Lululemon Studio Review: A Great, Compact Home Gym

Lululemon wants to meet all your fitness needs. The company’s latest paid membership program, called Lululemon Studio, combines the company’s popular interactive smart mirror with streaming classes, live workouts and discounts on your favorite apparel.

The software upgrade includes not only live and preloaded classes from 15 professional trainers from Lululemon on pricey at-home Mirror hardware, but also new workouts from eight studio partners, ranging from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to And boxing to yoga and meditation to ballet and dance. And, for those looking to combine an IRL experience with a virtual workout, members can get 20% off classes at these studio locations, as well as free classes at Lululemon stores.

I’ve spent a few weeks trying out everything Lululemon Studio has to offer, and it’s an impressive bundle of interactive and live workouts, all with nice discounts on all the expensive gear. But is it worth the promotional starting price of $795 (usually $1,495) plus a $39 monthly subscription? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for.

Here’s what you should consider before going full-on with Lululemon Studio.

A Great Home Gym Mirror

If you’re looking for a mirror-based home gym solution that can deliver a lot of workouts (and costs less than most of the competition), the Lululemon Studio is well worth it.

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That the actual Lululemon Studio Mirror device looks like a sleek, everyday full-length mirror is nothing new — the company acquired the popular Mirror platform in 2020. But this is my first time using it at home. While I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough room to properly exercise, once I propped the Lululemon Studio up against the wall and plugged it in, I was delighted to find that my cramped area was roomy enough for all the classes I tried. Best of all, since the mirror is right behind my desk, I don’t have to worry about the person on the other end of the video call noticing that my gym is also my office.

I decided to mount the mirror with a carbon steel frame against the wall, but you have the option to install it during delivery. The whole thing weighs 70 pounds, which means that while you can move it around the house, you probably don’t want to. But I can also justify relocating it from the original location of my choice to another room — though I do need a hand to carry it.

The setup is so simple, I have to wonder if I’m missing something. First, you’ll need to download the Lululemon Studio app and create an account (available for iOS and Android). Then, just plug it in, press the power button on the bottom, and you’re greeted with a full HD 40-inch display. It will then walk you through pairing to Wi-Fi, connecting to your phone, and syncing your device to the app.

Because Mirror is not a touchscreen, you must use the app to control it. At first I thought it would be less efficient, but quickly realized that since everything is in my house, I don’t have to worry about things like dead phones. And because it connects to its own Wi-Fi, you can place it in rooms with slow signals, or even in dead Wi-Fi spots.

For those who already have a Mirror and want to upgrade to Lululemon Studio, all you need to do is update the app and software on your device.

New studio partners (and instructors) are fun and eclectic

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Now that I’m ready, I’m eager to check out new workouts.

no doubt. I miss live fitness classes. Before the pandemic, I was doing at least three classes a week at the gym. But then I got used to virtual workouts and went straight to the gym in my building, and that was the end of it. Lululemon Studio embraces the feel of a live classroom even more than my Peloton experience. Maybe that’s because of the way it’s filmed and shown on the mirror as if the coach were in the room with you, rather than just following them in the broadcast studio. Plus, you can still see yourself in the mirror with the instructor, just like a real studio session.

The eight studio partners are Dogpound for Aerobics, Aarmy for Bootcamp, Y7 and YogaSix for Yoga Classes, Forward_Space and AKT for Dance, Pure Barre for Barre and Rumble for Boxing. I started with dance classes because that’s what I miss the most, and in a 50 minute Forward_Space class, I could burn over 500 calories without even thinking about it. I actually had a lot of fun and it was super easy to follow the moves even in my tight quarters.

Next, I tried a yoga class. I admit, I was never a yoga fan. I’m that guy, sitting in the back of the classroom with one eye open at a time when we’re all supposed to be “looking inward.” So I was more than happy to try YogaSix, which offers power yoga and Sculpt + Flow classes set to upbeat music. I started with the beginners strength class and enjoyed it so much, I went to the intermediate class the next day. I love that it keeps me motivated to follow the action to banging tunes, and that I don’t have to fake spirit (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

The Rumble course also surprised me. There just so happens to be a Rumble studio around the corner from my apartment that I’ve always wanted to check out, but had never been before the pandemic. I tried the 30 minute boxing + HIIT class and I was having a lot of fun while burning close to 400 calories. The coach kept me engaged, focused and inspired, and you better believe I was sweating by the time I finished. With 20% off live classes, I might not even be in the studio yet.

There are too many classes to discuss specifically (over 10,000 on-demand, streaming classes in 60+ fitness types, from beginner to expert) but I can honestly guess that it’s impossible not to discover something you like. I even found my old ballet slippers and took intermediate classical ballet lessons (ouch). In fact, no matter what type of course you want to try, it probably exists in some form.

Simple app and tight-knit community

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Toby Grummet/CNN

If you’re going to hop on the virtual fitness train, you’re going to want an app that won’t confuse you. The Lululemon Studio app clearly lays out everything, and the home screen lets you choose a goal for your weekly workout, then clearly shows your progress. Here you can also see new courses, browse eight studio partners, see what the community is digging and save your favorite courses under My Shortcuts. The Time Savers area shows 15-minute sessions to get you up to speed, and below that, you can even get information on booking personal training sessions for $40 per 30 minutes. They interact using The Mirror’s built-in microphone for two-way audio and the front-facing camera (which comes with an optional physical cover if you’re concerned about privacy).

Elsewhere in the app, you can peruse classes more broadly by genre, channel, show, and favorites; view a calendar of all live classes; and gain a better understanding of your activity (including color-coded heart rate graphs, calories burned and a Health Score that includes Heart, Muscle, and Recovery). You can scroll to Settings to invite up to five family members to share your membership.

One thing I didn’t expect to appreciate as much as I do is the Lululemon community. I can log in at any time to start a class and see icons of hundreds of members (including usernames, pictures, and ages) scrolling across the bottom, without the stress of hyper-competitive leaderboards. I don’t know why, but I find unexplainable comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one doing this, and that I can go at my own pace without feeling bad about myself.

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Toby Grummet/CNN

I get it, Lululemon, you want to sell hardware. But, to be honest, as much as I love working out with Mirror, I can easily take these classes on my phone, or even stream them on my TV—especially since there’s no touchscreen. For those of us with smaller spaces, or like me, who have a gym in my building, paying a monthly subscription fee for the app will be a lot easier. I didn’t splurge on expensive Peloton products during Covid-19, but I was still able to take unlimited classes with a monthly subscription to the software – a lifesaver during lockdown.

When I spoke with Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald at the Lululemon Studio launch event, he suggested that the company consider allowing app-only subscriptions sometime next year.

Mirror workouts are a hot commodity, and Lululemon has some competition—though right now, they’re definitely the lowest-cost option, with an on sale price of $795, and offer the best variety of classes. The nearly $4,000 Tonal comes with a 24-inch touchscreen and built-in weights and cables for full-body workouts, while the 24-inch interactive screen on the Tempo Studio uses AI combined with 3D technology to better mimic a personal trainer at $2,495 (There’s also the $395 Tempo Move if you want a more affordable option that uses your TV as a screen). The latest addition to mirror-based fitness offerings is the $2,495 Forme Studio, which includes access to streaming Barry’s Bootcamp classes and focuses on offering a “personal fitness concierge” to help you do one-on-one sessions with interactive touchscreen hardware train.

Finally, for the promotional price, you’re missing out on more advanced hardware, including touchscreens, bigger screens, and AI, and trading it in for a ton of fun, well-made lessons. However, since Lululemon hasn’t announced when The Mirror will be pushed back to its original $1,495 price, at its sale price it feels well worth it.

For many of us, the daily fitness regime has changed drastically since Covid-19. Getting back to the gym might not be on everyone’s bucket list — especially if you’re used to exercising at home. Mirror-based fitness products are fun, easy to set up, and certainly stylish, but Lululemon is adding an extra layer to its offerings with the Studio’s eight new partners and 15 trainers.

The class mix was well planned, and in addition to getting back to the things I love, like dance, I was also highly involved in things I wouldn’t otherwise bother trying, like yoga and boxing. Plus, I can take these classes anywhere — though I do wish there was a lower-cost option based on an app subscription.

For an introductory price of $795 (full price $1,495), you can try Mirror for free for 30 days. Yes, it’s expensive if you add a monthly subscription, but so are gym memberships, so it depends on what you want to get out of it. If you don’t enjoy exploring these classes and trainers as much as I do, Lululemon is offering a full refund for free.

A great all-in-one home gym experience, great full-length mirrors, and great discounts on premium Lululemon gear. Did someone say “vacation”?

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