Peloton became a household name in the winter of 2019.
These at-home spin classes have attracted customers ranging from millennials to baby boomers and rightly so.
The Peloton bike masterly uses technology to combine the feel of a group class workout with the convenience of an at-home bike.
While there is a lot of hype around the bike, we want you to think critically about whether this type of workout is right for you.
A Peloton is a stationary bike. As you pedal the energy from the rotating cranks is transferred into a rotating stationary wheel. A dial on the bike lets you adjust the resistance felt at the pedals.
But what makes the Peloton unique is the 22-inch screen attached to the front of the bike. This screen gives you access to the enormous library of on-demand Peloton workouts. All of which are led by Peloton instructors that actively guide you throughout the workout.
Peloton takes it one step further and gamifies the experience. This allows you to create a profile and track workout “scores” live against other riders and your friends.
A Peloton workout is a cardio workout ranging anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes long. To vary the workouts, the instructors manipulate cadence and resistance to mimic hill climbs and sprints.
Some workouts also involve the 5-pound dumbbells attached to the seat of your bike.
What makes these workouts special, and creates the bike’s active following, is how intense they can get. The instructors talk to you the whole time and use words of encouragement mixed with loud music to make you work very hard. But this is where we want you to think critically.
Are Peloton workouts right for you? Well, that depends on your ability and goals.
If you want to get in a quick workout at home, there is no denying that the Peloton’s convenience makes it a great tool.
But be cautious of the intensity the Peloton promotes.
Intense workouts will create a high stress response and a release of the stress hormone cortisol.
While this can feel great in the moment, prolonged exposure to high intensity-training and the stress response that accompanies it can lead to long-term negative effects, including hormone dysregulation, changes in appetite and mood, and loss of mental acuity. Read more about their negative effects here.
Okay, so how do I tell if I'm prepared for the workout?
Watch your power output during the workout. If you struggle to keep the watts within the recommended range then stop the workout. It is too intense for your current abilities, so reduce your rate of effort and try to keep a consistent power output.
One of our fundamental beliefs about cardio/aerobic training is that it needs to be sustainable. A
consistent power output represents sustainability.
If you cannot hold a consistent power output on the Peloton, then move to an exercise that is easier to complete. Examples include walking, rowing, or riding the bike without a class.
Further, add in some resistance (weightlifting) to your exercise program to get your muscles strong enough to keep up with your aerobic system.
Over time, as you complete workouts with a consistent power output, you can begin to slowly increase pace (without sacrificing sustainability). This is called progression, and a sustainable progression will build your ability to hold power. Side note: Learn more about our aerobic progressions here.
The Peloton bike is a beautifully executed piece of at-home fitness equipment. However, the intense approach to fitness that is promoted does not support consistency in exercise for a lifetime
We believe that the best way to build the aerobic system is through sustainable efforts. Further, if you or your clients are looking for better health and fitness then you are better off doing a mix of weight training and aerobic training.
If you do find your way back to the bike, keep an eye on your watts and make sure your power output is sustainable.
Helping others reach their goals through health and fitness is a skill.
A skill that can be developed and honed over time.
If you’d like to start developing that skill, then sign up for our free health and fitness coaching course today.