Sunday, November 5, 2017

how to: peloton bike for less (or how to make your own at home spin studio)

Back in the good ol' days of fourth year, I managed to work out 3-6 days a week. I fell in love with spin classes, and went every opportunity I could. I went to our local study religiously, and any time I was in a bigger city for interviews or fun, I would go to Soul Cycle or Fly Wheel, from studios in San Diego, NYC, Philadelphia, and Miami.  I've done all sorts of exercises over the years, from running to weights to yoga to circuit training, and nothing kept my attention like spinning did. I looked forward to that hour where I could just disappear - in a dark room where no one could see me, with music blasting, and my legs just going. It got me through the early phases of my parents separation - no one can see you cry while you're climbing up a hill listening to Adele. It helped me lose weight without feeling like I was hating my life doing it. Basically: I loved spin class.

And then we moved to a city that didn't have a spin studio. And I started working 80 hours a week, getting up at 3:30 AM and not getting home until 7 PM. And while I started going to Orange Theory, and liking it (and knowing that those weights were good for me), I just never looked forward to them. I remember reading AJ's post about her Pelaton bike, and the more I looked into it, the more I wanted it. But the cost ($1995, or $97 a month for 39 months) is pretty steep, especially on a resident's budget. The appealing thing about the bike is having a bike that is all connected, from the actual bike to the class you're taking to the numbers you're creating. I figured that those parts could be put together separately, while still getting the same experience.  So here's what I did!

the necessities
There are four main components to making your own Peloton:
  • The bike: there are a ton of different spin bikes out there, with all sorts of designs and extras. I ended up choosing this bike - it had most of the things I was looking for, and had great reviews. It has most of the standard features of a regular spin bike - the only thing this one doesn't have is a computer sensor, which is something most bikes at this price range don't have either. It showed up at my house within 3 days, and took CR about 30 minutes to put together. 
  • Sensor: to make up for the bike not having a computer, you can buy a sensor for $40 that attaches to the pedal to keep track of your cadence (how fast you are spinning). It attaches to an app that goes on your phone, so you can match the cadence that the instructors say. The only down side to not having a computer attached to the bike is that you can't measure resistance, which I never had at my regular spin class any way, but for those of you who are used to Fly Wheel and having a set resistance number, that may bother you. I personally don't care, so this was the perfect alternative. 
  • Peloton app: The app itself is of course free, but the subscription costs $12.99 a month for unlimited amount of classes. There are up to 14 live rides a day, and over 4000 saved rides. You can filter by time length of classes, type of classes, and instructors. The instructors are very similar to the ones you see at Soul Cycle or Fly Wheel - high energy, fit, enthusiastic instructors. 
  • Monitor holder: The Peloton app works on both iPhones and iPads, so if you don't have an iPad, you can use your phone. I personally like having a slightly larger screen, so I use my iPad mini. I use this tablet holder, which works great for holding the screen in front of you. It's no 21.5 inch screen like the Peloton bike has, but I personally don't think you need that huge of a screen to have someone tell you how fast to spin your bike ;)

Of course, there are some items that enhance the experience. Here are the things that are bonuses, but aren't necessary:
  • Floor mats: our bike is in the basement, which has a concrete floor. While the bike is pretty sturdy, there is definitely a bit of rocking when you're standing up, so I recommend that if you're bike is going to be on a hard surface, having some kind of padding underneath is a good idea. This pack comes with 6 pieces, which is the perfect size to put under the bike. Another option could be an older yoga mat that you're no longer using. 
  • Bike shoes: I've had this pair from Shimano for the past nine months, and love them. While you can ride the bike with just normal tennis shoes, having spin shoes makes it easier - you have better control over the wheel, and because you don't have to point your toes as much to keep your feet in the baskets, your feet/calves won't hurt. I highly highly recommend getting spin shoes if you are going to spin even semi-regularly. Both the bike and the shoes have the SPD clip, which is the standard clips most spin studios use. 

And then there are things that are absolutely not necessary, but are fun anyways:
  • A fitness watch: I've had my Apple Watch for over a year, and it is such a great motivator for any type of work out. You can read my review of my watch here. Definitely not a necessity, and you burn calories even if you don't have a watch that tells you how many you burned, but it somehow feels like an accomplishment to see the number at the end. 
  • Cute work out clothes: you guys know I'm all about Old Navy's work out clothes - they are inexpensive, and hold up well. Have you guys seen their newest pair of cropped leggings? I love. I also own several pairs of their sports bras - they are definitely more of a compression sports bra than a shaping one, but that's the style I prefer. I have and love the floral version. 

Here's my screenshot from this morning's ride - I'm honestly considering going on another ride tonight just because it was so much fun!