You only have to look at the rise of hi-tech spin bike Peloton to know that connected home exercise equipment is a growing trend in the fitness world.
The latest innovation that promises to bring the boutique gym experience direct to your living room is the Vaha X – a large but incredibly discreet wall-mounted or floor standing mirror that doubles as a digital personal trainer.
Smart mirrors have been gaining popularity in the US, and German-based fitness company Vaha are the first to launch over here in the UK.
Keen to see if a smart mirror could one day replace my gym membership, I put the much-hyped gadget to the test.
How does the Vaha Fitness Mirror work?
Vaha has over 100 on-demand classes pre-loaded into the mirror, as well as a rolling timetable of live classes throughout the day that you can book into and join. Think of it like a digital boutique gym that covers fitness, wellness and recovery.
There are a few things to note when you’re setting up the mirror itself: it’s incredibly heavy at a whopping 45kg, so you’ll need two fairly strong people to manoeuvre it into the right spot and plug it in to the mains. You’ll also need a decent wi-fi connection, so the streamed workouts don’t lag.
The Vaha X is really unique from other fitness gadgets, as it has a 43″ full HD touchscreen under its reflective surface, as well as four 64W speakers, a microphone, and a built-in 120 degree IMX Sony camera for chatting to your instructor during personal training sessions.
Once it’s switched on, it’s a case of downloading the Vaha app and pairing your mirror via Bluetooth to get started, which is a fairly simple process. During the set-up, you’re able to choose a specialised personal trainer, whose expertise is in-line with your fitness goals, and the basic Vaha membership includes a monthly 1-2-1 personal trainer session.
The app then records your weekly progress and keeps a diary of your upcoming sessions, so you’ll never miss a class.
What we liked
The screen quality and graphics are really incredible, so working out with the Vaha X feels like a luxury experience. I was a little concerned about how easy it would be to see the workouts on the screen during a bright day, but the picture quality is impressive and I never struggled to follow along with the instructors.
The browsing functionality is really slick, and you can either swipe onscreen, or through the app, to find your chosen workout. I love that there’s a massive variety of different classes available, from high-energy disciplines like barre, bootcamp, cardio, strength and Hiit, to chilled-out yoga and meditation sessions – and there’s even classes for kids. You can also filter by trainer, as well as the length of class and your skill level.
The workouts themselves were really challenging and engaging, and I liked that during the session, a visual timer counts down in the corner, so you know how long is left. You also don’t need to worry about embarrassment, as you can switch the camera off during the classes.
One of the main benefits of the mirror is that you can use it to book personalised training sessions – the trainers connect live to the mirror to give you an individual experience. As it’s reflective too, you can see yourself during the workout and correct your form as you go.
I like that you can connect the Vaha mirror to Spotify and each class has it’s own pre-loaded playlist, which gives the whole experience a boutique studio feel.
I really enjoyed using the Vaha X and the training felt just as professional and personalised as my local gym membership. It looks really stylish when it’s not being used and, unlike other stationary fitness equipment, it won’t take up loads of unnecessary space in your home.
The 1-2-1 personal training is a big plus point, as the virtual sessions are as close to a real life PT session as it can get, which means that you’re always progressing in your fitness goals.
That said, the experience doesn’t come cheap. The mirror costs either a one-time fee of £1,950, or it can be purchased in monthly instalments of £50 over 39 months. Users then pay a monthly basic membership of £39 to access the platform, which includes a free personal training session each month.
The price also includes a heart rate monitor (which can be synced to the mirror to give you accurate data feedback), as well as resistance bands, a camera cover, and a microfibre cloth and spray for cleaning fingerprints.
So, is it worth it? Like a lot of home gym equipment, I think it all depends on your workout space, disposable income and set-up. I choose to keep fit at the gym, because it affords me more room to move around than I have at home in my small, rented flat.
I had the Vaha set up in my bedroom, which means I was limited on space – but if you’re someone with a home gym or large living area that doesn’t live near a boutique gym with great training, I think this could be the smart solution you’re looking for.