'How I Would Look Fitness' filter

@bigmike102477/TikTok tool2530/ShutterStock (Licensed)

TikTok’s latest A.I. fail is a ‘If I Were Fitness’ filter

The harms of A.I. filters and image doctoring are numerous.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Feb 7, 2024   Updated on Feb 7, 2024, 11:33 am CST

In each edition of web_crawlr we have exclusive original content every day. On Tuesdays our IRL Reporter Tricia Crimmins breaks down the trends on the popular app that will make you cringe in her “Problematic on TikTok” column.  If you want to read columns like this before everyone else, subscribe to web_crawlr to get your daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.

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TikTok A.I. filters have shown users what they might look like if they were living in the 1940s and created images of their faces based on their eyes. Now, an A.I. filter on TikTok is showing people what they might look like if they were extremely fit—or, in the words of the filter, if they were “fitness.”

The “If I Were Fitness” filter takes people’s faces (or, parts of their faces) and creates an image that shows users’ with a muscular body. Women are presupposed onto bodies wearing workout leggings and a sports bra, and men are shown shirtless. A creator that goes by @CapCutNewYork has taken credit for creating the filter which debuted last month.

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Some who have used the filter said it inspired them to exercise more frequently.

“OMW to the gym as we speak,” a TikToker wrote.

“Time to start working out I guess,” another said.

But the filter is also de-aging people and/or altering their faces, meaning that the final image it creates doesn’t always look like the user.

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The response to the filter has been varied: Some have commented on videos saying it’s appalling that people would “rather use [an] app than hit the gym,” while others are encouraging users that they are beautiful the way they are.

Why it matters

The harms of A.I. filters and image doctoring are numerous: Catfishingracial bias, and just a general sense of uncanniness, among others. But A.I. fitness filters in particular are an issue because they create an unattainable beauty standard, much like photoshop.

While users may think that they can just go to the gym and end up looking like the A.I. rendered “fit” version of themselves, it would take a lot more money and plastic surgery to have the A.I. rendered flawless skin, a younger looking face and body, and a fuller hairline shown in their “fit” photo.

Thus, even after intense exercise, users would be left with still not looking like the A.I. image and probably feeling pretty bad about themselves.

(And remember, if you see any perfectly-filtered looking photos of a person with bulging muscles posing on a beach on dating apps, they’re probably catfishing using A.I.)

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*First Published: Feb 7, 2024, 6:00 am CST

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