(Update: I've now owned the bike for 1 year! Start here for allll the thoughts, and then head to this post for my 1 year Peloton recap.)
I've become one of those Peloton people.
I thought about it for several months. Decided I was too heavy for it and it was too expensive. Can you be plus size and ride a Peloton bike? Months went by and I wasn't moving my body in any way and it wouldn't leave my mind. Then I did more research, asking the internet if they had a Peloton bike, and if they were over the weight limit. Investing that much money in a piece of equipment only to break it was not my idea of a good time. I found some people who weighed close-ish to what I do and they said the Peloton was built well. My hairstylist said it was built very well and was really stable. Then, the Peloton Bike+ model was announced and I dove in. Three months and 50 bike rides later, I'm hooked.
Note: This is NOT sponsored in any way. I wish! If I mention other products in this post, there may be affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission on anything you may buy through that link. Thank you for helping support this blog!
Every time I post about a ride on Instagram Stories, I get questions. I'll try to answer them all! This post was very long, and I've shortened it to give you the answers to what's been asked most. I'll move some of the other stuff to future posts. Here are some quick jumps if you want to go to a particular section:
Why did you buy a Peloton Bike?
If you've been here for a while, you may know that I previously posted about my workouts here. It was the reason I started this blog, which has since evolved over the past 10 years, as have my thoughts about fitness. My whole life, workouts were always about chasing the scale.
When I moved to Louisville a few years ago, I left the comfort of my gym, trainer, and the place where I felt safe from judgement. The thought of trying to find that in a new city felt impossible. The first year, I did a few workouts in my basement. I missed camaraderie and coaching. So, I stopped exercising. I desperately wanted something that I could do privately and in comfort at home that was fun and where I felt like I wasn't alone. I also wanted a lot of variety, and the amount of content the Peloton app has feels endless. Steve also expressed some interest in trying it. So, we went for it.
The goal was joyful movement in my home, and that's what I found.
What is the weight limit of the Peloton bike, and how is the quality?
This is the most frequently asked question I get, and I completely understand it. If the Peloton bike had a higher weight limit, I would have purchased it several months before I did. The thought of spending thousands of dollars on a piece of equipment, only to break it? Devastating.
Their stated weight limit is 297 pounds. My personal experience is that I weigh significantly more than this and have had zero problems with the build of the bike. Using the bike over the weight limit could void the warranty, so that is a consideration. Also, please remember this is just my personal experience – use the equipment at your own risk.
I stopped listing my exact weight here on the blog years ago, but you can email me or send me an Instagram direct message if you're really concerned about a certain weight and I'll give you more specifics. I'm 5'10 and a size 28W on the bottom. The long and short of it is that I find my Bike+ to be very stable and well built.
There are other spin bikes that have higher weight limits if you're uncomfortable with the Peloton limit. You can still use the Peloton app to take the same classes, without some of the connectivity of the Peloton. This can also be a much less expensive way to achieve the same ends.
Do your butt and lady bits hurt on the Peloton? How is the seat on the Peloton?
This was my second biggest apprehension (after the weight limit) with buying the bike. Ten years ago, I chronicled my first spin class experience and stated “…about 2 minutes in, I knew I was in trouble. But not because it was too hard for me! It was because my ahem nether-regions ahem were in PAIN! Holy hell, it was bad!… I have marks!!!”
Yes, the seat is small. The good news is that you totally do adapt to it. I started off being basically in so much pain and numb in my first 5 minute class to now doing 45 minutes. Is there still some discomfort? Yep. But, there are a lot of variables to finding comfort. I recently changed my seat settings and found a lot of improvement in the pain on my sitz bones. My form/technique has also gotten a lot better which has helped. Many people choose to wear padded bike shorts. I wore them for about a week, and then decided that I liked riding without them as they tended to put pressure in weird areas. You can also get a padded bike seat cover. Like the shorts, I used this for a couple of weeks and then stopped.
The thing that relieved my mind the most about potential seat pain was the fact that you can buy large comfort seats and replace them! They're readily available on Amazon for less than $50. Or, some people choose to go to a bike store and get fitted for a seat that fits their exact measurements. No matter which direction you go, there are options to work around this.
I still use the original Peloton seat – no cover, no padded shorts. Steve likes his padded shorts and continues to use them.
Is a Peloton Bike worth the money?
There is no question that a Peloton Bike is expensive. As to whether or not it's worth the money, that's highly subjective from person to person, and how often they use it.
For us, the Peloton has been worth every penny. Steve and I both use the bike regularly, and we've been able to be consistent with our workouts for 3 months. That's 3 months of workouts more than I've done in the past 3 years. It is one of the few highlights I have from 2020, and I'm so glad we bought it.
Keep in mind that there are other spin bikes available from other manufacturers for much less. You can buy a Peloton digital subscription for $12.99/month and use your iPad or other device to access Peloton content.
Not sure you'll like the classes? You can try the Peloton Digital App free for 30 days (as of 12/16/20 when I write this). After that, it's $12.99/month. Scroll through the programs, click into the classes, see the variety, try some strength, pilates, yoga, stretching, walking, or running. It's a great way to see if there's enough content to keep you interested for the long haul.
Before you buy a Peloton, you should also research additional costs. In addition to the cost of the bike (there are 2 models at different prices), you also need to consider:
- Peloton subscription (monthly): Yep, that's right – the classes aren't provided in the cost of the bike. You will need the Peloton All-Access Membership, which is $39/month and includes profiles for all riders in your house that use the bike.
- Bike mat: This goes under the bike to provide a barrier between the bike and the floor. This isn't necessarily required on carpet, but I didn't want to continuously sweat on my carpet and potentially have my basement start to smell like a gym!
- Cycling shoes: The Peloton bike has pedals that are compatible with a Look Delta cleat. If you don't want to use cleats, you can purchase toe cages where you wear any shoe and slide your foot in them. I use the pedals that came with the bike and use shoes with compatible cleats. Peloton sells shoes, but they didn't fit my large ankles. I wear men's Shimano RC-3 wide fit shoes with Look Delta compatible cleats from Amazon. Pedals, shoes, and cleats need to be replaced periodically.
- Heart rate monitor: If you want your heart rates to track and display on the screen, you'll need one. I started with a Scosche Rhythm+, which was highly recommended, but it was a little buggy for me with connecting. This may have been remedied with a recent Peloton software update, but I've been using my Apple Watch.
- Weights: Many of the bike classes have a weight component if that's something you're interested in. The weights sit in a cage on the back of the bike. If you want to do any of the other strength content on the Peloton app, you may want additional weights.
- Fan: Many people enjoy a fan blowing on them during the ride, and I'm no exception! We have a fan that sits on the floor and points up to the screen so it's nice and breezy during hard rides. Some people like clip-on fans, or ones mounted to the ceiling.
- Apparel: Of course, you can wear whatever you want on the Peloton, but if you want padded bike shorts or other speciality items, consider those costs as well. I've bought a few new pairs of leggings and tops for my Peloton workouts. If anyone is interested, I can put together a post about my favorite apparel for my rides. UPDATE: Here's my list of favorite plus size Peloton workout clothes so far.
- Headphones or speaker: The bike has a built-in speaker so it's not necessary, but a lot of people ride with headphones. I prefer to really crank the music, so I use an external bluetooth speaker that really booms.
- Accessories, seat: You may find you want a phone holder, or a different seat. There's a huge accessory market that you can get sucked into!
Who are your favorite Peloton instructors?
One of the best parts of Peloton is the vast amount of content they have. You can take a 5 minute class or a 90 minute class. Beginner to Advanced. Music of ALL types, from 50's to today, and all genres.
And it's not limited to the bike. The app has strength, yoga, cardio, meditation, running, outdoor, stretching, bootcamps, pilates, and walking. I've done 40 meditations so far!
There are instructors of many personalities. Another big concern I had before buying the bike was that the content might be really steeped into diet culture: “you have to burn this to deserve that dessert!” or “burn alllll the calories!” As someone in recovery for an eating disorder and on a journey towards body neutrality, this can be really triggering. I was really relieved to find that there isn't much of this at all. In fact, of the 50 rides I've done, there has only been 1 that mentioned weight loss, and it was in context of the instructor introducing herself and her journey to Peloton.
If you want a deeply motivational instructor who doesn't talk a lot but always reminds you that you are so much bigger than a number, you'll love my favorite: Christine D'Ercole. I've cried during several of her classes because she seems to say something that I need to hear, every time. If you read the caption to this Instagram post, you'll get a little of what I mean:
My second favorite is a former Monk who is always calm, cool, collected, and reminds me to stay centered: Sam Yo.
If you want a drill sergeant, no-nonsense type, you can go with Steve's favorite: Alex Toussaint. Though, I suppose Steve's favorite instructor is no instructor: he loves taking the scenic rides.
For meditations, I love Chelsea Jackson Roberts. I'm a chronic insomniac, and she gets me to sleep nearly every time.
Are there downsides to the Peloton bike?
Like anything, Peloton isn't perfect:
- Cost prohibitive – This isn't an easily accessible piece of equipment or content.
- Instructors of different body types – All of the instructors look like you'd expect a fitness instructor to look – thin, ripped, conventionally attractive. I would love, love, love to see some more body diversity.
- Weight limit of equipment is exclusionary
- Peloton-branded apparel options in plus sizes are limited. It stinks to be a huge fan and want to sport the gear only to find it not come in your size. They do have an increasing variety of size 3X items, but based on feedback, I don't believe they'd fit my body.
None of these would make me reconsider my purchase, but if anyone at Peloton is listening, think of them as areas for improvement.
Final verdict on the Peloton as a fat* person: (*fat used as a neutral descriptor of my size)
For all the worrying I did about:
- being over the weight limit
- having diet culture talk during classes
- pain in the rear
- my stomach not fitting between the seat and the handlebars
None of this came to fruition, and I am so glad we made this purchase.
Tonight, I did my 50th ride, and it was live. Not only were thousands of people taking it with me, I also had 9 other friends from across the country riding with me. In a time where we are so isolated, it felt great to be together virtually doing something fun.
It's extremely convenient being in my house, and with classes as short as 5 minutes, I can always fit it in my schedule. I also love that I can wear whatever the hell I want and not worry about people judging me. Crop tops and leggings? Yes, please!
I've gotten this question already, so I wanted to address it here: how much weight have I lost? Truth is, I don't know, because that's not why I'm riding. For the first time in my life, I'm regularly working out in a way that feels fun and has nothing to do with my weight. I look at my output numbers on each ride and see that I'm getting stronger: that's the goal!
Update: 1 Year Later
Here's my latest post featuring thoughts after 1 year of owning the Peloton bike.
Take $100 off Peloton Accessories:
This is not sponsored and I'm not an affiliate, I'm just sharing my personal experience. If you decide to buy a bike based on my post, I have a referral code for $100 off accessories, such as your shoes, mat, or weights. If you use this code, I will also get a $100 credit. It must be used at the time of purchasing your bike or tread – it can't be used on an accessories-only purchase. I only have 12 of these per year, so please email me (emmie -at- authenticallyemmie -dot- com) or send me an Instagram DM for the referral code, @authemmie.
Phew. I know that was long! Let me know in the comments if there's anything I left out. Happy to answer any questions. And if you're a fellow Peloton fan, you can find me on the leaderboard under #AuthEmmie!