Why We Don’t Have Mirrors

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Mirrors are typically a staple at most gyms. 10 years ago if a child drew a picture of gym space it would probably include some guy with muscles doing bicep curls or calf raises while looking at themselves in their gym mirrors.

So why now is this tradition seem to be slipping away, and why for that matter doesn’t Beyond The Box Fitness have any mirrors?

I have been running our foundations (beginner’s) classes since I started as a trainer almost a decade ago, and I love working with these new members for a whole host of reasons. Aside from a few of the obvious reasons, it’s also refreshing because they bring in an outside view … and questions

Last week, one of our newer members asked, “Why aren’t there any mirrors in this gym. Wouldn’t it be easier to work on my form if you had some?” 

To me, mirrors are for the body building, globo-gym, earbud-wearing, curls and bench-press crowd. And, ever since I’ve being doing/coaching true strength & conditioning I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to train in a place where there are mirrors on all the walls. When I travel and have to train in hotel fitness centers, it’s actually uncomfortable for me to look up and see my ugly self mimicking my movements (or the occasional weirdo staring at me).

So why then don’t we have mirrors at our gym? There are plenty of difficult lifts to conquer. Wouldn’t it be easier to execute them if we could see ourselves completing those lifts? And are they really a bad thing to have in a gym? Short answer is no, but here are our top 3 reasons we don’t have mirrors lining our walls.

  1. Safety: In a gym where the occasional off-balanced Olympic lift will cause some people to stumble around before securing the weight overhead or where classes line up to kick upside down into handstand push-ups, it may not be the best idea to line the perimeter of your box with a wall of glass. I’ve seen too many fail videos of broken glass/mirrors from wandering barbells. We’ve still got a few holes in our walls to-date.
  2. Less is more: Simplicity rules all. And, not only are our mirrors absent, but you won’t see a pec-deck machine or lat pulldown machine, because they really have no place inside Beyond The Box where we believe the human is the main focus and frivolous things like machines (aside from our Concept2 rowers) and mirrors have no place.
  3. Our Lifts are compounding & complex: You need a trained professional eye watching you to help improve your form, not your reflection. Not to mention that 99% of lifts required a side-view of the athlete to know whether it’s being performed correctly. Most straight views of lifts don’t tell the whole story. When I’m able to view an athlete from their side on a deadlift, I can quickly assess whether his/her back is flat and if the bar is close to the shins before lifting. Seeing that from the front is impossible for that athlete without some camera/mirror trickery. We care less about the aesthetic of the athlete and more about their functionality, performance, and ability to move correctly. We also know know that nice looking muscles will come from doing our workouts consistently. They’re never quite our focus despite being a nice perk of hard work.

Instead of mirrors, we outfitted our gym to look and feel like home while also feeling like more then you typical training facility. Come check us out.

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