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For many of us, getting motivated to get our butts to the gym is hard enough on its own. But factor in your job, kids, social life, and errands and it seems like there’s no time to physically leave your home to go to the gym, let alone get in a workout. You could try and work out at home, but where do you start?
What is the Mirror?
Enter the Mirror. (You may have seen its slick Instagram ads.). At first glance, it looks like a regular wall-mounted full-length mirror. It’s tall and sleek, with a reflective screen that arguably makes you look tanner (and therefore better). But when you turn it on, the image of an instructor projects on the screen to lead you through a studio-quality workout, while the mirrored surface lets you check your form.
This high-end device goes beyond just broadcasting classes, giving you in-depth stats of your workout including data from a heart-rate band so you know how hard you're working, and the opportunity to take live classes with fellow Mirror members. It seems like a dream come true for those of us who don't want to take the time (or effort) to leave their living room to work out.
As a barre lover and avid gym-goer, I was intrigued with this "magic mirror." The only catch is it costs $1,495 for the mirror itself, plus an extra $39 per month for a subscription to the classes. Considering the average cost of a monthly gym membership is around $60, I wanted to know if it was worth the initial investment on top of the monthly fees. Thankfully, the folks from Mirror were happy to loan me one of their smart fitness mirrors to try myself.
How do you set up the Mirror?
When the Mirror arrived to Reviewed’s offices in Cambridge, Mass., two incredibly nice delivery men helped me pick a spot to put it and set it up. They also made sure I got it connected to WiFi and showed me how to use the app before leaving. Other Mirror owners should receive the same helpful delivery service with their purchase.
The app is easy to use, too. When you first create your profile, you answer basic questions about your height, weight, and age as well as your ability, goals, favorite activities, the exercise equipment you own (if any), and whether you have any injuries. From there, the Mirror recommends several classes of various levels and class length based on your preferences. You can also browse recently added on-demand classes and filter them by class and trainer. It also gives you the option to take a live class with an instructor teaching the class in real time at the Mirror’s New York City office. (Note that the app is currently only available for iOS users. The Mirror team is working on an Android version, which we hope will be available soon.)
The Mirror ships with both a floor stand and a wall mount so you may choose how you’d like to install it. It also comes with a heart rate monitor, a set of resistance bands, and a care kit for keeping the surface looking great. For the full Mirror experience, you’ll want to get a comfortable yoga mat and a few weights, which are required for some of the strength classes. Personally, I was very sore after some of the classes and needed to roll out my muscles using a foam roller the next day, so I recommend investing in one of those, too.
What is it like to work out with the Mirror?
You can select from thousands of prerecorded on-demand classes like barre, pilates, boxing, and more using the corresponding iOS smartphone app. There are also 50 live classes each week that you can opt to take with other Mirror users. Classes vary from 15 to 60 minutes long, and the company even plans to roll out live one-on-one personal training classes using a camera built in at the top of the device. They're aiming to introduce this feature in early 2019.
After trying out my first class on the Mirror—30 minutes of boxing with Armond—I was hooked. It was neat to see my own reflection alongside the hologram of my trainer on the screen. I wish there was an option to make the trainer just a bit larger so I could see the moves more clearly.
The screen also displays a ton of stats, with help from the heart-rate monitor, including calories burned and your heart rate It also reminds you what move you're currently doing and for how long. If you have an injury or need to take the workout a little easier, the Mirror suggests the instructor’s modifications in the bottom corner, making the workout more customizable and accessible.
You can also set the volume of both the music and the instructor, and you can link your Spotify account up with the app to listen to your own playlists. The Mirror has its own upbeat workout playlist that plays in the background, but it doesn't seem to be catered to each class like you would experience in a boutique fitness studio, which posed a problem for me in a more “chill” class like yoga.
How good are the Mirror's classes?
The classes I took over the last month were both fun and challenging and the instructors really knew what they were doing. I typically prefer more cardio-based workouts, so my arms were sore for a few days after trying a boxing class—even though I was just punching the air. Regardless of which classes I chose, I really felt the results of each workout.
One thing I am worried about with using the Mirror is proper form. Although you can see yourself in the Mirror and self-correct, that only helps if you know what proper form looks like. For example, I am terrible at lunges (it’s just a fact of life), but without a trainer physically there to correct me, I may not recognize if I’m doing them wrong. This could increase the risk of injury, especially if you're brand new to working out.
It would be ideal to have some basic knowledge of workout moves in order to do them properly and safely. Once the Mirror is able to offer one-on-one classes, I'm hoping this issue can be remedied.
What are the Mirror’s live classes like?
After I got used to the Mirror's on-demand workouts, I tried a few live classes. When I attempted my first live workout, the Mirror said it was waiting to connect even after the class started, so unfortunately, I missed the first five minutes. But I enjoyed the camaraderie of working out with other real people as if we were in an actual fitness class—even though there was only one other person in my first live class.
It was also encouraging to hear the instructor, Chris, shout out my name in the middle of class. I was given the option to show how I was feeling using emojis on the app during “rests,” which added to a feeling of community.
But attending live classes isn’t entirely necessary to enjoy the Mirror, and you can still get the same great workout on your own time using the on-demand classes.
Is the Mirror worth the price tag?
If you have the money and hate leaving your home to work out, you should totally get this. In fact, I can't wait to marry a rich husband so I can order this product for myself (I kid... sort of).
Naturally, at nearly $1,500 plus the $40 monthly subscription fee, the high price point may deter many people, but it’s pretty comparable (even a bargain!) to other similar digital at-home gyms. For instance, the wildly popular Peloton bike has a startup cost of $2,245 and it also requires a $39 monthly class subscription.
However, I feel that you can justify the cost as a long-term investment—as long as you actually use it. Over two years, you’ll spend $1,495 plus ($39 times 24 months), or about $101 a month. Boutique fitness classes can run you about $20 to $30 each, depending on your location with monthly passes costing as much as $300. A typical gym membership on average costs $60 a month. Even ClassPass, which provides you access to a variety of studios in your area, starts at $45 a month, and that only gets you a handful of classes. Plus, with the Mirror you're also getting for the convenience of an at-home gym and saving time and effort hustling to and from different fitness studios, and at least some level of the group camaraderie, if you take the live classes.
Should you get the Mirror?
I really enjoyed having easy access to incredible workouts at any time of the day from quality trainers. I’m not kidding when I say I was sore from these workouts for several days, and I'm pretty active normally. After my first 45-minute Strength + Cardio class with Lance (my favorite class and instructor), it was hard to sit down, thanks to all the pop squats he had me do!
I could see the Mirror being useful for anyone who feels too busy to get to the gym. Sometimes I would do a quick 30-minute workout in the middle of the workday for a nice rush of endorphins. I had to return my Mirror as it was loaned to me for the review, but I’m seriously considering trading my gym membership and barre classes to get one of my own.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication but may change.