There are fitness influencers and then there are Peloton instructors. The faces of the connected fitness brand get the chance to guide, cajole and cheer on Peloton’s millions of members, turning many exercisers into fans in the process.
Peloton is set to give its members the chance to take a live in-person class with their favourite instructors by opening up its two new studios in London and New York, and I got to try the experience in the UK.
As you walk into the London studio in Covent Garden, the first thing you notice is the glass-fronted control booths where you can spy the editors and producers putting together the live broadcasts.
It’s a nod to the most surprising part of the experience – that these are working studios which have to produce something in the region of 1,000 workouts a month. The good news is that it means you’re not crammed in as you would be in a traditional fitness studio – everyone gets a front-row seat, or treadmill as the case may be, with 26 bikes and 14 treadmills in the first two studios. There’s a third studio that is currently reserved for filming strength sessions, although with the Peloton rowing machine imminent, I could envisage a row of rowers in front of the stage.
The bad news is that while Peloton does pull out all the stops to make it a special “brand experience”, you are still a studio audience and will be policed as such. That means phones off (you’ll get a chance for a selfie with your Peloton instructor of choice later) and hazards like an extra towel draped over a treadmill’s arm are swiftly removed.
I took a 30-minute pop run class with Jon Hosking (that’s me below, second from the right on the treadmills).
A photo posted by on
As you can imagine, it’s a different experience from working out at home and there’s an intimate, collegiate atmosphere. It was an enjoyable workout and I can see why my colleague raved about the hardware in Coach’s Peloton Tread review. My only regret was getting too pulled into the leaderboard and committing to holding on to my position, rather than easing off and enjoying the experience.
Then it was the selfie line in the reception (I was given a firm direction of “no touching” which Hosking immediately ignored), downstairs to use the well-appointed facilities (MALIN+GOETZ products in the shower cubicles, of course), then up to the mezzanine level to recline and recover.
The studio is still in its soft-launch phase, but there are plans to open booking to members later in the summer. The idea is not that it will become the local gym for Londoners and New Yorkers, but to be a destination for members in each region. Expect pricing and availability to reflect that, and along the same lines the studio is expected to be open to members only from Friday to Sunday. That also means the studio can produce workouts with just the trainers, so you can pretend you don’t have to share your favourite Peloton instructor with anyone else.
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.
Jonathan Shannon has been the editor of the Coach website since 2016, developing a wide-ranging experience of health and fitness. Jonathan took up running while editing Coach and has run a sub-40min 10K and 1hr 28min half marathon. His next ambition is to complete a marathon. He’s an advocate of cycling to work and is Coach’s e-bike reviewer, and not just because he lives up a bit of a hill. He also reviews fitness trackers and other workout gear.