Do Gym Mirrors Make You Look Bigger? (Here’s the Truth…!)

One of our guilty pleasures while working out is flexing and posing in front of the gym mirrors. You just look a notch better when you’re checking yourself out at the gym compared to your home.

Have you ever wondered about the reason behind this unusual phenomenon?

If you pay enough attention, you’ll notice that you might look a little different in your gym mirror. But when you walk out and check your reflection in another mirror (for example, a car window), you will look like a completely different person!

So, do gym mirrors lie? Let’s find out.

Do Gym Mirrors Make You Look Bigger?

Do Gym Mirrors Make You Look Bigger

In most cases, gym mirrors make you look bigger, especially if you are working out in the weightlifting or strength section. This is because the mirrors in your gym are angled and tilted forward to make you look more muscular.

In the strength section, you’ll find that the mirrors are mostly tilted a little forward. In this case, your reflection will be slightly shorter (not enough to notice) but also wider. Overall, you’ll perceive your body to look bigger because it looks more muscular in the mirror.

On the other hand, in the cardio section, where losing weight is the primary goal for gym-goers, the mirrors are tilted backward. In this case, the reflection appears to be taller and slimmer.

As you can see, it’s quite easy to manipulate one’s reflection by tilting the gym mirrors forward or backward.

So, it’s not your fault if you feel like a professional powerlifter inside the gym and an average gym-goer at your home. It’s simply because of the change in the type of mirror that you are using.

If you always want to feel good about yourself, you can always get a couple of angled mirrors installed at your home.

Why Do Gym Mirrors Make You Look Better?

Why Do Gym Mirrors Make You Look Better

We know that gym mirrors make you look more muscular or slimmer depending on how it is angled. But you’ll be glad to know that it’s not the only reason. So, if your gym mirrors make you look better, they’re not being entirely untruthful.

So, don’t lose hope just yet.

Here are the different reasons why gym mirrors might be making your reflection look a bit better compared to other mirrors:

Mirror Positioning & Design

One of the most effective ways of making gym-goers feel better about themselves is manipulating the angle and positioning of the mirror to alter the reflection.

Mostly, you’ll find that the mirrors inside your gym are tilted. If you are into physics, this is referred to as concavity and convexity.

If your mirror is tilted forward or curved outwards, then it’s a convex mirror. You can easily spot this at the gym by checking out the mirror’s edge. You’ll find that your reflection will appear slightly distorted.

In the case of mirrors that are tilted forward, your reflection will look bigger and wider. It’ll also look a little shorter. Overall, it’ll give you the illusion that your body is more muscular and better looking.

If you have been to one of the fun houses where they have large convex mirrors to make your reflection appear distorted and funny-looking, you’ll know exactly what we are talking about.

The second type of mirrors that you’ll find in gyms are mirrors that are tilted backward. These have the exact opposite result. Your reflection will appear to be slightly thinner and taller.

Many changing rooms inside clothing centers and malls have such mirrors. The objective is to make you feel more attractive and slim while you try out new clothes to compel you to purchase the items.

So, gym mirrors can easily make you look better and feel good about yourselves by distorting your reflection and making it wider/slimmer.

Muscle Pump

Now, if you feel that you look better in your gym mirrors, it’s not entirely a lie. Sure, concavity and convexity might play a part to some extent. But they can’t exactly photoshop you to look like a Greek god if you’re not already ripped.

Another primary reason why gym mirrors make you look bigger is the muscle pump effect, also known as transient hypertrophy.

This is basically a temporary increase in the size of your muscles. You must have noticed that if you are performing forearm or bicep exercises, your arms look absolutely ripped and huge for a while before they shrink back to their normal size. That’s exactly what a muscle pump means.

This phenomenon occurs because fluids like water and blood tend to flow into the muscles that are being trained, increasing the volume of blood within the targeted muscle groups.

So, your muscles will have a temporary increase in size and vascularity. When you’re at the gym, all of your targeted muscles will likely be activated and pumped. It’s natural for them to make your entire body look a bit bigger.

You might think that a temporary pump will not do much. But if you’re working out hard enough, it can create a huge impact on how you look, even if it is just for a short while.

Gym Lighting

Ask any photographer what the secret ingredient for the perfect picture is; they’ll always say good lighting can do wonders for your shot.

That is the case for both reel life and real life.

The lighting around your mirror can create a significant difference in how you perceive your reflection. Typically, you’ll find that gym mirrors are illuminated by a lot of bright lights. Many gyms even have huge windows to allow sunlight to filter in and provide natural lighting.

Under perfect lighting conditions, your body will look better. Your muscle definition and muscle tone will look more pronounced. In this way, your reflection will look more flattering and muscular than normal.

Gym Clothes

Dressing up for different occasions is no longer just a social norm; it’s a necessity. You do not show up at the gym in your pajamas. If you do, your gym mirror reflection will look ghastly, and you’ll end up losing all motivation.

People work out in cut-offs and tank tops because these types of clothing items make them look ripped while they are working out.

Even slim-fitting shirts can make a huge difference. They can accentuate your curves and give you the illusion that your muscles are more prominent and defined.

Overall, your clothes may contribute a lot to how your reflection appears when you look at gym mirrors. At your home or other places, you typically wouldn’t dress to show off your muscles and gains. As such, normal mirrors just don’t have the same kind of effect on how you perceive your body.

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How Do Different Types of Mirrors Affect Your Appearance?

The type of mirror that you use can greatly impact how your reflection appears. Here’s how different types of mirrors can alter your appearance:

  • Gym mirrors that are tilted forward generally make the upper body look bigger in the reflection.
  • Gym mirrors that are tilted backward generally make the upper body look taller and slimmer.
  • Convex mirrors will show a wider but shorter reflection of your body.
  • Concave mirrors will show a slimmer, taller but inverted reflection of your body.
  • Round mirrors are non-magnifying. So they don’t affect your appearance in the reflection.
  • Mirrors with a bulge along their axis can make your body look wider and fatter.

What is the Difference Between a Home Mirror and a Gym Mirror?

Home mirrors are generally basic mirrors that are designed to provide accurate reflections. They are usually mounted on walls, attached to a piece of furniture, and so on. They are also pretty average in size.

In comparison, gym mirrors are made a whole lot bigger to allow people to look at their form, technique, and muscles while working out. They are typically mounted on walls to provide a wide-angled view of the exercise area.

Because of these configurations, reflections in gym mirrors often appear distorted and can make your reflections look wider or slimmer.

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Final Words

It’s an apparent fact that gym mirrors make you look better. Your reflection could be distorted, making your body look more muscular or slimmer. Or, it could simply be because your muscles are pumped due to strenuous resistance training.

Either way, you shouldn’t be too affected by how you look in gym mirrors compared to the normal ones. To be successful in your fitness journey, it’s important to always feel good and confident about your body.