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“…that class made my Peloton classes look like a joke.”
 – Shalyn Horowitz

There’s Nothing Like the Real Thing

Here we are, heading into Summer, and as people continue returning to the gym, I have noticed a trend in the Cycle department. More and more people are cheating on their Peloton or ditching it altogether. A few weeks ago, a woman took my Wednesday 6 am class, and as she was walking out, she said, “that class made my Peloton classes look like a joke.” I took that as the ultimate compliment. I decided to track her down and ask her a few questions about her Peloton and why she decided to come back to in-person cycling classes at Fitness Incentive. Her name is Shalyn Horowitz. I interviewed Shalyn and four other Fitness Incentive members who have a Peloton at home: Jackie Sackoor, Jeannie Rocchio, Paul Van Guilder, and Michelle Matthews.

1. When did you purchase your Peloton, and why did you decide to buy one?

Jackie: I got mine in November 2019. It was an early Christmas present from my family. I was happy to have it when the world shut down a few months later. It was a tool I used to take virtual FI classes.

Shalyn: I purchased it in 2019, a year and a half before the pandemic. I bought one for the convenience of working out at home. I own a salon and work from early to late hours. Giving up a gym was never even an option to me, with or without a Peloton.

Jeannie: I got my Peloton a year or so ago. Everyone was getting them, or trying to, during the lockdown. People were saying they loved them. I thought I’d give it a try, just for days or times that I couldn’t get to the gym, not to replace it.

Paul: I purchased my Peloton in August 2020 because New York State still had the gym closed.

Michelle: Purchased at the start of Covid. Gyms were closed. 

2. Were you taking fitness Incentive cycle classes before purchasing the bike? Or did you come to FI cycle classes after?

Jackie: I was taking spin at FI before Peloton. I didn’t use my Peloton very much before the pandemic.

Shalyn: Yes. I came to FI cycle classes before and after I purchased it. 

Jeannie: I was spinning at Fitness long before the Peloton was born.

Paul: I have been taking spin classes at FI since 2016.

Michelle: Yes, I was taking classes at FI. 

3. What made you decide to come back to the gym, and when did you rejoin?

Jackie: I came back in person as soon as the gym reopened. My Peloton was a great resource during the pandemic, but nothing beats the energy of taking a class in person.

Shalyn: I just rejoined as I just moved back to the area.

Jeannie: I’ve been coming to Fitness for about 15 years. I never left; even during the lockdown, I took classes with my favorite instructors on Facebook.

Paul: I came back to the gym because I push myself harder there than at home in both my cycling and weight training. I reactivated my membership as soon as the gym reopened.

Michelle: I came back in February of 2021 because of the community. I felt my workouts at home weren’t giving me the results physically and or mentally that I needed. 

4. Who is your favorite cycle instructor at FI (or multiple instructors)? What are some specific things that you like about their classes?

Jackie: Theresa is my favorite spin instructor. Her music keeps me going through the toughest classes. I also love that Theresa’s classes are always different. I know I won’t have the same class on Wednesday as I did on Saturday. You can tell she puts a tremendous amount of thought and planning into each ride. A lot of times with Peloton, I know exactly how the ride will be down to what kind of resistance the coach will call out. I never feel that way in Theresa’s class. Part of the fun is not knowing what new challenge is in store during the ride.

Shalyn: Carmela, Theresa, Sharon, and I liked Sal! I like the constant enthusiasm and push the entire staff gives you. 

Jeannie: I love Jourdan’s classes, but I’m fine with a sub. Variety and change are good sometimes. I like that Jourdan changes up her classes.

Paul: My favorite instructor is Jourdan. Her class is high energy which motivates me. Her music selection is also very uplifting. I also have some friends who take her class, so that keeps me accountable. Theresa also has a great class, but it never seems to line up with my schedule. Carmela’s classes are also very challenging and entertaining.

Michelle: Theresa; all in all, a great ride. I like to be challenged and push myself with specific guidance. Music is great too!

5. Do you feel more challenged by Peloton or the gym’s in-person classes?

Jackie: I am way more challenged at FI. Some of my personal records on Peloton came from taking Theresa’s virtual rides during the pandemic. There is an excitement of everyone’s energy pushing you to new limits. You can’t get that same energy through the computer screen.

Shalyn: They both have their advantages for me. I am more challenged, however, by accountability, which means in-person classes. My Peloton screen isn’t going to tell me to push harder and actually call me out. 

Jeannie: I am totally challenged by Fitness’s in-person classes. It’s very easy to slow down or not challenge yourself when you’re alone with your bike at home. Although in the Spindrome, you’re only really competing with yourself, there is some sort of competitive feeling that comes over you when all the lights turn red!!

Paul: I feel more challenged by in-person classes at the gym. The intensity of many Peloton classes is challenging, but it is too easy to back off and sell myself short without the energy and accountability of a live in-person class at FI.

Michelle: In-person classes at the gym.

6. What’s something specific you get out of FI’s cycle class that you are not getting at home on the Peloton?

Jackie: I get devoted self-care time when I am at the gym. When I commit to being at the gym, I can work out free from distractions. When I am at home, my children feel free to ask me for things in the middle of my ride. It’s a lot easier to put others first and take care of their needs when they are right in front of you.

Shalyn: The team/group setting.

Jeannie: There is a lot to be said for the feeling you get when you see your people, your gym friends, your spin pals, and your favorite instructor. You can load up your favorite Peloton instructor, but they will NEVER give you the feeling that you have when your spinning in class. Your real live favorite fitness spin instructors can not be replaced with a video. Maybe if you never experienced a real live in-person spin class at Fitness you could love your Peloton. But there’s a real difference. It’s a good substitute on a day when I can’t get to the gym. But certainly not a replacement. The truth is, I need people…real people. 

Paul: The classes at FI push me harder, and there is a social aspect to them that cannot be reproduced at home on the Peloton.

Michelle: The accountability, especially now that you have to sign up for the class. No backing out allowed! Haha

7. How often do you take Peloton cycle classes, and how often do you cycle at FI?

Jackie: I cycle in person at FI twice a week. I take one bike boot camp on Peloton each week. 

Shalyn: I do both about 2-3 times a week, alternating days.

Jeannie: I rarely use my Peloton at home these days. I spin once or twice a week at FI.

Paul: I take Peloton classes 2-3 times per week (endurance ride, recovery ride, and one tempo ride) and take at least one spin class at FI per week, which I use as my HIIT workout.

Michelle: I’m Not using the Peloton presently; I’m averaging two classes a week now at FI. 

8. What is your absolute favorite thing about spinning at Fitness Incentive?

Jackie: I love the community of spinners in Theresa’s classes. I feel like I am a part of a team in the class. We commiserate during challenging parts. We cheer when there’s only one song left. You can’t get that when it’s just you and a screen at home.

Shalyn: The bikes!!!! Best bikes I’ve ever used to spin!

Jeannie: My favorite thing about spinning at fitness is the people. It always comes down to the people…the friends you make, the instructors, and their encouragement; you can’t get that from a screen. 

Paul: My absolute favorite thing about spinning at FI is the people and the energy of the classes.

Michelle: Being part of a group with the same mindset is a great feeling! I absolutely love that! 

9. What would you tell anyone on the fence about coming back to the gym in person?

Jackie: I love FI. You can’t beat the variety of classes offered at the gym. The personalized attention of instructors, caring to make sure you are doing everything correctly so you don’t hurt yourself.

Shalyn: Just do it. We waste money every day on tangible unnecessary objects. Your health and mental well-being are priceless.

Jeannie: I would tell anyone, and I have, to get off the fence and get back to the gym! Do it for yourself, your health, and your mental health! You won’t be sorry. 

Paul: I would tell anyone who is on the fence about returning to the gym that in-person that it is 100% better than training at home. At-home workouts can be convenient, but the intensity and camaraderie at the gym cannot be replicated.

Michelle: What are you waiting for!? Get there fast! 

10. Is there something Peloton offers that FI could do better? (Besides the convenience of being in your home).

Jackie: I do love the bike boot camp on Peloton. We have had pop-ups at FI that were better than Peloton’s, but it’s not offered as a regular class. (We are working on that, Jackie! We love Cycle Boot Camp at FI too!)

Shalyn: They do offer a lot of intervals and arms spin classes. I’d love more classes incorporating weights on the schedule. (Lucky for Shalyn, we just added a second “Cycle Tone” to the schedule for summer at Fitness Incentive!)

Jeannie: Peloton has nothing on Fitness Incentive at all. Peloton does not have anything that is better than the gym. Ok, it’s in your house, but your gym friends and your favorite teacher are not. You just can’t compete with that! I just love this place, in case you couldn’t tell! 

Paul: I would like to see some sort of data tracking and analysis integrated into the bikes at FI when they are replaced. I think an account for each member where you sign in to the bike can be motivational for members so they can see their progress. It would also motivate some to improve or come to a workout they may have missed.

Michelle: Not necessarily, other than having more classes during the week in the mornings.

There you have it! Whether you own an at-home fitness device or not, there’s no better fitness experience than being live at FI. What are you waiting for? Stop in for a Cycling Class today!

About the Author

Theresa Christensen

Theresa Christensen

Theresa Christensen is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and the Director of FI’s Cycle Program.

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