Gyms having big mirrors helps a lot and you should use them if you want to get in better shape.
I used to think they had them to help you with your form while exercising. They do help for that, but I realized a better reason.
Some background: I’ve been in shape most of my life, mostly since I started running cross country in high school. My family got me to play soccer and little league baseball before that, but I didn’t play much. When I played ultimate I got in very good shape — playing, practicing, or working out about five days a week in season. My marathon training got me in decent shape too.
In all that time I never achieved two important things in working out
- I never put on muscle despite lifting a lot of weights
- I never lost my baby fat despite burning a lot of calories
My daily burpees (now starting to stretch too) and rowing are developing muscle and losing baby fat I never thought I could. I won’t lie, I love it. I like that people notice it. My tailor noticed it!
What does this all have to do with mirrors at the gym?
It feels great to see you’ve lost fat and gained muscle and definition. If you remember my advice in beginning an exercise routine, start with joy. My Method begins with emotions. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. If you do enjoy it, you don’t have to try.
I had suppressed the rewarding feeling of seeing my body look more like I wanted it to, feeling I was succumbing to vanity. But I realized I like how it looks, that it makes me feel good, and it motivates me to keep working out. I think that feeling is universal, that we all like seeing ourselves look like we want us to.
Now I think people who would call looking at the progress your body makes vain probably don’t like how their bodies look.
If something brings you joy and motivates you to do things you want to do, it improves your life. I see no problem in enjoying seeing your body look like you want it. I bet it motivates everyone. If you want to get in better shape, look in the mirror and enjoy your progress.