After spending "literally 30,000 hours of [her] life" in front of a mirror, celeb trainer Ashley Borden said enough is enough. The newest addition to the Revenge Body all-star trainer lineup took all the mirrors out of her personal training gym and studio in Los Angeles, and for good reasons.
She told POPSUGAR, "We don't have mirrors at our gym . . . It's really different. It creates a completely different relationship between me and my clients, and it creates a completely different relationship between the people in my classes."
Though the intent of a mirror is to help you keep your form in check, more often than not, other parts of our psyche can take over. "When we're standing in front of a mirror, the mutual topic we have is our reflection," Ashley said. "Generally that leads to women ripping on themselves — they're not correcting their form." She noted that most clients are not thinking "Oh, my shoulder is internally rotated," but instead, "Ack! My skin!"
Research conducted at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, reinforced this notion, citing that mirrors can incite self-consciousness and deter newbies from returning to the gym. Avoid the self-consciousness altogether — just nix the mirror! "I've seen a huge difference," Ashley said, "especially for women. You'll push yourself much harder because you're not being self-conscious by looking in the mirror."
Also, when you look in a mirror, you don't just see yourself — you see everyone around you. "When you remove the mirror, you're not looking at other people behind you and comparing yourself, which helps ground people in the experience of training." If you've ever been in a yoga class thinking "Her Eagle pose is WAY better than mine" or in dance cardio staring at someone else's perfect rhythm, you can probably relate to this.
"With my clients and when I'm a fly on the wall in my [group fitness] classes, the focus and the general conversation is not about what you look like, because that's not the mutual thing we have to talk about," she said. "You have to really listen and focus on what's happening . . . you can't rely on just looking in the mirror."
She said this has had a massively positive impact on her clients, as well as herself: "It makes you go way more inward with connecting to your body, connecting to your form, and listening to your coach."
Worried you won't be doing a move correctly? There's a simple fix for that. Ashley says to whip out your phone. "The best thing you can do is quickly do a video of yourself doing the move and go back and look at it — it's what I do all day long with my clients!" She uses an app called Coach's Eye but says you can just use the video feature on your phone.