A recent Canadian study showed that when when mirrors were involved, people left their workouts feeling less satisfied, less relaxed and less good about themselves than when they exercised without seeing their reflection.
In case you think that only women with poor self-image felt this way, the researchers discovered the same result for everyone who worked out in front of a mirror.
What’s worse is they found this result no matter what the person’s self esteem or body image was.
Don’t you need a mirror to check your form?
The mirrors, of course, are there for a reason. Professionals and experienced lifters use them to keep tabs on their form and fine tune their technique. Fine. But most of the work most people do at gyms doesn’t require a mirror at all.
The big trouble with full size mirrors is that they can mess with your head a little. It’s a rare person who’s completely happy with their appearance, and being reminded of this when you’re supposed to be focusing on your movements can be a huge bummer.
Internal vs external cues
If you’re getting sick of witnessing your ass in all sorts of unflattering angles or wondering if people are judging you, the mirror is no longer helping. Instead, try turning this external cue of what good exercise looks like into what it feels like.
Take a deep breath, feel your muscles and tendons and use visualizing or a helpful friend to help you correct your posture.
Some people even find that closing their eyes at crucial moments helps them zoom into what’s going on inside their bodies and perfect their form, from the inside out.
A mirror is one way to reflect your progress back to you, but if you’re being derailed by thinking about how you look instead of just getting on with it, then move away from the mirror or avert your eyes. Or better yet, go to a gym that’s less about posing and more about getting shit done.
Do you mind exercising with mirrors?
What to do now?
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