The Pros and Cons of Using ChatGPT as Your Personal Trainer

by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

As funny as this may sound, there are actually people out there using ChatGPT as their personal training to try and get them into better shape.

Crafting your workout and meal plans can be a complex task involving a blend of creativity and science. Fitness professionals charge a hefty sum — between $50 to $500 an hour — for this personalized service. However, the rise of ChatGPT and AI chatbots offers a seemingly cost-free alternative.

Yes, ChatGPT can indeed assist in creating a workout plan, helping you gain strength and even tailoring it to your specific goals. But like everything, it has a flip side, and this one has its own — ChatGPT’s ability to consider all training variables has its limits. The real challenge lies in evaluating the quality of the generated workout program.

In this article, we will dive deeper into ChatGPT workouts and go through the pros and cons of using such an AI service as your personal trainer.

Disclaimer: It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Can Chatbots Provide Effective Fitness Guidance?

Navigating a workout plan with ChatGPT is unquestionably possible, but the critical question arises: does it truly provide effective guidance? While individual experiences may differ, for the general public, the answer tends toward the opposing side.

Unless you possess the expertise of a fitness professional, replete with extensive training and education, relying on workout guidance from an AI chatbot like ChatGPT may lead to misleading and inaccurate advice. In the intricate fitness industry, where nuances matter, the limitations of AI become evident.

Before we delve into the negative side of using ChatGPT for fitness routines, let’s look at the brighter side of it.

Pros of Using ChatGPT as Your Personal Trainer

Here are some pros of using an AI chatbot for your fitness program.

1.      Valuable research tool

ChatGPT offers indispensable topline guidance, serving as a foundational resource for individuals seeking fundamental insights into fitness and wellness. It is important to notice that chatGPT can be a really helpful “tool” when you are in your “research” phase for the workout program/plan.

Acting as a dependable source of general fitness advice, ChatGPT provides users with quick and accessible information. Whether it’s clarifying concepts or offering general tips, the chatbot streamlines the process of obtaining essential guidance for users at any fitness level.

2.      Moderate motivational support

ChatGPT extends a moderate level of motivational support by providing more than just information. While acknowledging the psychological aspect of fitness, the chatbot encourages users on their journey, driving a positive mindset crucial for sustained progress.

3.      Accessibility around the clock

In a time where fitness queries may arise at any hour, ChatGPT stands out for its 24/7 accessibility. Users benefit from the convenience of obtaining guidance whenever they need it, eliminating the constraints of traditional appointment-based approaches.

4.      Cost-free resource

ChatGPT’s status as a cost-free resource adds significant appeal. Particularly attractive for those hesitant to invest heavily upfront, the chatbot democratizes access to fitness guidance, ensuring that valuable information is accessible to all, regardless of financial considerations.

Cons of Using ChatGPT as Your Personal Trainer

Here are the drawbacks of using ChatGPT as your personal trainer.

1.      Outdated information and misinformation

On a broader scale, the issue of ChatGPT presenting outdated information and misinformation has become a universal concern raised by experts. A notable event unfolded in July 2023 when the Federal Trade Commission initiated an investigation into OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.

The probe aimed to determine whether the AI system violates consumer protection laws, particularly by potentially collecting personal data and disseminating false or misleading information.

Moreover, another examination of ChatGPT’s landscape is found in a paper published in Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. This study dives into the multifaceted aspects of ChatGPT and AI in healthcare and medical settings, exploring advantages, limitations, ethical considerations, future prospects, and practical applications.

These developments underscore the ongoing dialogue surrounding the accountability and reliability of AI technologies in disseminating information.

2.      Visual form assessment beyond AI

Human trainers swiftly evaluate performance points like glute engagement in squats by observing intricate details. Unlike ChatGPT, they possess the ability to visually assess and correct form issues. It’s nearly impossible to achieve this type of benefit with anything other than working directly with a trainer who can carefully watch you.

3.      Individual movement adaptability

ChatGPT struggles to adapt to diverse body types, missing the mark on tailoring programs based on individual movement patterns. Unlike human trainers, it can’t make real-time adjustments to accommodate unique nuances or to work around range of motion or flexibility issues.

4.      Lack of the human touch

Motivation, feedback, and adaptive modifications are vital components of a successful training journey. AI-generated plans lack the human touch — no follow-up calls, no awareness of when to adjust the intensity, and certainly no mid-session positive feedback. These elements remain uniquely human.

Not only that, but a trainer can make adjustments to your plan and workout on the fly. AI tools simply provide a basic plan without making it specific to you.

5.      Effective utilization of AI

A powerful algorithm is only as good as its user’s understanding. To unlock AI’s full potential in fitness, asking the right questions is key — a bit like having a calculator without the equation.

Yet, no matter how advanced AI becomes, it is very unlikely to surpass the importance of a real-life fitness trainer. The personalized guidance and human touch they offer are irreplaceable in the journey to optimal health and wellness.

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