Personal training can be a challenging profession, requiring an individual to meet the needs of numerous clients, work early and/or long hours, and oversee business operations; so, if generative AI (artificial intelligence) could help you run your business – would you be interested?
What is Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Generative AI is a rapidly advancing set of technologies that can assist individuals with a variety of tasks. These tools are able to receive inputs from users and respond by answering questions, offering explanations, crafting text, making suggestions, and engaging in conversations, while some can even create visuals!
How do these machines perform such functions? Significant improvements in computing power and creative AI design over the past few decades have allowed for the development of one type of generative AI called a large language model (LLM).
An LLM processes vast amounts of data in order to effectively predict an appropriate series of words for a particular situation. By utilizing statistics, pattern recognition, and both self- and semi-supervised learning to analyze immense quantities of texts, LLM-based AIs can become impressively useful at undertaking certain tasks.
For instance, LLM-based AIs are able to vastly improve the quality of speech recognition tools by recognizing and actively correcting inaccurately recorded words.
One such tool that has gained prominence in the public sphere is ChatGPT, where GPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained transformer”. Developed by the company, OpenAI, ChatGPT version 3.5 is currently available to the public with only the creation of a user account required. Let’s examine several ways in which a generative AI, such as ChatGPT-3.5, can currently assist personal trainers in facets of their work.
How AI Can Help a Personal Trainer
Although much of the work that personal trainers do involves the hands-on facilitation of activities, there are elements within the vocation where ideas and concepts need to be developed and communicated. Three specific use cases will be evaluated here, but numerous other potential topics of interest certainly exist.
Case Study #1: Workout for Beginning Weightlifter
Whether you are just starting out or have been training clients for decades, crafting a customized workout plan from nothing can take a chunk of time. There are hundreds of beneficial exercises to draw on, millions of ways to organize and group those movements, and dozens of other factors to consider. Quickly composing a specific and effective plan when infinite possibilities exist may be daunting.
This situation provides the first-use case for generative AI – as detailed in Case Study #1 – outlining a workout plan. ChatGPT-3.5 was given the prompt, “Write a workout for a beginning weight lifter. Group exercises into three sets of three activities featuring one lower body movement, one upper body movement, and one core activity”. (Full responses to all case studies are provided at the end of the article.)
Over just a few seconds the generative AI does an excellent job of following the specifications provided and suggesting accurately classified exercises. The additional commentary provided may also be useful, as it could provide technical reminders that trainers could use with their clients.
Where the generative AI falls short is its arbitrary repetition counts, as well as any lack of applicable weight values. Clearly, generative AI is not ready to fully replace personal trainers just yet! Adding further specifications and/or restrictions to the original prompt can help refine the AI’s response to be even more applicable.
In summary, generative AI rapidly builds a workout outline for the trainer to build upon with their expertise, experience, and personal relationship with the client.
Case Study #2
Hands-on facilitation of training is not the only activity involved in running a business. Personal trainers who want to be financially successful will need to build out a clientele. Making individuals feel welcome is a great way to establish rapport and begin cultivating a positive relationship. Hence, ChatGPT-3.5 was given the prompt, “Write a brief email welcoming a new client to a personal training business”.
The generative AI rapidly returns a kind and supportive, albeit generic, email. While there will certainly be personalization and editing needed, working with a pre-written draft almost assuredly saves the user valuable time.
Another upside is that the AI generally excels at using proper grammar and preventing unfortunate typos that could negatively influence clients’ opinions of you. In fact, AI can be used as a highly proficient proofreading tool for human-composed text. Considering that the prompt in this case was not overly specific, including additional message criteria may yield a superior product.
(Note: AI software such as Grammarly can also be installed to double-check grammar, spelling, and usage for all of your written work)
Case Study #3
The final case study plunges fully into the operational side of training, using generative AI to compose a legal document. Liability and litigation protection are critical pieces for the success of a business establishment, as accidents can and do happen. As such, ChatGPT-3.5 was given the prompt, “Construct an informed consent waiver document for an individual to participate in a personal training program”. The AI response addresses many areas of liability, providing the trainer with an operative first draft. While all legal documents should be carefully reviewed by an expert, being able to rapidly produce an outline to build on is invaluable in terms of time and effort.
Key Considerations When Utilizing Generative AI
Generative AI tools are NOT:
- Infallible. All produced responses should be carefully reviewed and checked against sources of truth and one’s own knowledge for accuracy, relevance, and applicability.
- Magic. Replies may vary widely in usefulness when utilizing generative AI in relation to the strength and specificity of the prompt, among other elements.
- Impartial. As the generative AI tool produces outputs based only on the data and information stored in its system, it is entirely possible that biases will exist if they are present in the machine’s environment.
- Research. These machines do not collect, analyze, and interpret data in order to construct new knowledge. Rather, content is returned based on existing material. As any given output is not original, nor fully unique, the use of generative AI should be noted/cited in appropriate settings.
- Human. A skilled, well-educated, and experienced trainer will be far more capable of interacting with clients, understanding their precise needs, and helping them reach their goals than the use of generative AI alone ever could.
Generative AI provides a fascinating new tool for personal trainers to engage with in their work. Whether used for drafting client programming, communications, operations, or any other relevant situation, trainers have the ability to rapidly produce content, potentially saving them valuable time that can be reinvested in their patrons and their business. As society enters a new era of advanced artificial intelligence, personal trainers should endeavor to explore the myriad technological possibilities available to them, lest they be left behind.
Case Study #1)
Prompt: Write a workout for a beginning weight lifter. Group exercises into three sets of three activities featuring one lower body movement, one upper body movement, and one core activity.
Response: “Certainly! Here’s a beginner-friendly weight-lifting workout that focuses on balanced muscle development. The exercises are grouped into three sets, each consisting of one lower-body movement, one upper-body movement, and one core activity.
Set 1: Lower Body, Upper Body, Core
- Lower Body – Bodyweight Squats:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your body by bending your knees, pushing your hips back, and keeping your chest up.
- Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
- Perform 10-12 reps.
- Upper Body – Push-Ups:
- Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your body.
- Push through your palms to return to the starting position.
- Perform 8-10 reps.
- Core – Plank:
- Begin in a push-up position but with your weight on your forearms instead of your hands.
- Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core.
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
Set 2: Lower Body, Upper Body, Core
- Lower Body – Dumbbell Lunges:
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
- Step forward with one leg and lower your body until both knees are bent at 90 degrees.
- Push through your front heel to return to the starting position.
- Alternate legs and perform 10-12 reps per leg.
- Upper Body – Dumbbell Rows:
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend your knees slightly.
- Hinge at your hips and lean forward while keeping your back straight.
- Pull the dumbbells towards your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Lower the dumbbells back down and repeat for 8-10 reps.
- Core – Russian Twists:
- Sit on the floor, lean back slightly, and lift your feet off the ground.
- Hold a dumbbell or medicine ball with both hands.
- Twist your torso to one side and touch the weight to the floor.
- Twist to the other side and touch the weight to the floor.
- Perform 15-20 reps (each side).
Set 3: Lower Body, Upper Body, Core
- Lower Body – Romanian Deadlifts:
- Hold a dumbbell or barbell with an overhand grip in front of your thighs.
- Hinge at your hips and bend forward, keeping your back flat and knees slightly bent.
- Lower the weight down your legs while maintaining a straight back.
- Keep the weight close to your body and return to the starting position by standing up.
- Perform 8-10 reps.
- Upper Body – Dumbbell Bench Press:
- Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward.
- Press the dumbbells upward until your arms are fully extended.
- Lower the dumbbells to chest level and repeat for 10-12 reps.
- Core – Bicycle Crunches:
- Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees lifted.
- Bring one elbow towards the opposite knee while extending the other leg.
- Alternate sides in a pedaling motion while twisting your torso.
- Perform 20-30 reps (each side).
Remember to start with weights that challenge you but allow you to maintain proper form. Rest for about 1-2 minutes between sets. If you’re new to weight lifting, consider consulting a fitness professional to ensure you’re using the correct technique and to customize the workout to your fitness level and goals.”
Case Study #2)
Prompt: Write a brief email welcoming a new client to a personal training business.
Response: “Subject: Welcome to [Your Personal Training Business Name]!
Dear [Client’s Name],
I hope this email finds you well. I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to you as a new client of [Your Personal Training Business Name]. We are thrilled to have you join our fitness community and embark on this journey towards your health and wellness goals.
At [Your Personal Training Business Name], our mission is to provide personalized and effective training programs tailored to your individual needs. Whether you’re looking to build strength, improve endurance, or enhance overall fitness, we are here to support you every step of the way.
Our experienced trainers are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals, and we can’t wait to get started. We will work closely with you to create a customized training plan that aligns with your aspirations and challenges you to reach new heights.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, preferences, or specific objectives in mind. Your success is our priority, and we are committed to helping you achieve the results you desire.
Once again, welcome to the [Your Personal Training Business Name] family. We’re excited to partner with you on this transformative journey. Let’s make every session count!
[Your Contact Information]”
Case Study #3)
Prompt: Construct an informed consent waiver document for an individual to participate in a personal training program.
Response: “Informed Consent and Waiver for Participation in Personal Training Program
I, [Participant’s Name], hereby acknowledge that I have voluntarily chosen to participate in a personal training program offered by [Your Personal Training Business Name], under the guidance of [Trainer’s Name]. I have read and understood the information provided below and hereby consent to participate in the program.
Nature of the Program: The personal training program involves physical activities, including but not limited to cardiovascular exercises, strength training, flexibility exercises, and other fitness activities, tailored to my individual goals and fitness level. The program aims to enhance my overall fitness, health, and well-being.
Risks and Benefits: I understand that engaging in physical activities involves certain risks, including but not limited to the risk of injury, discomfort, and medical complications. However, I acknowledge that the benefits of participating in a personalized training program include improved cardiovascular fitness, increased strength, enhanced flexibility, and potential positive impacts on mental health.
Health Assessment and Medical Conditions: I confirm that I have accurately disclosed all relevant health information, medical conditions, injuries, and limitations that could impact my participation in the personal training program. I understand that it is my responsibility to consult with a medical professional before starting this program if I have any medical concerns.
Responsibility: I understand that my trainer will provide guidance, support, and instruction throughout the training sessions. However, I am responsible for listening to and following their instructions, as well as using proper techniques to minimize the risk of injury.
Release and Waiver of Liability: In consideration of being allowed to participate in the personal training program, I hereby release, waive, and discharge [Your Personal Training Business Name], its trainers, employees, and representatives from any and all claims, liabilities, actions, and causes of action that may arise out of or result from my participation in the program, including any injuries or damages sustained.
Photography and Media: I grant permission to [Your Personal Training Business Name] to use photographs or videos taken during my training sessions for promotional purposes, including on their website or social media platforms.
I have read this Informed Consent and Waiver document, and I understand its contents. I am participating in the personal training program voluntarily and of my own free will. I acknowledge that I have the right to ask questions and clarify any concerns before agreeing to participate.
Participant’s Name: ______________________________
Participant’s Signature: __________________________ Date: ____________________
Trainer’s Name: _________________________________
Trainer’s Signature: ____________________________ Date: ____________________”
 Stephen Wolfram (2023), “What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work?,” Stephen Wolfram Writings. writings.stephenwolfram.com/2023/02/what-is-chatgpt-doing-and-why-does-it-work.
 University of Michigan School of Public Health (2023), “From Basics to Ethics: Navigating Generative AI as a Student,” University of Michigan, September 5, 2023.
 “Write a workout for a beginning weightlifter. Group exercises into three sets of three activities featuring one lower body movement, one upper body movement, and one core activity.” prompt. ChatGPT, Version 3.5, OpenAI, August 27, 2023, chat.openai.com.
 “Write a brief email welcoming a new client to a personal training business.” prompt. ChatGPT, Version 3.5, OpenAI, August 27, 2023, chat.openai.com.
 “Construct an informed consent waiver document for an individual to participate in a personal training program.” prompt. ChatGPT, Version 3.5, OpenAI, August 28, 2023, chat.openai.com.