#BlackHealth: How Peloton Helped Me Get Off My Couch This Winter

"WORTH THE HYPE??!" REVIEW: TheGrio tried out the luxury super-indoor treadmill Peloton Tred to see if it was worth the hype. Check out our honest review below.

(Adobe Stock)

Winter doesn’t want us to win.  Or at least, it can feel that way.

It’s a season where many of us, drunk off holiday indulging, let a hangover of inactivity, carry on into the new year.  Every January we promise ourselves, this will be the year we get in shape.  Then by February, we’re finishing our second box of Valentine’s Day chocolates, sitting on our couches, scrolling the ‘Gram, wondering where the motivation went. 

Then there’s the fact that winter feels like the worst time to work out.  Between having shorter days and less sun, fighting seasonal affective disorder (also appropriately titled SAD), and wanting comfort foods (mac and cheese anyone?!), staying healthy can feel like a mountain you can’t climb no matter how hard you try.

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And for African-Americans, despite the saying that ‘Black don’t crack,’ our health outcomes are often worse, and barriers to gyms and fitness studios make the struggle to work out real.

That’s why this winter, I decided to give an at-home gym system a try and brought a Peloton Tread in my household.  You may have heard the hype around Peloton because its fans go (almost) as hard for the brand as #TheBeyHive, or because it’s extremely pricey $4295 to be exact.  That’s almost two months of rent in an expensive place like New York City. (But it’s also about the cost of an expensive gym and personal training over one year depending on your tastes).  No matter what you’ve heard, the Peloton experience is definitely like none other.  Here’s my honest review of how it helped me get off the couch this winter.

It’s Running, Walking, Yoga and Bootcamp… All In One. 

The Peloton Tread is literally like a luxury treadmill and personal trainer all-in-one, in your house.  The treadmill comes with two pairs of weights and a large TV monitor that has access to live or on-demand classes, with instructors who talk to you the whole way through.

Literally anything you could imagine doing on a treadmill or your living room floor is available: running, walking, boot camp, yoga, cardio, and strength.  There is even a set of meditation classes.

On days, I didn’t feel like running, it was good to know I could do a power walk or lift weights instead.  

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You Have No Excuse Not To Work Out.

Let’s also talk about the power of getting a real, sweat-dripping work out without leaving your house.  I literally had ZERO excuses. If I was watching TV, the Peloton was sitting right there in my living room staring at me like, “Sis, you can afford to walk for 10 minutes.”

Sometimes, that 10-minute walk on the tread would be all I needed to be inspired to walk 15 more minutes… then lift weights… then meditate.

Getting off the couch is half the battle and having an indoor fitness machine for the first time helped me win.

They Bring The Equipment To Your House and Set It Up.

When the folks from Peloton agreed to let me try out the Tread, I admit I was a little worried.  I live in a small one-bedroom apartment in NYC (a closet to folks who live in the south). Then the whole idea of putting together a treadmill on my own was intimidating.

But the crew called ahead of time, carried the pieces inside and assembled within about an hour.  

There was one hiccup though: As part of testing it out, they saw that the tread portion of the treadmill was moving kinda sluggish… But rather than leave it, they disassembled the machine completely and brought up another one.  The extra hour of set up time may have delayed my afternoon, but I appreciate that they were trained well enough to notice and care to give me the best available.

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You Pick The Trainers You’re Feeling.

Finding the right trainer is like finding the right hairstylist or barber.  Once you have a vibe, you know that’s your go-to person. With Peloton, I got to test out online classes led by different trainers, and customize even further by picking the type of music genre you wanted to hear during your workout.

My go-to trainers were Chase Tucker (encouraging and tells great stories) and Jess Sims (high energy) and I always picked hip hop. I did wish I could eliminate music altogether while hearing the instructors’ directions sometimes, but the Peloton doesn’t have that feature.  So I’d just put it on mute, turn on closed-captioning and listen to my own playlist.

Chase Tucker is one of Peloton’s favorite instructors. (Peloton)

There is no substitute for having someone physically with you, but to save hundreds of dollars on personal training and still have that motivational voice in your ear, online instructors are an excellent option.

In addition to picking trainers and music, you can also customize how long your workout is.  On those busy days, you only have 10-20 minutes for fitness before you have to run to the train, or days you want to push yourself for a whole hour, Peloton gives you a range of classes to pick from.

It Gives You A Tribe to Cheer You On.

Fitness journeys can feel lonely at times. Especially if you feel like you’ve fallen off or are battling social media comparison anxiety.  One of the big motivators with Peloton was seeing other members working out at the same time (you can even high-five each other on Leaderboards during workouts).

(Courtney Snowden/Facebook: Black Girl Magic: The Peloton Edition)

I felt inspired when I saw, “Black Girl Magic: The Peloton Edition” Facebook Group, which has almost 4,000 members.  They defy any stereotype or perception that Black women don’t work out or invest in our health.

Reading stories of Black women like Katie Davis, showed me that whether you’re just starting out, working through pregnancy or post-partum changes, fitness doesn’t have to stop.

So Was It Worth The Hype?

On a scale from “Overhyped” to “Worth The Hype,” I would rank Peloton Tread as Worth The Hype.  But with a few caveats:

  • If you live in a small apartment or studio as I do, the Tread will take up space.  So just make peace with removing unnecessary furniture, or try a different Peloton fitness option like the bike.
  • It’s a financial investment, so be serious about the commitment.  Peloton’s cost should inspire you to make it more than an expensive dust collector where you let your clothes pile up.  In addition to the treadmill, the Peloton membership is $39 a month to access all the classes.
  • For the real plug, you can always try the free 30-Day Home Trial as I did and send it back if you’re not sold.

No matter what machine you use, getting off the couch requires your own determination to put your health first.  But if you change your environment and put give yourself the tools to succeed, you will see that every step you take is worth it.