Introducing Peloton Digital: an App That Makes Expert Coaches Your (Mobile) Workout Buddies

All Photos: Peloton
These days, no matter where you travel, squeezing in a killer workout is a cinch. Apps from the country's buzziest fitness studios—like modelFIT and Obé—live on your phone for maximum convenience at seriously low prices (some subscriptions start at as little as $15 per month). And this morning, cycling and, more recently, treadmill empire Peloton joined the on-demand virtual sweat club by launching its own app.

For just under $20 a month, iOS-friendly app Peloton Digital (available for Android and other platforms by the end of the year) gives users access to more than 10,000 classes—ranging from 20 to 60 minutes—taught by Peloton's expert NYC-based teachers, including up to 20 live offerings per day for those who prefer to sweat in real time, according to a pamphlet circulated at a launch party. Expanding beyond Peloton's usual cycling and tread-focused classes, the app subscription includes yoga flows, strength-training coaching, bootcamps, and more. And unlike in other apps, the Peloton coaches spin, pose in downward dog, and run right along with you in the pre-recorded and live sessions.

Unlike in other apps, the Peloton coaches spin, pose in downward dog, and run right along with you in the pre-recorded and live sessions.

"[W]e’ve found that our instructors—leading by example while they’re doing work at the same time—along with fantastic, premium music that’s being supervised by our music department, is a good formula," Fred Klein, Peloton's chief content officer, said at the launch party. That way, fitness trainers supportively move through the exercises with you, rather than telling you to "Drop into plank!" from the sidelines while you do all the work.

To test Klein's theory, I gave the new tech a whirl—and here's how it went:

Here's what it's like to work out with Peloton Digital.

peloton launches on-demand app
Photo: Courtesy of Peloton

To give Peloton Digital a test drive, the group at the launch in NYC plugged in our headphones and cued up a 30-minute pre-recorded 5K training run voiced by Peloton instructor Matt Wilpers. (He actually joined us IRL on the run to the Hudson River, though he let his virtual double take the lead.)

After warming us up, he led our troop through eight rounds of 30-second sprints, effectively winding me. While I was practically panting during each half-minute push, Wilpers' guidance sounded chill, helping to keep me focused. And during the two-minute recoveries dispersed throughout the workout, he even offered training tips that (temporarily) distracted me from my burning thighs and lungs.

All in all, the experience felt live, even though I was only listening to a recording. By the end, I wanted to recruit Wilpers to be my go-to running partner. Because don't we all need someone to tell us to sprint even when we really don't want to?

Speaking of workouts that go wherever you go, this is the on-demand option Emmy Rossum used at Sundance and the one piece of equipment you need in order to do a total-body toning workout anywhere.

Tags: Running

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