A leading investor in Peloton and Equinox reveals how artificial intelligence is fueling a new wave of fitness trends
You’re at home, on your Peloton bike, and logged into a live class that’s taking place miles away in a studio in New York when the instructor calls out your name with some words of encouragement based on what he or she sees on the leaderboard. For a moment, you might feel like you’re in the room, but that’s about as personal as the home fitness experience gets.
This could soon change. A new wave of fitness tech companies is using artificial intelligence to create more proactive recommendations to improve your workout when you’re on your own.
Michael Farello, a managing partner at L Catterton, a private-equity firm that has invested in Peloton and Equinox, told Business Insider that he believes this technology is the next big disruptor in the fintess industry.
Farello pointed to startup Tonal as a good example of this kind of innovation. The company has created a digital weight machine that uses artificial-intelligence technology to coach users through a session and make recommendations and adjustments to their workout.
“They can understand what your movements on the repetitions are, and how much you are straining on the left [for example] to make recommendations and adjustments to your workout,” he said.
He added: “That level of artificial intelligence is really bringing the personal trainer into the home. I think that is the next big wave.”
Other companies are offering similar tools to recreate the experience of having a personal trainer at home.
High-tech apparel company Wearable X has created a pair of $249 biometric yoga leggings, Nadi X, which vibrate to correct your yoga positions. The leggings have tiny sensors that are sewn into the nylon layers in the hip, knee, and ankle and connect to an app that sends messages about your alignment. Business Insider’s Insider Picks team recently reviewed the leggings and were impressed by how they worked.
A new app called the Perfect Squat Challenge, which was developed by digital therapy company Kaia Health, recently launched in the UK. Through the user’s smartphone camera, the app tracks 16 parts of the body and connects the user to a virtual personal trainer who gives feedback on how to improve their form.
“Breakthroughs in AI-powered motion tracking and correction technology means that everyone now has access to a virtual personal trainer and physiotherapist on their iPhone,” Maximilian Strobel, head of the AI lab at Kaia Health, said in a statement at the time of its launch.
He continued: “In the future, this technology will integrate within our medical device apps for diseases and conditions such as back pain creating a scalable, cost-effective therapeutic tool. This democratises access to high-quality, bespoke fitness, rehabilitation and physiotherapy — and could reduce the burden on health services.”
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