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Home-based workouts in the era of COVID-19 pandemic: the influence of Fitness YouTubers' attributes on intentions to exercise

Hyung-Min Kim (Smart Media Service Research Center, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Minseong Kim (Department of Management and Marketing, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA)
Inje Cho (Department of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, York College of Pennsylvania, York, Pennsylvania, USA)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 20 July 2022




Home-based workouts via fitness YouTube channels have become more popular during the pandemic era. However, few studies have examined the role of social media personae related to intention to exercise. The purpose of this study was to investigate the structural relationships between fitness YouTuber attributes: perceived physical attractiveness (PPA), perceived social attractiveness (PSA), perceived similarity (PS), parasocial relationships (PSRs), wishful identification (WI), physical outcome expectations (POEs), and continuous intention to work out with fitness YouTubers (CIWFY).


This study considered fitness YouTube channel viewers as the unit of analysis. An online survey was conducted to empirically develop and test the research model using structural equation modeling (SEM).


The SEM empirical findings revealed that the PSRs were significantly influenced by PSA, PPA, and PS. Also, WI was significantly affected by PPA and PS. Furthermore, POEs were significantly impacted by PPA and PSRs. POEs affected the CIWFY. Lastly, PSRs and POEs mediated the influence of PSA and PPA on the CIWFY.


The psychological impacts of exercising to online fitness videos in the era of COVID-19, with its untact (no contact) social norms is timely. The study model demonstrated the fitness YouTube viewers' cognitive path from perceptions toward fitness YouTubers' attributes to behavioral intention. To be specific, the current study demonstrated how three attribution types (i.e. PPA, PSA, and PS) of fitness YouTubers affect viewers' PSRs and WI with fitness YouTubers, along with POEs and CIWFY. Along with health practitioners, fitness YouTubers who want to captivate viewers on their channels might need to consider self-attributes from their viewers' standpoint and should build psychological bonding with viewers.



Funding: This research was supported by the MSIT (Ministry of Science and ICT), Korea, under the ITRC (Information Technology Research Center) support program (IITP-2020-0-01749) supervised by the IITP (Institute for Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation).


Kim, H.-M., Kim, M. and Cho, I. (2022), "Home-based workouts in the era of COVID-19 pandemic: the influence of Fitness YouTubers' attributes on intentions to exercise", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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