AI: Friend or Foe for the Fitness Industry

‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) is the buzzword of the current times, to the point that it can sometimes feel like everything is being ‘revolutionised’ to now use AI. Lachlan Moriarty explains.

Artificial intelligence, or ‘AI’, is technology that enables computers and machines to simulate human intelligence and problem-solving capabilities. As a result of the rise and rise of AI, the fitness industry – like so many others – is going to experience a significant evolution. Already, wearable technologies and personal health applications boast unprecedented access to a wealth of health-related data that, in tandem with AI, has the potential to revolutionise the fitness landscape in many ways, such as:

Advantages of AI in our industry

AI offers our industry an unprecedented opportunity to deliver personalised programming, streamline services, and unearth data-driven insights. This advancement will be a powerful tool to help us optimise each client’s fitness journey, while enhancing revenue and service offerings.

The availability of detailed exercise data enables us to track client progress accurately, facilitating informed adjustments to exercises as needed. Unlike traditional methods reliant on subjective client/member feedback, AI-driven insights can create a comprehensive roadmap for client/member wellbeing, as well as minimise the risk of overtraining, injury or illness. This transformative shift equips us with the tools needed to elevate service quality and ensure clients and members achieve their fitness goals safely and effectively.

While there are clear advantages, it is not without potential costs

While at first glance, AI integration in the fitness industry offers lucrative and valuable advantages, we must proceed with caution, as it’s not without its disadvantages. For example:

While at first glance, AI integration in the fitness industry offers lucrative and valuable advantages, we must proceed with caution, as it's not without its disadvantages.

Including, potential job loss

For the fitness professional, the most significant concern of AI in fitness is the threat of job displacement. Given these apps can leverage client data and algorithms to generate programs without the input of a coach and often at a lower cost, it is without question that AI applications will change, or indeed threaten, the role of exercise professionals.

We do, however, have one very important ace up our sleeve…

The value of human interaction cannot be understated

While independence and cost-savings may appeal to certain clients, the removal of human interaction would have a significant impact, as it eliminates the real-time supervision and support from a professional that is necessary to ensure program safety.

In addition, the absence of fitness professionals would disrupt the valued human connection between the Trainer and the client. It can also undermine the accountability factor that contributes to sustained exercise engagement – the presence of a supportive and guiding figure which, for many clients, serves as a primary long-term motivator..

Most significantly, without this human connection, we increase the risk of clients experiencing feelings of isolation and disconnection.

Explore the use of AI as a tool

The optimal use of AI in fitness instruction is in leveraging its power as an aiding tool rather than a service that replaces professional expertise or advice. The role of the fitness professional should remain central, ensuring humans retain authority over program design and client guidance.

Maintaining autonomy in prescribing exercises is important, especially for clients who are hesitant to share their health data. By offering a personalised approach that accommodates varying comfort levels of data sharing, we can ensure inclusivity while still respecting client preferences.

In addition to enhancing client-facing interactions, many AI-enabled services can help you run your back-end operations more efficiently and effectively. For example, there are free chatbots you can add to your website that will use the data you provide to answer queries from site visitors, in your language style! You can use AI to generate draft email responses – ready for you to check, edit and send. And don’t forget the ability to generate social media and blog posts with the help of AI.

Of course, new technology always comes with risk – whether it’s social media, mobile phones, or even the internet itself. They all have their pros and cons. And so it is with AI. The important thing is that we are aware of the inherent dangers and pitfalls, so that we can safely leverage the advantages.

For the fitness industry, those advantages include delivering more for clients, streamlining business operations, and paving the way to growth opportunities.


Lachlan Moriarty

Lachlan is a Trainer/Assessor at Fit Education, an RTO that specialises in the delivery of fitness qualifications. Lachlan has a Bachelor in Exercise Science and enjoys using his knowledge to help people through their fitness journeys.