Virtual Fitness Intro

Jane Fonda, Tae Bo, heck even Mickey Mouse gave home fitness “classes”. As is the case with technology in other industries, when technology married at-home fitness a new word was born; boutique. Well, ok, it’s not new itself but as we’ll see below, it’s being used in new ways.


From their site:

In 2012, we brought the best talent in technology, hardware and production together to accomplish an ambitious goal: bring the community and excitement of boutique fitness into the home. The idea struck us after years of struggling to get to the workout classes we loved, while balancing our demanding jobs and busy families. So we made it our mission to bring immersive and challenging workouts into people’s lives in a more accessible, affordable and efficient way.


A stationary bike with a monitor, and wi-fi, allows you to watch a professional training, keep track of your stats (pulse rate, distance, calories burned, etc), and progress over time, and compete with others on the leader board.

You can do more than just bike ride, though. Classes also include weightlifting (while on the bike and not). One caution most reviewers give is: the seat is uncomfortable and you bum will hurt for a while.

Their site says the bike is “only” $1,895, but you have to purchase classes (both live and on-demand), the app, you need special shoes.  It’s really closer to $2300. You can pay in monthly installments and even give you a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Same offerings as the bike but, y’know, a treadmill.  It has the option to incline to run on a hill. The display is much bigger than the bike because the treadmill is bigger.

The price, too, it bigger, $4300, for just the equipment.

One review I watched showed an issue, the reviewer didn’t hear what the instructor said on the live class. Though, the tread itself is easier on the joints than other treadmills.


In 2019, Peloton’s holiday campaign had husbands buying wives bikes, which a lot of people took to mean the husbands thought their wives were too fat. Eep.

In 2020 they had a data breach. Since it’s all cloud based, people’s accounts are at risk for being hacked. And it was. But wait there’s more.

In May of this year, they had to recall their Tread plus:

its high-end Tread+ treadmill at the urging of the Consumer Product Safety Commission after the CPSC said it had become aware of more than 70 serious accidents — including the death of a small child — attributable to the machine. In April, the CPSC had advised consumers to stop using the machine.

Read more:


From their site:

Brynn Putnam is the founder and CEO of MIRROR. She started her career as a professional ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet, founded Refine Method, an acclaimed fitness studio, and now she’s revolutionizing the way people work out by bringing the boutique studio experience in-home.

How It Works

Like Peloton, it offers live and on-demand classes; tracks your stats and progress; and you can even create a workout group with other users, leveraging the social aspect of the service. Speaking of social media, it also pushes you taking a celebratory selfie afterward to.

The twist is you can see your fo rm; an important and often overlooked (#sorrynotsorry), aspect of working out. Though the instructor appearing overlayed with your reflection can take a bit to get used to.There’s also a camera at the top of the mirror so you can get one-on-one training.

It’s cloud-based and has an app with which you select classes such as dance, kickboxing, and yoga.  The app is where you select classes, and see what the workout will consist of, because unlike the touchscreen on the Peloton, you can’t tap the mirror.

It has a music streaming offering or you can connect to your Spotify.

Connected Fitness is another new tech-born term we came across in these reviews. We also found out there’s already competitors, Nordic Track and a company called Echelon

As for the price, it’s broken down, thusly:

  • $1495 for the mirror
  • $250 for setup and delivery
  •  $39/month for subscription

For a total of $2213

Other Options


Like the Mirror but with more equipment on the device (pictured on the right). From their site:

Tonal’s patented digital weight system makes thousands of calculations a second to deliver you a smooth weight lifting experience using magnets and electricity. By eliminating traditional metal weights Tonal can deliver 200 pounds of resistance in a device smaller than a flatscreen TV

Zoom Fitness Trainers

There are many companies that have started offering training sessions virtually using tools like Zoom. Here’s a google search of options:

Stealth Core Trainer

Here’s a review of what Lisa uses for her planking routine:

Oura ring

Here’s a review of the health monitoring ring Brad mentioned:

Food for Thought

The precursor to the treadmill was a form of punishment. Some might argue that it’s still a form of punishment…

Invented in 1818, by Sir William Cubitt, on it:

Prisoners were forced to climb the spokes of a large paddle wheel known as the “eternal staircase.” The resulting energy was used to pump water or crush grain (hence, the eventual transition from “treadwheel” to “treadmill”).


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