Tech Savvy: Peloton provides high-tech fitness option – Brainerd Dispatch

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Workout from home equipment is allowing people to keep up with fitness while gyms are shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Peloton, which helped spark a whole new thinking for at home equipment when it launched its high-tech stationary bike, continues to be at the front of the pack. In April, Peloton had 23,000 people streaming a single live class, Bloomberg reported. Peloton reported it now has more than 2 million members worldwide. And a recent Bloomberg article noted analysts saying this isn’t just a coronavirus effect as the company’s trajectory was promising before the virus changed life as we knew it across the globe. And that benefit is expected to continue. There are people who may not want to return to the fitness centers or who like the ease of throwing on the workout clothes and walking feet to get to a class instead of getting ready and driving miles to one. Time is a precious commodity and that is one thing Peloton provides.

By now more people are no doubt aware of the Peloton bike. Peloton’s workout offers more than a piece of equipment, it provides a sense of community and has so much more to offer than a high-tech stationary bike for a cardio and strength workout.

The mobile app with Peloton lets users take workouts anywhere and in a variety of areas from meditation to strength training, walking and stretching. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch

The mobile app with Peloton lets users take workouts anywhere and in a variety of areas from meditation to strength training, walking and stretching. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch

The app takes the workout to your smartphone and workouts off the bike and the app can be sent to your TV for a wide range of fitness choices from yoga, to strength training and cardio, meditation, running — whether on a treadmill or outdoors, walking, stretching, and bootcamp.

That means any stationary bike or treadmill, whether it’s crafted by Peloton or not, can be used with the app.

To add in accountability, you can tag other users and take classes together at the same time or on-demand. There are challenges to provide milestones to reach and give you a target to try to achieve or surpass. An annual challenge for the year has 687,512 participants with some shooting for 5,000 minutes of workouts in 2020.

On the bike

Because you are riding face-to-face with the instructor, you do feel as though they are talking directly to you, encouraging you to push further than you would on your own as they ask for more from you, for just 30 more seconds, as you ride with them and sometimes climb that virtual highway, road, or trail ahead.

A 22-inch high definition touchscreen is the interface for the rider and a host of programming from live classes to on-demand courses to scenic rides that can take you for 10 minutes or 45 minutes, or along an ocean coast or down the Las Vegas strip.

The scenic rides may be overlooked amid all the classes and workout options, but it is a great way to extend time on the bike or do a quick 10-minute ride or a warm up to a class. The scenic rides provide such a crisp picture, it’s easy to imagine being there, whether it’s a highway in Hawaii, the steep and curvy Lombard Street in San Francisco, cityscapes or country sides across the globe, from volcanic plains to rides along icy mountain lakes. It’s a way to travel the world, burn calories and never leave home. You pass by people who were on the street when it was recorded and you feel yourself being tricked by your mind when going uphill or passing by an obstacle. In winter, it’s a great getaway to be able to ride a trail through a vibrantly green forest or ride along the Pacific Coast.

The bike is great. It’s quiet and smooth. The classes are diverse and engaging. The instructors do make you push harder than you ever would on your own. Monthly challenges encourage you to take more classes or ride for more miles. And there are packages of classes you can take over a number of weeks that mix in different instructors and courses to help beginners learn and move forward while others packages are aimed at those who want to really test their established skills. It is a bike that can work for any level from the person looking to get fit who hasn’t been on a bike in years to the advanced athlete.

Peloton also added a treadmill. The treadmill has a high-definition touchscreen and a low-impact, shock-absorbing belt with an adjustable knob to change speed and incline, just as the bike. The treadmill offers race prep to bootcamp training. It is designed to show the user their progress with heart rate, distance, speed and output. The outputs on the bike and treadmill both provide metrics. The bike and treadmill work without the link to the classes and the programming, but it’s the programming that really makes the devices standout and encourages deeper workout, exploration of other activities and greater fitness.

The treadmill costs $4,295, or $111 a month for 39 months.

Without the equipment, classes can be streamed live or are available on-demand across devices for $39 month.

The exercise bike and programming is available for $2,245, or $58 a month for 39 months.

Once the equipment is paid for, there will be the monthly programming charge. In 2021, Peloton is coming out with a less expensive treadmill, which could be a gamechanger for those who were intrigued by the first model but found the price too high. For a lakes area that has a lot of months to deal with where winter rules, a more accessible and less expensive treadmill could be what brings them to Peloton.

Compare that to what people are paying a month or a year for a fitness center.

For those who miss the accountability of a live class in a gym, the leaderboard shows your output and can be filtered to show how you are doing compared to other people in the class, and specifically how you are doing compared to people of your gender and age.

A showroom in the Mall of America, when showrooms are open again as restrictions ease from the coronavirus, provides a chance to try the bike before making a purchase.

There are Facebook groups for all kinds of riders, including short ones, with what has been a notable and sometimes strident fan base. In addition, Peloton sends out reminders for classes, checks up on riders who haven’t been on the bike recently and does everything it can to encourage people to take advantage of the myriad services it provides.

It is worth the investment and the number of people I know with Pelton bikes has grown exponentially.

So no matter whether you have a gym membership, a high-tech or even low-tech piece of equipment, the key is still in the individual making time for their health.

This pandemic may have helped to drive that message home and provided time to get back into a physical fitness groove. It’s no doubt been harder for essential workers still heading into the office or working from home, but either way Peloton is providing a way to use technology and put health and fitness as a priority that is easier to reach. People just have to get up and make it happen.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchBizBuzz.

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