Using ChatGPT to create workout plans? Experts advise caution

AI chatbots now being used as cheaper alternative to personal trainers


In recent years, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised various aspects of our lives. One remarkable development in this field is ChatGPT, a sophisticated language model designed by OpenAI. Originally created to assist users with their queries and generate coherent responses, people have started incorporating ChatGPT into their daily routines.

People worldwide have been utilising ChatGPT to assist in various tasks like coding, scriptwriting, and even cooking. However, there is now a new endeavour where some individuals are using ChatGPT to generate workout plans. As the bot guides  people through daily tasks, it is now being used as a cheaper replacement to personal trainers.

Fitness experts, however, have a word of caution for those blindly following exercise and diet regimes suggested by AI chatbots.

Ritu Paul, fitness trainer with Bollyfit, a dance and cardio workout studio in Kochi, says that there are no cheap alternatives when it comes to trainers and workouts. “When you rely on chatbots for fitness exercises, you are missing out on the most important element – human connection. Every body might need  different attention, exercise and time period of workout. Chatbots cannot assure to heal injuries through exercise,” she said. “Not everybody who comes to workout has the same goals or is physical result-oriented. Some come for human interaction, mental health and general well-being and that is where personal trainers and group fitness classes come into play,” she added. Human interaction and personal training are of greater important to physical fitness than a ‘no figure, no identity’ anonymous bot helping you with exercise, she concluded.

Ritu does not encourage instant weight loss tips given by bots. “Weight loss journey must be natural and healthy. Going for shortcuts might be detrimental in the long run,” she said, adding that consistency is key.

Dr Senthil Kumar, a pediatrician, echoes Ritu's words when he says every body requires a different fitness routine which cannot be taken care of by AI. “Physical trainers can ensure lesser injuries keeping in mind the muscle weaknesses and physique structure of every individual. Online bots can be used as a referral guide but looking to it for personal training is not advisable,” he said. Instant weight loss is not going to help but in fact worsen the condition resulting in nutrition deficiency, dehydration and so on. AI bots like ChatGPT might be useful for educational purposes, he said, but at the end of the day it cannot take the place of a personal trainer.

Abhinav Shankar Narayan, former cricket player with the Karnataka state team, who also later served as strength and conditioning coach for the team, said ChatGPT-generated regimes can only work on two ends of the spectrum—for complete beginners looking for a mere start and people who already know a good deal about workout looking for a guidebook to work on. Abhinav, founder of the Namma Crossfit gyms in Bengaluru and Chennai, also blamed the lack of qualified professional trainers for the situation while pointing out the biggest risk of using chatbots for fitness suggestions—lack of accountability. “No one can be blamed in case of an injury during the workout,” he said.

With its vast knowledge base and ability to access information quickly, ChatGPT serves as a virtual encyclopedia on demand. However, it is essential to remain cognisant of the ethical implications and potential challenges associated with excessive reliance on AI. As we continue to explore the possibilities offered by AI-driven assistants like ChatGPT, it is crucial to strike a balance that maximises their benefits while giving personal care and attention to ourselves and our bodies. 


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