Forget ChatGPT — this workout app lets you text your personal trainer 24/7
Could the Caliber app be the secret to smashing your workouts?
We’ve seen an alarming rise in the number of people turning to ChatGPT for workout plans, diet tips and fitness regimes since the birth of AI. But could the Caliber app, which lets you text your personal trainer at any hour of the day, kick the bots to the curb?
According to the CDC, 77% of Americans don't meet the minimum guidelines for exercise, and 40% suffer from diseases preventable through diet and exercise. The virtual fitness app Caliber habituates exercise and healthy eating using three techniques: knowledge (evidence-based programming), accountability (expert human coaching) and motivation (gamified social experiences) — and not a bot in sight, thankfully.
According to Caliber's team, the human experience delivered through the app drives its success. So, could it battle the AI bots? We delved in to learn more. Read on for the lowdown on Caliber.
Founded in 2017 by fitness and nutrition experts (including former Blue Apron CMO Jared Cluff), Caliber is a personal wellness app available on iOS, Android and the web. There are several membership options: the free program provides a scientifically-based training regimen that tracks activity, and paid memberships gives you Premium access or Pro, which costs $7 per day, including 24/7 access to one-to-one and group live personal trainers who can help develop your training and nutrition plans.
Pro membership costs around $196 per month — but before you balk, that sits within a standard price bracket for the fitness industry, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a personal trainer who charges less than $50 per one-hour session.
Caliber Pro gives you access to coach-designed programs around goals such as building strength, fat loss or bodyweight training, and you get full access to a four-person team of Caliber coaches via text and video messages, one-on-one and in group chats. If you struggle to motivate yourself or are unsure if your form is correct during an exercise, just message your trainer or any social groups you choose to join.
According to Caliber's data, users complete an average of 10 workouts per month versus 17 for coaching members, and the average Caliber member achieves at least 20% improvement in body composition within just three months.
Whichever option you choose, the Caliber Method helps its users harness continuous progression versus the come-and-go fitness fads and cookie-cutter ChatGPT workout plans. Yep, I asked ChatGPT to design me a four-week workout program, and it was average at best.
I hit download and explored what Caliber has to offer. Here's what I found.
Upon sign-up, Caliber asked my age, weight and height and whether I wanted to sync with Apple Health. Once my profile was complete, I could explore various social groups, invite mates to workout plans and schedule workout sessions of my own design — or ask Caliber to create one for me. And it did this very well.
Each workout can be quickly logged in the app, allowing you to measure progress and track sets, reps and weights. However, it's primarily geared toward weightlifting and lacks versatility. If you don't lift weights at home or use strength programs in the gym, this app might not be for you.
As mentioned, this is predominantly a strength training app geared towards gym programs and home training. Within that remit, you’ve got plenty of options. The app provides a questionnaire to discover training habits, how often you train, what you like to do, experience levels, lifestyle, eating habits and gym or home gym equipment available.
Using Pro, your dedicated coach will create a personalized plan. However, you can't log group classes such as the best CrossFit workouts or other scheduled class activities (and that's unlikely to change any time soon, the Caliber team tells me).
The strength/balance function allows you to see how balanced you are across the major muscle groups and any areas that might be over or under-developed, helping you to program workouts more effectively. Your strength score then assesses overall strength and sits in one of five categories from beginner to elite.
But the big sell of this workout app is access to human personal trainers. You might find it easy to ask ChatGPT to design a workout plan, but what about texting your trainer? Workout apps like Caliber are rare, giving you full access to trainers at your fingertips. So, if you’re unsure if your deadlift needs work, you don't need to Google the answers. And that human touch drives over 200,000 users to the Caliber community.
Although you’ll need to pay for the privilege, your coach creates a flexible and personalized training plan around your goals alongside nutritional guidance and science-based habit coaching. You’ll receive a new plan every week with daily check-ins and visually measurable results recorded in the app.
The team explains that Caliber members make 34% faster progress with the app than with training alone, and the flexible advice helps you learn sustainable new habits within an achievable framework. Once you’ve completed each activity, simply share performance metrics with your trainer and plan your next steps.
Who needs ChatGPT?
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Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and resident fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She's also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods. When she's writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and workouts.
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