Gym culture – that of actually attending a gym – has been a dominant force for a number of years, with influencers and personalities honing content and communities exemplifying and perpetuating this environment. Gym chains and brands have gone through many expansions because of this trend. It suits people.
The idea of going to a gym is an action that motivates them: it’s like going to the office. A gym is a social place, even if those exercising don’t talk there’s a sense of community. There’s all the equipment and resources a gym-goer will and would need to complete a set of any kind. Gyms are, of course, a service. However, at-home workouts are often seen as the pinnacle, and logical extension, of this culture: a gym at home. Gyms are personalised in that universal way all contemporary services are, but at-home gyms are definitely yours, designed by you, for you. The success of Peloton, in part, is driven by this trend, but, also, by the subscription-based model they employ.
Peloton, conventionally, is understood to be an exercise bike. They sell other equipment too, but the exercise bike is their central image. Their inadvertently famous advert – which Ryan Reynolds capitalised on for his own advert – showed a lady getting a Peloton bike for Christmas. Peloton is an exercise bike.
They are now, often, a key feature of the at-home workout videos and content which influencers (lifestyle, exercise, and others unrelated to fitness) produce. But it goes beyond even this important sphere. It’s a normal reference point for everyday consumers talking about at-home workouts. Peloton signals this at-home-ness. It’s an exercise bike but it’s also a little more.
This at-home-ness has been an important trend for a number of decades. Many industries have begun relieving the pressure on themselves and their customers of having to be somewhere at a certain time by transforming their services into those ready for the home. Online casinos are one such example. Sites like PlayToro offer the traditional casino experience but with the added convenience of playing from your sofa and at your own pace. All are geared to empower the consumer, allowing them to make it theirs.
Peloton’s own business interests aren’t limited to the bike. It is a subscription service, also. There’s a screen set between the handlebars that displays a variety of metrics that helps users track their progress and, also, enables users to stream workout videos, pre-recorded or live. It is this last point that sets Peloton apart from being an equipment company and part of their success.
The joke is that the success of Peloton has fostered a cult-like community. The workouts are communal. Users can participate in live workouts, where the instructors are streamed to the screen and the user’s metrics and username are available for the instructors to call them out for congratulations, and be one of the hundreds, thousands, tens-of-thousands doing a live ride together. The interactions don’t begin and end with the instructor, though. Riders are encouraged to talk to one another, support and virtually high-five as workouts are completed and milestones are reached.
Instructors have their personalities, their own curated playlists. They are as much a draw as anything. If a user searched through TikTok, they’d find fan cams and memes dedicated to instructors.
Of course, there are alternatives to Peloton. Peloton is expensive. However, they’re not Peloton. Users suggest, though, that they get what they pay for: no reason not to get involved.