Peloton Bike Bootcamp Review: It’s Devastatingly Hard, But in a Good Way

A woman doing dumbbell rows beside her Peloton bike

The Brand — Peloton

Peloton is a hella popular fitness app that’s been around since 2012, way before the pandemic. I first heard about it on Anna Faris’s podcast Unqualified, when the actress-turned podcaster talked about how she hated going to the gym and loved her Peloton bike. While I could’t relate to that, the idea of having a spin class whenever my heart desired to get into the orange or red zones did. I tried the app on my good ol’ Sears special stationary bike, and I loved it. YouTube could’t provide me the turn-the-dial instruction I needed. I caved and got the bike (as a birthday gift!). It’s weird not having the energy of other cyclists in the room, but what’s not weird lately?

The App — Peloton

Peloton is known for its cycling classes, but it also offers treadmill classes. (I’ve done a few classes on my Bowflex Treadclimber – once, when I reviewed this face redness powder.) It super easy to use, as you can choose by the type of workout (barre, Pilates, HIIT, weight training, walking and more), how much time you have (five minutes and up), if you want to use equipment or not (from bodyweight to basic weights), the type of music that motivates you, your favourite Peloton instructor and more. The app also includes fitness programs and challenges to keep you motivate and on track, where you can earn badges on your profile, if you find that kind of thing motivating. Bike Bootcamp is one of its latest collection of workout classes.

A woman cycling on her Peloton bike, looking at the screen where the instructor says how fast to cycle.
This obviously isn’t Tunde. It’s Alex Toussaint, who offers some great strength classes, too.

The Workout — Bike Bootcamp Class

Bike Bootcamp combines cycling and strength in one class. Previous to this class launching (November 2020), you would just do a bike class and do a separate strength class before or after. But together, the Bike Bootcamp classes are structured so that you get on and off the bike to lift weights and exercise using your bodyweight for resistance. It’s a true HIIT class.

We also review the Peloton barre classes, too.

We Tried It

I did the 45 Min Bootcamp: Full Body class (Jan. 6, 2021) with Tunde Oyeneyin. She’s my absolute favourite instructor with Peloton. Her music is the best (she focuses on beat to keep you on cadence), she’s funny as hell (when she dances between hills, I have to too), she’s not Insta-perfect (love that she’s human and so relatable), she wears a mean red lipstick to every workout (Tunde what is this lippy?) and her classes are hard. Like really hard. Feel-it-the-next-day hard. I hadn’t taken a strength workout under her instruction until this Bike Bootcamp class. And my legs weren’t disappointed.

After a five-minute warm-up, we hit the hills with a seven-minute cycling session, 16 minutes of full-body strength conditioning with weights, another eight minutes of hills and then nine minutes strength again. With moves like lunges, rows, Spider-Man planks, triceps push-ups, squat presses, split-squat presses, deadlifts, mountain climbers and planks, you can imagine I was exhausted after. It kicked me in the butt. And the hamstrings. And the shoulders. I sat for a good 20 minutes after I finished. A perk from of working out at home: You don’t have to rush out; there’s no class after. No one is going to ask you to move out of their way.

The Verdict

I’ve done a lot of workouts using the Peloton app and the bike, and I’ve worked out to a few classes back to back (up to an hour and 45 minutes, including warm-up, cool-down and foam rolling). But the Bike Bootcamp was the hardest one yet. The only “off” with the workout is my at-home tech. My TV runs off of Apple TV, but the bike tablet isn’t. I have a small workout space, so I do weights in front of my TV, which is perpendicular to my Peloton bike. So I had to screen mirror the strength on my TV using my iPhone, while playing the same workout on the bike. As much as I try, I can’t play them at the exact same time. I had a bit of an echo, so the next time I just muted the TV. I also noticed that the caloric measurements were different from the bike and the app – by almost half. TBH, I’ve no idea which to trust, but I’ll take the extra calories from the bike since it’s connected to a heart rate monitor.

[UPDATE: Thanks to our recent @fleetstreetmag post on Instagram, an awesome follower shared that the latest Peloton Bike + has a screen that can be rotated, so you do not have to be behind the bike to see the screen. Thanks @itsamsykes!]

Peloton, onepeloton.com. 30-minute workout; $16.99 a month (first two months free); package pricing available ($64 a month with the bike, or $2,495); app downloads available at the App Store and Google Play.

Welcome to Class Action, FLEETSTREET’s workout review series. We get sweaty to give you the low-down on what the workouts are really like.