Covering disruptive stories
The transition to a generation of digital natives has completely overturned the way of life of earlier generations. Millennials and Gen Z, because of their affinity with the smartphone and the Internet, have an edge over Gen X in determining the most efficient and convenient way of handling daily life. As American entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, said, “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” Today, over 80% of Americans use smartphones to organize engagements and activities to their best advantage.
Fitness training is one area of daily life where smartphones and apps have virtually created a revolution. Markus Burgdorf, a veteran reviewer of fitness apps, said, “There is an almost unmanageable range of fitness apps.” Mobile app stores in the U.S. offer over 97,000 wellness apps, including Spartan Apps.
Fitness and sports apps came into being in 2010, two years after the App Stores launched in 2008. Early fitness apps such as “Fit Phone,” were basic, and disappeared from the market, as the apps evolved over the years. Today, there are four distinct types of health and fitness apps:
- Activity Tracking app tracks all physical activity like walking, cycling, running, and jogging
- Personal Trainer app acts like a gym instructor, and is an impressive alternative to visiting the gym or hiring a personal trainer
- Diet and Nutrition app is a favorite of calorie-watching believers of a balanced diet
- Yoga and Meditation app is a holistic approach to health
Statista, the German online portal for statistics, has predicted that global users of fitness apps will be over 353 million by 2022. The already lucrative global fitness equipment market is expected to reach $12 billion by 2022.
The spiraling numbers of fitness apps resulted from the 2014 fitness boom, and was enhanced by the appearance of wearables, such as fitness bracelets, headbands and smartwatches. Before long, users engaged with mobile apps that effectively controlled the wearables. With social media platforms available on smartphones, mobile users were attracted by opportunities to upload photos, network with like-minded members, invite friends and share their sporting achievements. Thus, fitness apps today are successful because they are based on this community concept.
Even though people are aware that physical fitness is necessary, diversions of modern living effectively lure many into other pursuits. French technology company, ReportLinker, says that 75% of U.S. adults are dissatisfied with the current state of their body and want to change, but 45% of respondents of the recent survey admitted they are inactive. Jim Rohn reminds what medical science says, “Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live.”
This perspective, in recent times, led to the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in fitness apps. Millennials have embraced AI-led personalized trainer apps that work around users’ time constraints, engaging with them to relieve anxiety over convenience and cost.
IBIS World, the California-based market research firm, found that during the last five years, the personal training industry in the U.S. saw robust growth, and recorded an estimated $9 billion revenue in 2019.
Until recent times, the only option available to fitness enthusiasts seeking customized at-home routines and convenience, was to rely on personal trainers who make house calls. However, regular people generally cannot afford this option, with a one-hour personal training session usually costing between $80 at the gym and $120 at home.
Now, fitness firms are engaging AI to offer affordable, personalized training at home, based on technological advances unavailable ten years ago. For instance, an AI-powered fitness trainer app could tell a user working out on a treadmill at home, that he needs to speed up. Or, as the user is cooling down after a strenuous workout, the trainer could design the session for the next day based on his performance, and even offer motivation, if needed.
During these times of COVID-19, with gyms considered a breeding ground for the virus, the AI-powered personal trainer is an indispensable commodity to fitness enthusiasts. According to Forbes, a recent 2000-person study finds that fitness apps, during COVID, compared to pre-COVID times, helped 72% of the participants, to maintain their fitness routines without visits to the gym.
Almost 50% of the people were first-time fitness app users, and 56% did not plan on buying back gym memberships, post-pandemic. About 80% of men engaged in more physical fitness programs during the pandemic, without access to gyms, than they did with access to gyms, pre-pandemic.
According to the survey, 65% of men and 55% of women admitted to being intimidated by publicly working out in gyms. One user asked, “What’s the point in having to be fit before you go to the place where you are supposed to become fit? That was one of the real challenges before. So that’s definitely an advantage of being able to do this at home.” 65% of participants said working out alone at home with fitness apps, boosted their confidence.
Thus, a great advantage of an AI-powered fitness app, is being able to uniquely personalize a workout within given parameters, and adapting to the changes every day, as desired. For instance, a user can brief the personal trainer differently every day, such as requiring more time, less time, more intensity, less intensity, or different equipment. The fitness app, therefore, allows the opportunity for a quality, effective workout, at a significantly cheaper rate.
However, users have to contend with the fact that whether AI-powered or not, there is no silver bullet for physical fitness and wellness. It requires commitment, time and effort. As experienced personal trainer and author, Jim Wendler, said, “Make time for it. Just get it done. Nobody ever got strong or got in shape by thinking about it. They did it.”