Let’s stop and talk Peloton for a hot minute! Whether your quads are pulsing during a Tabata with Robin or you’re jamming out, full-volume on the EDM ride with Jess King, I guarantee you, you are nonstop smiling.
And while the Peloton is the king of living room cardio and just an absolute encyclopedia of outstanding instructors, it can very well revolutionize your fitness too.
The ultimate question is, how?
How do you get the most out of your Peloton? How do you properly fuel for a ride? How do you physically prepare your body to set a new PR and still feel like a million bucks after?
As much as you want me to give you a one-word solution to cover it all, I’m afraid it’s a bit more complex than that. But not by much! Regardless of the class duration, your performance stands on four pillars that can elevate the end result (aka total output). The four pillars are: hydration, moderation, positioning, and fuel.
Let us begin with hydration!! Just because you remain stationary without the rubber hitting the road doesn’t mean you don’t have to hydrate and balance electrolytes the same way you would on a road bike. As a matter of fact, since you won’t have a draft and will be in steadier temperatures, you might want to start thinking about your hydration a day or two in advance. Are you usually drinking enough water? Do you have a favorite water bottle that you carry around? Have you ever set reminders on your phone to refill your water? These are all great things to consider before you clip in and initiate the sweat-fest.
Nutrition (aka Fuel)
Next up, what kind of fuel have you been pumping in all week? Be honest with yourself for a minute and look back at the entire week. Were we steady with our consumption all week? Or did we let a lot of the week slip due to stress or underconsumption? Because the last thing we want to do for a big ride is shake up the entire week, yank up the calories, and expect to utilize all of it as PR-fuel magically. Instead, the real ticket to a PR is a consistent week leading up.
So, decide how you want to handle the week’s nutrition, make your coach proud with a proactive week, and let that happy body be the paving stone for a great workout. Understand that fueling for a ride doesn’t mean we need to always ask for more calories added to our savings account. It instead means that sometimes, we just need to shift meal timing to accommodate a little bigger push on that ride. As you get within a few hours away from the ride, gauge your energy, see how you feel, see if you can perhaps borrow some carbs from your dinner plan, and bring in a cup of diced pineapple or some Gatorade, etc. Get yourself in a place where you’re not overly full when you kick down for that first pedal to start the warmup. On the contrary, don’t put yourself in a place where you clip in and immediately think about what you will eat after the ride. We want to be able to tunnel vision that ride and that instructor as much as possible, without any external distractions, let alone hunger.
The magical thing about the Peloton is that we never get on there and underdeliver. There is far too much motivation and energy coming out of those speakers just to close our eyes and coast. So, for us to make sure we aren’t teetering a fine line of depletion, especially when the intensity picks up and the playlist ends up switching to your FAVORITE PUMP UP SONG, we need to make sure we have adequate calories in and we are following coach’s orders with our food, to prepare us for what is to come.
While the terms ‘intensity, motivation, and effort’ have been hyping up this write-up, there is an essential place for moderation too. The term moderation can cover many approaches, but the most important skill is listening to your body. It is being comfortable with the thought that not every day is a Power Zone PR. Not every day can handle a Tunde or Robin class at max output. YOU are your most accurate gauge of what is left in the tank, and that is precisely how you are going to get the most out of your Peloton… but allowing yourself to come to terms that we are human. We need those 15–20-minute low-impact rides where we scrape the bottom of the leaderboard. We need those days where we come home from a hectic day at work and switch our scheduled workout to a scenic ride so that we can clear our head.
Finally, let’s take a more technical approach and look at our stance on that Peloton. With proper positioning, there are lots of things to consider. That is the main reason I paid an expert (Adam Baskin from Cat One Fitness) to virtually walk me through a custom fitment/positioning set-up for my bike. And while I know getting fitted might be more challenging for some users, especially those sharing a bike at home, here are some of the bullet points you can address on your own for a cursory fit.
- Cleats/Pedal axle should typically be under the ball of the foot.
- Axis of rotation of the knee should be over the pedal axle with the cranks parallel to the ground, typically referred to as “knee over the pedal spindle.”
- The saddle should generally be level with respect to the ground.
- Your trunk should be roughly 45-60 degrees with respect to the ground when holding the handlebars.
- Keep your back/spine neutral and avoid locking out your elbows.
Now that you’ve got your nutrition in line, hydration at an all-time high and saddle positioned right where you need it to be, nothing is holding you back from clipping in and hitting a PR on your next ride.