Fitness mirrors are a relatively new entrant to the world of home gyms. When turned off, these devices look like any decorative mirror, the type you’d hang near the door or lean against the wall next to your bedroom closet. When turned on, however, a fitness mirror comes to life and functions like an interactive digital display. It’s similar to a smart TV, only one with a reflective surface that only plays instructional workout videos. You’re likely familiar with the most popular names in this category like Tonal, Mirror, and NordicTrack’s Vault. At their best, these Wi-Fi-connected mirrors serve as sleek, unobtrusive fitness centers, guiding you through a variety of workouts that get you into shape while you stay in the comfort of your own home.
The Reflect from Echelon Fitness is another of these mirrors. While its primary competitors sell their equipment in just one size, Echelon gives you two sizes of Reflect mirrors to pick from: a 50-inch touchscreen model for $1,500 and a 40-inch model without a touchscreen for $1,000. In addition to the physical mirror, users pay a $40 monthly membership fee to get Echelon’s streaming content to play on the Reflect. It’s pricey, sure. But the total cash outlay is on the lower end for connected home fitness systems, especially compared to what the other popular brands offer. This competitive pricing is typical of Echelon Fitness, which also makes budget-friendly stationary bikes, rowing machines, and treadmills.
The mirror can stream a dizzying amount of live and on-demand workout classes, including meditation, boxing, cardio, strength, barre, and Zumba classes. There are also multi-workout programs and challenges, a beginner section, and even classes in German and French in addition to English. I thought doing a few classes in German could act as a fitness version of Duolingo, but so far, Ich spreche immer noch kein Deutsch. The one-on-one training option allows a personal trainer to see you (via the camera built into the Reflect) and lead you through personalized workouts. There is also a Celebrity section, which consists of classes led by—you guessed it—celebrities. Mario Lopez is the only celebrity Echelon has recruited thus far, but hey, A. C. Slater’s a good start.
Echelon’s Reflect is a newer entry within this category, and it’s impressive in the way it combines high-end tech with a simple design. I tested the 50-inch model, which was just large enough to forgo mounting it on the wall. Instead, I was able to lean it into a corner of my room, where it added a nice decorative touch when I wasn’t using it. The mirror’s frame also houses two speakers and the hidden front-facing camera. The Reflect also connects with wireless headphones and heart rate monitors over Bluetooth.
The workouts become more valuable if you connect a heart rate monitor, as Echelon’s software measures your heart rate and tracks it across different zones, giving a score to each zone. Scores range from 5 HR points for every minute in the light green zone (which indicates light exertion) up to 20 HR points for every minute spent in the red zone (your maximum heart rate). At the end of workouts, a leaderboard ranks you against fellow Echelon devotees to show who earned the most points.
Pump It Up
When I turned it on, the Reflect immediately transformed from a simple mirror into a portal to a full-fledged fitness studio. The main menu screen presented me with a selection of classes from each of the various fitness programs. You can just tap and swipe around until you find something you like. (The smaller, non-touchscreen Reflect is controlled by a mobile app, which is available for both Android and iOS.) There are up to 10 live classes every weekday, with fewer on the weekends. If your schedule doesn’t sync with any live classes, you can choose from the many on-demand replays of classes that last anywhere between five to 80 minutes apiece.
The workouts themselves are put together well. During the classes, you can see the coach as well as your reflection, allowing you to (ahem) mirror your coach’s movements and dial in your form as you go. Echelon’s coaches are also encouraging and enthusiastic, and it’s refreshing to see coaches with a wide range of body types. If you’re the kind of person who’s intimidated by a jacked trainer shouting instructions at you, you’ll find it relieving to work with coaches who have more attainable physiques.