Hubert Burda Media

Are virtual fitness classes in your own home the next big trend?


Cityscape marathons, spin classes, CEO-only gyms, “spartan” training and fitness passes that enable gym-hopping. We’ve run the gamut. Fitness trends sweep the metropolis we call home every few months as the nation obsesses over balancing top-tier workplace performance with an active lifestyle.

As city-dwellers seek to find the perfect confluence between convenience, motivation and intensity, innovative companies are worrying away at the final frontier. This one has its hands in every pie: virtual gym classes, personal trainer and all, ‘conducted’ in the comfort of your home.

And we must admit, we’re intrigued with the idea. Here’s an example of what may change the game forever:

This is the Mirror in action. What’s essentially a large display with a half-mirrored surface allows you to work out in either a ‘class’ or personal session with a trainer – who, on his or her end, can see and communicate with you as well. Throughout this, the silvered surface allows you to monitor your own form. Peripherals such as heart-rate monitors and accelerometers can feed information to the connected smartphone app and mirror interface. This will be further analysed by your trainer and software to help you map your progress and chart new goals.

More than a gadget

Tech wizardry aside, the true allure of products like the Mirror lies in how easily they can fit into your lifestyle. There’s no longer a need to prep and tote a gym bag daily, or make the journey to and from the gym you’ve settled on. You simply head home, slip into your trainers and workout garb, join and complete a class, and put dinner on as you cool off before a shower – in the comfort of your own kitchen and bathroom.

(RELATED: You may already be eligible for this ‘free fitness pass’ which unlocks hundreds of classes across Singapore.)

Celebrity-endorsed fitness platform Peloton made huge waves earlier this year with notables like David Beckham and Hugh Jackman hopping on for spin classes. Like the Mirror, you buy the hardware (in this case, a spin bike), receive a bundled subscription package, and are free to join classes on both an adhoc or scheduled basis. The competitiveness of real-life spin classes is preserved as the bike returns your performance data back to the ‘class’ – so you’ll be able to see how you’re faring against peers without physically being in the same room.

Peloton’s even being heralded as the “Netflix of exercise” – the notion that you can suit up, hop on and “stream” a workout live, as and when you feel frisky,  sounds plenty healthy. The inertia stopping you from visiting the distant gym is no longer a valid get-out clause.

Caveat emptor

Some cite the high cost of purchasing these tools as the hurdle many will never clear; after all both Mirror and Peloton come with four-figure price tags, and that’s before any shipping and labour costs involved in bringing it to Southeast Asia (they’re primarily structured around a US audience.) We’re not so sure. The subscription plans that come free easily account for some part of that price. Furthermore, it’s only a matter of time before the ubiquitous smartphone – which we all already own – is tapped on to facilitate something of that effect.

No, detractors will have to look to the other pull factors of a good ole, traditional gym class. There’s the social aspect of it, which is in fact a huge source of motivation for many gym-goers. Safety is also an issue – working out intensively while alone can bear real risks as there are no first responders at hand should something give. Anyone working with heavier weights should always be accompanied by a trusty friend and spotter.

(RELATED: Splash that budget on one of these stylish record players / turntables instead.)

Finally, there’s only so much a trainer can do through a screen, even if it’s a 1-to-1 virtual session. Correcting posture or helping push those extra reps out of you simply has to be done in person.

Let’s not forget, too, that you didn’t buy out the entire Lululemon Men’s collection just so you could be hidden away in the homestead.

 

Awesome Digital

You may like this