Saw It On Social: Peloton, The Bike + The App

Mar 11, 2020

I hate exercising.  I wish that I was one of those people who find it refreshing and motivating, but I find working out tedious and sometimes demoralizing.  I’m not a particularly athletic person, and exercise feels like a series of small failures.  When a friend, who is equally dreadful at exercise, told me that she’d recently bought a Peloton and loved it, I Googled ‘Peloton’ to learn more.

From there, the social media ads came in like a rush.  Facebook.  Pinterest.  Instagram.  Youtube.  They were everywhere.  But given that a Peloton is a bit more expensive than my usual Saw It on Social purchases, I decided to do a lot more research first.

Everyone I know who owns a Peloton got a text, a call or an email about it.  Most common question: You bought it, but do you use it?

The last thing I needed was a $2,300 clothing rack, which is how most exercise equipment is eventually re-appropriated.  And to my surprise, of the 11 people I asked for their opinion, nine were still using the bike 2-3 times per week.  Only two had given up on it, one returning it before the trial period ended.

The second question I asked was: Okay, what keeps you using it?  The most common answer was that ‘it’s fun.’  Other answers include how motivating the instructors are, how they like being able to compete against other riders, and how energized they felt after a ride.

Given that I had been going to the gym more regularly, I decided to try a spin class with a friend.  I liked it enough to think I could  do it every day, though I found it incredibly difficult, I kind of liked that.  And since one of my 2020 goals is to get into shape, or at least as good of shape as my Mom is in (and she is), it felt like Peloton was worth a 30-day trial.

For an introvert who hates exercising in front of others, being able to get a good workout at home with the supportive feeling of a workout class is great.  During the first week, I was obsessed.  I biked every day.  And ladies, I am terrible at it.  But for the first time in my life, I felt very energized and invigorated by the exercise.   I could only do 10-minutes, but I enjoyed it, and that motivated me to keep going.

The second week, I biked three times, which is the pace I aspire to keep.  It’s realistic.  During week two, I improved, moving up to the 15-minute rides.  I also started chatting with friends who own the bike about their favorite instructors and favorite rides.  It gave the entire experience a community feel.  And as strange as it sounds, when I hit my 10th ride, and strangers in my class started sending me high-fives, it felt pretty great.

Since then, my workouts have kept up.  I’ve been under the weather for the past week, so I haven’t been on the bike to give my lungs a rest.  My Mom, The Beast, actually encouraged me to get back on, just for 20-minutes, just for a light ride.  But she’s one of those people who enjoys exercise, so until I can walk briskly without coughing, I’m staying on the couch. It kills me though that she thinks 20-minutes is a light ride.  Like I said, #goals.

If a Peloton is simply out of your reach financially or you find the idea of spending a month’s pay on exercise equipment ridiculous, the $30 per month Peloton app is still a great investment.  And like the bike, you can try it for 30-days for free.

When I started using the strength-training workouts, I was shocked by how a five-minute workout could help build muscle in my arms or how 10-minutes of core work could make it impossible to bend over the next day.  There are also guided runs, walks, yoga, meditation and more.

I look forward to the early summer when some friends and I are going to do a bootcamp through the app together, both as exercise and a bi-coastal bonding experience.  It should be challenging, and having friends doing it too should be really motivating.

The app is enjoyable and as motivating as the cycling classes.  My workout motto is ‘just do something.’  Even on days when doing nothing sounds exactly right, even a short beginner yoga class or some leg lifts is something.  The app and the bike give me the ability to keep that motto even when I don’t really feel like it.

Bottom line: Being able to work out at home and have a classroom feel is great for someone like myself who lacks motivation.  Last week, I biked in my pajamas because the workout was doable, but digging around for workout clothes felt like one thing too much.  (You can’t do that a the gym.)  The app is a great way to add variety to your workouts.  Being able to connect with people I know in the Peloton community has helped keep me on track, and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

A Peloton is a big investment, so let me offer one word of caution: It’s an exercise bike, not a magic wand.  It can help you change your workout regimen, but if you’re not ready or motivated to develop a regular exercise routine, the bike is going to become a very expensive coat rack.  So my advice would be to develop a workout routine, even just a couple of times per week, and when you feel like you can stick to it, look into buying a Peloton.   Until then, give the app a go.  You get a lot of the benefits (fun, motivation, education) without the big expense.

All items for Saw It on Social are purchases by me directly, no sponsorships, no gifts.   If you’re interested in buying a bike, using my referral code (CRD984) sends me $100 to buy Peloton gear with.  But given the expense of this item, I would rather you consider making the purchase diligently by adding the app to your current workout routine first.  Because this thing isn’t cheap, and it’s only worth it if you use it.

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  1. Anna says:

    The Peloton bike is a bit out of reach financially for me, and I don’t necessarily want to commit to the same form of exercise for the next few years to make it worth the investment (I like to switch things up with the seasons). I’ve looked into Peloton “hacks” where people have used less expensive bikes with the Peloton app (which for some reason is way cheaper if you don’t have the bike). Would love to hear if others on here have done this and what their experience was like. Any FOMO for the real thing?

    • Pompom says:

      I have what I call my “fauxloton,” a Sunny spin bike with an iphone holder, a wahoo cadence meter, and clip in pedals and shoes. Total setup was about 400, give or take. Check out Franish’s blog for her setup. I could have written the first paragraph of this blog post, about really not being into exercise. It’s the first thing to go when things get hectic and I’m ok with that. So, for me, having the option to do a workout I enjoy (gasp! that’s a new one on me!) and can do with little investment of time and energy is good. Takes up little space in my guest room, and it’s there when I want or need it.

      My only miss-outs are the fact that I am guessing sometimes at my resistance knob # (though Christine D’Ercole, my favorite instructor, is good at telling you what it should feel like), and I don’t think I can do powerzone classes/challenges without that metric cleared up (which is OK by me…not my jam).

      • Mo says:

        Same setup here, Sunny Spin Bike and phone holder. Never used a real peloton but cadence is easy to track by watching the instructor (Cody is pretty good about counting out cadence for you as well) and I just do the resistance by feel.
        FYI, if you have a friend or two interested, you can have 3 accounts per app subscription, so I share with a friend and her hubby and we split the cost. FYI if you’re injured or pregnant or just need to start slow the “low impact” rides worked great when recovering from a stress fracture.

    • Ellen says:

      Pricing note: The app without the bike is only $12.99/ month.

      I have been using the app since December on the older spin bikes at my Y and it is working for me. A couple of things: I have used a pelaton bike before and done a lot of spinning so I have a pretty good sense of what a “flat road” feels like and I can approximate what a 25-35 gear on the pelaton feels like on my spin bike. I can also access a pelaton about once a month for check in (traveling). One of the recommendations for making it work included a cadence monitor that attaches to your shoe and I am looking into that. All that said: I love it! I The instructors are fantastic and the variety of workouts is great for when I am traveling. The app is free for 30 days and I would recommend giving it a go.

    • Samantha says:

      I did a “fauxloton” for a few months – Sept – Dec 2019. Enjoyed it, got my husband into it, and then we splurged on the real thing the first few days of Jan 2020. It’s a WAY better experience, I have to say. We’re fortunate enough to afford it, and we use it pretty much daily (each of us do 5-7x per week on the bike, up from literally 1x per month working out, it’s changed our lives), so it’s worthwhile to us. A friend of mine did the same thing and upgraded and was also really surprised at just how upgraded the experience was vs the Sunny bike.

      The big differentials for me, aside from the larger screen and the metrics/community built into the bike, is a) the ease of use, both for me and my non-techy husband. Trying to explain the Wahoo sensor was not easy, and making sure everything was working ahead of time was kind of a barrier to wanting to do it, and b) the output, so I can truly see myself improving. I did my 100th ride the other day and wasn’t planning on a PR and then just got so motivated that I killed it, and I just felt over the moon for the rest of the day. Exercise has never done that for me before, and I’ve just found that I’m very quantitatively motivated, I guess!

    • LA says:

      Went this route and love it. Got a decent Schwinn bike using a 20% your first purchase code and spent about $800. It has a cadence meter and ipad/ipod holder built in, but we actually stream the peloton app through our Amazon firestick on the TV. It works great!

      My concern with buying the bike was the price, first and foremost, but also that the tech portion of the bike may eventually crap out or become outdated, and there is no way to upgrade it because it is attached to the bike. Also, given the flameouts of similar start up companies, I’m not convinced that Peloton will be around to offer customer service or warranty protection in a few years.

    • e says:

      I used the app for several years until the full bike was financially viable. It was well worth it at $12.99 a month. You get fancy spin classes for a fraction of the price. I used spin bikes at my local gym and guessed at the resistance, I tried to find instructors and classes that were “riding to the beat.” I have the bike now and I still use the app for bootcamp/strength classes. I am pleased at how lo-tech the equipment needed is – there are many “bodyweight” classes (which are actually challenging!) or only basic dumbbells are required. I find this more accessible than other workout apps, which want you to have a box, kettlebells, or medicine balls (which not all basic gyms have).

  2. Amy says:

    I have had a Peloton for several years (I actually bought it from their kickstarter). My husband and I go through phases of using it really regularly and then not using it for awhile. I will say it is really great for moms with little kids at home because you can work out anytime (like when your baby is asleep) and you don’t need a babysitter to go out to a work out class. If the baby wakes up, you just hop off and hopefully ride again later. Also good for people with unpredictable work schedules. No need to worry about cancellation fees if something comes up and you can’t make it to spin class.

  3. ellen says:

    Curious who your favorite instructors are? I love Cody Rigsby (thanks to Hitha for that rec) and Christine D’Ercole.

    • MMC says:

      I love Cody! Cody, Alex Toussant, Dennis Morton and Robyn Arzon are my favorites.

      Peloton has had an incredible impact on me. I’m enjoying working out and my resting heart rate has dropped 20 points in 18 months.

      BTW – I find the Wahoo heart rate monitor to really enhance the experience.

    • Lindsey says:

      Kendall and Emma are my go tos. I like Cody and Alex occasionally, as well, along with Tunde.

      Side note – did you know Robin was a biglaw lawyer?

  4. Kandace says:

    I purchased the Peloton in January and I absolutely love it for all of the reasons you stated above. The biggest factor for me has been the community feeling, both on the bike and in Peloton FB groups. It’s been a log time since I’ve been this motivated and consistent with working out.

  5. Carrie says:

    Super helpful! Thank you!

  6. Lindsey says:

    I messaged Abra about this, but might as well take a stab at it here, too – I am @thewildrumpus if anyone needs friends to keep motivated (I do, I took a long break because I was somehow sick for over a month and want to get back into it).

  7. Allison says:

    So glad you’ve found something that’s working for you! I really want a Peloton, but we don’t have space for it. Tiny bunglaw in the middle of a city, it’s cramped. I’ve told my husband that we need to buy a new house so I can get a Peloton, I’m only half kidding.

  8. Care says:

    I absolutely love my peloton! It kept me sane throughout my pregnancy and I’m just getting back into it postpartum. No one can motivate me like Alex Toussaint, and a good leaderboard (same as Flywheel’s) ignites my competitive spirit like nothing else. Glad you’re enjoying the workouts, hope to see you in a class someday!

    • Jules says:

      Glad you’re enjoying it through your pregnancy. I’m eight months with my baby and was on exercise restriction until week 14 (IVF) and since week 24 (small baby). I can’t wait to get back on, I miss it so much. I bought it knowing I would be starting a family and am so glad that I won’t have to worry about arranging childcare to exercise regularly. It’s hard for me to believe the next time I get to ride the classes will be filmed from a new studio!

  9. Stephanie says:

    I caved and bought the Peloton on the monthly financing plan after I had surgery for a broken ankle this fall. I knew biking was going to be a good exercise and that I couldn’t go walking far for a long time. OMG it’s been THE absolute best thing for someone like me– I am fine working out, don’t love it, and am not athletic. Plus I was injured. I’m now doing 5-6 days per week and have doubled my output numbers. I feel fantastic and I get it all done in 30 minutes, wearing mismatched leggings and tshirts, then jump in the shower and out the door. Cody is my favorite. Well actually my only– I literally only take his classes. It’s been so much better than I ever would have thought. Before I was like who would pay this? Why would you want to do spin constantly? Now I’m an evangelist about it.

  10. Leslie says:

    So intrigued that you wrote about this topic! A good friend has a Peloton so I will sometimes sneak in a 30 minute ride while visiting, but I never wanted to commit thousands to buying my own and then figuring out where to keep it. Last month, I did purchase a subscription to Les Mills On Demand and I have. Been. LOVING. It. It’s $12/month and I can choose from Body Combat (kickboxing), Body Pump (weights), GRIT (their version of HIIT), different core classes, yoga options, and indoor cycling. Classes can be 30, 45, or 55 minutes and they have a variety of instructors in all the videos. I’ve been getting up early several times a week to work out in the basement before getting ready to head to work (and when early is 4:25, you know it’s a worth-it workout). If anyone is considering Peloton but concerned about doing the same thing all the time, I’d highly recommend looking into this option!

  11. BC says:

    For anyone looking for similar on-demand and livestream workouts with great instructors and a community feel but without the requirement to buy a bunch of expensive gear, I’ve LOVED obé. Great instructors, a variety of classes, less than $30/month, and the founders have done a great job of making it feel like a community through a private facebook group. I’ve been working out through obé steadily since the very end of 2018– and enjoying it (shocking to this non-exerciser). Without realizing it, I’ve actually gotten in shape, to the point that when I tried to run for the first time in two years, I did nearly four miles out the door. I’m trying to tell everyone I know about it!

  12. De says:

    Question for the Peloton/cycling lovers … I am pear shaped and tend to build muscle easily. I’ve been afraid to try cycling for fear of making myself bigger on the bottom. Has anyone found that to be the case?

    • tina says:

      I have been riding the peloton for about a year and a half and haven’t had any issue bulking up on the bottom (also pear shaped). You can also tailor your rides to your body a bit. I.e. don’t do “Climb” rides if you don’t want to bulk up legs/hips.

    • SC says:

      I am pear-shaped too and a cycling nut — I don’t have a Peloton but I ride in all 4 seasons and have an indoor trainer. I find cycling trims the legs/rear and doesn’t bulk them up. Yeah, you’ll get muscley, but unless you’re doing a lot of stand-up sprinting in the big gear, they’ll be the long, lean muscles that look so nice. 🙂

  13. Nicole says:

    For the next “Saw it on Social” would you review SUPERGOOP GLOWSCREEN? I’ve been seeing it all over the blogsphere.

  14. Amanda says:

    Any other Echelon users on here? My husband and I did some research and opted for the cheaper-than-Pelaton option for New Years – I’ve found myself in a similar groove, from barely working out at all each week to maybe 2x a week, which feels like a big jump. Looking for tips to stay motivated and make a new habit stick.

  15. J says:

    I use the app with my older, non-Peloton treadmill. I’ve also done it with my outdoor bike on my indoor trainer. I love the tread and bootcamp classes. I prefer running to biking (all the time, not just with Peloton). I’ve also committed to the strength classes. I don’t like strength as well generally, but I’ve stuck with the strength classes, so that is saying something. The digital app subscription is 100% worth it in my opinion. I push myself way harder than I ever would on my own, and the classes go by so fast. Glad the program is working for you, too! Robin Arzon is my favorite instructor.

  16. Anne says:

    I really enjoy your Saw it on Social series. Thank you!

  17. e says:

    Great post! I appreciate you mentioning that you took a class before committing to buying the bike. I always suggest to friends that ride at home that they take an in-person class every now and then – good instructors can and will correct your form. You may not be aware if your form is bad but you can do true damage to your body that way!

  18. Casey says:

    I’m stoked for the soul cycle bike and app. I love cycling classes in my city has great options of local studios (no soul) and I made it a point to get to the Newport soul location when we went to disneyland on vacation in January. I want to try the soul bike.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    I, too, “hacked” a Peloton by buying a less expensive bike + the digital app ($12.95 without the bike!). I don’t use it as often as I’d like, but I do think it was worth it.

    Also, due to coronavirus madness, Peloton is offering 90 days free to anyone. Great way to test out their 1000s of classes first!

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