Most won’t admit to hating exercise, but unfortunately I am one of them. Despite countless efforts and hobbies over the years, nothing has stuck — that’s why in a desperate attempt to improve and regulate my fitness, I bought a Peloton last month. It was by no means a cheap investment, but I had high hopes that it would finally get me in the habit of regularly exercising, and dare I say, enjoy it.
In the month since I bought the Peloton, I’ve tried all kinds of classes on top of cycling, from yoga and meditation to boxing. I’ve stuck to it, completing 19 workouts and cycling a total of 41.6 miles — which I’m actually quite proud of. Here’s five things I've learned from the experience.
The classes are hard — very hard
Obviously you’d assume that the classes are going to push you; after all, that’s the whole point. But, even after a month of beginner classes, I still don’t feel ready to push myself up to the next level — I’m covered in sweat and exhausted after just 20 minutes. Yet most classes are encouraging you to advance, which makes me feel a little pathetic. I didn’t feel so bad when I spoke to our fitness editor about it, she said ‘On the Peloton treadmill there are walking classes very much aimed at beginners, but I think it's harder on the bike as even cycling slowly is taxing, and the classes are so motivating that I think it's easy to push yourself too hard.’
The output between classes does vary though and some are harder than others. You can roughly fathom how hard a class is by scrolling down through it’s breakdown and description; plus other riders rate the difficulty too which is useful. I’m not annoyed with this quality at all, I want to be pushed; just bear in mind that if you’re new to cycling it may take longer than you think to progress up the experience ladder.
I’ve even found the beginner yoga classes to be hard work — namely because of the speed needed to switch between poses. If you’re new to yoga, you will find yourself constantly straining your neck to check the screen for visual guidance, and even these classes will work up a sweat.
The community really helps
I wasn’t that bothered by the community aspect of the Peloton bike at first. It was only when I started working out that I realized how helpful it really is. It makes me competitive during a class — if someone is just a couple of paces in front of you, you find yourself really pushing to beat them, then before you know it you’ve got a one-on-one race on your hands as they start chasing you. This makes the class more exciting and definitely drives me harder.
The community is also really supportive. During one class, everyone started ‘high-fiving’ me and I couldn’t work out why. I had about 20 random high-fives; no exaggeration. It was only when I finished my session that I realized it was my tenth ride and I’d been given an achievement for it. Others had seen and wanted to congratulate me, which I found very sweet.
It doesn’t get old — not so far anyway
I was quite worried that I’d get bored of the Peloton classes quickly, and the bike would end up gathering dust. However, so far so good. I’ve varied the classes I’ve taken as mentioned earlier, but even sticking to beginner cycling classes has held my interest. There’s always been a new one available to try, although I admittedly liked the music selection in one class so much that I took it more than once.
There’s plenty of types of classes I haven’t even had a chance to take yet, such as strength, cardio and running. Plus, there’s also programs of classes on offer which run over a few weeks — that’s where I found boxing. So, there’s always something new to try. I should flag though that the programs do tend to take up the majority of your time while they run. I’m half-way through boxing and have only managed to do a couple of other classes this week as a consequence. Some programs require daily dedication.
Placement is important
Because of the layout of my apartment, I’ve had to squeeze my Peloton up against a wall in my office. The bike fits easily, but I didn’t realize that placing it against a wall would limit me in some ways. For instance, almost every class ends with stretches, some of which I can only do if I rotate my body to face sideways. It’s not the end of the world — I can always get off the bike, although after a hard ride, it’s tricky to do this in a rush so you don’t miss the stretches.
I bought the Peloton Bike+ (starting at $2,195/$52 per month), which gives me the benefit of the rotating screen. This has been great for the alternative classes. However, because I can only access the bike from the right-side, this does make certain classes awkward. For instance, when practicing boxing, my stance has my right leg paced back, so I face to the right — this means I have to strain my neck to look at the screen.
Because the space in my room is limited, I can’t face the other way either. This is by no means a fault on Peloton, but more advice on where to place the bike. Ideally you want space on both sides and room to rotate the screen.
Adjusting the bike can be tricky
If more than one of you is using the Peloton, this naturally makes things more complicated as you will need to adjust the seat setup between each ride. There are increments provided on the seat height, depth and handlebar height, so you can easily remember your settings. However, each of these are quite stiff and tricky to adjust at first — especially the handlebar height. Hopefully, they will loosen up with time, but at the moment, I’m trying to encourage my partner to leave the handlebar height where it is, as this is down to preference alone.
Peloton one month later: Bottom line
Overall, I’m still very happy with my purchase and I look forward to advancing up to the more experienced classes. I’m even encouraging friends to get one so we can virtually race each other!