Science & Technology

Fitness Revolution: How AI Boosts Your Workout Experience

The fitness industry is still adapting to consumers’ post-pandemic exercise routines. More and more people are substituting gyms with home workouts and live trainers with fitness apps. Even at a dedicated sports facility, some gym members choose innovative workout methods involving technology such as artificial intelligence (AI). Meanwhile, fitness app developers opt for AI to personalise their workout offerings and boost their efficiency.

Fitness Revolution: How AI Boosts Your Workout Experience

How The Fitness Industry Is Changing

Before the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and beyond, people who wanted to get fit saw gym membership as their main course of action. However, confined in their homes, fitness enthusiasts acquired some equipment, searched for remote fitness courses and apps, and ultimately developed their own workout routines. 

As the restrictions were lifted, some people rushed back to their gyms, while others preferred to stick to their cosy individual schedules and virtual workout alternatives. Today, gym visits are not nearly as regular as they used to be before the pandemic. It seems that many people are still figuring out the best ways to get fit in their specific circumstances. With much competition in the space, fitness service providers increasingly introduce innovations and are becoming more flexible to adapt to customers’ changing needs. 

One of the most notable innovations in the segment is artificial intelligence. It is used both by individuals who want to improve their physical condition and fitness centres that want to gain a competitive advantage over their more traditional peers.

AI-Powered Fitness Apps

With the help of AI, you can create a highly personalised workout plan and optimise your fitness routine. Numerous software developers have already grabbed the opportunity and improved their fitness apps with AI capabilities.

AI-powered personalised workouts are created on the basis of relevant data, such as your height, weight, gender, body type, health issues, fitness goals, and available equipment at home or at the gym.

As you proceed through your workout routines, the app can also take into account the frequency of exercise, workout timing and patterns, and other additional factors to constantly improve the offering. 

When coupled with fitness wearables that can monitor important health indicators such as heart rate, sleep routine, number of steps taken, and more, AI-powered workout apps can assess the workout’s impact on the user’s overall lifestyle. That paves the way for even more efficient hyper-personalised workouts. 

Many fitness apps are exploring gamification and social-media-like features powered by AI to boost user engagement. They may introduce leaderboards, challenges, virtual rewards and real-time multiplayer workouts to make fitness more exciting.

Fitness Revolution: How AI Boosts Your Workout Experience

Fitness AI

The app uses artificial intelligence to generate personalised workouts. Every workout is optimised for the individual user, with a changing number of sets and reps, as well as weights suitable for the person. Smart algorithms also calculate the necessary rest periods, compare one’s performance to potential, and adjust the difficulty levels for every workout depending on the existing routine. The app users can also avail themselves of advice from a human trainer. 

Fitbod

The app’s main functions are exercise tracking and customised workouts. In-built AI algorithm tailors workout sessions to specific goals and user preferences. The app will offer a workout routine and adjust the difficulty level as you go through the motions. In addition, your workout content can be altered depending on the equipment you currently have access to, making it a perfect choice for those combining gym with home exercise. The app also has a separate Recovery tab with a visual representation of what muscles have already rested from your previous workouts and which muscle group is more prone to workout at present.

Freeletics

The app offers bodyweight, gym or running workouts tailored to your fitness level, age, skill and goals. Workouts are also adjustable depending on the conditions you’re in, access to equipment, etc. Freeletics also applies a well-rounded approach to fitness, accompanying effective workouts with healthy recipes, tailored meal plans and motivating audio sessions aimed at strengthening your mindset.

Aaptiv

Aaptiv offers a unique blend of on-demand predetermined audio- and video-based workouts and adaptive AI-empowered exercises. AI plans consider the user’s workout history, feedback, and other user data (e.g. biometric data or sleep patterns) to personalise training. Using a heart rate monitor while training with Aaptiv is also highly recommended for better personalisation. The workouts are not only for individuals. There’s a special offering for employers and the public sector that can include personalised training in health plan benefits. In this case, beneficiaries may work out at nearby gyms via the Aaptiv Access Fitness Network.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is an all-in-one food, exercise, water intake and calorie tracker. There are various exercises for those wanting to build or tone muscles, boost their cardio, relax and stretch, lose weight, or keep fit during pregnancy. However, the main focus is on healthy eating habits. The app uses Machine Learning and Computer Vision to detect and recognise food in images from your smartphone camera for its unique Meal Scan feature. MyFitnessPal connects to and syncs with more than 35 apps and fitness devices like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung Health, Google Fit, Health Connect, smart scales, etc. 

Fitness Workout

What About Virtual AI Fitness Trainers?

While a personalised fitness app may be good, the presence of trainers is often critical for your workout progress. Human instructors can motivate you to do your best and not slacken your pace. They can check whether you’re doing the exercises correctly and fix your posture or movements if needed. Finally, they can boost the workout with charm and enthusiasm, serving as a role model for a healthy lifestyle. Can that ever be done by artificial intelligence?

Well, some people are ready to test that. Although the examples of virtual trainers are not yet numerous, as AI technology develops, we expect to see more ‘smart’ personified applications in all industries, including fitness and sports. 

Lumin Fitness

A small gym studio in Las Colinas, Texas, is not like anything you’ve seen before. The darkened studio space is equipped with tall LED screens where you can see virtual AI coaches designed to guide visitors through vigorous solo or group workouts.

While some people feel inspired by human trainers, others may feel discouraged or even intimidated by a perfectly sculpted instructor who doesn’t let you relax or slow down or just cannot motivate you the right way. In this case, a highly personalised approach to fitness in gym settings but without interactions with expert human trainers might do the trick. 

You can choose a male or female voice for your AI assistant, a stricter, more cheerful, or laid-back demeanour, and even the type of music for the workout. Besides, virtual coaches can assist you 24/7, while humans often have busy schedules. 

Due to the incorporation of motion sensors, Lumin Fitness can track both the motions of the exercising person and the gym’s equipment to assess the intensity of the workout, performance and impact. If the system monitors the wrong posture, for example, it won’t count the rep towards the workout’s fulfilment.

Finally, the virtual environment allows the unique gym studio to gamify the workout experience more than any app can. During warmup and cool-down sessions, the LED screens display a humanoid figure completing the motions as a visual aid. However, during the workout, the screens depict simple motivational games, encouraging participants to exercise. For instance, gym goers might fill up a virtual basket of balls when they complete a sit-up or build a virtual block tower every time they finish a burpee. Indeed, an excellent healthy alternative to a video game. 

Magic AI Mirror

If you aren’t around AI-powered gyms, you can always leverage a virtual coach using a unique home wall mirror. Magic AI Mirror uses Reflective AI tracking technology to count your sets and reps, check your posture, pace, and movements while working out, and optimise the weights you use for chosen exercises. 

Despite being completely powered by technology, the VR mirror creates an illusion of working out with a human coach. It voices all the instructions, corrections and motivations similar to a real person. Celebrity athletes appear as holograms in the mirror, coaching you and giving you real-time audio and visual feedback.

Besides tracking fitness progress, Magic Mirror teaches customers about diet, nutrition, mental health, and recovery in a series of one-on-one athlete masterclasses on the mirror. The company offers a set of fitness programs and personalised workouts, including various exercises from weight lifting to yoga and meditation. 

Fitness Revolution: How AI Boosts Your Workout Experience

How Gyms Use AI to Enhance The Workout Experience

While not every gym owner is ready to introduce full-scale virtual trainers, a great number of gyms are embracing AI technology to boost their offerings. Some possible ways artificial intelligence is or can potentially be used in the gym settings include:

  • Posture and form estimation. AI-powered sensors and cameras can better analyse the position of a human’s body, their joints and limbs, check their form on lifting exercises, and analyse other performance factors. Gym personnel may use this data for better personalisation and correction of exercise.
  • Preventing injury. AI can be pretty accurate at estimating one’s strength. Therefore, The Exercise Coach fitness studio in Virginia Beach uses the technology to detail the strength of the person and leverage proper resistance to help them strengthen their body instead of using heavy weights, which may be traumatic especially for senior citizens.
  • Monitoring health while exercising. Different wearables and sensors, as well as smart clothing and footwear can monitor heart rate, pulse, stress and activity levels, and other vital data to better understand the impact of a particular exercise on the person. AI analysis can provide accurate and actionable insights. Besides, wearables can spot potential health issues, e.g. abnormal heart rate, and suggest modifications to workout routines.
  • Optimising gym equipment. AI can make gym equipment “smarter”, enabling it to adjust resistance, speed, and other parameters automatically based on the user’s performance and history. The technology can also help gyms optimise the placement and predict maintenance of machines based on usage data. 
  • Gamification. Sports is often about competition, so virtual AI-based gamification elements can boost gym workouts with challenges, leaderboards, and rewards, as well as virtual gym partners or competitors. 
  • Member acquisition and retention. AI is known for analysing and translating disparate data sets into business plans. Potentially, it can predict member behaviour, providing aid in onboarding and retention strategies. AI forecasts can be also used for personalised incentives, promotions, and targeted communication. 

Fitness Revolution: How AI Boosts Your Workout Experience

Is AI Here to Stay in the Fitness Industry? Final Thoughts

AI is revolutionising the world around us at the speed of light. Fitness segment is not an exclusion. Artificial intelligence has already found its application in numerous fitness apps and wearables, enabling hyper-personalisation and real-time impact monitoring. Today, technology is struggling to find its way inside gyms. While some gym owners are already experimenting with virtual fitness spaces, others are taking it with caution. 

Although it is not likely that AI will replace human coaches in the nearest future, it certainly can improve equipment use, making it safer and more effective. Gym management can also use AI for backend process optimisation, as well as targeted client acquisition and retention. Meanwhile, individuals who prefer to work out at home are increasingly exploring AI options, as they’re the next best thing to a personal trainer, but available 24/7 in comfortable home settings. 

After the introduction of AI insights into fitness and wellness routines, the industry will never be the same again. Therefore, we expect more AI-based fitness solutions in the future and improved, better-informed workout practices both at home and in the gym. 

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.