How to get a peloton-style workout without splitting

Lisa Whitney, a dietitian in Reno, Nev., Came to terms with a lifetime deal nearly two years ago. A fitness studio went out of business selling its equipment. He built an indoor exercise bike for $ 100.

Ms. Whitney soon added some to the bike. He placed his iPad on the handlebar. Then he experimented with online cycling classes on YouTube and for the app peloton, A manufacturer of Internet-connected exercise equipment that offers interactive fitness classes.

Ms. Whitney had no desire to upgrade to Pelton’s more than $ 1,900 luxury exercise bike, which includes sections that track your speed and heart rate, and a tablet to stream sensors. So he modified his bike to become a do-it-yourself peloton to buy sensors and indoor cycling shoes.

The grand total: about $ 300, plus a $ 13 monthly subscription to the peloton app. Not cheap, but a significant discount that he may have paid.

“I’m happy with my setup,” said Ms. Whitney, 42. “I don’t think upgrading will do much.”

The epidemic, which has forced many gyms to close, has prompted crowds of people Emphasis on luxury items such as peloton bikes and treadmills So they can work at home. To capitalize on this trend, Apple released last year Apple Fitness Plus, A instructional fitness app offered exclusively for those who own an Apple Watch, who need an iPhone to work.

But all of that can be expensive. The Apple Watch and iPhone’s minimum prices go up to $ 600, and the Apple Fitness Plus costs $ 10 per month. Then to operate classes on a large screen TV instead of a phone when you exercise, you need a streaming device like the Apple TV, which costs about $ 150. The full peloton experience is also pricier.

With the economy in a foul odor, many of us are trying to reduce our spending while maintaining good health. So I experimented with reducing the cost of doing video-instructed workouts at home, talking to tinkerers and assessing the pros and cons.

Here’s what I learned.

To start my experiment to work at home cheaply, the first question I raised was whether to subscribe to the fitness app or take classes from YouTube for free. Videos of both massive instructors direct you through workouts.

So I bought an $ 8 yoga mat and a $ 70 pair of adjustable dumbbells and turned on my TV, which includes the YouTube app. I then subscribed to three of the most popular YouTube channels, which have free exercise at home: Yoga with adrin, Fitness blender And Holi dolke.

One immediate downside was almost too much content – often hundreds of videos per YouTuber – making it difficult to take a workout. Even when I finally chose a video, I found out that I would have to handle myself for some quality issues.

For example, in the Yoga with Adrienne channel, I selected the videoDo yoga when you feel dead inside, “Appropriate for the time we’re living for. The video sounded good, but at times the voice of the instructor echoed.

The production problems were more visible in the Hawley Dolke channel, which has a collection of intensive workouts that you can do without any equipment. When I tried the video “Muffin Top Melter, “An instructor in the background showed how to do a more challenging version of each exercise, but the other instructor, in the foreground, constantly blocked it.

There were advertisements then. As i lifted weights while following a 10-Minute Fat Burning Workout From the fitness blender, YouTube interrupted the video to run an advertisement for the Dawn soap. While I waited for the advertisement to end, I was left holding a dumbbell on the back of my neck.

Those issues aside, I was able to do all the exercises shown by these YouTubers, and they left me with air and sweat. For the cost of freebies, I can’t complain much. Most importantly, Yoga with Adrin succeeded in making me feel less dead inside.

To compare free YouTube exercise videos with paid experience, I subscribed to the Peloton and Apple Fitness Plus on my Apple TV set-top box. I did workouts using both products for the last two months.

Peloton and Apple Fitness Plus solved many problems with free exercise material.

For one, workout types included workouts including yoga, strength training, and core, and then by workout difficulty or duration. It took very little time to choose a workout.

In both the Peloton and Apple Fitness Plus, the quality of the video and audio was very clear, and the workouts were done at various angles to get a good look at what the instructor was doing. The bonus of Fitness Plus was that my heart rate and calorie burn were reflected on both my Apple Watch and TV screen.

In short, paying those memberships provides convenience and polish, which leads to a more enjoyable workout. I concluded that Peloton’s videos were worth paying $ 13 per month. And $ 10 a month is appropriate for Apple Fitness Plus, but only if you already have an Apple Watch and iPhone.

So what about exercise equipment like spin bikes? If you want the tech frills of a peloton, but don’t want to spend on equipment, there were two main approaches.

To go the cheapest route, you can use a bicycle that you already have. Here is where home tinkerers can be particularly clever and resourceful.

Take Omar Sultan, a manager at networking company Cisco. He modified his road bike with a few add-ons: a bike trainer, which secured the rear wheel and bike frame and cost about $ 100; a $ 40 Wahoo Pools Sensor Which tracked its energy production and speed and transmitted the data to smartphones; And a heart rate monitor that was spread around his chest, such as $ 90 Polar H10. He then used a streaming device to follow the peloton classes on his TV.

“The DIY setup is 80 percent,” said Peloton.

The more expensive option was to purchase an indoor exercise bike and stream cycling classes via YouTube or the peloton app using a tablet or phone, as did Ms. Whitney. $ 700 IC7.9, For example, includes a magnifier sensor and a holder for your tablet. You can then buy a heart rate monitor and a pair for $ 100 Indoor cycling shoes That clip in the paddle.

But if you use your own bicycle or a modified spin bike and try the peloton’s app, you won’t be able to participate in the so-called leader board of the app, which shows a graphic of your progress online with other peloton users .

With a DIY bike, it can also be difficult to figure out how to shift gears when the instructor is asking you to turn on the resistance – like when you’re pretending to ride a hill.

Keizer M3i, a nurse practitioner in Chicago, Nicole Odia, who modifies a high-end indoor bike, said the major upside of the DIY route was. Using her own iPad, she has the flexibility to choose whatever fitness app she wants to use, such as Zwift And mPaceLine. It also gave him the freedom to customize his bike, so he swapped stock paddles for better ones.

“I didn’t want to be locked into their stage,” she said of the peloton.

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