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 literally no time to physically leave your home to go to the gym. You could try and work out at home, but where do you start?
Enter the Mirror—a full-length mirror that's loaded with at-home workout videos. At first glance, it looks like a regular 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 give you an incredible workout.
This fancy device goes beyond classes giving you in-depth stats of your working, a heart rate band so you know how hard you're working, and the opportunity to take live classes with fellow members. It seems like a dream come true for those of us who don't have the time (or effort) to leave their living room to work out.
As a barre lover and avid gym-goer, I was pretty 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 actually 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.
Setting up the Mirror
When the Mirror arrived, 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, which I was very appreciative of, and other Mirror owners should receive the same amazing delivery service with their purchase.
The app is super 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 equipment you own, and whether you have any injuries. From there, the Mirror will recommend 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. They even give 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 to easily fit in any home. It also comes with a free heart rate monitor, resistance bands, and a care kit. But you’ll want to get a comfortable yoga mat and a few weights, which are required for some of the strength classes, to complete your at-home workout. 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 highly recommend investing in one of those, too.
What it's 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 one-on-one personal training classes using a camera already 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. Not only could I see my own reflection perfectly, but I could also easily see the hologram of my trainer on the screen. I do wish there was an option to make the trainer just a bit larger so I could see the moves a little more clearly.
The screen also displays a ton of stats, with help from the included monitor, including calories burned, your heart rate, and even 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 will give you 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 listen to your own playlists. Although the Mirror has its own workout playlist that plays, 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 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 did enjoy the camaraderie of working out with other real people like 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 also given the option to show how I was feeling using emojis 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 it worth the price tag?
In short: If you have the money and hate leaving your home to workout, 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, the high price point may deter most people, but it is actually pretty comparable 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 do feel that you can justify the cost as a long-term investment—as long as you actually use it. Boutique fitness classes can run you about $20-30 depending on your location, monthly passes can cost as much as $300, and a gym membership on average costs $60 a month. The Mirror itself is about the same cost as a two-year gym membership (assuming it's $60/month), and the monthly subscription? Well, if you take at least 2-3 classes per month, you're going to save a ton of money compared to pricey studio class costs. Even ClassPass starts at $45/month, and that only gets you a handful of classes. Plus, don't forget that with the Mirror you're also paying for the convenience of an at-home gym and saving time and effort hustling to and from different fitness studios.
I really enjoyed having easy access to incredible workouts at any time of the day from quality trainers. I’m not kidding you 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 thanks to all the pop squats he had me do.
I could see the Mirror being especially 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, and I can’t wait to see what new classes and programs the Mirror rolls out with soon. I'll inevitably have to return my Mirror since it was loaned to me for the review, but I am seriously considering trading my gym membership and barre classes to get one of my own.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time