I was on vacation recently and ended up working out at a local gym a few times.

I used to workout in the traditional gym atmospheres so I knew what expect.

  • A lot of equipment
  • People doing different things all over the place
  • Mirrors, lots of mirrors

Why do regular gyms have mirrors? What purpose do they serve?

Mirrors visually enlarge a room. They make the space feel bigger than it really is. They increase the visibility of the machines and amenities the gym offers. They just plain make the gym look more fancy and cool.

Mirrors give you a chance to see yourself working hard and it’s cool to feel good about what you’re doing. There is a temporary satisfaction that comes from seeing yourself in the mirror. Everyone can get caught watching themselves at some point. We all do it.

In general, gyms have mirrors to make people feel better about the space they are in and to tap into the little bit (or a lot in some cases) of vanity that we all have. It makes us feel good about our time there and keeps people paying their membership.

As a marketing and retention tactic mirrors are great.

The use of mirrors in a health and fitness context in most cases highlights the biggest problem with the traditional gym and how it approaches fitness.

The traditional gym is not about fitness. It’s about making you feel good about yourself enough to not lose your membership.

What really happens with mirrors?

I was at this gym for 3 workouts. Every single time I caught myself thinking more about how I looked doing something in the mirror than focusing on the work I had to do in the first place.

I found I was watching people more than I was working. My workout took longer than normal and I didn’t feel like I did as much as I could have at the end.

Mirrors put an emphasis on all the wrong things when it comes to helping people improve their fitness.

  • How you look becomes important not how you perform
  • What other people are doing becomes an issue
  • Judgment of others increases
  • Less emphasis on individual goals and more on comparison
  • Less focus on the work being done

When aesthetics become more important than health, the whole thing falls apart. A gym membership should help you improve your health and fitness. Period.

A regular gym makes its money on people that feel good about having a gym membership but never actually use it. The lights, and equipment, and the mirrors are all a part of the presentation factor to make people feel good when they sign-up. They are not equipped to actually provide services to all of their members.

The average traditional gym has 5,000 to 8,000 members! What would happen is they all came to the gym on the same day?

Any gym or fitness facility that tells you they are a judgment free zone, but has mirrors, is lying to you.

If you want help from a fitness program that is dedicated to each person’s goals, then find a place where how you look doesn’t matter, where you’re starting from doesn’t matter, and the focus is on improving your performance and making you healthy first.

Chances are the program you’re looking for won’t have mirrors. It will probably have coaches who are there to give you all the training and support you need, other members who only care about being positive and supportive of each other, and a program that is designed to get you in the best shape of your life.

Come by and chat with us. We’d love to help. https://echealthandfitness.com/no-sweat-intro/