Kensey E. Hannon, Lauren G. Killen, Takeo Higgins. University of North Alabama, Florence, AL.

BACKGROUND- The popularity of home exercise equipment has grown, as valued at 10.18 billion in 2020 and projected to reach 14.74 billion by 2028. With smart devices being integrated in home fitness equipment, barriers to exercise such as convenience, resources, and enjoyment can be avoided. While previous research suggests a live personal trainer not only resulted in participants achieving significantly greater intensity selections of a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, based on hear rate (HR) and energy expenditure, but also was participants preference vs. an identical DVD workout. Despite the popularity of virtual exercise, the use of a virtual trainer to mimic the instruction of a one-on-one training session in a traditional gym setting is not well understood. The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of a virtual trainer to a live face-to-face trainer on intensity selection and exercise enjoyment during strength training. METHODS - Twenty participants (18-45 yrs) who do not currently meet ACSM Guidelines of two or more days per week of resistance training and have no prior experience using the Mirror home gym will be recruited for the current study. Session one will consist anthropometric measurements and familiarization of exercises participants will complete in the upcoming strength sessions. Following the familiarization session, participants will complete two identical, pre-determined 30-min full body strength exercise bouts on two separate occasions. One session will be delivered by a virtual trainer using the Mirror and the other with a live personal trainer. The exercises completed in each session will use either one’s body weight or self-selected hand weights. Participant’s heart rate (HR), weight selection and completed repetitions will be recorded at the end of each exercise. Participants will also report their acute RPE for each exercise using the Omni pictorial scale. Following each session, participants will report session RPE following a fifteen-minute passive rest and complete a Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) to assess exercise enjoyment. Results will be analyzed using means and standard deviations for descriptive characteristics and separate one-way repeated measures ANOVAs will be used to compare HR, weight selection, completed repetitions, and RPE between the Mirror and live personal trainer sessions. When necessary, paired t tests will be used for post hoc analysis. Additionally, paired t tests will be used to compare SRPE and PACES responses for each session. ANTICIPATED RESULTS - It is hypothesized the virtual trainer from the Mirror exercise session will result in greater intensity selections and feelings of enjoyment vs. the written exercise session.

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