In recent years, the employment of behavior models to motivate behavior change has become a global trend in fitness application design. However, there is hardly any large-scale study of these applications to understand users’ exercise-type preferences, their drivers and barriers, and the potential
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In recent years, the employment of behavior models to motivate behavior change has become a global trend in fitness application design. However, there is hardly any large-scale study of these applications to understand users’ exercise-type preferences, their drivers and barriers, and the potential of employing them for gender-based tailoring. To bridge this gap, we conducted a mixed-method study among 669 participants to investigate users’ exercise-type preferences (their drivers and barriers) and how they and gender can impact users’ social-cognitive beliefs and projected performance of bodyweight exercises. Firstly, we presented to the study participants a behavior model performing push-up or squat bodyweight exercise in a fitness application and asked them to rate their perceived self-efficacy
, outcome expectation,
and projected (exercise) performance level
as observers of the behavior model. Secondly, we presented the study participants with a preselected list of commonly employed exercise types in fitness applications and requested them to identify their most/least preferred, and the reasons behind their choices. Our results showed that there were differences between both genders in their exercise-type preferences, perceived self-efficacy
and projected exercise performance level
. Males prefer push-up, squat, crunch, plank, and chair dip the most, with effectiveness
being the most important driver, followed by ease of performance
and improvement of the physique, look, and appearance
. On the other hand, females prefer squat, crunch, jumping jack, step up, and plank the most, with ease of performance
being the most important driver, followed by improvement of the physique, look, appearance,
. Moreover, males prefer running in place the least, while females prefer push-up the least, with perceived difficulty
being the greatest barrier for both genders. Moreover, our analysis of variance supported the female’s least preference for a push-up. Females have a lower perceived self-efficacy
and projected performance level
for push-up than males. We discussed the implications of our findings and provided guidelines for tailoring fitness applications on the market to users’ preferences and gender.