Tag Archives: health fads

My (Unprofessional) Opinion On The Peloton

I’ve said it before. I was not in good shape for a good chunk of my life. It’s still worth belaboring. It’s hard to overstate how poor my exercise habits were for most of my early adult life. If I hadn’t gotten serious about my health, I might have done some real damage.

That’s why I encourage everyone to make the same effort. Try to get in shape. Try to fit a good workout into your daily or weekly routine. Try to tweak your diet so that it’s healthier. It doesn’t pay off immediately, but you certainly appreciate the results in the long run.

When I say that, I also usually encourage people to avoid fitness and diet fads. A good rule of thumb is that, if you saw it on an infomercial, chances are it’s a gimmick or a scam. There’s just no way around it. At some point, you have to exercise and eat better. It’s just basic physics with respect to body mass, calories, and exertion.

However, there are some fitness trends that can help. When I started working out, everyone was calling Crossfit the greatest revolution in all of fitness. I admit I was tempted to try it. Then, like many others, I saw that it shared a few too many traits with a cult and backed off.

This brings me to the latest fitness craze, the Peloton. Chances are if you know someone who has one, they’ve talked about it. They may even treat it like one of their most prized possessions. It’s not quite on the same level as Crossfit, but its popularity is still worth noting.

Now, before I give my opinion on this latest fitness trend, I need to reiterate that I’m not a personal trainer. I’m not a professional in any way. There are people way more qualitied to give you a more informed opinion about the Peloton and any other fitness routine. This is just me, a guy who stumbled his way to better fitness, offering my perspective.

At its core, the Peloton is an exercise bike with a screen. I know its ardent fans will passionately argue otherwise, but logistically speaking, that’s what it is. It’s an exercise bike. You can find them at almost any gym. I’ve used them before. I still use ellipticals regularly because they’re better for my joints.

What sets Peloton apart is the social aspect of it. When you use it, you don’t just use an exercise bike. You link into a social network, of sorts, that offers a professional level spin class to its users. That social component isn’t just a supplemental feature, either. It’s actually one of the most important components of Peloton.

That screen it includes isn’t just a fancy tablet. It links you to other users and attempts to recreate the experience of being in an actual spin class. That experience does add to the cost, considerably. However, it’s also here where I think Peloton shows its value.

For some people, they don’t need much motivation to work out. They’re able to push themselves to do it. For a while, I certainly needed that motivation to get me out of the house and into a gym. Eventually, it got to a point where I was self-motivated. I don’t need people yelling at me to encourage me to keep pushing myself.

That’s just me, though. Some people are just wired differently. They need that yelling. They need that added bit of competitive drive. That pushes them to push themselves more than they would have on their own. That’s what Peloton can offer without having to hire a personal trainer.

It offers the added incentive of peer pressure, solidarity, and social support. Being the very social species we are, that’s powerful. We may think we’ve done enough exercise for the day, but hearing someone yell at us to do a little more can keep us going. Sometimes, that’s the difference between falling short of your fitness goals and raising the bar.

In that respect, I think Peloton is better than most fitness fads. It takes a familiar exercise machine that people have used for years and adds a social component. It offers something other than just another fancy device. It gets people involved in a community without them having to leave their homes.

Given the situation with the pandemic, I think that component is even more valuable. I still think Peloton, as a whole, is grossly overpriced. However, if you’re someone who struggles to stay motivated to get into shape, it might be worth the investment. Your health is one of the few investments in which you’ll feel the benefits in ways that go beyond your body. It’s not easy and, as Peloton’s price shows, it’s rarely cheap. However, it’s still worth doing and if Peloton helps you, then I say go for it.

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