My Harrowing Journey Through 7 Peloton Rides In 7 Days (AKA The 7 Deadly Spins)

- Pelo Talk -
My Harrowing Journey Through 7 Peloton Rides In 7 Days (AKA The 7 Deadly Spins)

As coronavirus numbers drop and American society opens up again, I’ve had to accept that my quarantine bod can no longer be kept out of the public eye. A year of creative Zoom angles has helped hide the damage, but whether I like it or not, my “COVID 20” is on full display every time I venture back into the real world. Basically, it’s time to get serious about feeling better.

One approach would be to “eat healthy.” I suppose that would involve not snacking on Tate’s Cookies or almond M&Ms, but I don’t think I’m emotionally there yet. Instead I’ve decided to take my Peloton relationship to the next level.

Normally, I hop on the bike about three times a week, but desperate times call for desperate pedaling, and so I’ve taken on an unthinkable challenge: seven straight days of Peloton. To some, that may seem laughably easy, but for me, it’s like climbing Mt. Everest.

Here is my journey.

Day 1

It’s Day 1 of the challenge. Actually, it’s day four of Day 1. I tried to start on Monday, but friends came over. On Tuesday there was a water mane break (and I wasn’t about to whip up a sweat and not have a shower to step into). On Wednesday, my reserved exercise time turned into a Korean BBQ dinner. And now here we are on a Thursday – racked with guilt and delays, determine to finally get this challenge off the ground.

The plan was to hop on the bike in the afternoon, but suddenly it was 3 pm, and not only had I not done my ride for the day, I hadn’t even had lunch. Let me tell you something: I was ravenous. But I was also racked with Peloton guilt. If I ate now, my ride would be pushed back hours (first I’d have to order food, then eat it, then digest it, then nap by accident — you know the drill).

I could already see myself delaying the start of this challenge yet another day. But if I worked out now and put off lunch, I might literally die of starvation. No one needs to discover my desiccated corpse atop a Peloton.

That’s when I came up with a brilliant idea: I would order lunch and then do my Peloton while I waited for the food to arrive! It’s called “multi-tasking.” Did I just make that term up? I think I did.

My experience has been that every Postmates order takes about 15 minutes longer than promised; so, when the app said my lunch wouldn’t be arriving until 4:30, I knew my plan was perfect. What could go wrong? I patted myself on the back for being an efficient badass and then trotted over to the bike to get this seven-day streak going.

Finally, after days and days of false starts, I perched myself atop the seat and scrolled through my class options. Should I do Emma Lovewell? She always kicks my ass. Or how about Jess King? Do I like her? Ultimately, I decided on Ally Love’s 30-minute ‘90s pop ride. The challenge was afoot! I was going to do this thing: no excuses, no distractions!

“Hein is on the way to pickup your food! Expected delivery: 4:08pm,” read an announcement on my phone.

WHAT?!? Since when does Postmates arrive twenty minutes early? This was a disaster. Should I stop the ride and restart it later? No. If I hop off the bike, I might not get back on it. But I also didn’t want to have to cut my first workout short. After many difficult seconds with this moral dilemma, I decided I would just stick to the class, and if the delivery gods had any mercy, they would allow my food to arrive late like usual.

Of course, there was no mercy. Even with an extra stop on the way, Hein was frustratingly speedy. I biked extra hard as if that would make the class end faster, but it was to no avail: Hein arrived way ahead of his estimated time, and I ultimately had to hop off the bike prematurely. I know what you’re thinking: why didn’t I jump back on after I collected my food? First, I don’t like your judgey tone. Second, am I supposed to let a lobster roll and tater tots just sit there while I finish a ride? No. I’m not a monster.

The good news is that I did manage to get 25 out of 30 minutes done; so it wasn’t a huge disaster. But I felt like it was a weak way to start the challenge. Fingers crossed for a distraction free ride tomorrow!

Day 2

I woke up today with a wide-open schedule. Yesterday was a little bit of a mess, what with receiving a lobster roll mid-Peloton session. What was I thinking? I resolved to manage my time better today — and I needed to because last night I made myself a stack of pancakes at midnight. Not ideal on this weight-loss journey. Don’t worry though: we were going to get a good Peloton ride in today!

Lobster rolls and pancakes don’t appear in a vacuum (although I wish they would). They enter my life when I don’t meal prep. I decided to spend the morning poring through my cookbooks for some healthier options to set myself up for success. Suddenly it was noon, and while I wanted to hop on the bike, I also knew that I needed to buy groceries otherwise my meal planning would collapse. So, off to the supermarket I went. Oh, and also the UPS store because there was a package. And the nursery — I want to grow parsley, you see. By the way, did I hear that it was National Doughnut Day? One must honor that, regardless of any fitness goals one may have. Better drop by Tasty Donuts to celebrate the occasion!

By the time I returned home three hours later, there was now a plan in place for my friends to come over and hang out for a few hours… at least until my evening activities at 7:30. Don’t worry: they were going to leave at 6:00, and then I would have just enough time to do my biking. Unfortunately, they left closer to 6:07, and then I remembered I had to water my balcony garden. That would only take a few minutes… but given how sad some of the plants looked, I decided that maybe I should fertilize the soil? Just to help.

Suddenly it was 7 PM, and I only had thirty minutes to exercise, shower, get dressed, and eat dinner. Where did the day go? As far as I could tell, it had been full of essential activities. But regardless of the time crunch I had created, I was committed to this seven-day challenge. I hopped on the bike and took Hannah Frankson’s 20 minute low-impact ride. It wasn’t too rigorous – considering my feet hurt from all the afternoon errands — but I definitely burned a few calories. Unfortunately, there was no time for dinner afterwards (so much for meal prepping); so I eventually wound up eating McDonalds at 1 a.m. Hey, at least I got some sort of a workout in. Onwards and upwards…

Day 3

I did it! I managed to have a proper, full ride without any invasive lobster rolls or encroaching plans. Not only that, I bested my personal record! Unfortunately, Emma Lovewell’s 30-minute 2000s ride also managed to destroy me — specifically my ankles — so I’ve been hobbling around ever since. But that’s okay. Every creaky step reminds me of my accomplishments. I feel great… except when I realize that this seven-day challenge would be nearly done had I started it on time. Instead I focus on the future. And the pizza that’s arriving for dinner.

Day 4

The roll continues! And I’m not just saying that because I am literally making rolls for tomorrow morning’s breakfast. I managed to squeeze in a twenty-minute low-impact ride with Hannah Corbin just before the stroke of midnight. I’m already feeling the positive effect of four straight Peloton days in a row. For instance, I ordered pasta tonight at dinner, but I only ate half. It’s been so long since I’ve felt guilty enough to not finish a meal. This is progress!

I know it sounds like I’m developing a warped relationship with food, but please remember that I live in Los Angeles — I’m merely realigning with the city. Let’s focus on more positives: I finished first on the Leaderboard tonight! Of course, it was the “Here Now” list, and there were only eight people cycling with me. But I’ll take a win wherever I can get one.

My left ankle is still janky — maybe I have Achilles tendonitis? I just ordered a calf-stretcher on Amazon to remedy the situation. I also ordered a laminator because I’ve always wanted one and never realized they were so cheap. What a day!

Day 5

I’ve never done five days in a row on Peloton. It’s been deeply empowering… but also deeply exhausting. I’m in desperate need of a nap. Nevertheless, I still flung myself into the saddle this afternoon for another 30 minutes of torture. I told myself I didn’t have to be hardcore. No need to break any personal records (or bones) today. Just get through the ride.

Unfortunately, I did myself no favors by selecting Olivia’s 30-minute Tabata ride. I assumed “Tabata” was some new popstar like Anitta or Normani. Nope. Tabata is a hellish form of masochism that involves twenty seconds of exertion, followed by ten seconds of “recovery.” I put recovery in quotes because nothing, and I mean nothing, in this ride resembled anything that might lead to healing or rejuvenation. I learned this all the hard way. The very, very hard way.

I should have known better: my sister-in-law once warned me that Olivia was secretly the hardest instructor on Peloton. Despite knowing that, I later took an Olivia class and nearly fainted on the handlebars. Sis was right. Knowing that, I simply do not know what inspired me to return to Olivia today — the day when I had wanted to chill out a bit. But I did it. And it was awful.

Somehow I managed to get through the prolonged trauma that is Tabata. It was so rigorous and soul-crushing that I rated the class with my first ever 10/10 difficulty rating. And in the end I didn’t even come close to breaking my personal record (which I said I wasn’t aiming for, but heck, if I’m going to be in that much pain, I just assumed I would be about 100kj above my previous best).

Now I’m mostly horizontal on my sofa. Can’t wait for my laminator to come. There’s a 75% chance I’ll print out this article, laminate it, and mail it to my editor. I’m sure she’ll love that.

Day 6

I woke up today with legs that felt like they were made of party streamers. There was truly no way they could support by body, let alone endure another Peloton session. Since yesterday, I’ve been squawking about the sustained misery that is Tabata to just about everyone I’ve encountered. It is now my red badge of courage, and even though I hope to never experience Tabata again, I do feel pretty cool for having survived it.

That being said, I decided to take it easy today with a twenty-minute Cody Rigsby ‘80s class. I’m not saying that Cody rides are a breeze, but they’re not as grueling as, say, Emma Lovewell, Alex Toussaint, or Olivia “Tabata Sadist” Amato. Most importantly, a session with Cody just sort of speeds by — thanks largely to strong playlists and his penchant for quirky ramblings. Today Cody talked about visiting a theme park on the North Carolina border. It wasn’t the most captivating story, but somehow the tale distracted me from my Tabata-drained legs. Plus, Cody played Jody Watley, which always earns brownie points in my book.

In other news, my laminator arrived. I don’t know what I’m more excited about: my first lamination or finishing this challenge. Either way, we’re finding out tomorrow.

Day 7

We did it, guys. No, I didn’t laminate anything (YET). But I did finish the challenge! I nearly lost momentum there at the end, but I stuck it out and crossed the finish line.

To celebrate the end of seven days of Peloton, I thought it might be fun to take a Live DJ ride, but that was a huge mistake. Peloton’s resident turntablist — DJ John Michael — is full of love and energy and smiles, which is great! Totally great! But also… when I’m dying on a bike and hating life, I don’t need to see someone literally dancing in my face in some sort of taunt disguised as empowerment. And even worse, DJ John Michael has the audacity to work up a sweat. No, sir, you are not the exertion victim here. It is we! WE are the ones in agony!

DJ John Michael was too much for my feeble emotional state; so I aborted the class early and moseyed over to Alex Toussaint’s ‘90s hip-hop ride. Alex’s style is high energy gym-coach motivation. I wouldn’t say that it’s a perfect fit for me, but I do enjoy that he’s the only instructor who seems to actually sweat. See, I’m okay with instructors sweating. They’re on a bike. That’s the whole point. But a DJ? No. You will not sweat-upstage us!

Clearly this seven-day challenge has fully exhausted my body as I am now picking imaginary fights with DJ John Michael — a man who appears to be nothing less than a bundle of hugs and rainbows. But I firmly believe that any person who appears on our Peloton screens must be okay with receiving all of our wrath, warranted or not.

Nevertheless, for all of Alex Toussaint’s sweating and hardcore “coach-talk,” his ride was surprisingly easy. There was one regretful interlude where he cranked the resistance up to ungodly levels, but other than that, the class was something of a breeze. As I unclipped myself for the last time in this challenge, the thought did cross my mind that maybe the class wasn’t easy. Maybe my endurance had actually improved? Maybe, just maybe, seven days of exercise is actually a good thing?

I can’t say that I particularly loved this challenge, but I left it four pounds lighter. And even though I am now going to reward myself with ice cream, I do feel compelled to make myself something healthy for dinner tonight. What a wild notion.

Even wilder: I think I want to extend this streak to an eighth day. Well shucks. I guess I’m part of the cult now.

Images: Instagram

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