This holiday season you may find that the pandemic has caused you to jump on the bandwagon that is Peloton. Trust me, you aren’t alone. Rather fortuitously, I purchased one in November, 2019 as a Christmas gift for my husband. At the time, I was a loyal and happy Orange Theory patron but my husband loved lifting weights but hated cardio. I’d used a Peloton bike a few times before when traveling on business and loved it and so I got one to motivate him and serve as a plan B for me on the days I was too busy to get to the gym.
Then the pandemic happened in March and I was grateful to have the option to exercise at home. As the months wore on, I explored things beyond the bike and realized I could do everything at home. When gyms reopened in Kentucky in late summer, I not only didn’t feel comfortable going back to the gym. I also felt downright silly paying for a Peloton bike and subscription and a membership to Orange Theory. Now, I am a full Peloton convert and I just celebrated my 300th ride and have exceeded more than 10,500 minutes of use this year.
Clearly, when you purchase any new home exercise equipment the risk is always there that you have purchased nothing more than a high-priced clothes rack. For those who want to avoid that fate, here are a 5 things that helped make my Peloton purchase a success.
First, I joined a tribe. In fact, I joined several tribes. As a Board member for MothersEsquire, I was no stranger to the connective power of social media groups. A fellow member of that group introduced me to the Peloton Law Moms group on Facebook when I purchased my bike. By joining that group and following its tag on the app, I was able to connect with other lawyer moms across the country and quickly gain followers. This meant that I could join a ride to a slew of high fives and that I soon started to recognize leaderboard names for people I had ridden with before. The group also organized events so we could ride together for special occasions, like a birthday or century ride. This makes the experience of riding on the Peloton feel more like a community experience than a solo ride. Later on, I found some other great tribes, including Peloton hardCore on the Floor, which is a group for those who use the strength and bootcamp classes. There are tons of informal tribes on Facebook and other platforms, so you are bound to find one or several that are perfect for you.
Second, I did the challenges. I am a cynical person and used to scoff at “special” events clearly intended to manipulate me into doing what some third party wanted me to do. Though I recognize that Peloton wants me to keep my membership, I also want that too because I want to work out. The challenges were just a little extra gold star to motivate you to work out on the days you felt like slacking. In some cases, the challenges encouraged me to try something new, like outdoor runs or the yoga or meditations or even a new instructor. There is a lot of content on the app so it is easy to get into a habit and miss new things. By giving me that extra little nudge, I got motivation not only to work out but also to try something new. And, hey, who doesn’t love a cute badge?
Third, I tried Power Zone rides. Even though I had been working out consistently when I got my bike, I was surprised how difficult spinning was at first. In part, this was because it takes some time to adjust to the seat. It straight up hurts at first but with time that got better. Another thing that really helped me was the Power Zone rides. I still have not signed up for challenges yet, but I have seen huge progress in the last year just from doing a few rides each week. I like that Power Zone rides are sort of like a “uniform” so I don’t have to think each day about what to do. I also like that they help you focus your effort on staying in your zone so you work hard but the control helps you avoid feeling like you are killing yourself. With Power Zone rides, I have increased my output, ensured a variety of effort levels to avoid over-training and fatigue, and gained a lot of cardio and physical strength. The FTP test is painful every time I do it but it is worth all the benefits, especially when I see my numbers increase.
Fourth, I learned that the Peloton app offered a lot of flexibility. In March and April, I rode literally hundreds of miles, but I fell almost completely away from strength training. I had tried a few strength sessions but struggled to get motivated, in part because my home was set up for strength for my husband but not me. Eventually, I experimented with boot camp classes on the app with my elliptical and rower and I loved them. Of course, I had to figure out how to modify intervals on the Peloton tread to intervals on my rower or elliptical. In addition, I had to get a TV set up in front of the cardio machine and near my dumbbells to make it work. But once I invested in a small Roku TV (which has a Peloton app) and reorganized my exercise room, I was good. Now, I do boot camps a few days a week and am religious about Jess Sims’ Saturday 60 and have even learned to enjoy the longer strength classes too.
Fifth, I made a point to have fun. In general, I focused more on what I enjoyed instead of what I felt like I was supposed to do. I picked the classes with music I liked. I didn’t try to love every instructor (though I find it easy to like most of them). I didn’t worry about huge goals, but I celebrated milestones like my century, 200th and 300th rides and the special events, like when the Beyonce artist series was released. On days that I just didn’t feel like being alive, let alone moving, I either took it easy by trying some yoga or just picked something fun, which usually meant an Artist series ride or a something with Cody Rigsby. And, whenever I had the excuse or sometimes if I didn’t, I would high five anyone I could. Of course, exercise has to involve some work, but if I let it feel too much like work I knew I wouldn’t want to do it. The reason Peloton is so successful is that it makes working out both accessible and fun. If you want your experience with Peloton to last, prioritize your own enjoyment and have some fun.
If you joined the club this year, whether on the bike, tread, or app, I hope you enjoy it. Look me up on the leaderboard under ClaireBearEsq. I will be glad to follow and high five profusely to welcome you to the crew.