Fitness Corner: When indoor cycling becomes a community

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Pritam on the Peloton Bike.

Years ago, I heard a reverend say to her parishioners, “If you can’t find the faith you need then you can borrow it from me.”

Similarly, in my role as a strength coach and trainer, I provided to my clients energy and motivation that they may not have been able to find within themselves 100 percent of the time.

But last year, as I struggled to make sense of my new life after relocating to Texas, I wondered who — or what — would provide me with the motivation that I was unable to find anywhere within myself. Isolated in a new location, limited by an ongoing painful foot treatment that prevented me from walking, and compromised in my strength training by injury, it became clear that it was time to take drastic action.

The Peloton bike was a purchase I had been considering for the gym for a couple of years before our move, but it was far from a priority. Yet after months of low morale and inactivity, a new sense of urgency was building. It’s no surprise that within minutes of stepping into the retail store in Dallas, we became the new owners of what the company calls “a private indoor cycling studio in your home.” I call it an investment in myself.

Right away, this bike checked multiple boxes for me, starting with the fact that I could ride even with my foot pain. These included challenging and varied workouts; live and on-demand classes (spinning, running, strength, stretching, and yoga); high-energy, professional, and fun instructors; a leaderboard showing all participants on a ride (you aren’t riding alone, unless you want to); ability to high five each other and a “follow” function for connecting with each other. As the weeks went on, my connection to the Peloton community deepened. I joined the Official Peloton Page and gained a better sense of who comprised this group of (many!) enthusiastic riders.

But my low morale lingered.

Then I discovered the Fit Fab 40s group, one of the many Peloton rider subgroups that have formed. Being fit, fab and in my 40s, I figured I qualified to join. I was amazed at the safe space and unconditional support generated by these women, total strangers! The fact that this group is entirely online seems unimportant as our commonalities far outweigh our differences. I found, in the unlikeliest of places, the energy and motivation I was needing to borrow.

Don’t feel like riding? Post it in this group, and within minutes you’ll find yourself ready to get on that bike! Hit a Personal Record? Post in this group and you will be celebrated as though you won the lottery. Got a question about something, anything? Post it in this group and your mind will be blown by the many and varied responses. This group, just over a year old, is fiercely awesome!

It seems life has many lessons yet for me and I’ve learned much from this experience:

  1. Support is not a weakness. I don’t have to do it all myself. It’s been difficult for me to allow that, as I take a lot of pride in my independence.
  2. Community comes in all forms. My clients in Edmonds were like friends and family rolled into one, and I have missed seeing them daily. I never dreamed I would find a similar level of unconditional support online from a group of people I had never met. And all because of our shared love of the Peloton.
  3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. The cost of the Peloton bike previously seemed prohibitive, until it became an investment in my health and wellbeing. I am worth it.
  4. Stop freaking out and start reaching out. No one can connect with me if they don’t know I am there. The first step was joining the group. Eventually I realized that more I posted in the group, the more care, advice and commiseration I received, and the more I wanted to give back.

Because of our move, I am wiser, because of the Peloton bike, I am fitter, and because of the Peloton community, I am happier. And apparently, I am fabulous! Five thousand-plus women can’t be wrong.

Pritam Potts

— By Pritam Potts

Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16-plus years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at www.advancedathlete.com.

One Reply to “Fitness Corner: When indoor cycling becomes a community”

  1. HI Pritam…having moved 20 times in 50 years I know what you have experienced, and realize how difficult that can be. I am so pleased that you have found a pathway to get back to your energy and happy outlook on life. :>) I am on a rocky road myself, but one that will hopefully have a happy ending also. Take care, I miss our conversations!

    Bette

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