As a fitness editor, I’m lucky enough to test some of the best home gym equipment into my living room; by now, I know a few of the Peloton delivery guys by name. I’ve installed the Bike, the Tread, the Bike+, and now the Guide in my home (not at the same time, may I add), to weigh whether they're actually worth their pretty hefty price tags. While I’m yet to get my hands on the new Peloton Row, (I fear my boyfriend may move out if I move any more equipment in), the Peloton Guide arrived in a neat little box this week, so I plugged it in, keen to find out more.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Peloton Guide, it’s Peloton’s strength offering — designed to use artificial intelligence (AI) to help you reach your strength training goals. You plug it into your TV, and the device uses machine learning and smart camera technology to provide that in-person coaching experience, from the comfort of your living room.
Unlike the rest of the range, the Guide probably won’t cost more than your month’s rent — it’s $295 to buy, then you’ll need a subscription to the classes, which costs $24/month.
Peloton Guide: Set up
The Peloton Guide looks like a small webcam, which will connect to your TV. The camera has a resolution of 12 megapixels and can stream 4K video at up to 60 frames per second. It didn’t look out of place set up in my living room and probably took me around five minutes to get it all plugged in (I’m not the techiest individual), and then around fifteen minutes to get it all set up.
The Guide uses machine learning and smart camera technology to track your movements and offer suggestions as you're working out. You’ll be able to see your own image on the TV, alongside the instructors, to compare your form and technique. In order for the Guide to do this, you need to go through a few setup screens — the Guide will ask you to raise your arms above your head and to the side, to ensure it’s capturing you.
Once you’re set-up, you can choose your class. The Guide tells you which muscles you’ve worked — something Peloton calls "Body Activity." You can choose a class based on a body part, but after you’ve done a few classes, based on your Body Activity, the Guide will suggest which workouts to do next, so you target different areas of the body and avoid overtraining one muscle group.
There’s also the option to choose a class from the Rep Tracker series — this is Pleoton’s newest feature, which counts each rep for you, giving you credit for every weight lifted. You can also program the weight you’ll be using for light, medium, and heavy sets, and the Guide will measure the total weight lifted, allowing you to see your progress over time.
Peloton Guide: First workout
For my first workout, I opted for chest and back with Jermaine Johnson, as I was in a short taper for a half marathon and didn’t want to overload my legs. I was impressed at how easy it was to adjust my view on the screen — I started off in self mode, seeing my own form above Jermaine’s as we rowed and did press-ups. After a few reps, I found this a little distracting, so moved to the minimized zone, where I saw myself in a smaller window on the left of the screen, above the heart rate monitor. (I was able to use my Apple Watch as a heart rate monitor — here’s how to connect the two).
I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting to love the Guide. After testing a number of Peloton’s other products, I kind of felt that the Guide was a bit redundant — all of the other products in the Peloton range have strength training classes, as does the Peloton app, which allows you to do strength classes from your phone or tablet. It didn’t take long for me to realize I’d been wrong. Closing the Movement Tracker (a little logo that changes color as you move through your reps) was motivating, and the rep tracker feature in my second class was fantastic.
Compared to the strength workouts I took using the rotating screen on my Peloton Bike+, I found that I worked harder to close the Movement Tracker or reach the required number of reps. Where I’m often guilty of giving up on an exercise a few seconds early, the Guide helped me stay engaged, and working until the last few seconds.
Peloton Guide: First impressions
While it’s too soon to draw any firm conclusions, a couple of workouts in, I’m impressed. Part of the magic of Peloton is its instructors and its classes, and with the Guide, Peloton has come up with clever features to upgrade your home workouts. From the rep tracker to the full class breakdowns, that allow you to prepare for what’s coming, the Guide does feel like a different experience. I’ll be updating this article once I’ve spent some more time with my new workout companion, so stay tuned to find out more.