Everything You Need to Know About Peloton (and If It's Worth Forking Out For)

Amy Lane, Kirsti Buick
·6-min read
Photo credit: SHAWN HUBBARD
Photo credit: SHAWN HUBBARD

From Women's Health

In a world where endorphin hits are hard to come by and living room workouts are fast becoming stale, Peloton might have the answer.

More than 3.6 million people would tend to agree. The home fitness phenomenon grew their membership numbers by more than 300% in 2020, with 77.8 million new members signing up in the last quarter alone.

Peloton brings the music and moves of high-end fitness classes to any space where you can fit their kit – for a price, of course.

What is Peloton?

You'd be forgiven for thinking it's just a fancy spin bike with a big screen – Peloton started out that way, at least. But these days, it would be more accurate to say Peloton is in the business of home workouts. They make the kit (that's 2 spin bikes, 1 treadmill, plus a few accessories like mats and dumbbells) and the media that - should you be able to afford it - could turn your living room/kitchen/garage into a top-notch home gym.

The Peloton Bike, the Bike +, and the Peloton Tread all feature sizeable touchscreens, which allow users to tap into a plethora of live and on-demand workouts, led by instructors who are fitness superstars in their own right.

How much does Peloton cost?

You'll want to sit down for this. In the UK, the original Peloton Bike will cost you £1,750, while the Bike+, which boasts a few more features, will set you back £2,295. The Peloton Tread is also £2,295.

It’s worth noting that Peloton does offer financing options that allow you to pay your kit off monthly, plus a 30-day home trial – they’ll let you keep to bike for a month to test it out, and come collect it if you’re not sold after that.

Unfortunately, the cost of your Peloton membership – and access to their stellar classes – is not included in your Bike or Tread. For that, you'll need a subscription to the Peloton app for £39 per month. Thankfully, the one bike/tread (and subscription) can be used by all members in the household as you can set up different profiles.

Can you do Peloton workouts without a Peloton bike?

You betcha. The beauty of the Peloton app is that it can be used with non-Peloton bikes (or treadmills for that matter). The app can be accessed on your phone, tablet, computer, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast and more, so you can follow along on your own spin bike or treadmill. A Peloton Digital membership is also a bit more budget-friendly, at £12.99 per month.

Looking for a budget-friendly bike? We recently reviewed the Echelon Bike, which has a similar class offering.

What workouts can you do with Peloton?

Cycling and running are far from all you'll find on Peloton. The brand has branched to include an impressive variety of other classes so you can do anything from yoga to HIIT with the Peloton instructors' guidance.

Peloton's workouts include:

Is Peloton a good workout?

The definition of a 'good' workout really depends on your own health and wellness goals. To be fair, anything that gets you moving in the no man's land of early 2021 is a good workout.

When it comes to your own personal goals, you're probably covered, thanks to to the sheer variety on offer on the Peloton app. If you're looking to build muscle and strength, there are plenty of resistance workouts on offer, while an impressive collection of yoga flows will help you increase flexibility and mobility (and get some zen in too).

Cardio, of course, is where Peloton really shines. The heart-pounding workouts are a great way to build cardiovascular fitness and get the feel-good endorphins flowing. With rides and runs to suit everyone from beginners to pros, a Bike or a Tread is a great way to hit your recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week.

Can you lose weight with Peloton?

As it often is, the answer to this question is, 'it depends'. Weight loss is a question of energy balance – the most effective way to lose it is to expend more energy than you're taking in. This is known as a calorie deficit.

Having said that, Peloton workouts are an excellent way to up your energy expenditure – especially if you're working from home, and not getting as much movement as you were pre-lockdown (we feel you). If you're not upping your food intake and still keeping your movement up throughout the day (over and above your Peloton workouts), then yes, you absolutely can lose weight with Peloton workouts.

Peloton Bike: WH review

WH Digital Editor Amy Lane took the Peloton Bike for a spin

First off: a Peloton Bike isn't *just* an at-home spin bike. There's no other bike that offers the virtual experience that Peloton does. You can be here in the UK, and join one of the daily live classes streamed from NYC. And while spinning you can interact with other Peloton users via the class leaderboard. It's a bit like tuning into a social sweatwork.

The instructors are incredibly motivating, but have very different coaching styles (btw my fave is Ally Love), so you'll definitely find a good fit for your workouts. Thanks to Peloton profiles and hashtags (kind of like teams you can join) you get the feeling that you're part of a group workout even when riding solo. I actually found it motivating to see others climbing the leaderboard in real-time, digging deep to conquer the rolling hills as I too, questioned whether my legs could keep up the pace

During each class the Peloton bike tracks and monitors your progress, this is then available to view via your dashboard. If you're debating about buying the bike to do away with the gym membership (that you now can't use), you'll like this. Use the workout history screen to monitor cadence, resistance and how your heart rate fairs during each session - useful if you've signed up to one of the Peloton two-week or four-week programmes that are on the bike.

What about the Peloton app?

The clever cloggs at Peloton clearly realised that to appeal to as many people as possible, they need to offer more than spinning (there's a max number of classes you can take in a week before reaching Peak Peloton). Cut to, the Peloton app. It's designed to complement your cycling workouts by offering strength, stretching and yoga.

Personally, I was quite surprised by how good it was. I was ready to roll my eyes and write it off as another app that sounds better than it actually is. But, one week in and I found myself accessing the library of yoga workouts to ease off my sore hips and debating a bootcamp workout when I couldn't be arsed with another stationary sweat.

The ease of the app and breadth of exercise extras is no doubt why there are 3 million users globally – and climbing. Pandemic or no, one thing's for sure: Peloton is here to stay.

Interested in Peloton's other products? The WH team has put them all to the test. Check out our Peloton Bike+ review, and our Peloton Tread review.

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