What’s Up Peloton? – Sports Medicine Weekly | Dr. Brian J. Cole
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Published on: 09-Nov-2021

For those who are already part of the Peloton family, this question is recognized as the iconic greeting by all Peloton instructors as they appear on your screen and welcome you to your workout. For all others actually questioning “what is up with this whole Peloton thing?” Let me tell you.

Peloton has created a platform for working out that allows for flexibility of both time and space. The company sells two different bikes and treadmills with an associated app. While Peloton has been around for quite some time, it recently became a huge craze during the COVID quarantine when gyms were no longer accessible.

A Great Cross-Training Alternative

From personal experience, to date I have never gone to a spin class. I am a runner at the core and biking has always been the cross-training method of choice to get through any injury. Therefore, I have never enjoyed or sought out cycling. However, when Achilles’ tendonitis took me out of running in my post-college days, I decided to give my gym’s Peloton a ride and see what the rage was all about. I caught the fever immediately with my first ride, but was skeptical that this may just be a phase where I could enjoy the cross training and return my Achilles back to full health. Just under one year later, I ride an average of six days a week and just hit my 400th ride. The outcome? A healthier and fitter body that led to my fastest 10k run (which just happened to be the 10k split in the Olympic distance Chicago Triathlon in August of 2021).

TO BE YOUR BEST, SEE THE BEST

Getting Started

If walking up to a bike with complex pedals and a big login screen looks intimidating, confusing, and too much to figure out at first, you are not alone. To start, create a username and password so that you have a profile set up to track your workouts. If you are getting on in a gym, your first ride will be in your gym shoe using the toe cages on the bike pedals. Eventually, you will want to get cycling cleats to clip in. Why? Clipping in will drastically improve your pedal stroke efficiency and form and lead to better ride performances.

Once you are logged in and clipped in, the reigns are yours. Peloton offers a myriad of classes that vary by theme, intensity, and duration to allow you to ride to your comfort and also push yourself. Start with a beginner ride or a themed ride that fits your appetite for music and test it out. Once you begin to experience a variety of workouts and instructors, you will start to fall into a sync and discover your preferences of ride types and favorite instructors.

A Daily Dose of Endorphins

Many people fall into monotonous workout routines and their progress quickly plateaus. Peloton simply does not allow you to do that. You may ride to the same instructor five days in a row, but the interval and class structure will be different each time so you are getting a different dose of endorphins daily. The app allows you to bookmark and stack classes once you get into a routine of riding consistently, so you can pre-select and plan your workouts if you wish.

When riding, you have the option to join either pre-recorded or live rides. Live rides can ignite the competitive fire inside you and allow you to monitor your output throughout the class, as you chase people on the leaderboard who are sweating with you in real time from all over the world. If competition is not an aspect of working out that you enjoy, live rides can foster community and friendship. My best friend and former teammate and I still workout “together” every Wednesday and Saturday mornings with instructor Matt Wilper’s live power zone rides. How? She gets on her bike in New York City, and I get on mine in Chicago and we high five each other on our screens as we cycle.

Yoga, Pilates and More!

Still not convinced that you could become a cyclist? Peloton has more to offer than just a platform to cycle and run from home. The app provides you with the ability to do yoga, bare, Pilates, lifting, core, HIIT training, meditation, and much more. The app comes at a cost of $39.99/month which is close to the cost of a single studio class for any of these workouts.

So, what is up Peloton? Give it a try yourself and see where it takes you. What was ignited as a quarantine craze may just be more contagious than COVID itself.


Authored by Kaileen Healy, a Physician’s Associate at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center, and a former Division I track athlete at the University of Notre Dame.

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