The pandemic supercharged the smart home gym movement, as consumers flocked to screen-based equipment. While Peloton’s subscription-based, virtual spin sessions have been getting buzz for years, the next era of smart fitness lies in high-tech trainers that take the form of vertical screens or mirrors. These take up minimal space against the wall, and display dozens of on-demand workout classes. In most cases, a personal trainer is ready to help on the other side of the line. What these studio-like workouts deliver—apart from sleek aesthetics—is a fee-ling of community and connection, even if you’re not side by side. The privacy, convenience and exclusivity are addictive, too, which means the appeal is likely to outlast the pandemic. White-glove installation is standard and 30-day trial periods are typical before the membership clock starts running. Here are three fitness mirrors to get hooked on.
The first virtual training product to make it onto most people’s radar, in many ways, still sets the standard for convenience and interactivity, offering workouts from kettlebell and kickboxing to yoga and barre. Unlike other fitness mirrors with touchscreen capabilities, with this one—which starts at around $1,500—you do everything through the app. Classes are led by certified trainers from around the country; you can add up to six household members; and it doesn’t hurt that the unobtrusive Mirror looks like a piece of modern art. The advanced two-way camera technology allows instructors to provide feedback and motivation during live classes, as well as personal training; it also powers social features like the community camera, which allows you to see other members during a workout. There’s real-time personalization with algorithms delivering in-workout adjustments, so a user with a knee injury can be shown a substitute exercise when a class hits a jump squat, for instance.
The brand’s profile rose last summer when the yoga apparel company Lululemon acquired it for $500 million. And now, unlike most products in its class, Mirror is available in a local brick-and-mortar location, at Lululemon at Waterside Shops in Naples, so you can pop in to ask questions.
Dating back to 1975, NordicTrack is the legacy—some would say granddaddy—home fitness equipment brand. It started with treadmills, ellipticals and ski machines, but now offers a state-of-the-art fitness experience. You’ll shell out about $2,000 for the Vault, but it can accommodate up to five user profiles and features an all-in-one carbon steel unit with a full-length, stand-up, 360-degree rotating mirror, so you can always keep your form in check. The device works just fine on its own through manual mode. But to unlock its full potential you’ll need a membership to iFit, the interactive online platform that delivers custom workouts, classes and personal trainers. The Vault marries the best of new-age technology (the HD touchscreen and branded iFit training sessions) and old-school training tools (discreet storage for a collection of premium dumbbells, kettlebells and other fitness accessories). And, the iFit workouts offer everything from weight training to mindfulness exercises.
The most premium of the three starts at $2,500 and features a virtual trainer that emphasizes personalized feedback from artificial intelligence and live instructors. A 42-inch touchscreen displays the trainer leading your workout, personalized stats throughout each class, a leaderboard to boost motivation and other movement-inducing perks. Tempo prides itself on being immersive rather than invisible (a shot at its Mirror competitor). Unlike fitness mirrors, the device features a motion-capturing AI system that creates a 3D model of your body as you work out, enabling the most precise, accurate feedback and continued guidance over time. The equipment itself takes on the form of a 6-foot-tall, sandwich-board-like cabinet with a touchscreen display; and it offers a range of a la carte accessories, including Olympic plates, barbells, yoga mats and heart rate monitors. Choose from hundreds of live and prerecorded classes in categories such as cardio, strength training, stretching and recovery. Guidance on weight and reps are part of the experience, and users praise the charismatic coaches.