For the past two years, the hottest gym in town has been your living room. While it can be understandably difficult to get motivated at home, I've personally loved the ease of logging off and rolling right into my workout. I’ve even found myself trying a lot more types of classes online than I would have in-person commuting to various studios across the city. And I’ve slowly added to my personal workout equipment, acquiring everything from weights and exercise balls to a resistance band to work my glutes. That’s why I was so psyched to try the latest in at-home workout tech, MIRROR by Lululemon.
MIRROR, which launches in Canada on November 22, is pretty much what it sounds like: A mirror that streams over 50 different types of workouts, but doubles as a chic home accessory when you’re not using it. MIRROR owners can take a mix of live and pre-recorded classes with instructors from around the world. Classes run between five and 60 minutes and there are a ton of options and levels — from pilates to kickboxing to strength training (you’ll need your own hand weights and other gear for some of these classes), and even postnatal classes. It’s like a ClassPass for your apartment. Each MIRROR can also be personalized, which means you can monitor your heart rate and intensity while you work out.
For the purpose of this review, R29 Canada interim editorial director Carli Whitwell and I chose a 30-minute advanced pilates class, hoping for a medium-intensity workout that would leave us with a light dusting of sweat. After a quick warmup (which included exercises like dead bug and bicycle kicks), we went right into the workout. Which for the record, was TOUGH. We did an ab and lower body-focused session without weights and my abs were screaming the next day.
As someone who’s done quite a few pilates classes in her lifetime, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this introduced a few exercises I’d never done before, including one glute bridge exercise, where you put your legs out farther from your body and in a diamond shape, that left me super sore. I also really loved that there was a countdown to how long was left in the specific exercise, as well as a visual of the next exercise in the queue (so I didn’t feel like I was scrambling to switch positions).
As opposed to some other at-home workout apps and programs, the instructor is super-imposed on the mirror (there’s no background visible behind them), which helped me feel like it was a one-on-one session without any background distractions. While we didn’t turn on the community camera (which allows fellow participants and the instructor to see you during real-time classes), it was cool to see all the other participants at the bottom.
Overall, I was super happy with my workout; and it was really nice to be able to visually check in while I exercised to make sure my form was correct. While I would 100% purchase MIRROR in a heartbeat, there’s one thing holding me back. The price. Like a lot of high-tech at-home equipment, MIRROR is an investment. At $1,895 (plus a $49-month subscription fee), it’s just not feasible for me to justify purchasing at this point in my life and career (and finances!); and I know I’m definitely not alone. (FYI, if you have the budget, they have a pretty sweet Black Friday deal.) So, as much as I love moving my body, the price tag means that I — and some other people — may be sticking to doing bicep curls in front of my plain old mirror for the time being.
For anyone looking to continue working out at home and on the same budget as me, the good news is you don’t need that much equipment. While it depends on a person’s fitness history and bodyweight, Jennifer Lau, co-owner of Toronto’s Fit Squad gym, recommends a “heavier” kettlebell (16-20 kg) and a lighter dumbbell (4-7 kg) to get started. “A kettlebell especially is so versatile for conditioning and strength, especially for clients that live downtown in small condos and don’t have space for a barbell or anything like that,” she tells me. For kettlebells, Lau recommends a rotation of exercises like swings, goblet squats, and deadlifts with the kettlebell, and lunges, rows and presses on dumbbells (10-12 reps for beginners on both, repeat two to three times to start).
And when it comes to motivating yourself to move at home? Lau says it’s key to find a program you enjoy and then schedule a time (like actually put it in your iCal) to commit to working out. Having something consistent and that you look forward to doing will make sweating it out consistently easier — and more enjoyable.
Below, we’ve rounded up some other great options for at-home workouts.
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