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Can a Bot be my personal trainer?


Health and fitness are two extremely dominant terms in the modern world and therefore in the online sphere. With a plethora of fitness blogs, health based Instagram pages, endless lists of diet types and exercise plans and weight loss tips regularly topping Google search query lists – one thing is abundantly clear: this is a huge market, and plenty of people know it. Health and fitness based careers are becoming increasingly popular choices, from those opting to study nutrition and sports science to those choosing personal trainer and instructor based paths. We all know that yoga, pilates and other mindfulness based forms of exercise or physical movement have boomed in recent decades. Despite this, or perhaps partly because of it, increasing amounts of people struggle with diet and weight based issues and obesity is more deadly than ever in the United States, Europe and Australia and New Zealand. This means there’s an almost endless amount of people looking for solutions, ideas and plans to improve their health and fitness or simply to seek out new diets, change up the way they eat or even pursue new lifestyles for ethical reasons, such as veganism for animal rights and the environment.

Of course, where there’s a market there’s a Bot – or the likelihood of Bots on the way. Health and fitness is Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 3.35.39 PMno exception. It’s already possible to seek advice, guidance, information and support from Bots in this area. You can choose a diet type and get meal plans and ideas, restaurant recommendations and shopping lists tailored perfectly to your needs. Further to this you can have a Bot help you stay on track through motivation, fitness ideas and exercise tracking.

To determine whether a Bot, or rather a team of Bots, can function as your personal trainer or group of health and fitness advisers, we need to test them against a few criteria. So, we’ve broken down what people expect from a personal trainer health specialist into five categories in which to benchmark currently existing Bots against.

  1. Can a Bot provide me with health information and diet plans?
    Definitely. This is one area in which Bots are already flourishing. There are a whole range of Bots chatbot-food-settingsavailable depending on the type of diet and exercise plans that you’re looking for. A few to take a look at are Health Hero, Natural Health Remedies by Ask, Science Daily Health News and Fitness for Telegram and Tasteful Bot and Forksy (also Telegram and Messenger) for Kik. Facebook also has a whole bunch popping up rapidly. Forksy is a good example here, with the goal being to “help you change unhealthy eating habits” and give you insights into your own eating habits as a way to help you improve and transform. It’s all about positivity and no judgement. After all, maybe it’s easier to hear things from a Bot than a real person. Depends on your style.
  2. Can a Bot help me with exercise plans, fitness tips and monitoring?
    This is another successful area for Bots because it’s fairly easy to provide this kind of advice without needing to actually physically interact. If you’re looking for basic information and everyday
    motivation then you’ll probably benefit a lot from these Bots. Some of them can be set to send the Bot equivalent of push notifications, or rather messages without you actually asking for one. The idea being that they’re giving you little pieces of inspiration and reminders to stay on track. Check out Gymmy, Health Tap, Fit Circle, Plate Math and Your. MD, available across Facebook Messenger, Kik, Telegram and Slack.
  3. Can a Bot determine the diet that I need?
    This question is a bit like asking whether you can diagnose yourself with Google. Yes in some instances, no in others. At the end of the day, any advice you take from a Bot should automatically be considered to have an asterix at the end of it, just like there is on just about any advice giving telegram-chatbot-food-mycookbotwebsite. They almost all tell you to seek the advice of your doctor or a health professional. If you are a healthy person looking to try the Paleo Diet or if you’re interested in going vegan, for example, Bots have the capacity to provide you with all the information that you need but it’s still likely the best choice to seek more involved advice. That being said, plenty of people are satisfied with the information they find via Google searches; which is essentially the same thing.
  4. Can a Bot determine if I am successfully exercising?
    One of the major arguments people make for seeking a personal trainer, especially when they’ve already been regularly exercising or going to the gym, is that they haven’t actually been doing the exercises effectively. This is one of the keys to seeking a fitness professional. They can help you align your body correctly, teach you about reaching high intensity workout levels and show you exactly how to do exercises in a way that will hopefully get you the results you’re looking for. This is an area that is a bit difficult for Bots to tackle because, at this stage, they’re purely chat based and can’t physically see nor literally adjust the person they’re assisting. Therefore Bots don’t meet this criteria. If you want a truly immersive and personal training experience with a professional who can determine exactly what you need to do and show you exactly how, you’ll still need to hire a real person.

Summary: If you are looking for short, sharp and easy access to health and fitness information then bots taco-bell-tacobotcan definitely meet your requirements. Able to give details on diet options, diet plans, restaurant recommendations, fitness tips, exercise regimes, ongoing motivation and inspiration and a range of ideas, there is plenty to get you started and help keep you going. If you need more involved physical attention and help with developing diet and exercise plans or have health problems that need closer examination, Bots won’t meet your requirements. It’s all about the specific type of diet and exercise plan you’re looking for or need. Either way, it’s definitely an area of growing prevalence in the Bot world.

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Tiahn Wetzler

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