Excitement cut across Silicon Valley when the region first developed their constantly improving text generator, GPT-3. This technology can take text-based information from humans and quickly use it to create an original text of its own. This type of artificial intelligence (AI) has already been used to create everything from original song lyrics to speeches and dating profiles.
Now, we’ve let AI create personalized exercise and nutrition plans. We also ran these proposed plans by some humans, but not just any humans – those certified as personal trainers. Though they may have been looking at a more affordable and perhaps more effective alternative to their own service, they definitely had some positive things to say about the “fake” workouts. Keep reading to see what AI created in fitness and how certified professionals felt about the results.
At-Home Workouts, by AI
The first request we made of the GPT-3 model was to “create a workout plan that can be done inside someone’s home.” Respondents then weighed in using their professional expertise.
At-home workouts have certainly been in demand. COVID-19 closed the doors of many gyms, but studies show Americans intend to embrace the trend well beyond the pandemic. According to AI, our at-home workouts should include a warmup where you touch your toes 20 times, stand on one foot for a minute at a time, and then do 20 jumping jacks. Unusual, yes, but certainly doable at home. AI recommended doing the entire workout twice a week.
More often than not, trainers felt AI wasn’t requiring a high amount of effort from its participants. But high intensity training is often not what’s best for every individual, and 55% of personal trainers agreed that they would try the in-home workout themselves. And 9 out of 10 trainers agreed that they could see themselves recommending this exact plan to someone with a particular set of goals.
AI Recommendations for Women’s Workouts
Men and women often require very different workouts. The next two sections of this study asked AI to generate a workout for a woman’s body and one for a man’s, both with the goals of muscle gain and weight loss. Trainers again weighed in on both sets of health plans.
The AI-generated workout for women was considered much less effective than the more generalized at-home workout. Only 36% of trainers considered GPT-3’s advice to be effective. First, AI had women almost entirely weight training, which may have helped them reach their muscle gain goals, but not their weight loss goals. Trainers also noticed a much higher amount of effort required here than that of the non-gendered plan.
It’s important to note that trainers weren’t entirely against this health plan. They particularly praised the nutrition plan, which began and ended the day with a protein shake and included some beef and chicken midday. Seventy-three percent also said they would recommend the overall approach to a client with a particular goal set.
Muscle Gain and Weight Loss for Men
Men’s workouts by AI are up next. The text-generator was given the same exact prompt as the women and even the same weight loss goals, just with the gender changed. Find the workouts, meal plans, and ratings below.
Though the men’s meal plan was considered less effective, the workout AI generated was a significant improvement from the women’s plan and received a 64% effectiveness rating among trainers. AI suggested a more regular, daily routine, starting with chest and shoulders on Mondays, followed by legs on Tuesdays, back on Wednesdays, etc. Most trainers also noticed this required a much higher level of effort. More than half (55%) said they would try the plan themselves.
The meal plan may have been too complicated, as it involved six separate meals with a variety of proteins and sides. Fewer said they would be able to consider recommending this plan to a client, regardless of their goals.
Completely New Exercises, by AI
AI even managed to get creative in its fitness pursuits. The next part of this study asked AI to create an entirely new type of exercise or physical movement. They both named and described these revolutionary new movements.
Evidently, the squat needs no reinvention. The “hypersquat,” as AI called it, was somewhat difficult to understand, indicating AI may still have a ways to go when it comes to creating original movements. Only 27% found this movement to be something they might recommend.
The other three exercises –the seated tie down, Superman tucks, and the alternate leg swing – had more trainers (55%) willing to recommend them. They all involved variations on some of today’s most popular workout moves. AI also provided tips and benefits to getting the movement right, like the fact that hip joints are activated in the leg swing or how to get even greater intensity in the seated tie down.
Lastly, we gave trainers the opportunity to voice their reactions directly. Below are some of the opinions and statements they had to make after reading through all of AI’s fitness suggestions.
Many trainers agreed that potential and excitement is there, but that AI still had a long way to go. As one male strength conditioning coach explained, “it doesn’t seem quite as personally tailored as possible.” A female fitness manager added that the workout plans weren’t “well-rounded.”
Most trainers also agreed that the delivery was difficult to wade through. For one female senior fitness specialist, “the descriptions made almost no sense,” and another simply said, “some individuals may not even be able to perform these exercises.”
Fitness Made for You
For any individual, the best approach to exercise and nutrition takes a little time to find. AI could potentially make it easier, but there’s still a long way for it to go. Personal trainers demonstrated interest but haven’t yet been fully convinced.
If you’re looking for the best fitness products and services to meet your particular goals, FitRated can help save you time and frustration. We’re a small group of fitness fanatics that wanted to take the headache out of trying to better yourself. If you think you’d like to work with us or get your fitness in order, head to FitRated.com today.
Methodology and Limitations
We used OpenAI’s GPT-3, a predictive language model, to generate fitness plans and exercises based on the following prompts:
- Create a workout plan that can be done inside someone’s home, including the exercises involved, how frequently they should be done, and any equipment I may need.
- What kind of workout plan would you recommend for weight loss, that includes exercises, frequency of exercise per week, rest days, and a meal plan?
- Give me recommendations for an American man who is overweight by 30 lbs.
- Give me recommendations for an American woman who is overweight by 30 lbs.
We then asked 11 certified personal trainers to rate these fitness plans and exercises without knowing AI generated them. Sixty-four percent of our respondents were women, and 36% were men. Respondents ranged in age from 21 to 37 years old.
Data that rely on self-report may carry inherent issues, such as telescoping, exaggeration, and recency bias. We did not weight our survey data or statistically test our hypotheses. As such, this study is purely exploratory.
Fair Use Statement
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