Weight Loss Programmes

Should I use Peloton® for weight loss?

Should I use Peloton® for weight loss?

Home workouts have always been a popular option for people who are short on time or don’t have access to a gym, but recent lockdown measures have meant that finding ways to exercise at home have become even more important. 

Peloton is one of the most popular at-home exercise solutions. Initially offering an indoor cycling bike with interactive classes, Peloton has expanded and now offers multiple workout options including weight training, treadmills, and yoga classes. 

Their app, which has a two-tiered membership structure, offers thousands of exercise classes, both with and without equipment. Their all-access membership, required for Peloton bike and treadmill owners, offers detailed performance tracking that can help you achieve your fitness and weight loss goals. 

For many, the interactive group classes are motivational, helping them to stay on track with their exercise goals. Similarly, the option to access classes on demand means that there’s always something available, no matter what time of day you choose to exercise. This flexible approach, and the wide variety of classes, means that using Peloton for weight loss is becoming increasingly popular. 

Benefits of exercise

There’s no doubt that exercise is important for improving our health and is one way to increase the chance of weight loss. After all, increasing your energy expenditure (the amount of energy your body uses up) means you’re more likely to be in a caloric deficit, which many people prioritise for weight loss. A Peloton bike or treadmill is one way to increase your activity levels, without ever needing to leave your house! 

Although this is one way to attempt to lose weight, it usually isn’t as simple as just eating less and moving more. However, the performance tracking technology offered with the Peloton all-access membership may also help you to better understand how your body responds to certain exercises and estimate how many calories you may burn. If you do choose to track your food and exercise to achieve a calorie deficit, it’s important to remember that these calculations are just estimates and typically overestimate your personal energy expenditure. We are all unique and how our body responds to exercise depends on many factors that cannot be measured by current tracking technology. Deciding your food intake based on these values could lead to unintentional weight gain. 

Research suggests that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is likely to be the best exercise for fat loss, offering better results than medium intensity exercise. 

Peloton offers a range of classes, including HIIT, so could be used as part of an exercise-focused weight loss programme. 

Resistance or strength training has also been shown to have beneficial effects on weight loss. After resistance training, our body needs to recover from the tiny micro-tears that occur during this type of exercise. This means our muscles need extra energy for up to 72 hours after exercise. 

Peloton offers a range of strength-based classes of varying lengths and intensities that could help you to achieve your weight loss goals. 

Consistency is key when it comes to weight loss. Finding an exercise program that you enjoy and can stick to means you’re more likely to lose weight and keep it off in the long run. Peloton may be a popular option for many people, but any exercise you enjoy can have similar benefits. 

Key points:

  • Exercise is one tool that can help you lose weight
  • HIIT exercises and strength training are most likely to lead to weight loss
  • Finding an exercise that you enjoy and can stick to is key – for some people this is Peloton

Exercise vs diet

Increasing our activity levels contributes to good health and weight loss but is only one piece of the puzzle. There are several other factors involved including nutrition, stress, and sleep.

Despite the many benefits of exercise, research suggests that you can’t simply ‘cancel out’ food with exercise, partly because it would take an extremely long time to ‘exercise off’ the foods we eat. In a normal-sized Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate bar, for example, there are 240 calories. For an average, moderate-intensity workout in the gym it could take 30 mins – 2 hours to use up this many calories, depending on your size and the type of exercise you are doing.

Peloton doesn’t offer nutrition advice or access to healthy recipes as part of their membership, meaning you may need to look elsewhere for support with these elements of your weight loss journey. Research suggests that a combination of dietary changes and exercise mean you’re more likely to achieve your weight loss goals

So, if you’re looking to lose weight, Peloton could be a great option to keep you motivated and increase your activity levels. However, to achieve lasting results, consider using Pelton alongside a more comprehensive lifestyle change programme that targets all aspects of health, such as Second Nature. 

Second Nature is an easy-to-follow programme that helps you recalibrate your lifestyle, lose weight, and keep it off, by combining scientific articles and simple recipes, with in-app tracking and one-to-one support from a registered dietitian or nutritionist. It was developed by dietitians, nutritionists, and health psychologists to be a holistic approach to weight loss, focussing on nutrition, exercise, mindset, sleep, and stress. This means you can keep the weight off in the long term and break the ‘yo-yo’ dieting cycle.

By considering all aspects of health, you will be more likely to achieve your weight loss goal.

Key points:

  • Increasing activity levels doesn’t guarantee that you’ll lose weight 
  • Other factors such as nutrition, and less obvious candidates including stress, mindset, and sleep, are crucial to achieving lasting weight loss
  • Peloton is an exercise only subscription – if you need support with other factors of your lifestyle, consider a more holistic programme instead of or alongside Peloton, such as Second Nature.

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Exercise and Sleep

Getting a  is very important for our health, happiness, and wellbeing. Lack of sleep is known to have knock-on effects on many aspects of our health, including our diet and ability to make healthy choices, the functioning of our immune system, and our mental health. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that exercising during the day helps us sleep better at night because our muscles are tired. Stronger evidence comes from a meta-analysis that found that when people exercised 4-8 hours before bedtime, they fell asleep faster than people who didn’t exercise or people who exercised less or more than 4 hours before bed

Research shows that when people get at a good night’s sleep (at least 8.5 hours), they are less hungry, eat less, and have fewer cravings the next day. When the same people got just 4.5 hours of sleep, their appetite increased, and they were unable to resist ‘highly palatable, rewarding snacks’ (cookies, ice cream, and crisps) even though they had eaten a satisfying meal two hours earlier.

So, getting enough sleep means you’re better prepared to make healthy choices and are more likely to resist temptations. Peloton, or any other exercise routine, could help with this. 

Key points:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep means we’re better prepared to make healthy food choices
  • Exercising during the day can help us to sleep better at night

Exercise and Stress

Exercise is a great stress reliever. When we exercise, our bodies produce chemicals called endorphins which help us feel good and boost our mood. 

Exercise also gives us a chance to take a break from stressful activities. Research shows that exercise is an effective break from everyday stress

Reducing stress can have knock-on effects on our weight, making us more likely to achieve our weight loss goals. When we’re feeling stressed, research and anecdotal evidence suggest that we’re more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks or so-called ‘comfort foods’. Over time, overeating can lead to weight gain so tackling stress at the source can improve our mood and weight loss attempts. Peloton is one exercised-focused method that might help to reduce stress levels and have positive effects on weight loss. 

Key points:

  • Exercise is a great stress reliever 
  • Reducing stress levels can have positive effects on our weight

Pros of Peloton

One of the key benefits of Peloton over other exercise programs is the community support offered. For some people, live classes, leaderboards, and interaction with the instructor can be incredibly motivating. However, for others, it could be intimidating and too intense, if you prefer to work out at your own pace. 

Peloton members also have access to a forum where they can ask questions to the community about technical issues, class recommendations, and ask for general support which can be helpful in staying motivated. 

Cons of Peloton

For some people, a concern with using Peloton for weight loss is the high costs, both of the monthly subscription and the initial investment in the bike or treadmill that are considerably more expensive than other available models. While some people may have the desire and means to invest in such a product, there are much more affordable options available to help you in your weight loss journey. 

Peloton is exclusively an exercise subscription and doesn’t offer a holistic view of weight loss. While this may work for some people, most people will need support with nutrition and some lesser-known factors such as stress, sleep, and mindset to achieve lasting weight loss. 

Key points:

  • The Peloton community can be highly motivating, encouraging you to stay on track with your goals
  • Some people may find the interactive classes intimidating or overwhelming
  • Peloton doesn’t consider other aspects of your lifestyle that may be crucial to losing weight 

Key features

Peloton Second Nature Weekly nutritionist
Access to a community of like-minded individuals
Exercise equipment included
Access to exercise videos
Interactive exercise options available
Nutrition advice from a registered nutritionist or dietitian
The same, personal coach throughout the programme
Access to healthy recipes
Support across all pillars of health (nutrition, exercise, stress, sleep, mindset)
Pay what you like for the first 2 weeks
Price £84/month* $60/month £300/month

*The Peloton monthly price was calculated based on paying for the most basic bike on the pay monthly option, plus the £39 all-access membership (required for Peloton bike/treadmill owners).

Take home message

  • Peloton is a luxury exercise subscription that can help people to increase their activity levels and potentially lose weight
  • Peloton only tackles one element of a healthy lifestyle and you may need external support from another programme to achieve your weight loss goals
  • Second Nature takes a holistic approach, looking at all aspects of health, helping you to build up sustainable healthy habits and achieve lasting weight loss
  • Second Nature provides you with an education of nutrition and includes access to a registered dietitian or nutritionist to support you and answer any nutrition queries with the most up-to-date science
  • Both Peloton and Second Nature provide you with a peer support group of like-minded individuals

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