Fitness Industry Looks to AI to Bring in Consumers, Profits

Fitness Industry Looks to AI to Bring in Consumers, Profits

Artificial intelligence is giving the fitness category a workout.

Ranging from personalized workout routines to dedicated app-based workouts and even one-on-one virtual training sessions, the pattern recognition and predictive analytics capabilities of the technology are proving to be a good match for consumers of different demographics. In a litmus test for exactly how big a factor AI will be in this market, it is even being integrated into the trendiest workout of all: pickleball.

That’s right. A news source, training site and pickleball community called PB Vision AI is encouraging its audience to employ AI when recording their games, analyzing their swing and even selecting a racket.

The backbone of PB Vision is its algorithm, which employs machine learning and computer vision to analyze videos of pickleball matches. It assesses various aspects of player performance, including shot accuracy, types of shots, player movement and error rates.

This analysis is then transformed into data models, offering what the company says is unprecedented insight into a player’s performance, including heatmaps showing shot placements and analysis of player movement patterns.

More Than a Gimmick

While it may seem to be a novelty at this point — especially when considered next to such a fitness fad as pickleball — AI-driven fitness is a serious business. It has had the biggest impact on the fitness app market. According to a forecast from Allied Market Research, the market is set to reach $120.37 billion by 2030, with an annual growth rate of 24.3%. Exactly what percentage of that will be driven by AI is hard to tell at this point. But any app that wants to compete for consumer attention and dollars will need to have a strong AI component.

“One of the main benefits of AI in fitness app development is its adaptability,” Aman Mishra, CEO of app development company TechGropse, said in a blog post. “Machine learning algorithms can continuously analyze your progress and adjust your training program accordingly. If a user notices a plateau or shows signs of improvement, the AI can change the intensity, duration, or type of workout to optimize results.”

“AI-powered fitness apps provide real-time feedback while you exercise, acting as a virtual personal trainer,” he added in the post. “AI monitors your form through sensors and wearables, tracks performance metrics, and provides instant guidance to optimize your workouts.”

Among the companies competing in the AI fitness app space are Aaptiv, Fitness AI, Fitbod and Freeletics. Aaptiv is a product of PEAR Health Labs, a digital fitness company focused on building AI-driven health and wellness coaching solutions. It built a “SmartCoach,” into the latest version of the app. SmartCoach is an AI-driven personal trainer that creates personalized, adaptable workout plans, tracks progress and captures insights within the app. Aaptiv claims more than 13 million downloads since its launch in February 2023.

Personalized Health Technology

The most recent startup news in the space comes from Miri, a generative AI wellness platform started by Boris Korsunsky, the former chief technology officer of Lyft.

Last week, Miri announced its Shannon AI beta platform. Named after wellness expert Shannon Morse of coaching site The Green Door Life, Shannon AI also provides users with a dedicated one-on-one coach at their fingertips. Users of Shannon AI, which is powered by Miri technology, can consult a virtual Shannon at their convenience, expediting personalized health education and removing any lag time usually involved when working with a practitioner.

Miri’s technology allows users to ask a variety of questions of Shannon and receive guidance based on the collective knowledge of its team of experts. The AI retains a memory of past interactions, allowing users to have continuous engagement with the AI interface. More specifically, it provides users with meal plans, customized shopping lists, and personalized macronutrient suggestions based on their lifestyles and goals.

Trained by AI

AI has also impacted the personal training and gym industry with a dedicated franchise. Limited to one very high-tech location in Las Colinas, Texas, Lumin Fitness creates an immersive experience akin to a “Van Gogh digital exhibit,” featuring high walls of LED panels that rotate every six to eight weeks, Entrepreneur reported.

There’s also a set of sensors placed throughout the studio that monitor each user’s movement, per the report. Those sensors monitor and track everything from a user’s posture and position to the number of reps and the weight of their dumbbells. This information is fed into Lumin’s software, which analyzes it and makes recommendations directly into the participants’ ears.

The more customers who come to the gym, the better the feedback loop becomes, the report said. The system constantly gets more data on, for instance, how accurate a user is counting reps and what a squat looks like on a male or a female depending on the placement of their joints.

“We know how you’re performing your squat, and will give you feedback on whether or not you’ve done a proper rep, as well as your technique and your range of motion,” said Brandon Bean, co-founder of Mixed Partners, Lumin’s parent company, in the report.

In the future, the technology will continue to become more engaging and more accessible, according to Mishra.

“Imagine a fitness app that turns your living room into a virtual gym or takes you on an immersive outdoor run through augmented reality,” he said in his blog post. “The future of AI fitness apps will likely incorporate AR to increase user engagement and create dynamic, interactive workout environments. Users can follow AI-generated trainers in real time while receiving visual cues and feedback, making the training experience more engaging and enjoyable.”

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