Once almost exclusively the provenance of late night infomercials, the home gym has finally become cool — a shift largely due to the advent of fitness apps, a rapidly growing sector that, according to a recent study from Polaris Market Research, is anticipated to reach over $14.7 billion by 2026.
In this exploding space, there are a few rising stars that are more than just apps, but connected fitness systems, touting proprietary exercise gear along with access to on-demand workouts.
Mirror, Peloton and FightCamp Gym stand out among the most popular in this burgeoning subgenre of connected fitness. We’ve peeled past the hype to understand exactly how these distinct programs work, what they entail in terms of gear and individual fitness level, and how much they really cost once you add up all the fees.
Mirror streams an array of live and on-demand fitness classes with real-time feedback
Mirror is perhaps the most versatile in the connected fitness space — if only because you can do so many different types of exercise programs with it. Described by the company as an “interactive home gym,” Mirror (which functions as a good old-fashioned full-length mirror when switched off) streams live and on-demand fitness classes.
Brynn Putnam, CEO and founder of Mirror, explains how it works: “When it’s on, Mirror streams live and on-demand fitness classes in a variety of genres, like cardio, strength, yoga, pilates, boxing — all led by top instructors. Users see their instructor in the Mirror, while also seeing their form and reflection. Mirror also modifies workouts in real-time based on a user’s goals, preferences, and biometric data. In these classes, Mirror’s proprietary algorithm tracks your ability to achieve, maintain and recover from target heart rate zones. You can watch yourself earn points and try to chase a personalized target score created for you based on your historical performance.”
In addition to live work and on-demand fitness classes, Mirror just launched one on one personal training sessions. Using two-way audio and video, users can customize their workouts with a personal trainer in real-time. Mirror members pay $40 per session. Additional participants can join you at no extra cost.
Mirror is designed for all ages and abilities
“Initially, we thought that we’d be speaking to people with busy lives, parents with young children, people who traveled a lot for work — but what we've been surprised to find is that our audience is really diverse. We have young children who use the Mirror for dance classes, and people in their eighties are using the Mirror for injury rehabilitation,” says Putnam.
The Mirror itself is $1495, while monthly membership is an extra $39 a month and includes some gear
“Mirror is available for $1,495, plus $39/month subscription for unlimited sessions of the available classes,” says Putnam, who adds that over 40 percent of the Mirrors in homes today are financed, which you can do for “for as low as $42/month with 0 percent interest via Affirm.”
Shipping (which includes white glove delivery and installation) costs an additional $250.
Mirror comes with a free “Starter Pack” that includes a wall mount and stand (you’d use one of the two depending on your space and preference), fitness bands, a Bluetooth heart rate monitor, as well as care kit containing a Mirror cleaner, a cloth and a camera lens cap. As for additional gear needed, this depends on the workout you chose, but typical home gym essentials such as good sneakers, a workout mat and a set of weights should be considered.
Keep in mind that at this time, the Mirror app is only compatible with iOS and has a 30-day return policy.
Peloton Bike is a cardio blast for new and seasoned cyclists
Peloton has three products. In addition to its Peloton Digital app, they offer the Peloton Bike and Peloton Tread. The two both look to take traditional cardio workouts to the next, connected level, but for the sake of space, we’re focusing on the Peloton Bike, which was the first to roll out in the Peloton family in 2014, with the treadmill debuting in 2018.
A spokesperson for Peloton told NBC News BETTER in an email that the brand declined to comment at this time. Paul Johnson, the founder of Complete Tri, who has written extensively on the smart cycling space, gave us the lowdown on this luxury stationary bike, which as of February, had sold over 400,000 units.
“We are impressed how many Peloton users were not cyclists to begin with,” says Johnson. “It is introducing a new group of people to the incredible, low-impact and high-cardio workout that cycling can provide.”
Users totally new to cycling might need to adjust to the concept of cadence — the speed at which you spin a bike’s pedals.
“You don’t always want to be going fast — that can be hard on your legs — and if you are going too slow, you probably have your gearing too low,” says Johnson. “Max power output is achieved by having a consistent cadence somewhere in the middle zone. Newbies tend to have a cadence that is too high, low, or all over the map.”
As Peloton explains on its blog, users can preview the range of cadence and resistance to find the right class for their goals. The Peloton Bike app displays both cadence and resistance target ranges above your own so that you can stay on track.
You can choose between ‘live rides’, instructor-led rides, and pre-programmed workouts. Peloton users can narrow their search for workouts based on class type, instructor, music genre, length, available equipment, area of physical focus and level of difficulty. The app is available in both the App Store (iOS) and Google Play.
The Peloton Bike is $2,245 plus a $39 monthly subscription — but it can be more if you add on gear
Peloton Bike has a few package options. The “basics” package for $2,245 price tag gets you just the bike (for monthly installments at as low as $58 and 0 percent APR for qualifying buyers). The “essentials” package, priced at $2404 (at as low as $62/month financing at 0 percent APR), comes with a pair of shoes, a pair of weights and a set of headphones. The “works” package, priced at $2,494 (financing starting $64/month at 0 percent APR) comes with the same as the essentials package plus a heart rate monitor and a bike mat. The “family” package touts the same as the “works” but touts two pairs of shoes, two pairs of headphones, two heart rate monitors and two water bottles for $2,694 (with financing as low as $70/month at 0 percent APR).
Each of these options includes a one-year warranty plus delivery and setup. You can return a Peloton bike within 30 days of purchase (see the fine print on the return process here).
FightCamp Gym aims to be the boxing enthusiast’s best friend
Boxing is one of the best workouts for sweating it out, building total body strength and, if I do say so myself, putting any stored up anger and stress to calorie-burning physical use where nobody gets hurt! You can also learn some mean self-defense moves. Enter FightCamp Gym.
“FightCamp was created to be a superior experience to what is found in most studio boxing gyms, through the centralization of top trainers and a tailored program designed to fit with the real time stats provided by our proprietary FightCamp Punch Trackers,” says Tommy Duquette, co-founder of FightCamp and former US National Boxing Team member.
Like Mirror and Peloton, FightCamp combines a branded digital app experience with equipment (namely FightCamp’s proprietary punch trackers, proprietary quick wraps and a free standing bag, though you’ll get more gear with your order, as detailed below in the costs section).
“There are currently close to 300 workouts, drills and tutorials in the FightCamp library, with new ones added each week,” says Duquette. “The FightCamp app, which contains hundreds of streaming workouts, has also expanded to include partner workouts, core-focused routines and narrative-based content allowing users to develop a more personal connection with their favorite FightCamp trainers.”
The FightCamp app is presently only available in iOS.
FightCamp welcomes all levels and has more female than male users
Like Mirror and Peloton, FightCamp doesn’t require you to be a pro to dive into its world. Beginners are highly welcome.
“We offer a range of workouts that are suited to every level, from advanced on-demand classes to a 12-week Prospect Path for beginners,” says Duquette. “Our users are typically 30+ years-old, 55 percent female, 45 percent male. About 50 percent of members say they have boxed at a gym before in the past and for the other 50 percent, FightCamp is their first experience with boxing.”
FightCamp in full costs $1,993 plus $39 a month, but if you have your own gear you can pay just $499
“The FightCamp Gym is $1,995, with a monthly subscription price of $39/month,” says Duquette. This price includes shipping, punch trackers, a free standing bag, a heavy workout mat, a pair of premium boxing gloves and a pair of quick wraps. “Those who prefer a more structured payment plan for their FightCamp Gym can purchase the entire set-up for as low as $56/mo at 0 percent APR with Affirm,” says Duquette.
FightCamp also offers a Connect Package for $499 for those that already have most of their own boxing equipment. “This includes the FightCamp Punch Trackers and custom quick wraps built to hold the trackers in place and protect the hands,” says Duquette.
White glove delivery is being rolled out in major markets throughout the U.S, but if you’re not in that area, Duquette suggests there’s no reason to hire help — you can set this up all by yourself. Like Mirror and Peloton, FightCamp has a 30-day return policy.
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