There is currently a lot of advertising going on for the Peloton bike. I did not have any personal experience using one until this fall when my gym got a few bikes. I still prefer in person classes but if you live in an area that lacks quality spin studios or you are super time crunched, Peloton may be a pricey but awesome solution to get your cardio fix.
What is Peloton?
It’s basically a fancy bike with a TV that makes you feel like you’re taking a real live spin class. You can take a class live that is being shot in NYC at a studio or take one on-demand. If you have the Peloton bike, you’ll have the ability to see your stats compared to other riders.
One thing they don’t advertise is that you actually don’t have to have the Peloton bike (which is about $3000). You can totally just be a member and use the app for $13 a month to take classes at home or at your gym on a regular spin bike. The instructor will say “Set your resistance to 35,” and you’ll have to guess but once you figure out that a 25-35 is a “flat road” and 60+ is a really steep hill, you’ll be good. Might not be as challenging or might be more challenging but the good instructors will give you a feel for the level of exertion and you can adjust your speed and resistance accordingly.
My gym now has 4 bikes and members are able to use the bikes to take classes without a separate Peloton membership.
What I Like
You can choose between 20, 30 or 45 minute long classes. You can choose to take a class that is live or on-demand. You can find a class based on teacher, style (HIIT, Climb, Live DJ, Intervals and Arms, etc), and even sort them based on level of difficulty.
After you take a ride, you rate the playlist, level of difficulty, teacher, and streaming quality. This helps Peloton recommend rides to users.
I like being able to take a class when I have the time and I don’t have to commit to signing up ahead of time which is nice with a toddler and busy schedule. I love that I know I’m going to be challenged and left sweaty after just 20 or 30 minutes.
I’ve really enjoyed Alex, Robin and Emma as instructors so far. I’m still trying them all and have to say I am reluctant to try new teachers but I’m trying to be more adventurous. I love the Live DJ rides as the music is really good.
I like the metrics and being able to see how hard I am working. Some days feel easy and some feel really hard. It’s nice to see where I stand compared to other users my age and to gauge my progress. I usually screen shot my final metrics.
It’s a really good and a really hard cardio workout. I’m always breathless and sweaty and felt like my use of time was well spent. I can leave my house, get to my gym, take a 30 minute class and be back home in 45 minutes total!
What I Don’t Love
You do not get to feed off the energy of other people taking class when you are watching through a TV. If the going gets tough, it’s easy to take it down a notch, not always a bad thing and perhaps great for beginners who are intimidated.
The Instructors do not go to the beat of the music most of the time. I find that Emma does this the most but other instructors usually do intervals based on time and not the energy of the music playing. Sometimes you’ll be sprinting and the music slows way down. For the Live DJ rides, sometimes I feel like the instructor doesn’t even know what song is going to be played next! Some people really like this, but for me, going to the beat of the music really helps push me beyond my comfort zone.
The arms are too easy! I’ve yet to take a challenging arm sequence. The bikes come with 2 lb dumbbells and I now use 4 lbs if I can or just don’t do rides with arms.
The bike is really expensive.
So if you want to ride but not buy the bike, you have the option to try it at a showroom, there is one in Natick for my Boston people, or you can try it at one of the hotels around the city that have them. Westin has a partnership with Peloton and offers the bikes in their hotel gyms across the country including Boston’s Copley and Waterfront.
Conclusion of Thoughts
I miss my workout buddies at the fitness studios and the human interaction but for convenience to take a class whenever I want and to be able to take a really hard class in 30 minutes, it’s working for my schedule. If I lived in the suburbs and had zero studios nearby, I would totally want to get a bike and would have to think really hard about whether or not the price is worth it. I love Recycle Studio for the teachers, community, they ride to the beat of the music and they have great playlists. I’ve been going there regularly for probably 5 years now and I’m not sick of spinning yet, so I think it would be worth it for me to buy a bike if I lived in a town that did not have a studio I liked. Since my gym has 4 bikes and a membership I can use, I do not see myself buying a bike but I do plan to continue to use them in addition to using my ClassPass and going to my current favorite Boston studios like BTone, Burn and Recycle Studio.