When I invested in the high-tech Mirror last year, it was because I found myself unable to commit to the limited time slots that my favorite boutique studios were offering—and as someone who requires quite a bit of encouragement (from both myself and an instructor) to actually work out, joining Crunch or even Equinox wasn’t exactly enticing. So, I bought the Mirror, psyched to own a totally futuristic device that honestly felt like something out of The Jetsons.
What I never imagined was how grateful I’d be to own a full-length smart mirror when I was forced into quarantine and I found myself confined to my teeny Manhattan apartment for an indefinite time period. Seriously, I only leave to take out the trash.
Among my 500-square-feet of living space, it’s not like I had a designated room for the Mirror, so I put it in my hybrid living room/kitchen. In the reflection of each workout, I get a beautiful view of my stove—and my pink Great Jones Dutch oven that I don’t use quite as much as I thought I would. And I settled for the fact that the plug of my high-tech Mirror has to lay on the floor in front of the entrance to my room but it felt like a small price to pay for top trainers teaching me 10 feet from my actual bed. The wall my workout contraption rests against is slightly too narrow for me to mount it (the Mirror comes with the tools to do and, in promotional pics, looks enviably chic), but its current resting spot takes up hardly any space and causes no disruption to the decor. In fact, it tends to be where I took my “final look,” back when I used to head out the door in the morning.
The exercise I personally enjoy the most is spinning (which obviously, you can’t do with Mirror), but I’ve learned that yoga, Pilates, and barre-type classes are not only good for my body, but my mind, too. Naturally, now, I’m even more grateful for this sea of options. No really, the Mirror menu offers thousands of classes across the following categories: strength, pre/postnatal, chair, stretch, barre, yoga, boxing, kickboxing, Pilates, family fun, dance, cardio and toning. My recent favorite addition has been a meditation class, led by the beloved motivational speaker, Gabby Bernstein.
Once you’ve settled on a workout, there are still plenty of customizations available. For example, I have back injuries, and it’s super easy to make sure the app is aware of this, so it can offer substitutions when an exercise isn’t right for me. Another thing? I don’t always have the stamina, patience, or frankly, the time for an hour-long workout. Mirror allows you to filter your options by the length of class (they range from five to 60 minutes), the instructor, the equipment you have on hand, and the level of difficulty. On a recent day when my back pain was at its worst, I found myself especially grateful for a 15-minute stretch.
But the customization doesn’t end there. The technology Mirror offers is key to what makes it different from simply streaming a YouTube workout. When you get your Mirror, you also get a heart rate monitor, all of which is connected via Bluetooth. While you exercise, the duo will prompt you to work harder if you’re out of the zone of the target heart rate for a given exercise or, cheer you on when you’re doing well.
The only difference between using Mirror mid-pandemic, and well, any other time, is that due to obvious safety concerns, they are not streaming new, live content (aka, don’t expect teachers to give you a custom shout out while you’re nailing those burpees). Nor are they offering the $40 personal training sessions that are typically an add-on option.
Though the initial investment is steep ($1,500), the monthly fee is only $39, which provides you with unlimited classes. It amounts to the price of one—maybe two—boutique studio classes, depending on where you live. And when you can’t leave the apartment for the good of society, I’d argue that a workout you can actually enjoy (and the endorphins that come with it) is practically priceless.