Is Peloton Worth It?

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

During the pandemic, Peloton exploded in popularity as homebound people explored ways to get fit and stay active.

The exercise equipment manufacturer makes not only exercise bikes but also programs to keep users moving and motivated.

The combination of equipment and programming proved so successful during the pandemic that the company struggled to keep up with demand.

But does Peloton live up to the hype?

For around $2,500, the bike comes with a rotating screen so that users can participate in cycling on the stationary bike and in non-biking classes. Peloton also makes a treadmill (around $3,500) and a rowing machine (around $3,100). In addition to the equipment, users can sign up for a separate membership for $44 a month to access all the Peloton programming, accessible to the entire household.

Kerri Howell, online personal trainer, nutrition coach and owner of Rochester-based, owns a Peloton.

“It depends on the person, Howell said. “The membership is comparable to a gym, so the value is consistent with what you’d pay but you don’t need to drive. For some, that 15- to 30-minute drive is a lot. If they don’t prefer to go to the gym, they can get a community and accountability.”

Tuning into a live session can offer real-time feedback and accountability. Or users can select pre-recorded sessions.

Howell said that programming includes classes in yoga, stretching, walk, running and resistance.

“It’s not just the bike,” she said. “You can see who else is in the course and connect with them. There’s a social aspect and community. Some people do better with a program but they’re not comfortable with the gym.”

Another layer of anonymity may provide a protective buffer, but it also forces users to rely solely upon themselves to feel motivated to participate and to participate fully once involved. There’s no one to check in on them if they do not show up or to monitor form and progress as they participate.

“Peloton relies on self-discipline,” Howell said. “You have to get on the bike or pick up the weights. At the gym, you might be in a class and you’ll be less likely to skimp. If someone wants a variety of fitness options in their own home, it’s worth it.”

Dave Pfaff, a certified personal trainer with AMP Fitness in Penfield, said that some of his busy clients like the option of an at-home workout. While not as personalized as using a trainer, “moving is better than nothing,” Pfaff said. “If you like it, use it.”

Peloton offers a rental option and month-by-month program option.

But Pfaff does not see the necessity of buying a Peloton to stay fit at home when family obligations or winter weather keeps one homebound.

“There’s so much stuff at home that you can do,” he said. “I feel it’s a piece of equipment that’s overpriced. But if you bought it, maybe you won’t just let it sit there. Yet, there are so many other things you can do if you have the motivation, like dumbbells, resistance bands, a yoga ball and medicine ball for a full body workout at your house.”

The numerous free videos on YouTube can also provide guidance for home-based workouts.