I would never profess to be a gymrat. Under some conditions, I enjoy working out. I was a student athlete from middle school to college so fitness was a part of my life. I took up running post college to achieve my goal of running a half marathon. I was a regular rollerblader until I fell and broke my elbow. I have played intramural kickball and flag football over the years. I took up hiking and kayaking when I moved to Seattle. And dance is always a regular part of my life. Gymrat, no. Physically active individual, absolutely!
Here’s the thing. I love food. Like, LOVE, love it. It’s my top love language. I cannot pass up good food. And as such, I must move my body. Prior to the onslaught of the world’s current pandemonium, I was a regular member of Orange Theory Fitness. I went at least 3 times a week to have an OTF coach tell me what to do for an hour so I could stay fit and healthy without having to put much thought into it. That is the kind of person I am. I know I need the workout, but I just want to show up and do it. So, when COVID took my workout routine away from me, I had to find something else to replace it.
Enter Peloton. Like most people, I started paying attention to Peloton after the holiday commercial that got so much flack. I didn’t understand the outrage. The way this country attaches fitness to “fat” is a clear indication that some major therapy and deep healing is needed all around. The thing many failed to acknowledge in that commercial – and it is one of the things I have embraced on my fitness journey – is that exercising in any form is about showing up for yourself. It is about connecting to the power and strength of your body – exploring what you are capable of, exposing your limitations, and embracing the very real ways our bodies carry us through this world each and every day.
When the gym closed, I knew Peloton had a solution for me that would allow me to log in, select a class and get a complete workout without having to think about it. What I didn’t know was that my bike purchase (and the stocks I grabbed along with it) would add so much to my life! So, this is my love letter of sorts to Peloton. I want to share with you the 5 reasons I have found myself obsessed and a proud member of the cult of Peloton.
Variety is the spice of life
Peloton is much more than cycling or running. I happen to enjoy spin classes, but I had no idea the variety of spin classes waiting for me. There are HIIT classes, climbs, endurance rides, Tabata classes and the very necessary warm up and cool down rides. I can take classes anywhere from 5 min to 60 mins (there are some 90 min classes but we ain’t there yet sis) across a wide variety of instructors with personalities and strengths as varied as the musical selections. But more than that, I can also log in for strength training, cardio dance, yoga and pilates, barre or even bike bootcamps! The icing on the cake is the huge collection of mediation classes that are missing from most fitness routines. Listen, your mental health is as important as your physical health. Peloton understands the concept of holistic fitness and I’m down with it.
I found my fitness tribe in the Peloton community
One of the things I always longed for in my other fitness experiences whether they were at 24Hour Fitness or Orange Theory Fitness was a tribe, a community of people who made showing up to work out a social experience as well. I never got that. With Peloton, I have a very active community and feel like I’m part of something even though I have never met most of these people in real life. I do have friends across the country who have bikes so we can work out together. But the amount of women and men I have met through the online communities has been phenomenal. I am very active in the Peloton Black Girl Magic, Peloton DST, and Black Peloton Riders groups on Facebook. I actually follow my favorite instructors on social media. And I have never felt this level of encouragement and accountability in a fitness lifestyle. When my tribe says show up for a swarm (that’s when people you follow show up to take a class together), I show up to swarm. There is nothing like logging in to a class and seeing your people on the leader board working out together, pushing each other to do their best, high-fiving along the way, and making fitness a necessary part of life. It feels good to celebrate each others’ wins and successes with milestone rides and progress reports. We show up for each other. That is powerful.
I am a sucker for gamification
There, I said it. I like my badges and shoutouts and leaderboards and stats. Peloton gives me all of this and more. Each month, I can commit to challenging myself to work out each day as I chase a perfect calendar of blue dots. There are regular challenges around miles completed or strength classes taken. But they also offer other challenges when new class types or new features are introduced. Each comes with a specific badge and as a former Girl Scout, I likes my badges! Some badges are limited addition and some are on-going. You get milestone badges for reaching a set number of classes in each category, the number of days in a row you work out, or the weekly streaks you maintain. In class you can see how you are performing against yourself first (your PR can show on your leaderboard view) and against others if you have the leader board view open. Obviously, you don’t have to participate in any of these competitive shenanigans. You can ride your bike or run on your tread and never engage because as Tabitha Brown says, “that’s your business!” But for those of us who love competition, it’s another layer of community and connection that keeps you excited to show up for yourself.
I am excited to show up for myself and my health
As I stated earlier, fitness is about showing up for yourself. Literally. Peloton has encouraged me to show up for me. I have my bike set up in my home office and every time I look at it, I am reminded that I get to claim time in my day to prioritize me. No one will do that for me. It is a choice I have to make. And the program that Peloton has created makes it easy for me to say yes to me. I don’t have to leave my house to do it. I don’t have to dress a certain way, although let’s be clear, I am CUTE every time I get on the bike or take a class because matching workout clothes are just part of creating the atmosphere for me to show up for me. I don’t have to rearrange my day if a meeting runs over or traffic is backed up, or the class is full. I can simply clip in or roll out my mat, depending on the class I want to take. And I know when I do, I will get what I need because I can tailor my workout to me. Not feeling spin that day, I can take a yoga or pilates class. Feeling tight in my arms from too much strength training, I can select stretches instead. If I had a rough day I can choose a themed ride that makes me happy like one of the Broadway rides or helps me work through anger like a Club Bangers or Hip Hop ride. The variety of offerings means this workout is about ME. And centering me in my workout ensures when I show up I get what I need.
Peloton shows up for marginalized communities
I have no grand illusions that corporations are perfect allies. Businesses are always in the business of making money. I get that. It’s why I bought stock in Peloton. But, corporations are made of people and when an organization says we are going to publicly care about the issues that directly impact the people we employ, that is a step in the right direction. I see myself reflected in Peloton whether it is the marketing and advertising, the scholarships to HBCUs, the artist series that highlight black, latino, and asian artist, the public statements and private actions, and the active listening to the community members. No diss to them, but I have never seen these kinds of actions from 24Hour Fitness or Orange Theory Fitness. And let’s talk about the diversity of the instructors. Tunde Oyeneyin is a Godess and deserves all her flowers. I live in a world where my friendships, the people I call family, reflect the true diversity of this world. I need that to be true in every area of my life. Peloton, for me, is an extension of my diverse world. And thanks to the diversity of their members, they are held accountable for putting their money where their mouth is!
Needless to say, I am a proud Peloton STAN. I look forward to seeing how they continue to expand and grow. Trust and believe, I will be along for the ride!