Is Technology Replacing the Personal Trainer?
Your Elmbridge Magazine December 2020
Each Month Fundamentally FIT Coach, Andy Strong writes for the local magazine Your Elmbridge. Here you will find past articles a month after publication. For the latest article and all current local news and events check out Your Elmbridge for the free digital edition.
October marked the start of my eleventh year in the fitness industry and if you said to me that my job would one day be under threat from computers and Ai, then I don’t think I would have believed you. Jump forward to 2020 and the industry is taking some bold new steps.
Lockdown was a catalyst for change and fitness is very much at the forefront. For example, Pelton has seen a huge growth in sales of its streaming based home exercise bikes. Interactive cycling apps like Zwift and OnDemand services like Les Mills are now streaming straight into people’s homes for a fraction of the cost of gym membership.
Major tech players are also setting up shop with Apple Fitness launching its own fitness streaming platform intricately linked to it’s watch.
With such widespread changes, is this the first steps in what will become the end of the road for Personal Trainers like myself…?
Well, yes and no
The fitness industry is home to a high proportion of coaches and trainers who work part-time alongside other jobs, running a family, or simply out of pure passion. Many commercial gym instructors also tend not to stay in their roles for the long term which is for a multitude of reasons.
Therefore, I do think that the pace of people’s lives and the decline of the glitzy status symbol gym membership will give way to convenience and the ease of training at home.
These lower cost options could make it harder for some independents to compete, but I think the part time workers in the industry are likely to contract.
Any experienced fitness professional will understand that coaching successful outcomes is far more about building strong relationships than any single training session. This relationship is something you will never get from Ai or a streamed class.
In fact, I encourage my clients to adopt these tools to aid their success. Just like a gym membership is a tool for success, so can a streaming solution.
Most clients though are tired of staring at a screen and it is human interaction they crave, not another chance to log online.
Do I think technology and Ai will replace the Personal Trainer in the future? not really. I think it will help enhance people’s success and I think they will value their time with their trainer more than ever.