Fitness mirrors had their brief moment, didn’t they? For a split second, nearly every luxe equipment brand tried to capitalize on the early pandemic-era gold mine of buyer’s intent by mimicking the experience of a boutique strength training or HIIT class in a living room. Large screens broadcasted hologram-esque instructors leading squats, lunges, and deadlifts, and brands banked on consumers’ post-pandemic agoraphobia and attachment to at-home convenience.
But that boom didn’t last. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Lululemon ate $443 million in costs from its Mirror home workout business despite seeing 30% growth overall. Meanwhile, Peloton, while not a fitness mirror brand, is the largest name in the luxe at-home workout space and has settled at an $8 stock price after reaching a pandemic high of $167.42 in January of 2021. TL;DR, the at-home workout isn’t gone, but it has not replaced the in-person options.
I initially tested out one of the hottest fitness mirrors of this era — the Tempo Studio — along with several of its direct competitors back in 2021, when returning to gyms was a more precarious prospect. My original review of this product was overwhelmingly positive. I ranked it the best fitness mirror of 2022 and it’s still the best one I’ve tried. But, two years into having it, my verdict is this: Tempo is an impressively-executed product with a flawed premise. People like being around other people, even if they’re sweaty. This is a problem of concept, not of execution.
Now I’m back to tapping a fob into a loud, shared space filled with grunting people and scantily used sanitizing wipes. It feels better. However, if adding a Tempo Studio to your home gym still appeals, here are my honest thoughts about it.
What is the Tempo Studio?
The Tempo Studio is an all-in-one home gym package that includes a variety of equipment and built-in storage. The mirror’s triangular design means it doesn’t have to be mounted (a huge plus) but it’s also massive and not reflective, despite being marketed as a fitness mirror. This isn’t a mark against the brand, as the device’s smart body-tracking software provides real-time feedback and is plenty accurate, but it’s still worth noting.
Upon delivery, their team unloaded the HD touchscreen and storage cabinet (which is massive), a workout mat, two 7.5-pound dumbbells, six collars, 75 pounds worth of weight plates, a 25-pound barbell, and two 25-pound competition plates. The setup was easy and if someone is starting a home gym from scratch, they can get almost everything they need from Tempo in one fell swoop.
What Is It Like To Use the Tempo Studio?
The Tempo Studio worked in all the ways it should. Each class I took was almost noxiously energized. The instruction was clear, even if it induced guttural grunts of dread, and the equipment was dependable.
The Tempo Studio effectively put my streamed workout classes on a much larger screen, but that’s where its unique contributions ostensibly end. Almost everything else it offers I can get somewhere else in a better package — be it at a real gym, using adjustable dumbbells, or on another app (I, admittedly, have always preferred Peloton.) My perception of this product, and its utility, look very different in 2023 than they did in 2020 and 2021.
Ultimately, this product failed to transform my living room into an environment as motivating as an actual gym. My pile of New Yorkers still chirped my cultural postponement from the coffee table. A cursory glance at the counter still revealed my unpaid dental bill. My crusty plants mocked my noble effort at a back squat.
Still, Tempo’s technological design is no doubt impressive. The class library is expansive and for those looking to primarily lift and train in high-intensity intervals, it could be justified as a steep investment. After all, there’s no duking it out with chalk-adorned gym bros for the 20-pound plates.
For the rest of us, tapping a keycard and purchasing bulk-class packages will probably suffice.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Tempo Studio
How much does the Tempo Studio cost?
The Tempo Studio starts at $1,695 with payment plans offered at $70.63/month for 24 months. This is $800 off its full price ($2,495), a great deal but one that also hints at desperation on behalf of the brand.
Is the Tempo Studio easy to use?
Yes, the Tempo Studio’s large touchscreen and small weight cabinet make it very easy to select and stream a class, connect headphones, and grab the necessary equipment to complete a workout. The unit itself is quite large and heavy, but it comes pre-built so once it’s positioned, it’s mostly a matter of turning it on and logging in.
Who is the Tempo Studio For?
I’m honestly not sure. Wealthy agoraphobes? It may help folks who are brand new to strength training but afraid to go to an actual gym. But a real-life personal trainer will help you avoid injury much better than this thing.
Will Tempo Studio help me finally learn to dance on rhythm?
No, it won’t. It’s better to just accept that you’ll always feel dorky next to the youths invading your favorite dance bar and break it down anyway.