Fitness AI, an iPhone-only app harnessing the power of AI, offers personalized workout routines tailored to individual needs. By inputting information such as height, weight, gender, and available equipment, users receive optimized sets, reps, and weights for each exercise. While technology-driven fitness apps certainly have their merits, they also have inherent limitations when it comes to honing the human body.
To contrast the AI-driven approach, it was turned to Future, an app that connects users to real personal trainers virtually. This human touch provided a level of accountability and motivation that the AI-powered Fitness AI couldn't match. With a real person monitoring progress and setting expectations, users were found compelled to push harder and prove capable.
This comparison highlights the fundamental differences between training with machines and interacting with humans. Fitness AI aims to gradually introduce new routines, considering users' comfort levels. However, it falls short of comprehending the nuances of individual personalities, specific needs, and unique circumstances. It takes time for the app to adapt and generate more tailored workouts as it analyzes data, recognizes patterns, and crunches numbers.
The ubiquity of AI is rapidly transforming various industries, including fitness. With the advent of ChatGPT and similar large language models, AI is capable of generating human-like sentences and revolutionizing tasks ranging from creative writing to generating computer code. As ChatGPT became the fastest-growing consumer product in history, companies across the globe have eagerly embraced AI integration. A simple Google search for "Fitness AI apps" yields a plethora of options, with estimates suggesting that the digital fitness industry will reach a staggering $26.5 billion by 2026.
Despite the allure of AI's capabilities, relying solely on ChatGPT for a workout program proved underwhelming. Although it provided specific metrics, ChatGPT essentially served as an "autocomplete on steroids," predicting the next best word and generating responses. Unfortunately, when users sought advice on creating a workout routine while nursing a twisted ankle, the AI suggested exercises that could worsen the injury by requiring weight-bearing and standing positions. Fitness AI, while lacking a built-in chatbot, plans to introduce one soon, leveraging deep learning AI to shape preferences, offer feedback, and address inquiries on nutrition and form.
Testing out Fitness AI, it was discovered a slick app was launched in 2019, employing machine learning algorithms to optimize workout parameters. The interface incorporates a 3D-anatomical model, providing visual guidance on exercise techniques, target muscles, and workout variations. By reporting adjustments in weights used, users contribute to the app's data, enabling future workout customization.
During the Fitness AI sessions, it was experienced routines that lacked diversity, with exercises targeting similar muscle groups. This repetition posed efficiency concerns. For instance, a shoulder-focused session had users perform two consecutive shoulder press exercises, which felt less productive due to fatigue. Similarly, a chest workout included redundant exercises with little variation. Fitness AI overlooked alternatives like cable chest flies, which allow for a broader range of motion. While the app costs $15 per month, it may seem steep compared to its competitors. Nonetheless, it serves as a valuable workout tool, facilitating activity tracking, exercise demonstration, efficiency enhancement, and progressive overload for injury prevention. Yet, users should not anticipate radical changes to their routines immediately, as gradual adaptation and personal research are required to maximize the app's potential. Fitness AI appears better suited for experienced gym-goers seeking additional guidance.
Excitingly, Fitness AI has confirmed its upcoming integration of a ChatGPT-like chatbot into the app, employing deep learning AI to address user preferences, provide workout feedback, and answer queries related to nutrition and form. This advancement promises to enhance the app's versatility and interactivity, potentially bridging the gap between human and machine guidance.
Transitioning to the Future, users encountered a more dynamic fitness experience. A trainer, Brett Carroll, based in Florida, engaged in a discussion about fitness goals and workout preferences. Deviating from the usual routine, he introduced a blocking routine that encompassed both upper and lower-body workouts. Although Carroll was not present via video calls during the gym sessions, Future provided curated workouts through autoplay instructional videos, timers for exercise durations, and recommendations for proper form. Variations in weights could be inputted, allowing the trainer to adjust the routine accordingly.
The sessions designed by Carroll through Future were remarkably challenging, pushing the circuit through multiple muscle groups with minimal rest periods.
On a lower-body day, the workout comprised unconventional exercises like lateral duck walks and cossack squats, followed by bodyweight squats, Bulgarian split squats, and lateral bounds. The inclusion of lifting and explosive movements caused fatigue, questioning the progress that was made in years of training. With relatively simple exercises and lower weights, it was found to need more rest time than initially prescribed.
Recognizing the importance of recovery, Carroll recommended supplements and addressed dietary and macro goals. This level of guidance and personalized support may be limited in AI fitness apps due to liability concerns. When seeking ChatGPT's advice on supplements, it recommended whey protein, creatine, fish oil pills, and multivitamins. However, its macro recommendations seemed inaccurate for my body type and weight-loss objectives, proposing significantly higher carbohydrate intake compared to online macro calculators.
Future's price of $199 per month surpasses the affordability of most fitness apps and even exceeds the cost of many gym memberships. However, considering the prevailing rates of personal training sessions, the comprehensive and meticulously curated workouts provided by Future justify the investment. Although Future granted a trial membership for the purpose of this review, its value becomes apparent when comparing it to the cost of in-person personal training.
The integration of AI into health and wellness remains in its nascent stage. While Fitness AI and other fitness apps will eventually incorporate AI chatbots, enabling user interaction and responsiveness, the current landscape relies on apps that can effectively analyze data and generate reasonably decent workout routines. Fitness AI serves as a suitable option for those with existing gym experience seeking a convenient method to track workouts on their smartphones.
Ultimately, AI-powered software and algorithms cannot replace the precision and personalization offered by human trainers who consider individual thoughts and desires. Furthermore, AI's limitations in accommodating injuries make it crucial to consult with human professionals when dealing with specific health concerns. However, individual preferences vary, and some individuals may favor the convenience and independence of app-based workouts, avoiding the pressures associated with reporting to a person.