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Actually Should Your Gym Get Rid of Mirrors?

At least, that’s the message budget gym Blink Fitness is trying to spread. This month, all locations of the New York and New Jersey chain will cover their mirrors for an entire day as part of their new Monday Without Mirrors campaign. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fittest of them all? Answer: It doesn’t matter.

“Fitness has never been just about looking a certain way for us,” said Blink Fitness president Todd Magazine in a press release. “Through our Monday Without Mirrors initiative, we’re encouraging our members to take a stand with us—that exercise is good for our health. It’s good for our minds. It builds confidence. It’s not just about what you see in the mirror.”

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We’re all about encouraging the mental benefits of exercise (stress relief, self-esteem, happiness, optimism, just to name a few) over the physical ones, which are just as, if not more, important. So yay, Blink, for acknowledging the difference.

But we can’t overlook the fact that gym mirrors aren’t just vanity tools—they actually serve a much greater purpose. For one, watching your reflection helps you spot and (hopefully) correct form flaws, which you can’t always identify just by the feel of an exercise. Mirrors also give confirmation that you’re working the muscles you’re trying to work, because you can see them flexing. (For example, try doing a biceps curl in front of a mirror—you’ll see the muscle “lift” off your arm. Mirrorless, you’d have to bend your head to see that, which compromises your neck.)

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Not to mention that when you’re in your own little world, a.k.a. your corner of the free weights area with your headphones on, you probably won’t hear other gym-goers slide up behind you. A mirror (obviously) ensures you see them. (For tips on how to build muscles strong enough for bridge pose, pick up Lift to Get Lean by Holly Perkins.)

Now that you know where we stand, let’s all take a second to, uh, reflect.

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