Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Exercise and Sport Sciences


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of using a fitness software application (APP) compared to a fitness coach (COACH) on resistance exercise (RE) session efficacy. Methods: Sixteen healthy, college-aged males and females volunteered and completed a self-directed (SELF) RE condition using Cybex resistance machines for the leg press (LP), chest press (CP), seated row (SR), and shoulder press (SP) exercises. Participants were then randomized in counter-balanced fashion to complete a RE session with a COACH and another using an APP. Total and individual exercise volume was measured for each condition, along with ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), changes in mood, and perceived enjoyment and satisfaction. Results: COACH performed 11.5% greater total exercise volume in the SR than SELF (p ≤ 0.05) and had a statistical trend of 12.5% greater total volume in the SP than APP (p = 0.063). Total volume for the SP was 12% greater in APP when compared to SELF (p ≤ 0.05). There was a significant difference in total exercise volume between conditions (p = 0.05); however, post-hoc analyses failed to identify the source of the differences between conditions. Both COACH and APP displayed greater average RPE scores than SELF (p = 0.008 and p = 0.028, respectively). A significant condition by time interaction occurred with an improvement in mood after RE in both COACH and APP (p ≤ 0.05) but not SELF (p > 0.05). There was a trend (p = 0.063) for greater perceived enjoyment in the SELF condition when compared to COACH and APP. Perceived satisfaction was significantly greater in COACH compared to SELF (p < 0.001) and a trend (p = 0.054) occurred in COACH compared to APP. Conclusions: Findings revealed non-significant tendency for greater exercise volumes and greater satisfaction under the direct supervision of a fitness coach than when utilizing a fitness software application or self-directing a RE session. However, there were benefits associated with use of a fitness app, which is deserving of further investigation.



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