By: Molly Maczik
September 27th, 2022
This article is part of our Summer 2022 magazine. Click here to read the full edition.
The gym is a place that people either hate or love; there is not much of an in-between. Some say the gym is the only way to get in a proper fulfilling workout, while others feel that their at-home equipment is just as effective. The truth is, the fitness industry has evolved a lot, especially since the start of COVID-19.
The gym may have been the only place to get in a fulfilling workout a few years ago, but now there is high-tech fitness equipment that has enhanced the home workout experience. One of the most popular, high-tech, at-home pieces of equipment to date is MIRROR by Lululemon.
“I have had MIRROR for a year now and it has completely changed my life! I found it extremely hard to get myself to go to the gym some days and the mirror makes it possible to get that great workout right at home! The mirror has so many different workouts available and even offers personal training. It gives you lots of feedback on your form so you know what you can improve on. MIRROR is by far my favorite way to get my workout in at home,” said East Lansing resident Catherine Charlton.
According to Lululemon’s website, MIRROR is a nearly invisible at-home gym that transforms less than 2 feet of wall space into a cardio class, boxing ring, yoga studio and much more. At first glance, it looks like a regular mirror, but it acts more like a smartphone or a television with all its features. When the mirror is turned on, the screen is filled with different applications related to fitness and exercise. Lululemon acquired MIRROR in July 2020, and since then it has become a large part of their brand and can be purchased on their official website.
MIRROR has packages ranging from $1,495 to $2,045. All packages feature the mirror and include more equipment as the price increases. It can be used a few different ways, such as using their very own smart weight and participating in virtual classes that are offered through a paid membership with the mirror. Regular weights and resistance bands can also be used if one prefers. Unfortunately, MIRROR only acts as a regular mirror unless subscribed to the membership that offers the smart features.
If you want to get tech-savvy and get the most out of the mirror, one can choose to upgrade to MIRROR’s smart weight option. The smart weights are sold separately from the mirror, but they are designed to track strength with an advanced sensor network inside the dumbbells that pair to the mirror. These weights can also track progress and give feedback and recommendations.
MIRROR was one of the first of its kind, but since the arrival of this tech-savvy fitness equipment, there have been more releases of smart mirrors. Tonal and Tempo are other brands that also carry an at-home smart gym, each differing slightly. The only issue with smart mirrors is that they are a bit pricey for the average person, especially those in college living paycheck to paycheck.
At-home fitness may have gotten a bit more exciting and stepped up its game, but there is nothing wrong with a good ole’ dumbbell workout in the comfort of one’s own home. People often want to get in shape and workout, but it doesn’t fit in everyone’s budget. The cost of a gym membership can add up, and not everyone can afford a high-tech mirror for their house. Buying a few dumbbells and a set of workout bands is affordable and also gets the job done. Lauren Moore, a college student and gym enthusiast, said her favorite part about working out at home is “the privacy and lack of judgment.”
When starting a fitness journey, the gym can be a very intimidating place. There are a lot of people, equipment and anxiety. Working out at home can help those with anxiety be able to focus and get in the fulfilling workout they desire.
“Working out at the gym can cause unnecessary anxiety which leads to poor performance. It’s more comfortable for me [to workout at home] at times when I am not feeling as confident. I don’t go to the gym often, but sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough time or I am feeling down on myself so I’d rather stay home,” said Moore.
Going to the gym can also be pricey. The price of a gym membership varies from around $10 to $40 a month, not including hidden fees and costs. The average person ends up spending around $500 a year for a gym membership. The great part about working out at home with minimal equipment is only a few items are required, and it’s a one-time, low-stake cost. If someone decides to buy more equipment and create a larger at-home gym, the costs will add up, but again, it is a one-time cost rather than a recurring cost.
There are many different ways to workout, but most people exercise to do one of two things: lose weight or build muscle. Both of these can be completed with at-home workouts, whether it is with a smart mirror or traditional workout equipment.
On the flip side, there is a large group of people who do not feel motivated when exercising in the comfort of their own home. The gym provides high quality equipment that gives some people more satisfaction by the end of their workout. This equipment can’t always fit in the space of one’s home, nor is it always affordable for someone to purchase this equipment on their own. Another reason people tend to enjoy the gym is because of the atmosphere. Since everyone in the gym is there to workout, there are less distractions and more encouragement.
“My favorite part about working out at the gym is the amount of other people I am surrounded by. I love feeling welcomed and a part of a community where everyone is on their own fitness journey. I don’t think I could workout at home, as it has always been difficult [for me]. There is no one to hold me accountable and it makes it easier to slack off. Being surrounded by people helps me push myself to work harder and not give up,” said Michigan State Student and CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls) representative Maddie McKay.
The gym can be useful for those who need motivation, as well as those who need a variety of weights and equipment. Weights, squat racks and cardio machines can really impact the efficiency of one’s workout. Some people need to lift heavy weights in order to feel accomplished after a workout.
Working out is about feeling confident and finding a love for fitness. As technology evolves, so does the fitness industry. Whether it is working out at home using simple workout equipment, using Lululemon’s MIRROR or going to the gym, all can give the same result if done correctly. Fitness is different for everyone, so find what works and run with it!
Molly Maczik is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Professional and Public Writing. She currently works as an online fitness coach and hopes to continue her fitness business post-college while integrating the writing and editing techniques she has learned in the past four years. When she’s not at the gym, she likes to spend time with friends and family and be outside. You can follow her fitness account on Instagram @mgfiiit for all things fitness, nutrition, mindset and lifestyle.