People are already using ChatGPT to create training plans

Go to the gym

Despite the varying quality of ChatGPT’s fitness tips, some people have actually followed his advice at the gym.

John Yu, a US-based TikTok content creator, filmed himself after a six-day full-body workout regimen, courtesy of ChatGPT. He instructed it to give him a sample workout plan each day tailored to what part of his body he wanted to work out (his arms, legs, etc.) and then performed the workout it gave him.

The exercises that came out were perfectly fine and easy enough to follow. However, Yu found the moves lacked variety. “I’m not really interested in sticking strictly to what ChatGPT gives me,” he says.

Lee Lem, an Australia-based bodybuilding content creator, had a similar experience. He asked ChatGPT to create a “optimal leg day” program. It suggested the right exercises—squats, lunges, deadlifts, and so on—but the rest periods in between were way too short. “It is difficult!” says Lem, laughing. “It’s very unrealistic to rest 30 seconds between sets of squats.”

Lem hit the core problem with ChatGPT’s proposals: they don’t take human bodies into account. As he and Yu found, we quickly become bored or tired from repetitive motion. Human trainers know how to mix up their suggestions. ChatGPT must be explicitly communicated.

For some, however, the allure of AI-created training is still irresistible — and they’re even willing to pay for it. Ahmed Mire, a London-based software developer, sells plans created by ChatGPT for $15 each. People give him their training goals and specs and he walks them through ChatGPT. He says he’s already signed up customers since the service launched last month and is considering adding the option to create diet plans as well. ChatGPT is free, but he says people pay for the convenience.

What everyone I’ve spoken to has in common is their decision to treat ChatGPT’s workout suggestions as fun experiments rather than serious athletic guidance. They all had a sufficient understanding of fitness and what works and doesn’t work for their bodies to identify the model’s weaknesses. They all knew they had to be skeptical about the answers. People who are new to training tend to take it at face value.

The fitness of the future?

That doesn’t mean that AI models can’t or shouldn’t play a role in the development of fitness plans. But it underlines that they cannot necessarily be trusted. ChatGPT will improve and might learn to ask its own questions. For example, it could ask users if there are any exercises they hate or inquire about nagging injuries. But essentially, it can’t make original suggestions, and it doesn’t have a basic understanding of the concepts it’s ruminating on

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