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10 Lessons I’ve Learned After 5 Years on the Peloton

I still remember my first Peloton ride. After spending the weekend at my brother’s house, he asked if I wanted to try out his new Peloton. This was before advertising of any sort and well before anyone else I knew had one.

I had taken spin classes lots of times at my local gym and even a boutique studio. But we didn’t wear spin shoes and I had no idea how to clip in or clip out. I took a ride with Steven Little and immediately was hooked.

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For weeks, I tried to justify the purchase. We had just moved into our first home and were spending more money than ever before. I discovered the Peloton App (free at the time!), bought an inexpensive spin bike, and within a year, launched this website chronicling my research and tips.

In five years, I’ve seen Peloton morph from a small community to having millions of devoted members. I’ve learned a lot over the years and even became a certified personal trainer. Although I’ve shared my insights in my newsletter and on social media, I’ve never written about it, until now.

Peloton Lessons I’ve Learned

1. All rides count

Warm-up, Cool-downs, and Shorter rides

Confession: There was a time when I didn’t take warm-up or cool-down rides. And the only 20-minute rides I took were either HIIT or Tabata.

Peloton now offers fewer 45-minute and 60-minute options and more 10, 15, and 20-minute rides. Some people will stack them while others only have time for a short ride.

App rides

There was also the time when I deleted hundreds of rides. Yes, you read that right.

When I upgraded from an inexpensive spin bike to the Peloton Bike, I transferred my membership but also decided to delete my entire class history. I guess I wanted to start with a fresh slate.

Check out Peloton 101: Everything You Need to Know.

Repeat after me: all rides count.

TIP: If you’re short on time, I recommend Tabata and HIIT rides. I often burn more calories than in a longer class with more rest periods.

2. Create Your Own Milestones

proud woman in sports bra

What are your personal fitness goals? Now that you know them, it’s your turn to crush them.

If you have a Peloton or know someone who does, chances are you have heard the term milestone. While you can earn a milestone in any category of class, most people are referring to their rides or runs. A milestone is any one-hundredth class you complete in any category. Achieving a milestone gives you bragging rights. There’s a good chance you know your friends’ milestones better than the number of years they’ve been married or the ages of their kids.

Until I joined the Peloton Facebook Page, I didn’t realize that Peloton milestones were such a huge deal. I had already completed more than 100 rides by then and had become an official member of the “Century Club.” (I never even ordered a shirt).

For those who do warmups and cooldown rides, the classes will quickly add up. That’s one reason why you’ll see people posting about their thousands of rides in a short period of time. Peloton also has tons of people in beast-mode who work out for hours a day.

I don’t make a big deal out of milestones because I find them arbitrary. One person’s 100 rides may look different than someone else’s.

Proof in point. I took my latest milestone ride this week without telling a soul. I didn’t even add the number to my hashtag. I took an on-demand ride which precluded me from getting a shout-out from the instructor. Sure, I got some high-fives and then, I patted myself on the back.

I’m not saying milestones aren’t a big deal. Of course, they are. You chose exercise over doing something else X amount of times. That’s an accomplishment and you deserve all the credit.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Cody Rigsby says it best, “You do you, boo.”

I’m a victim of comparing myself to others, especially on social media. This is especially true for me since I live and breathe the world of Peloton as a blogger. I doubt myself and downplay my achievements, i.e., “imposter syndrome.”

I’ll see someone post their output and think, I wish I could compete like that on the leaderboard. Or see someone on Facebook wearing the same Peloton outfit as me and notice their killer abs or arms. I’ll wonder how someone has 90 minutes every day to work out or how they get to 2800 rides in such a short time. I compare. I do.

One of my favorite quotes is “don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” You have no idea what someone is going through and the worst thing you can do to yourself is to compare them (someone you don’t even know in real life) to you.

Honor your body, respect your age, your family commitments, your everyday stresses, and your time constraints. Sure, you can compare. But compare you to you!

TIP: one of my favorite things to do is to compete against myself on the leaderboard. Take a class you’ve taken before and note your progress and how far you’ve come.

4. It’s OK to Miss a Monday

Instagrammers love this quote #nevermissamonday.

I get it. You’re setting yourself up for the rest of the week but you’re also putting a lot of pressure on yourself if you do miss a Monday.

Even Jess Sims agrees. You can miss a day. And maybe that day is Monday and maybe that day is Saturday. It’s OK to take a rest day and your body probably needs it.

If you’re looking for some motivation, these tips work for me.

5. Make Time, not Excuses

It almost happened. I had maintained a 3-year long Peloton streak through a move, injuries, and distance learning and just like that, almost lost it.

I wore my sports bra and leggings three days in a row, hoping to find time later in the day to exercise. Then, I got tired and watched TV instead. Until the next day (and the next), I didn’t even bother putting on my workout clothes at all. In a matter of days, I had fallen into a new habit, not working out at all.

I needed to make changes. Yes, I wasn’t sleeping well and more tired than usual. Sure, I had taken on more work and responsibility. But I was now a person who worked out. I need exercise for my mental health. And, in those days, I slept worse and became a complete grump, especially around my kids.

I made a choice. I started waking up earlier. I saved my streak and everything changed for me. I documented it here: 12 Unexpected Benefits of Early Morning Workouts.

6. Add Strength Training

woman lifting dumbbell

For years, the only way I did any strength training was if an instructor added a weights section to a class. Then, I started doing the 10-minute light weights and arms classes occasionally. It wasn’t until I took strength training more seriously that I started seeing results: definition and weight loss.

If you’re new to strength training, get yourself a yoga mat and a set of 5, 8, and 10-pound weights. You’ll soon increase to 12, 15, 20-pound dumbbells and higher. You may want to consider getting this rack or this all-in-one adjustable dumbbell.

If you’re looking for structure and a program to follow, I highly recommend joining Hard Core on the Floor run by a trainer. She has a Facebook Group and Instagram Page.

You can also invest in the Peloton Guide as I did. It offers Floor Bootcamp as well as 3-day and 5-day splits, essentially strength training programs. These classes are exclusively available to those with the Guide for the first 7 weeks of their release.

Otherwise, get in the habit of doing core as many times per week as you can and then alternate leg and glute days and arms days. You can also try the Peloton Bootcamp classes available both for the bike and treadmill. In March of 2022, Peloton added Bootcamps to their hikes, one of my favorite classes to take on the treadmill. These classes are deceivingly difficult (but doable). You’ll be sweating as you climb your way to the highest inclines.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive treadmill that integrates well with the Peloton App, this is the one I have. You can read more about why I chose it in this blog post.

7. Try Out All the Classes

When Peloton first started out, they only offered spin classes. Truthfully, if I had the choice, I’ll still always choose a spin class. But, you need variety in your workouts. First of all, mentally, it’s good to change it up. Secondly, you don’t want to overwork muscles and ignore others. Cardio is great for heart health but you really need some sort of resistance training as well.

Walking the dogs? Listen to an outdoor walk class.

Can’t sleep? Try a meditation.

Sitting at your desk all day? How about a standing yoga class.

You can find a list of classes here including the most recent addition, boxing.

8. Don’t Be Scared to Try Something New

Get out of your comfort zone. After lurking in various Peloton groups and following other members on Instagram, I finally got the courage to try some of the classes that intimidated me, like Power Zone classes, pro cyclist rides, or any class taught by Olivia, the “tiny assassin.

Power Zone Rides

Before you hop on a Power Zone ride, you’ll need to take the FTP Test. This will assess your individual fitness level. From there, you’ll discover your optimal zones (this will appear on the Peloton screen for every ride you take in the future, not just Power Zone).

Live Rides

I know a lot of people are scared to take a live ride. No one can see you and honestly, no one cares where you are on the leaderboard. Personally, I like the live rides because I can add them to my schedule and try to work around them during the day, just like any other appointment. Plus, there’s always the chance of getting a shout-out, although rare these days unless it’s your birthday or a big milestone.

Peloton Challenges

Find a Peloton challenge to motivate you. They add new ones each month.

9. Ride with Friends

Find friends who motivate you, whether in real life or on the leaderboard.

One of the highlights of my week is riding a few mornings a week with my best friend from college. Not only do we text about the class afterward but we also feel like we’re letting the other down if we cancel.

When you’re first starting out, you may find it unusual that someone you don’t know wants to follow you. There are many reasons why a stranger wants to follow you. Perhaps they’re from the same town, your leaderboard name grabs their attention, or more likely, you have similar outputs.

Personally, I love following people especially if we perform similarly on the leaderboard. It helps me gauge where I should be and when I’m slacking.

And even now, a high five brings a smile to my face. So, don’t be afraid to make new friends. And if you don’t random people following, there’s a privacy option in settings.

10. Be Kind to Yourself

woman smiling while running

Don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments. Each time that you choose to exercise is a step towards self-improvement and better health. Not surprisingly, I talk about Peloton often. And I can’t tell you how many times a friend will say something implying that either they’re weak, the bottom of the leaderboard, or how little they work out.


I’ve been riding for years and still can’t make it anywhere close to the top of the leaderboard. And, I know I never will. I’m OK with that.

Even the Peloton instructors have weaknesses. Christine often complains about her flexibility, as did Emma in a recent post-ride stretch. They modify during strength classes. They forget which side they did last. They’re human. And so are you. Be kind to yourself.

It’s also important not to overexercise and to listen to your body.

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes that Emma Lovewell likes to say: “Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it.”

What have you learned from your Peloton experience? I’d love to hear. Shout out below.

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Saturday 9th of September 2023

I loved this article! My biggest takeaway from using Peloton app for the last 4 years is to add strength training. I was excited to see you felt the same way. I would also always choose a ride over anything else, but strength classes have changed my body in a way I never saw in the first couple of years before I started adding them. The other thing I have learned is to work out even on a tired day. I used to skip a day if I slept poorly or was generally tired from a busy day. I would skip those days because I felt like I wouldn't be able to manage the workout. That really wasn't true. I would have been able to do it, just not perhaps in a beast-level mode that I expected out of myself. I have learned that attitude was a hindrance to my success. Success comes from consistency, not being able to go beast mode every time you get on the bike. I have also learned that consistency is what you do for months and months. So, if you skip a Monday, it's okay, just keep going tomorrow. Consistency is not about a few weeks. It takes months to see real changes and years to really lose weight depending on your starting point. One missed day means nothing if you keep with it in the long term.

Michelle Platt

Sunday 24th of September 2023

Thanks for your comment. If you ever take a class with Tunde for strength, I love when she talks about how intimidating strength was for her (read my Arms with Tunde post if you haven't already)> I think Peloton took away the indecision I had about weights. Now, even on vacation, I start a class on the app and absolutely know what to do. And I agree, just moving every day is what matters to me. And why I plan to work out every day but if I don't, well then at least I did 5-6 days that week.

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