Today, I hit 300 rides on my Peloton bike, 1 year after it arrived at my doorstep. What I feared might be a giant waste of money and a pandemic panic purchase has turned into one of the best things I've done for myself. I want to be clear and say that it's not necessarily the Peloton that is life-changing — it's the ability to recognize that exercise without a goal of weight loss is meaningful, fulfilling, and can lead to sustainable regular movement. This discovery of joyful movement was the breakthrough, and the Peloton bike happened to be my catalyst for it.
(Here's an earlier detailed review answering the most frequently asked questions I get as a fat Peloton rider)
In the 2 years or so leading up to buying the bike, I was almost entirely sedentary. This was especially frustrating as I'd come so far in my fitness journey: everything from hot yoga to a half marathon, as well as a lot of strength & conditioning work and more. I've been writing on this blog for over 12 years, and I shared so much of it here. It started as a weight loss journey, and then as I worked through Binge Eating Disorder and dropped the weight loss push to focus on body neutrality, I kind of lost my place with exercise. Exercising without weight loss as a goal felt like navigating with a broken compass. In addition to the broken compass, I'd moved cities and didn't feel like I had an emotionally safe place to start exercising again. Being in a fat* body (*fat as a neutral descriptor of my size) and entering new spaces like gyms can be incredibly intimidating and stressful. The automatic assumption is that you are only there to lose weight, and escaping that messaging is nearly impossible. Most who do acknowledge you offer tips and encouragement around weight loss (without you ever saying it was your goal), and those who don't talk to you are quick to stare or snicker. So, stagnation set in.
That's why I sit here typing this with tears in my eyes with pride because I took this fat body 1,440 miles in the past year, riding a bike to nowhere, but feeling like I had a community behind me and endless variety to choose from. Even more, I logged activity for 52 consecutive weeks. When I had COVID and during vacation, the activity may have been a stretch or meditation, but I always took at least 5 minutes to focus inward. It may not seem revolutionary to most people, but for me, it's a feat I've never accomplished in my life: even when I was a high school athlete, compulsive exerciser, fat camper, or on the biggest weight loss journey ever. I didn't get on the scale, and never felt a sense of dread. I had freedom of choice, a lot of options on what might feel best on any given day, and the ultra-convenience of only having to walk to the bike (or yoga mat) to get started. I love music and enjoy being able to ride with friends, give high 5's, and pick from nearly any level of challenge that I want. All of this meant that the Peloton bike was truly the best choice for me and my goal of joyful movement.
For a FULL rundown of my review and frequently asked questions for plus-size Peloton riders, see my post here.
Here are a few other questions I get frequently from people to have already read that original post:
Do you still like your Peloton Bike?
Yes. Obviously, based on this post! But wanted to make it clear here that after a year, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.
How has the Peloton Bike handled being over the weight limit?
I personally haven't had any issues with the bike handling my weight, which is absolutely over the stated limit for the bike. As I talked about in my original post, it's frustrating that the stated limit isn't higher, but myself and other people I've come across have used it successfully for a long time. I find it's sturdy, but I also do not get out of the saddle yet because I think the biggest stress point for weight would be on the pedals.
Do you ride out of the saddle (standing up, off the seat)?
No, I don't. I will do after-ride stretches standing on the bike, but I currently do not ride out of the saddle. For any out-of-saddle call-outs, I simply stay in the saddle, usually increasing my resistance. It took some time to not feel bad about it, but in the end, the rides are yours to take as you please. As instructor Denis Morton says, “I make suggestions, you make decisions.” Some of my favorite instructors are the ones who push you, but also repeatedly remind you that you can adjust and modify their call-outs as needed. Christine D'Ercole doesn't even like calling out her numbers during some rides because they're irrelevant to what each rider might need. (She also very, very rarely rides out of the saddle.) Sam Yo is a frequent repeater of “adjust and modify as needed.” Riding in the saddle is very effective movement! That being said, I do plan on taking many more core classes (Emma Lovewell's Crush Your Core program is very popular) so that I can test out-of-saddle riding in the future with a much more solid base. Upper body strength is good, but the core really is the key to effective out-of-saddle work. In any case, you do you and what feels most safe and controlled!
Do you use a wide comfort seat?
I mentioned in my original post that you can swap out the factory Peloton bike seat with nearly any other seat you wish. Many people choose to swap out for larger aftermarket seat to increase comfort. Everyone's anatomy is different and you need to do what's best for you! If you want professional help, you can go to any bike store where they'll measure your sitz bones and recommend the best saddle for your anatomy.
I actually purchased the most popular wide/comfort seat on Amazon and tried it for 3 weeks before swapping back to the original seat. On the first sit, it definitely felt more comfortable, but it tended to create as many problems as it seemed to solve. It was more cushioned, but it also felt like I wasn't properly engaging my core on it/posture was suffering because it was easy for me to relax on the ride/more wiggle room for the butt to roam and find a comfortable spot. The analogy I gave my husband was that the comfort seat felt like sitting in a plush recliner, and the Peloton seat feels like sitting on a barstool. It's easy to slouch down and disengage and be comfortable in a recliner, but to balance on a barstool you need some kind of body awareness to stay balanced and upright. The nose of that saddle also was wider than the Peloton stock saddle, so I had inner thigh chaffing where I didn't have it on the original. Cushion-on-cushion isn't always a good thing! I should note that he liked the wider seat a little better, but he also rides shorter rides and less frequently and didn't have any real complaints about the original saddle.
Is the Peloton Bike+ worth the extra money over the original?
I have the Peloton Bike+ and bought it when it was first announced – I think I ordered it the day it launched. I do use auto-resistance on nearly all on-demand rides, so that is a useful feature. I also use the Apple Gym Kit integration. We also use the rotating screen for weights and stretching, but those can also easily be done on your phone, iPad, or TV so it's not a huge deal. With the latest Peloton Bike price drop (-$400), I 100% would recommend the original bike. There is now a $1,000 price difference between the two and it doesn't make sense to me to go for the Bike+ over the Bike at this time. Don't get me wrong – I love my Bike+. But the price drop of Bike was a game changer.
How much weight have you lost using the Peloton?
Don't know, I don't weigh and it's not my goal. Probably none because my clothes fit the same, but again, not the point.
What are some of your favorite Peloton rides?
There truly haven't been any bad rides! There's something for everyone. These are some of my stand-outs. For more real-time ride info, you can follow me on Instagram where I share some of my favorite rides in Instagram Stories.
- 30 minute Lizzo ride with Robin Arzon from 8/2/19
- 30 minute Dolly Parton ride with Robin Arzon from 6/26/20
- 30 minute Hamilton ride with Robin Arzon from 10/14/20
- 30 minute P!nk ride with Christine D'Ercole from 11/1/19
- 30 minute classical ride with Christine D'Ercole from 7/14/20
- 30 minute Beyonce ride with Tunde and Alex from 11/9/20
- 45 minute Pentatonix ride Christine D'Ercole from 12/13/20
- 30 minute Beyonce with Ally Love from 11/13/20
- 45 minute 5 Year Anniversary ride with Alex Toussant from 2/8/21
- 30 minute Megan Thee Stallion with Kendall from 3/24/21
- 30 minute Pick-Me Up ride with Hannah Corbin from 2/26/21
- 20 minute Pop ride with Sam Yo from 3/9/21
- 20 minute Low Impact with Hannah Frankson from 8/26/21
- 45 minute Womens History Month ride with Christine D'Ercole from 3/14/21
- 30 minute The Chicks ride with Christine D'Ercole from 3/24/21
- 60 minute Climb with Christine D'Ercole from
- 30 minute Verzuz ride Jess King (Timbaland vs. Swizz Beatz) from 4/21/21
- 30 minute Turn it Up ride with Hannah Frankson from 4/26/21
- 20 minute Reflection ride with Christine D'Ercole from 4/7/21
- 30 minute Asian and Pacific Islander History Month Bollywood ride with Sam Yo from 5/17/21
- 45 minute RENT ride with Christine D'Ercole from 6/2/21
- 20 minute Ed Sheeran Recovery ride with Sam Yo from 9/15/21 – it only came out last week and I've done it twice. It's so calming and appropriate for all levels.
- 60 minute Climb Ride with Christine D'Ercole from 8/1/21
- 5 minute Warm Up with Kendall Toole from 7/9/21 – the playlist is so good, it's a warm-up on repeat
- 20 minute All For One ride: Imagine Dragons with Sam Yo from 7/2/21
What's your leaderboard name?
AuthEmmie, same as my Instagram handle
Thank you to the new (virtual) Peloton friends I've met over the past year that have joined me on milestone rides and shared so many high fives on the leaderboard. It's been a really isolating year and a half for so many of us, and the company and encouragement is so appreciated!
Feel free to leave me questions in the comments, and you can follow my regular Peloton stories over on Instagram.
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