The Future is Now: AI in the Fitness Industry

Issue 5 - June 2023

Published On


The Future is Now: AI in the Fitness Industry

Both terrifying and exciting, artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the science fiction lore of a Y2K Spielberg flick. It’s here, it’s now… and we don’t quite know what to do with it yet.

Just to be clear, AI has been around for a long time. It’s behind your Spotify playlist, email spam filter, and automatic windshield wipers. New AI tends to feel like magic when it’s introduced and then it’s just the way things work. But it feels different now.

AI is evolving quickly and now more than ever, we have the ability to use it as a supportive tool to provide a holistic and safe approach to our clients.


How are your clients doing with their current fitness and nutrition programs? Are they sleeping better? How’s their resting HR? What about their mood? Is the program you’ve laid out for them actually working?

AI-enabled wearable devices (think Fitbit, Apple Watch, Oura Ring) record and interpret comprehensive data about activities like heart rate, movement, sleep patterns and calorie expenditure. Trainers can leverage this information to gain insights into clients' habits (are they actually walking every day?) and adjust training plans accordingly. This leads to more informed decision-making and thus, better results. The client is happier and you’re happier. Everyone wins.

In the club, more companies are incorporating AI into machines to automatically adjust a session based on a user’s biometric responses. And some clubs are incorporating machines equipped with cameras and motion tracking to analyze an individual’s exercise form and performance in real time and to provide immediate feedback independent of a human-trainer. This can help clients optimize their workouts… and reduce the risk of injury!

Even human-trainer-based programming is getting an efficiency boost from AI. Sites like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard can shave hours per week from trainers’ prep time by providing a starting point for training plans. You’d never want to hand ChatGPT or Bard’s recommendations to a client! But with detailed, thoughtful prompts, these sites can provide solid outlines to validate and build from.


How is this playing out in the real world in today’s gyms, homes and the fitness industry at large?

Consider something as simple as a suggestion algorithm. Fitness membership platform ClassPass utilizes AI to offer personalized recommendations to its users by analyzing user preferences, workout history, and other data points. While there can’t be an omniscient fitness coach and training buddy for every ClassPass member to recommend new gyms and classes, AI can step in.

Then there’s smart home gym equipment. Tonal, for instance, uses computer vision and machine learning to provide personalized workout guidance. AI algorithms are used to analyze user movements and provide real-time feedback on form. The workouts, in turn, are adjusted based on the user's progress and goals.

In the club, Munich-based EGYM has taken this a step further with their Fitness Hub, which tracks a user’s form, provides corrections and adjusts the exercise recommendations. GM Dana Milkie says, “It was a game changer because it reduced the member onboarding process from over 20 minutes to just 2 minutes.” According to Milkie, in late 2022, EGYM reported year-over-year growth of over 200% in North America and announced plans to more than double again in 2023.

Smart Fit Method studios use AI-driven personal training, including the CAROL bike, which dynamically optimizes resistance. Similarly, Life Fitness manufactures machines with AI incorporated to collect and analyze data from cardio and strength training machines. This data helps users track their progress, set goals and receive personalized workout plans based on their individual needs.


These technologies should act as a support (not a replacement) to human training, allowing you to have a more meaningful, emotional connection with your client. AI taking some of the calculation off your plate allows you to spend more time fostering that human bond — something AI cannot replace — with an individual.

A client's motives, emotions, goals, hurdles, challenges… that’s not something a computer can necessarily glean (yet). The empathy and solidarity you provide won’t be replicated by a machine. And numbers are great, algorithms are exciting, but only a human trainer can assess a client’s physical and mental state holistically, considering factors like stress levels, sleep quality and overall well-being.

An ideal combination would merge the strengths of AI and human expertise to create a powerful synergy, resulting in the safest, most efficient outcomes for clients.

In response to VP of Inspire360, Ravi Sharma's, LinkedIn question asking “How do you see yourself or your health club using AI in the future?”, Uday A. of FitnessOnDemand in Minneapolis posed an excellent question: "I think we need to lead with 'why?'"

“Are you trying to generate more revenue? Improve member engagement? Scale your labor or solve labor issues? Build a vibrant community where the members add value? Provide support (technical and functional)?”

“AI will have applications in each of these roles and business in general,” he adds. “We are not yet in a place where you will find a single solution for all, but I know that there are companies out there working on each of the individual problems using AI. If you start your journey with point solutions to implement AI so you can claim to be using AI, the ROI will fail you.”

Thibault Gonnet at Cardio Plein Air in Montreal, Quebec, Canada points out that AI can function like a virtual assistant with assisted customer support, as well as through the use of the aforementioned “Predictive member analytics and data driven decision making.”

There are so many iterations of AI algorithms we’ve yet to meet, and boundless possibilities for how this type of tech could help support our industry, our clients, and the health of the population. Our take? Stay curious, get creative, and explore this new frontier! Don’t forget to share your story with us and let us know how AI is working for you and your own community.


Industry Happenings:

Upcoming Events:

  1. FIT Summit, June 12-15, 2023, Raffles City, Singapore
  2. The Health and Well-Being Coaching Conference, June 16-18, 2023, San Diego, California
  3. Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit, June 30-July 2nd, Long Beach, California
  4. Atlanta MANIA® Fitness Pro Convention, July 21-23, 2023, Atlanta, Georgia
  5. National Wellness Conference (NWC), July 19-21, 2023, Cincinnati, Ohio


Upcoming Workshops:

  1. Peak Pilates: 20+ workshops in June
  2. Spinning®: 9 workshops in June
  3. Oxygen Advantage®: 6 workshops in June
  4. TRX®: 2 workshops in June
  5. SoulBody Fitness: 2 workshops in June
  6. Mike Boyle's CFSC: 2 workshops in June
  7. Gray Institute: 1 workshop in June


Industry News:


Thanks for Reading!

This newsletter was brought to you by Kathie Davis, Peter Davis, Ravi Sharma, Dominique Astorino, and the Inspire360 team.


A Note from Peter & Kathie

The industry is changing rapidly and we are here to help you sift through all the noise and get to the good stuff. Every month, we'll bring you trending topics and the inside scoop that we believe is paramount for fitness professionals to know.

Keep Inspiring,

Peter & Kathie Davis

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