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Peloton: Is It Worth It? The Pros And Cons of the Hottest Virtual Workout

Streaming workouts from the comfort of your own home is one of the hottest fitness trends that shows no signs of slowing down. Leading the trend is Peloton with their coveted state of the art stationary bikes and treadmills featuring large screens that let you stream live or on-demand classes anywhere, any time.

As an avid indoor cyclist and cycle instructor, I’ve been curious. I’m a highly competitive person who thrives on the energy of a dark cycle studio filled with sweaty bodies, so I wondered how taking a virtual cycle class at home alone would work for someone like me. Then Santa (aka my husband) surprised me with a shiny new Peloton bike for Christmas, and I was able to put it to the test—A LOT! Now, a month later, although some of the shine has worn off it still hasn’t turned into a place where laundry goes to die (like many a treadmill before it). In fact, I still use it regularly---but I am the first to admit that there are both pros and cons to this new wave of workouts. Check out my thoughts below, and if you’re a rider hit me up at Bonnyo13 and we’ll take a class “together.” See ya on the leaderboard!

--bonny

Pros

Convenience

My life, like most people’s, is pretty hectic and often unpredictable. And there are days when I can’t make it to my favorite cycle class. Being able to jump on the bike and take a class anytime I want eliminates the frustration (and the excuses) of not being able to get a workout in. Plus, there are a variety of class lengths so even if I only have 30 minutes to squeeze it in, I can.

Variety

As I mentioned above, there are plenty of class lengths to choose from, but there are also a wide variety of formats. From Tabata or HIIT style classes to endurance, hills, and speed drills, you could literally never take the same ride twice—or you could if you find one you really like—that’s what’s cool. I find the variety especially helpful when I am training for an outdoor event like the MS 150 where I know there are going to be lots of hills—I can take the classes designed to help me build strength and endurance. You can also choose a class by instructor or music genre—those are both biggies for me because it all comes down to the tunes for me, and the enthusiasm of the performer.

Training Tool

As a cycle instructor, I like to practice my drills and run through my playlist, cuing, timing etc prior to each class in order to deliver the best performance for my riders. Rather than having to drive to the gym and wait for the cycle studio to be empty, I can now do that at home as often as I need to which has turned out to be really useful. And I get ideas for rides, music and phrasing from some of the instructors.

As an outdoor rider, I appreciate the fact that when I am training for an event I no longer have to skip a ride if it’s cold or rainy. There is a scenic ride feature that, while the graphics are a little hokey, simulates an outdoor ride with a changing terrain. Not quite the same as hitting the road—but a decent alternative.

Cons

Distractions

Working out at home is convenient, but there are plenty of distractions. When I go in a cycle studio, my mindset is that I am there for the duration—I’m fully present. I’m not going to take a phone call, and there aren’t usually people walking in and out, coming up and asking me questions mid ride etc. At home that may not be the case. I can hear the dryer buzz and think I need to fold clothes. Or my kids or husband will come up and start talking. We’re working on that—lol!

Motivation

As I mentioned—I am competitive. I like a dark room, loud music, and people around me because it makes me WERK. Peloton rides have a leaderboard and a “virtual community” on social media platforms, but it really isn’t the same thing. Even if you take a class with a friend at the same time—it’s not the same as having them there with you. Whether I’m teaching or taking a class, my adrenaline starts flowing the minute I enter a cycle studio. At home, it takes me a good 2-3 tracks to really start to get in the zone—but once I’m there I’m good.

Atmosphere

Ok so this one is weird and it might just be me, BUT I work out hard and by the end of the 45-50 minutes I am literally dripping sweat—on my floor—in my home. I realized quickly that I need a mat under the bike and fortunately my office has a lot of windows I can open, but there is still the fact that some days it smells a bit like a sweaty cycle studio in there. I now tend to create my own “soul cycle” vibe with scented candles in the room while I ride.

The Bottom Line

I LOVE my Peloton and think it is absolutely worth the investment—especially when it comes to preparing for my own classes. I’ve found some instructors that I follow regularly and I find myself looking forward to their rides. Getting motivated at home is a little harder, but it’s not something that prevents me from doing it.

It IS an investment though y’all, so if you think it will end up gathering dust, consider simply purchasing and downloading the app for a more cost effective option. Then you can take the classes at your gym or anywhere you have access to a stationary bike. Happy riding!