The Plus Factor: Why the at-Home Spinning Revolution Is Hitting Home

Photo: Instagram/@ms.tessamarie
This week on The Plus Factor, we’re talking about why your next spin class just might be in your living room.

You're on your bike in first position and glance towards your instructor—you know what's coming. "Up into third, let's go!" she says, before cheering you on by name. "Keep pushing up this climb, you got this!" When you finally finish, you're drenched in sweat. But you don't have to wait in line to shower. That's because you just completed your entire 45-minute spin class at home and can head right into your own bathroom. (Bye, rubber shower shoes!)

Getting a killer spin workout—with your favorite trainer—is no longer just happening at buzzy studios. The shift started back in 2012, when a little brand called Peloton launched, beaming classes from its New York City studio to riders around the world. Now, four years later, the at-home boom is officially here: In addition to Peloton (which raised $325 million in its latest round of funding), you will soon be able to ride with Flywheel (the fitness studio behemoth is coming out with its own at-home bike this fall) or you can hop on your own stationary bike and follow along with Forte—AKA the "Netflix of fitness"—which announced a major partnership with Connecticut and Texas-based mini-chain Joyride last month. (If yours is collecting dust next to your Bowflex, it's time to show it some love.)

"With people's lives busier than ever, we've noticed a significant shift in the direction of convenience when it comes to working out."

According to Forte founder and CEO Lauren Foundos, users can either hop on their bike and join a live class, or choose one of the on-demand videos, which are continuously being added (so don't fear that you'll hear the same songs or jokes every single day). Despite the screens, there's still an emphasis on building relationships: "The instructors see the names of the at-home riders, so if the same person continuously takes their class, they know," says Foundos. "It's still fun and interactive that way." And it's worth noting that the streaming service is partnering with box gyms Gold's and 24-Hour Fitness, as well as hotels, so you can bring your favorite trainer with you, in a sense.

Flywheel is going big with their streaming services too, and CEO Sarah Robb O'Hagan hints that it's just the beginning. "We're coming out with the Flywheel Anywhere bike in the fall, and everything new we come out with is just another piece of the puzzle, elevating the experience for people," she says. "We're really doubling down, focusing on those super-athletic riders that we know are our core customer."

Spinning at Home
Photo: Peloton

For Peloton COO and co-founder Tom Cortese, there's a good reason why the revolution is hitting home: it makes getting in a workout way easier. "With people's lives busier than ever, we've noticed a significant shift in the direction of convenience when it comes to working out," he says. It's the major reason why the OG at-home spinning brand came out with rides as short as 20 minutes. "Working out is no longer about spending one or two hours at the gym," Cortese explains.

Oh, and those clanky shoes are getting a makeover, too. From major athletic brands like New Balance and established boutique studios (think Flywheel) to smaller, emerging brands, owning a pair of spin shoes that legit clip in is on the verge of becoming as mainstream as owning a pair of cross-trainers.

All these changes mean that what is typically thought of as a pricey in-studio workout is now getting increasingly accessible—no matter where you are. One thing's for sure: The wheels of innovation are certainly, well, spinning.

Before you clip in, here's a run-down of what the different positions mean. And after you become really good, treat yourself by visiting one of the most luxe spin studios in the world.

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