Peloton Spurs High-Tech, High-Dollar Home Fitness Trend
March 25, 2021 – For home fitness, high-tech and high-end, Greg Pryor is an unlikely brand ambassador who still ticks many boxes that have made Peloton synonymous with the new “connected fitness” market.
- He’s always been athletic (a former Major League Baseball player, no less). But at 71, he has slowed down somewhat during the pandemic.
- He was given a Platoon by a family member who was “obsessed,” Pryor says – and now that has changed his life, too.
- He rides it almost every day – and wants to tell everyone that.
“I had a transformation in my life because of this Peloton thing,” he says from his home in Kansas City, where he ended his athletic career on the Royals, 1985 World Series champions. loves talking to people who care. ”
Peloton is known for this kind of evangelism among its users.
Joke: How do you know someone went to Harvard or a Platoon? They tell you in the first 5 minutes after meeting them.
Now that excitement is spreading into a whole new fitness category that includes similar items for other sports including gym-like personal training (Tonal, Mirror); rowing (Hydrow); and more. They use high-tech home equipment, interactive video screens and trackers, trainers, and the enthusiasm of group lessons. They are generally expensive and involve a subscription service. But cheaper versions are emerging and other options seem likely to present themselves to try to get some of the growing segment, at least in part because the pandemic has brought gym goers home.
Pryor’s Platoon was a gift from a future son-in-law, who used it to lose 50 pounds in one year.
“At first I was intimidated,” says Pryor. “I didn’t know if I could do it. But it gets easier the more I do it, and I can add resistance, or go longer, or further, or burn more calories. …
“There’s someone on screen cheering you on through the 30, 45, or 60 minute trips. And I am responsible to my trainer, who knows everything about my race.
Pryor speaks like Peloton’s marketing copy, but he really means it.
The “ Xerox ” of connected fitness
With Tonal, NordicTrack and other competitors introducing “connected fitness” products and services, Peloton remains most easily identifiable – the name “Kleenex” or “Xerox”. If all startups wanted to be “the new Netflix” a few years ago in video streaming, they now want to be “the new peloton” in home fitness.
Peloton founder John Foley wanted to combine the power of fitness apps and trackers, which allow users to track their progress, with the excitement and coaching of group fitness classes in gyms and studios. Old-fashioned bikes and treadmills hadn’t been much improved in ages. So Peloton looked to combine all of this for the new market and integrated their bike in 2014 (you may recall a media storm caused by their Christmas 2019 TV commercial that some people found sexist.)
Peloton combines a high-end stationary bike with an interactive video display that guides users through the rides, tracks their achievements and connects them with other riders around the world through live or recorded lessons, allowing them to compete as much as they want. It has also branched out with treadmills and other activities to keep subscribers on the move even when they don’t want to ride a bike.
“Our model is an evolution of the way we interact with content and interact with other people online, and offering live and on-demand lessons allows people to incorporate motivating studio workouts into. their busy lives, ”Betina Evancha, vice president of product management, said in an email.
The base bike costs around $ 1,900 and the monthly subscription is around $ 40. Peloton has branched out to offer workouts with weights, yoga and Pilates, as well as a more diverse range of exercise options. Other products (another bike, treadmills) cost more than the base bike.
Other companies entering or established in the connected fitness market are mainstays of fitness like NordicTrack and Bowflex, as well as new entrants like MYX. All of them offer something similar: high-tech, expensive equipment that promises interactive experiences.
Peloton claims 4.4 million members, triple-digit growth in subscriptions and a 12-month retention rate of 92%.
Foley told CNBC, “We think 100 million subscribers is a reasonable goal.”
Peloton said in February that it expects revenue for the full year to exceed $ 4 billion.
Not a response to the obesity epidemic
Devices like these are often status symbols. Peloton, Tonal, and their competitors offer premium experiences at premium prices, prices out of reach for the vast majority of Americans. This is even truer during the pandemic as millions of people face job losses, income cuts and more.
So a $ 2000 bike won’t be the solution for most people in a country where nearly 33% of the population is considered obese.
There are more affordable options. An unconnected exercise bike can be found for around $ 100. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or streaming device can also find free or cheaper group exercise classes.
An “ intense ” social connection
Brad Buswell, 57, a defense consultant in Washington, DC, has been using his Platoon seriously for about a year and says he’s been in his best cardiovascular shape since college.
He likes the concept of “power zone” that has been used among endurance athletes and the social aspect of power zone participants on Facebook. “It’s even more intense than the Peloton social group,” he says.
“I’m getting real, measurable results, and I would even without the strong social component, because I’m going to stay active and no longer see gyms as the center of my fitness program.”
Angel Planells, a 41-year-old nutritionist in Seattle, wanted to lose some of the weight he had gained during the pandemic. He was always active and had enjoyed riding the rolling Seattle terrain. He opted for a NordicTrack, which has decades of activity and, like other veterans, thrives in connected fitness. He also had a cheaper model, which will be needed more before connected fitness replaces gyms, the way home gaming replaced video arcades.
He loves it and uses it four or five times a week for 30 or 45 minutes. But he still plans to cycle outdoors and go hiking.
“I cannot replicate the actual physical experience” on the NordicTrack, he says. “But I can do it at my convenience.”
He sees the connected fitness trend as a natural next step, after decades of people buying more traditional items to use at home – like dumbbells and resistance bands. “It’s just about using the technology to its fullest potential,” he says.
In fact, he loves it so much that he now wants to add a Tonal to his home gym.
Introducing digital home weights
Tonal uses “digital weights” to copy the personal training experience in the gym.
“This is the first time that weight has been digitized in this way and because of it we have been able to incorporate all of these smart, adaptive and AI features that can be customized to a high degree,” says Ashley Hennings, Director of Tonal’s public relations and influencer marketing.
Tonal mounts on a wall inside your home and takes up little space. It features portable bars attached to a wire that connects to the machine, which controls the resistance – or weight – you use. The first workout is a strength test that adapts in subsequent workouts as the user gets stronger – and offers a ‘point’ to help during a difficult time.
“It’s extremely personalized,” Hennings says.
Newcomers who might be afraid to walk into a gym or don’t know how to get started don’t have to worry anymore. The machine and interactive software guide them through it all.
The average Tonal user exercises 40 minutes, 15 times a month, Hennings says. They care about the content, she said. And they’re learning that strength training is crucial for weight management and all aspects of fitness – from longevity to bone density and mental health.
An entirely new world?
Other fitness beginners come from another surprising point of view.
Priscille Dando, 52, a school district administrator in Virginia, is a new convert thanks to virtual reality headset programs.
She says she’s become a “fanatic” of the Supernatural program (around $ 50 per month) which – when paired with the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset (around $ 300) – allows gamers to practice in. beautiful places around the world without leaving home, with music and inspiring trainers.
“It’s a real workout – it’s not easy,” she says. “It’s high intensity. I also do other VR exercise programs like boxing and dancing. I even bought a smartwatch just so I could track my exercise all the time.
“Except for in-season cycling, I never restricted myself to exercises of any kind. I’m digging it right now. “
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