Peloton for $500 or less!

I first stumbled upon the Peloton Digital App while I was searching for an alternative to Crossfit. I wanted to find some way to keep on a schedule and stay motivated to work out. I wasn’t ready to just go back to a simple running plan and try to add in strength training as I always did before. I’ve kind of gotten hooked into the live classes with instructors.

During the month of November, I looked for alternatives. I visited a Vinyasa Hot Yoga studio (of which I still am going to on an occasional basis), I looked back into my old T25 videos, and visited two local gym facilities. Nothing felt quite right, but I wanted to make sure I worked out 5-6 times per week and hopefully used the equipment I already owned.

At first, Chris encouraged me to find another facility to work out. It was good that I left to go work out because it made sure I had built that into my schedule. While I did visit local gyms, nothing was appealing to me. In addition, we already owned a used treadmill, free weights, a pull-up bar Chris built, a personal WOD jump rope and an ab mat. There had to be some way to use all of that, AND stay on a regular schedule!

On top of that, I wanted to be able to encourage myself to workout on days even when Chris isn’t home to be with the kids. Babysitting wasn’t ideal to go to another facility, and I personally prefer to workout right after I get out of work and pick the kids up.

I’ve found over the years from working out as early at 4:30 am to as late as 8 pm at times, my sweet spot has always been around 3 pm. It’s right after we get out of work, but with enough time to work out, shower, and make dinner. Especially if I worked out from home, I could save on travel time!

I always loved running in the mid-afternoons. A nice stress reliever! Since having kiddos though, it’s been too easy to skip workouts without a plan.

In talking with friends, I was asking around what others like to do or where they go locally. One person mentioned how much they heard their friends loved Peloton and had the bike. I thought, well, that’s an overpriced spin cycle and I wasn’t interested in spending that kind of money. Plus, I never tried a spin class before.

Despite my initial judgment, I decided to look at their website and came across the fact that they offer a Peloton Digital App!

The app’s monthly fee at the time was $19.99. That was a huge saving over Crossfit. Like, insane 10x savings if I used it the same amount of times per week.

In addition, I saw they now are selling a Peloton Treadmill. And offered a 30-day free trial to test out their app. Would I be motivated enough by regular digital-only workouts?

I decided to sign-up at the end of November, once my Crossfit membership expired. I joined Peloton Digital for their 30-day trial. Free for a month, I could see if the digital app kept me motivated, had enough options, and provided a good workout before I paid for anything. That’s a win!

Once I signed up for the app on my phone, I investigated it on their website as well. They offer all types of workouts and a backlog of previous live workouts. From strength to running, walking, cycling, boot camp classes that involve the treadmill, yoga, and warm-ups or cool-downs for your workouts. Whew, it was more than I ever thought I’d see!

I started using their treadmill workouts to try them out since I owned a treadmill. My first time out, I did an archived 45-minute intermediate treadmill run. Um, I had no idea that the running portion was going to be 40 or more minutes of the workout! I’m so used to workouts where the first 20 minutes or so are warm-ups.

In the end, I pushed myself through that entire workout and actually thought for the first time in forever that running on the treadmill was fun. Yes, the treadmill can = fun!

I used my own treadmill, followed their speed (mostly) and incline prompts and kept up with the workout. The trainers were good at reminding you to work within your desires or limits, but always encouraged you to push a little harder. I pushed harder than I thought I could and even got to an 8:30 pace at times. I haven’t seen that pace in 8+ years. In addition, I actually used the incline on my treadmill more than 1%.

After that workout, I kind of felt excited for the next one!

In the first week of December, I used Peloton Digital for 5 workouts! I did 3 running treadmill workouts, a strength workout, and a yoga workout. That’s more days per week than I ever was able to get in at Crossfit and I was definitely exercising for more time (and cardio). I also felt pretty good, but not bashed like I was before.

Since then, I’ve worked out at least 4-5 days per week in these last 3 weeks. I have it built into my schedule and seem to always find the time after work or on the weekend to get in a 30-45 minute workout and enjoy it. There have even been times where I’ve convinced myself I wasn’t going to work out and then within a half hour I’m dressed and looking for which workout I’m going to try. Without being on a forced time schedule for live classes, it’s been nice to pop into a workout whenever!

My Peloton Hack = Sunny Spin Bike

Last week, I decided to hack my own Peloton system. They appear to be getting better with syncing to new devices within their app. The data didn’t matter too much to me using their equipment, as long as I had a guide and could track my own data. I am not concerned about the leaderboard, but they appear to acknowledge a lot more digital subscribers than others wrote about previously.

I have done mostly archived workouts, but I did do a live run the other week. It was actually kind of fun to see leaderboard names being shouted out and it went by fast! I hope to do any milestone workouts live so I might get a shout-out, too!

With my Peloton hack, I purchased a Sunny SB1805 spin cycle. I read a few other blogs who shared their experience, then I watched a ton of videos to try to find the most stable spin bike. I wanted something that wasn’t too heavy, but I also learned in the process that there are two important features to a bike that help it last longer with minimal maintenance:

  • Magnetic Resistance – this means you don’t have to worry about a felt or leather pad wearing down or changing it, magnets adjust the difficulty
  • Belt Drive – this replaced the chain drive system (think outdoor bikes) and there is virtually no maintenance

I purchased my bike after only two weeks using the Peloton Digital App! I was trying to wait a month, but I was itching to try a riding class. I loved the running so much, even having never spun before, I knew from enjoying the bike at Crossfit I’d like a spin class.

Why did I get an indoor bike? Actually, one of the things I did when I was leaving Crossfit was to make a list of the things I enjoyed doing there. I loved using their Concept2 Erg Bike ($1,000!!). I had considered getting one of those but that price. Then I stumbled upon some other spin cycle companies. I didn’t want to break the bank, but I also wanted a good compliment to running.

Side note: While many say just ride a bike or run outdoors for free, that isn’t always an option for a) when home with kids b) poor northeast weather c) short on time. I did those things for years without kids, but now it’s another layer of responsibility that isn’t always easy to workaround.

When you consider I went from paying next to nothing to workout for well over 8 years since having children to paying over a hundred per month on Crossfit, getting an at-home bike for virtually inexpensive workouts seemed like huge savings!

In the end, I bought the Sunny bike for way less than the price listed now with Cyber Monday sales, coupon codes, and free shipping. It was well over $100 less than Amazon sold it for when I bought it directly from Sunny, too! So, always check company sites before buying on Amazon. I’ve learned that often you can get a better deal from a manufacturer. Plus, for the cost, within a few months, I’d break even on my Crossfit savings.

I chose this model because it appeared more stable in their videos, did not have its own built-in computer (so no future tech issues) and an iPad holder so I could use my own device for Peloton workouts. The Sunny SB1805 Spin Bike combined with a Wahoo Cadence Sensor (Peloton now supports this connection) means that I have cadence data right in the app while I work out!

When I workout I wear my Garmin Vivosport that I’ve owned for a few years to record my HR and to capture data on the treadmill. I get a basic overview of my intensity in my workouts. I keep track of all of my workouts (crossfit, running, yoga, Peloton, etc) in my Garmin app. This app has been with me for a long time, so it made sense to track all of that data in one place.

So far, I really love using the Peloton Digital App. They’ve recently lowered the monthly price to $12.99 per month as well. So, in my free month my math per workout significantly decreased using their app.

Workouts at Crossfit were usually in the range of $6-$10 per workout, because with the steep price I absolutely needed to make it worth it. I knew many who’s workouts were probably closer to the $17-20 range as they worked out far less than. I shot for about 12 minimal workouts per month, usually landing around the 18 workout mark.

With Peloton Digital, if I workout just 3-4 times per week it’s about $1 per workout. I am obviously enjoying it far more than that, so I’m hitting ranges around $0.70 per workout or less with so many options.

Chris was supportive of my purchasing a bike for a few reasons. We had space for it, as I made sure to get one that would fit right next to the treadmill when not in use.

I’ve always used my treadmill, it never became a clothing rack as so many do. My treadmill has had some love all the years since I bought it used from Craigslist 4 years ago for $250. Chris used the treadmill and may use the bike, too. Lastly, he knows I never purchase anything without a lot of research, planning, and financial considerations. In the end, I used my side hustle money, which has served me well the past year to get a few big-ticket wishlist items for us both!

In the end, I was so happy to stumble upon Peloton. I love their app. They are always adding content, their workouts are fun, and it’s inexpensive comparatively to Crossfit or live classes. I hope they continue to expand their options, and even if you don’t have a treadmill or a bike or weights, they offer bodyweight workouts, outdoor runs now, and yoga, etc.

My most recent run was a heck of a lot of fun. I ran with the Grinch for a 45-minute treadmill run before my son’s holiday concert! In contrast, Chris wasn’t able to work out that day at the gym because of the holiday concert schedule (but don’t worry, he’s making up for it!).

Some things I haven’t tried yet on Peloton, but plan to, are scenic runs or cycles, boot camp workouts, bodyweight workouts, and outdoor runs. A friend I convinced to sign-up and try it out loved her first outdoor run and plans to get a bike setup.

Keep adding more Peloton! We may not all be able to afford the treadmill or spin cycle, but I appreciate your willingness to provide streaming content and maybe one-day offline pre-loaded content to use when you don’t have wifi available!

I found Peloton well before their holiday ad chaos, but I get the message they were sending. While it’s a “bike to nowhere” it is an experience I haven’t had before and love the work they are putting into the content offerings. It’s a new way to create workout videos and clearly they are succeeding, as so many other companies are jumping on board.

If you have any questions or are interested in Peloton, ask away!