While the country isn’t in lockdown just yet, and gyms are still open, many people will be thinking about their options when it comes to staying fit and continuing their habit of working out and the buzz it gives. Not to be a gym bore and, obviously, there are more important things, but keeping the body and mind active and positive is important right now.
Left - Turns out Peloton is more than just spinning. Who knew?
One of the brands pioneering at home gyming is Peloton. When Peloton floated in Sept. 2019 raising $1.16 billion, giving the company a valuation of around $8 billion, I scoffed, asking how spinning at home on a £2000 bike and paying £40 for privilege could really be worth that much? Now, we’re all thinking how clever they are. While they won’t reveal whether they’ve had a recent sales surge, I thought this was the perfect time to investigate what the fuss was all about.
Poppy Taylor runs @officialukladiespeloton an Instagram account she runs to support the UK Ladies Peloton FaceBook group that she’s a member of. They have more than 1700 members.
"I love that I can work out at a time that suits me and where I don’t need to worry about childcare, as a SAHM (stay-at-home mum) of toddler twins it would be really hard to find time to exercise if it wasn’t when they’re asleep - at which point I can’t leave the house anyway!” she says.
“The classes can feel like therapy, the instructors have an extremely positive way of talking to you which can really carry you through the day. And it’s an amazing workout! I’ve lost more than a stone and completely changed my body shape purely through Peloton classes.” says Taylor.
A ‘Basics Package’ starts at £1990, which can be paid off interest free, and all bike packages require a monthly Peloton All-Access Membership. Access to unlimited class content across multiple profiles cost £39 a month. There is no commitment and you can pause or cancel anytime.
“The obvious negative is the initial outlay, but I do genuinely think it’s been a hugely worthwhile investment for me.” says Taylor. “I love it and it has changed my life. There IS a real stigma around it being comically expensive though (some of the older adverts don’t help that image!) so it can be hard to convince people it’s not a load of nonsense. It’s more than a bike, but the ads don’t always get that across.” she says.
Clearly the Peloton marketing hasn’t got across the full benefits of the bike and that it offers far more than spinning.
“I think it offers good value for money if you use it! I’ve taken nearly 250 spin classes but there are also runs, walks, bootcamp classes, yoga, strength workouts and even things like guided sleep meditations. There’s so much more than just the bike content. The stretch classes have made a big difference to me as I was previously very stiff and sore from carting two heavy toddlers about.” she says.
“I’ve had the bike a year now and not gotten remotely bored of spinning, I guess because there are so many class types and instructors. There are latin rides, HIIT rides, 70s rides, rock rides, tabata rides, hip hop rides, climb rides and all sorts. You can search classes by artist or difficulty or class style, then there’s all sorts of lengths too so there’s always something fresh to try from the 1000s of classes available. I do love spinning though!” says Taylor.
Lian Hirst, Founder, Global PR & Digital Agency TRACE Publicity, says, “I ride every morning before work. With the recent developments of increased ‘working from home’ and the closure of big gyms it offers me complete flexibility, allowing me to work-out ‘on demand’ utilising my time to best efficiency and work-out around meetings/conference calls.
“It also reduces the ‘commuting time’ to/from the gym which, when you are working to a busy schedule can lose you an hour of your day which could be invested in another area of my day.” she says.
“It’s a brilliant product. It does exactly what it says. I usually do a 45 minute ride on a morning followed by a 10min weights work out and then a 5 minute stretch. The capability to ‘tailor’ your work out around time/type of work out and also choose your instructor is great. Some mornings I feel like a more relaxed ride, other mornings/evenings I opt for a live ride or a live DJ ride.
“I miss it when I travel. Most International hotels haven’t adopted the Peloton as yet. Working out in a traditional gym seems dated now and not very inspiring.” says Hirst.
“Personally, for me, it offers great value for money. I actually purchased mine through Klarna which allowed me to pay in monthly instalments, which in reality wasn’t far off what I was paying monthly for a traditional gym membership, but with the ability to work out whenever I like.
“It is also a great product for switching off. I often take a meditation class on the app before I go to bed or sometimes on my way to work to re-focus my mind and take time out for myself.” she says.
For those who don’t have the budget for a Peloton bike, they have extended the 30-day free trial period for their Peloton App to 90 days. The Peloton App provides thousands of instructor-led, immersive workouts that can be done with equipment or none at all, enabling people to stay active from the comfort of home. Features like virtual ‘High Fives’ and a ‘Leaderboard’ that shows everyone participating in a class allow those working out from home to stay connected with friends, the broader Peloton community and Peloton’s roster of elite fitness instructors.
Peloton has released the ‘Tread’, its version of a running machine in US but is yet to launch it in the UK. Other home interactive gym machine products in the market include the NordicTrack RW900 Folding Rowing Machine from John Lewis at £1,499. Nordic track also offer bikes, ellipticals, treadmills and strength machines with their iFit training software at £129 for one year.
What these companies and products offer is convenience. While people have had exercise equipment at home before, this digital interactive/class side stops people from getting bored, gives motivation and the online communities go someway to add the social side of the gym at home. Peloton's marketing needs to get across it is more than just a bike, but these users are clearly impressed. All exercise needs to hook you in and keep you there if you're going to keep it up. Peloton gives it a positive spin.
Kicking off the recent round of SS20 men’s fashion weeks the luxury Italian giant, Prada, opted to show its men’s collection in Shanghai rather than Milan and Saint Laurent chose Malibu, California instead of Paris. The light-tactic Eiffel Tower was replaced by palm trees and Keanu Reeves - very Point Break - as the male models took to a catwalk that followed the lapping waves of the Pacific ocean.
These trips to far flung destinations, under the pretence of targeting that geographical audience, had become something of a signature of women’s Cruise shows over the past few years. A distraction from the rather boring clothes, brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel scoured the globe for the most glamourous and social media friendly backdrops and flew the fash-pack on one giant jolly in-between the usually rigid calendar of traditional global fashion weeks.
Left - Greta Thunberg, 2019's environmental superhero
Taking a brand and its audience to locations not usually set up for fashion’s extravagance is expensive and indulgent, not to mention costly to the environment. These people won’t be travelling economy. Add everybody from the brand, the models, the buyers and the press and the numbers start to drastically stack up and those carbon emissions multiple.
It seems to go against everything fashion is trying to be at the moment. Fashion is trying to show its less wasteful side and is jumping on the sustainable ‘we-really-care-you-know’ bandwagon and it will be interesting how they will be able to justify these types of extravagant shows in the future. Admittedly, there’s always been travel in fashion, and getting people to see things in one place is an important part of fashion, but it’s this travel for travel’s sake that seems to feel out of step.
The Scandinavians have lead the way on this and Sweden’s ‘flygskam’, or flight shame, movement first came to prominence in the summer of 2017 when the singer-songwriter Staffan Lindberg wrote an article co-signed by five of his famous friends, in which they announced their decision to give up flying. Among the famous Swedes opting for other forms of transport were ski commentator Björn Ferry, who said last year he would only travel to competitions by train, opera-singer Malena Ernman (the mother of climate activist Greta Thunberg), and Heidi Andersson, the eleven-times world champion arm-wrestler. Finland has spawned its own version of the expression, calling it ‘lentohapea’.
When the 16-year old Greta Thunberg joined London’s ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protest this Spring she took the train. She also travelled by rail to the World Economic Forum in Davos and the climate summit in Katowice, Poland.
This Swedish trend is having an impact. Passenger numbers at Sweden’s 10 busiest airports fell 8% from January to April this year, following a 3% fall in 2018, according to Swedavia, which operates them.
A survey by the World Wildlife Fund found 23% of Swedes have abstained from traveling by air in the past year to reduce their climate impact, up 6 percentage points from a year earlier. New words entering the Swedish language include ‘tagskryt’ (train bragging) and ‘smygflyga,’ or fly in secret, to describe those not quite over their budget airline addiction.
People are choosing to take the train for environmental reasons. The stats are clear with trains drastically reducing the levels of CO2 emissions. The average CO2 emissions of 285 grams per air kilometre, compare with 158 for cars and 14 for trains.
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, in 2018, found that Swedes' per capita emissions from flying between 1990 and 2017 were five times the global average. Emissions from Swedes' international air travel have soared 61 per cent since 1990, the study said.
The number of journeys on Sweden’s national rail network increased by 5% last year and 8% in the first quarter of this year, according to Swedish Railways. Sales of Interrail tickets to Swedes increased by 45% in 2018 – and are expected to rise again this year. Passenger numbers at state train operator SJ jumped to a record 32 million in 2018 due to “the big interest in climate-smart travel,” they said.
Consumers are demanding that companies and brands lead by example. Klarna, the giant Swedish payment provider, has decided to have its global kick-off in Berlin for the year with all attendees travelling by train.
The budget airlines will be watching this trend, seeing whether it spreads beyond Scandinavia, is not it is lip service and whether younger people will really give up those cheap get aways for staycations or longer train journeys.
Fashion brands will start to acknowledge this trend and reduce unnecessary travel. I predict brands will start to do more things virtually and online.
While, in the UK, the Eurostar has made travelling by train cool - they’ve just added their third daily departure to Amsterdam - the rest of the British rolling stock is more hit and miss to say the least. While many people are trying to stop Britain’s second high-speed rail line, HS2, it could be the environmental argument that pushes it through to the end.
Time is money and with planes being faster, more direct and often cheaper, it’s going to take a seismic shift and a mental rethink to get everybody to feel the flying shame and get onboard - quite literally - with this new trend.