how new members are acquired with greater precision. By automating and personalizing the process, they will receive a more customized start. AI will also be vital in predicting how members might behave and helping keep them engaged. By identifying those likely to leave, facilities will be able to offer tailored incentives and communications. Businesses can increase loyalty and keep members engaged for the long term.

So it’s a PR?

ChatGPT “As an AI, I don’t have personal records like a human might”


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2024)

MIT Technical Review

Time Magazine

Gates Notes

OpenAI (ChatGPT)