We all know someone who can’t stop talking about their peloton. Like someone who is vegan or someone who attends a CrossFit gym, Peloton has become a cult community of fanatics eager to spread the word. Between the viral Christmas ad a few years ago, to the quarantine frenzy of fresh riders, it seemed like you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a dang peloton bike. And I, like many of you, did not get the hype. I’ve always hated exercising in any form, but cycling seemed like something I would loathe the most.
However, I started to see people that I trust online sharing videos of themselves dancing, singing, and even crying on the bike. While it looked like a lot of work, there seemed to be some sort of euphoria that was being achieved during these rides and, after a while, I wanted in. After dreading exercise for the entirety of my life, I was desperate to find something that worked for me. If mega fashion influencer @inthefrow can find tears of joy on the bike, then surely I would be able to find some kind of tolerance, if not enjoyment, out of the bike.
It took about a month after deciding that I wanted a bike to even bring it up to my husband. I didn’t want to look like I was jumping on the bandwagon, but I was so curious. Finally, I broke down and expressed my interest. And, like the perfect and sweet husband that he is, he told me to get one if it made me happy. So I did!
What I Wanted From The Peloton
My main priority when getting my peloton was getting some kind of movement in consistently. When we were in peak quarantine, my husband and I outfitted our garage into a mini gym. It was great at first, but once the summer months hit in Texas, I was unable to keep up my momentum. There’s nothing worse than sweating your way through a workout in a garage without any air conditioning. I figured if the exercise equipment was already in the house with the glorious air conditioner, I was bound to use it more.
Before I got the bike, I told my husband if I could get 15 minutes in four days out of the week that I would be thrilled. I had no plans of becoming a competitive cyclist or even truly loving the bike, really. I was just desperate to find some sort of exercise that I enjoyed enough to remain consistent with. After all, I’ve tried it all from strength training, EMOMS, taekwondo, kickboxing, to yoga over the years and none of them stuck for very long.
However, I’m happy to say that I have completed four days of spinning for almost every week for the past 14 weeks. What started as a timid curiosity has become a full fledged obsession. Finally, I understand why people say the secret to staying active is to find exercise that you enjoy. It can be done!
What I Love
There is certainly a lot to love about the Peloton. And while we are all looking for different things from our workouts, here are the things that I love about that bike that you might too.
Accessibility & Variety
For me the accessibility of the studio experience from the comfort of my own home is a huge selling point. Add in the variety of instructors and types of training, and it’s a home run. The sprawling content collection isn’t just filled with cycling classes. Nope! There’s running, strength training, stretching, yoga, and meditation classes too. Not only that, but there’s monthly challenges, curated programs, and boot camps for each kind of training available. With Peloton, you can literally find any kind of workout to suit your needs and on your own time.
One of the main reasons people don’t exercise is the lack of time. There is just not enough time in the day to get it all done. However, the bike doesn’t need too much of your time. Only have 15 minutes? That’s okay, there is a class for that. Want to ramp it up a little more to 20 minutes? How about 30, 40, or even 60 minutes? You guessed it. There are classes for that.
For me, the sweet spot is the 20 and 30 minute classes. I tend to go for the 20 minute classes on most days, but always try to incorporate at least one 30 minute class per week. It’s easy to convince myself to commit to 20 minutes of work, knowing that it will be over quickly. It’s an easy commitment that always results in a good sweat and hard work completed. You really can get a good workout in 20 minutes!
I’ve never been an overly competitive person, but I do enjoy a good challenge. Which is why I enjoy the way that Peloton tracks and measures progress. Instead of focusing on my physical progress like weight or inches lost, I am able to focus on getting faster and stronger via my Output.
Output is calculated by the combination of the Cadence (speed) and Resistance (difficulty) at which you ride. You receive Total Output number at the end of each ride to showcase the amount of work completed for the whole ride. As you can see, my Total Output has increased as I have gotten stronger and faster on the bike. When you get a Total Output that is greater than your highest score, then a personal record (PR) is achieved.
Not all rides will be result in a PR and sometimes you may not even be close to your last Output. But that is okay! Some days we are stronger than others, and it’s okay if all we can do is show up and keep our legs moving. It’s the consistency that will propel you towards future PRs even when it doesn’t feel that way.
What I Have Tried
When I first got the bike, I was so worried that I would become overwhelmed or too intimidated by the sheer amount of options. I wanted to set myself up for success for life with the bike. So, I chose to start out with a program specifically for beginners to ease me into it. The first program that I completed was Mastering the Basics.
Program #1: Mastering the Basics
It’s a six week program that introduces you to the variety of instructors available and the different types of classes you can expect from their sprawling content collection. The classes gradually become more difficult as you get more experience on the bike, but are never more than you can handle. Yes, it is hard work. But, it is not impossible.
I really enjoyed the Mastering the Basics program. I felt challenged, excited, and motivated. It was the perfect way to showcase the magic that is peloton into my life. I was immediately able to pinpoint who my favorite instructors were going to be and what style of ride that I would enjoy and be able to stick with. I’d recommend anyone starting out with the peloton to start with this program.
Program #2: Discover Your Power Zones
Once I completed my fist program, I moved on to the frequently recommended Discover Your Power Zones program. Based off of the feedback of the peloton Facebook group that I am a part of, Discover Your Power Zones sounded like an excellent way to level up on the bike from the Mastering the Basics program. I went into it feeling strong and excited.
However, after the first week of classes I found that the program was not what I was looking for in my workouts. The primary focus of the program is to build your strength and endurance and the classes are tailored to that. For me, I felt like they were a little boring and uninspiring. It’s basically like the “eating your vegetables” of your workout routine. Is it good for you? Yes. Will it noticeably make you better? Yes. Are they fun? Nope.
But, I want to dance and get excited during my workouts. I’d like my rides to be more of the “have your cake and eat it too” variety. I want to listen to Cody Rigsby chatter about what Britney song is best or Tunde calmly inspire me with beautiful truths. All while I am being challenged and working my booty off. Unfortunately, the Discover Your Power Zones program did not fit into that category for me.
I will say that it is a good program with lots of valuable information, so do not write it off completely. If I ever find myself wanting to get competitive again, this will be the first place that I go to work towards leveling up. For now I will content myself with my current routine.
What Works For Me
Ultimately, what has worked for me is riding the bike 4 times a week with 20-30 minute rides of my choosing. I did not love being told what class to take during a program and have really enjoyed cherry picking my classes each day. Typically, I will pick an instructor that matches my mood and then choose a class with a difficulty rating and timeline that feels appropriate for the day. For a rest day, I will pick a 20 minute class with a difficulty rating in the 6.0-6.7 range. And days I want a challenge, I will pick a 30 minute class with a rating from the 7.0-8.5 range.
For fun workouts I will take a class with Cody Rigsby. He is always upbeat and chatty, with playlists that never disappoint. I almost forget I’m actually workout out sometimes, between the commentary and good jams. Don’t let the fun vibes fool you though, Cody will get your heart rate and output up. Next up, is Tunde Oyeneyin. There is something so soothing and empowering about taking a class with Tunde. I love her calm but fierce demeanor and can always count on her classes to make me dig deep and work really hard.
If I am feeling really brave or amped up, I will take a class with Alex Toussaint. I think of his classes as rides for real, super athletes. He is intense, motivating, and challenging. You will leave his class feeling wiped, but freaking strong. He has great energy and playlists, too. And lastly, if I want to freshen up on my cycling form, I will take a class with Matt Wilpers. He has an easy going personality and is an excellent coach for form and general cycling knowledge. If you want to geek out on how to become a great cyclist, Matt is the instructor for you.
If we’re being honest, which I am, I almost always choose to take a class with Cody. His Pop Rides are some of my go-to rides on most days. I can always count on having fun and still putting in lots of work. My goal is to work my way up to being able to take some of his boot camp classes without wanting to pass out.
What I Think After 3 Months
I’ll never go back to being a couch potato or exercise hater. I finally found something that works for me! I feel so freaking excited to say that too. I’ve always loved a challenge and the ever growing content collection on my Peloton will continue to provide that as I ride into the future.
When I first got the bike, I was obsessed with climbing the leaderboard and increasing my Output. It was an excellent motivator to get me going for the first few weeks, but I found it unsustainable for me long term. For some people it may be an excellent motivator, but for me it’s not and that is okay.
I may not be the fastest or the strongest rider on the leaderboard, but I am faster and stronger than I was when I first started. The only person I have to compete with is myself, and I don’t have to always compete. I’m really leaning into taking classes that are fun for me instead of constantly pushing myself to constantly outdo my last Output.
The thing is, what I want from the bike will change over time. So, I can take as many Pop Rides with Cody as I want or I can train to be competitive. The most important thing is for me to continue doing what brings me the most joy and not feeling pressured to do anything else. Being able to exercise is a gift and I never want to take it for granted or use it to punish myself by holding myself to unrealistic standards.
Secret Hacks & Tips
My number one tip for those of you who are interested in joining the peloton club would be to check out Facebook Marketplace for your new bike. Here in Austin, TX I was able to find new peloton listings everyday. I was able to setup notifications for new listings near me so I was able to find the best deal. It’s a great way to find a bike for a discounted price and you don’t have to wait for months on end to receive your bike.
As a matter of fact, you are more likely to be able to score a package deal for your setup. My bike was sold with an upgraded seat, top of the line shoes, and weights included with the purchase. So, while my bike was already discounted hundreds of dollars, I was also able to get everything else I needed to get started.
The last thing I got to finish out my peloton setup was this light from Amazon. It’s the perfect little accessory to create a studio-like environment. It has multiple settings and color options for you to choose from to suit your ever changing moods. The green and blue combination are my favorite on most days, but I like to switch it up every now and then.
Once you have your peloton setup secured, you’re good to go! So, clip in and enjoy the ride. Because, yes, work can be fun while also being challenging. We can do hard things. I think you’re up for the task. If I can do it, then so can you!
What does your peloton setup look like? Got a favorite instructor I should add to my stack? Drop any and all recommendations down in the comments below for me. I look forward to seeing you on the leader board.