Here, I continue my interview and research on ChatGPT, this time we’re discussing the basics to building a strong and lean body.
If this is the first feature you’re seeing from this series: Check out my first Q&A with ChatGPT, or what I like to call Coach ChatGPT, in the context of what we’re doing here.
MIKE SIMONE: What would you say are the basics to building muscle and losing fat? Essentially, being strong and lean.
ChatGPT: The basics of building muscle and losing fat involve a combination of resistance training and a calorie-controlled diet that provides sufficient protein to support muscle growth and maintenance. In order to build muscle, you need to stimulate the muscles through exercises like weightlifting, and provide them with adequate rest and recovery time. To lose fat, you need to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn, while also maintaining a balance of macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Both of these goals require consistency, patience, and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
MS: OK, I have two follow ups. The first: what if they want to build muscle, lose fat, but actually get bigger? I don’t think a calorie deficit would apply, right? And, they would need to be in a caloric surplus, no?
ChatGPT: You’re absolutely right! If someone’s goal is to build muscle and get bigger, then they will need to be in a calorie surplus, meaning they are consuming more calories than they are burning. This surplus should be paired with resistance training to stimulate muscle growth, along with sufficient rest and recovery time for the muscles to repair and grow. A balance of macronutrients, including enough protein to support muscle growth, is also important. This approach may result in some increase in body fat as well, but if done correctly, the individual should see an overall increase in muscle mass and size.
MS: How would a human know how many calories or what their macronutrient balance should look like?
ChatGPT: There are a few different ways for a human to determine their calorie and macronutrient needs. One way is to use online calculators that take into account factors such as age, gender, height, weight, activity level, and goals. Another way is to work with a registered dietitian or certified personal trainer who can assess their individual needs and make recommendations based on their specific goals and preferences.
It’s important to note that these calculations are not always 100% accurate and may need to be adjusted based on individual responses and feedback. It’s also important to consider other factors such as nutrient density, meal timing, and overall food quality when designing a nutrition plan.
MS: That sounds pretty straightforward to me, why do you think so many fail?
ChatGPT: There are many reasons why people may struggle to stick to a nutrition plan and achieve their goals. One common issue is a lack of motivation or willpower, which can make it difficult to stick to a calorie or macronutrient plan long-term. Another issue is a lack of education or knowledge about nutrition, which can make it challenging to make informed choices about food and create sustainable habits. Additionally, there may be social or environmental factors that make it difficult to follow a specific nutrition plan, such as a lack of support or access to healthy food options. It’s important to address these underlying issues and create a plan that is tailored to an individual’s unique circumstances and needs in order to increase the likelihood of success.
Related: 6 steps to starting a new diet plan that works for you
MS: Motivation and willpower is a huge topic for us, I think. We need to discuss that more in a future interview. Thanks. Let’s stay on the topic of fitness and exercise for now if you don’t mind. That said, what do you think are some of the biggest mistakes when it comes to exercise that people make?
ChatGPT: Some of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to exercise include:
- Not having a plan: Going into the gym without a plan can lead to wasted time, lack of progress, and even injury. (Read: 35+ free workout plans for different goals and ability levels)
- Doing too much too soon: Trying to do too much too soon, whether it’s lifting too heavy, running too far, or doing too many reps, can lead to injury and burnout.
- Not focusing on form: Poor form can also lead to injury and limit progress. It’s important to focus on proper form to ensure that you’re targeting the right muscles and avoiding injury.
- Not varying their routine: Doing the same exercises over and over can lead to boredom, lack of progress, and plateauing. It’s important to vary your routine to keep your body guessing and to continue making progress.
- Not giving their body time to rest and recover: Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise itself. Overtraining can lead to injury, burnout, and lack of progress. It’s important to give your body time to rest and recover so that you can come back stronger. (Read: The wind down workout: A mobility routine to do every night before bed)
MS: Thanks. I have a couple articles on humanfitproject.com that I’ll link out to each of these points, but if this editorial series does well, maybe we’ll collaborate on new ones specifically with you. So last couple questions here on the fitness topic. What might a week of exercise look like for a human looking to get stronger and leaner but are just starting out?
ChatGPT: A good starting point for someone who is looking to build muscle and lose fat would be a mix of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise. For resistance training, they could start with basic compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, and rows, performing 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise. For cardiovascular exercise, they could start with low-intensity steady-state (LISS) training such as walking, jogging or cycling for 20-30 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a week. As they progress and become more comfortable with the exercises, they can gradually increase the weight and intensity of their workouts. It’s important to remember to give their body adequate rest and recovery time between workouts to allow for muscle growth and repair.
MS: Great, I’m excited to get much more detailed with that in a 6-week workout plan we will design together. I did want to ask a follow up about one of your previous answers. You said people make the mistake of not varying their routine, while I think you’re right, I do think that with so much different stuff that’s posted on social media, some people might change up their routine too often, not giving their current one time to work. Any comments on that?
ChatGPT: You’re right, there is a balance to be struck when it comes to varying your exercise routine. Changing up your workout routine too often can prevent you from making progress and achieving your goals, as you may not be giving your body enough time to adapt and improve in a particular area. On the other hand, sticking to the same routine for too long can lead to boredom, plateaus, and potentially even injury from overuse. It’s important to find a balance between consistency and variation, which is why it can be helpful to work with a fitness professional or use a well-designed program that incorporates both.
MS: Ah! See that’s where AI and humans can work together, I suppose?
ChatGPT: Yes, absolutely. AI can provide data-driven insights and recommendations based on an individual’s progress and goals, while humans can use their experience and intuition to make adjustments and tailor the program as needed. Working together, we can create a more effective and personalized fitness plan for each individual.
For more from our unofficial editorial collaboration with ChatGPT, check out the 6-week ChatGPT Workout plan to get strong and lean.
We want to hear what you think. Let us know on Instagram (@humanfitproject).