When you get either the Peloton cycle or the Peloton Tread, you automatically “get” the Peloton digital app. That is, your subscription for your workout equipment includes a free digital membership to Peloton.
But let’s be honest. Not everyone can afford the bike or treadmill. Well, here’s the good news. You don’t have to own any Peloton equipment to get a Peloton workout. If you subscribe to the Peloton app–which has a 30-day free trial–you can enjoy all the benefits of a Peloton membership or subscription for a lot less money.
Update for 2021: For the next few months, you can get 60 days or two months free to try out the Peloton digital app.
In fact, everyone can use the Peloton app to workout. You can get an Android version as well as IOS that you can use on your tablet or Smartphone. Additionally, once you have a digital subscription, you can do workouts on your TV, whether it’s a Smart TV or just a regular TV you’ve connected your laptop to with an HDMI cable.
That’s a long way of say this: it’s the reason I wanted to write this Peloton digital app review and highlight its pros and cons. Plus, like I said, you can try it out for free for 30 days.
Side note: I only wish I’d written this review a few months ago, when Peloton was letting people try it for 90 days free.
How much is the Peloton digital app
Since I mentioned that you could try the Peloton app for free for 30 days (now 60 days in 2021), let’s talk cost. By itself a Peloton digital membership will set you back $12.99 per month plus tax. So for about $13 a month–or $156 a year–you can enjoy the full suite of Peloton classes.
Does Peloton have a free trial? Again, yes. For
30 60 days. That should give you enough time to try out all of the classes to see if you like it enough to keep a subscription going.
How does the Peloton digital app work
The Peloton app works to give you access to live classes as well as the ones that are available On Demand. It’s a great Peloton alternative if buying the cycle or Tread isn’t in your budget right now.
What do you get with Peloton digital?
When you get a Peloton digital subscription, which is basically the same thing as the Peloton digital app, you get the full suite of Peloton classes. You can do these classes live on the app or On Demand. Whatever category of classes Peloton offers, they’re there for the taking.
Accessing live class on the app
Here is how I access the live classes on my Smartphone. First, I’ll open the Peloton app. Second, I tap the “Schedule” icon on the top right of my screen. Third, I choose which class I want to take live. Your choices are:
- boot camp
If, as you’re scrolling through the class choices, you see red circle with a sideways triangle in it, that means a class is live right now. You can click on the red circle to join the class immediately.
Or, if you see a class in the future you want to take, tap the circle and you’ll be brought to a screen that says, “You’re in.” (When you access the schedule on your laptop, it will actually say “Count me in” versus just a blank circle. But it serves the same purpose.)
In other words, you’ve “registered” for the class. As long as you have notifications turned on, your phone will let you know when the class is about to start.
Why would I want to pre-register for a class on the Peloton app?
I find that there are a few benefits to pre-registering for a class on the Peloton app or opting in on my computer or the bike. First, I like to plan my workouts a week in advance. If you’ve seen my Peloton-inspired workout planner calendar, then you know that it’s important to me to choose cardio, strength and stretching that I can do for each day. By counting myself in for these classes, I have a plan for working out that day, if there is a live class I want to take.
Second, if for some reasons a class is changed or cancelled, Peloton will email you. This happened to me when I was planning to ride live in the studio last February with Matt Wilpers for my ride 900–before New York City and the rest of the world shut down–but also for at-home rides. Anyway, it’s convenient to know ahead of time that a class you’d planned to take has been cancelled.
Accessing On Demand classes on the app
In addition to being able to join live classes on the digital app, you can also take any of the recorded or On Demand classes in the Peloton library. To be honest, probably 90 percent of the classes I’m taking each week are done On Demand. That’s because either I’m doing a Power Zone Challenge so have a pre-scheduled lined up of classes I need to take for my team.
Or, because with my goal of taking cardio, strength and stretching each day, it’s nearly impossible to line up all three classes, live, in the same time period. I might get two out of three but never three out of three.
Anyway, here’s how you access the On Demand classes on the Peloton digital app. It’s similar to accessing the live classes. I’m going to walk you through the steps I use on my phone. Doing this on any other device or a computer is similar.
First, you open the Peloton app. Next, once the app opens, it defaults to the “classes” option–on the top left of home screen. Below, you’ll see your options for the kinds of classes you can take On Demand.
- outdoor (audio)
- boot camp
You’ll notice that the array of classes is the same as the live schedule except for one–outdoor. These are audio only classes exclusively for running and walking. So, you can listen to them when you workout outside. I often listen to the “fun walks” while walking my dogs. Matty Maggiacomo and Rebecca Kennedy have some of my favorite playlists!
Filtering classes On Demand
When you decide to use the Peloton app to take classes On Demand, you’ll see that there are filters there to help you narrow down your search. This is because you cannot actually search for classes on the Peloton app or when you access Peloton digital on your computer. Only the equipment has a search option. If there is one of the biggest cons to the digital app, this is it. But at least there are the filters.
Filtering yoga classes
Here are your filtering options. Let’s say I wanted to do a yoga class On Demand. When I tapped the Yoga option, I’d see the filter at the bottom. Click on it and up come your filtering options.
First, you can filter by class length. In yoga you can choose:
- 5 min
- 10 min
- 15 min
- 20 min
- 30 min
- 45 min
- 60 min
- 75 min
Second, you can filter by class type. Currently, your options for yoga are:
- Yoga Basics
- Yoga Flow
- Power Yoga
- Yoga Anywhere
- Restorative Yoga
- Pre & Postnatal
Please read my Peloton yoga basics review for a more in-depth look at these classes.
Third, you can filter by instructor.
Fourth, you can filter by music.
Fifth, you can filter by difficulty. There are only three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. However, word to the wise: some of the classes do not have a difficulty level associated with them. So I rarely use this option.
Finally, you can sort the classes based on six criteria:
- Top Rated
Filter for strength class on Peloton digital app
Along with yoga you’re likely to want to do strength workouts off the bike or off the Tread by using the digital app. So, let’s go through the process of filtering for strength classes on the app or how that would look.
First, you can filter by length. For the strength workouts your options are:
- 5 min
- 10 min
- 15 min
- 20 min
- 30 min
Second, you can filter by class type. In strength you have the following class choices on the app:
- Warm Up
- Strength Skills
- Full Body
- Upper Body
- Lower Body
FYI, Bodyweight means you are not using any hand weights. You use your body as your weight. Also, Strength Skills is similar to Yoga Basics over on the yoga stream. These are short classes designed to teach you how to do basic strength or bootcamp skills, such as bridges, burpees and bicep curls.
Third, you can filter by instructor. Most of the instructors in strength are from the Tread studio. However, since cycle instructors do strength training classes on and off the bike, you can find them listed here, too. Basically, you can choose from 29 instructors, including Matty Maggiacomo and Matt Wilpers, shown here.
Fourth, you can filter by music, using these options:
- Classic Rock
- Hip Hop
Fifth, you can filter by difficulty. Like most Peloton digital app classes, there are three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Finally, you can sort by newness and rating. This includes:
- Top Rated
Filtering may vary slightly for each of the different class types. But, at the most basic, you can always filter by instructor and length of class.
What equipment do I need for the Peloton app?
To use the Peloton app, you’ll need a Smartphone, a tablet, a computer or a Smart TV. As far as what equipment you need to work out using the Peloton digital app, well, it depends on what kind of workouts you’re going to do.
Here is my article on the best Peloton accessories. Many of those recommendations are relevant for using the Peloton app, too, such as the Scosche heart rate monitor. Use code SCOSCHE2021 at checkout to save 30%.
If you’re planning on doing strength workouts, you’ll need a set of dumb bells or hand weights. I have pairs of 5 pounds, 8 pounds, 10 pounds and 15 pounds.
You’ll also want a mat, for floor work or taking yoga classes. I love my Gaiam yoga mat. I also use Gaiam blocks for my yoga practice. When you shop on Gaiam.com, use the code ABENITY20 to save 20%.
Can I use the Peloton app without the bike or Tread?
Absolutely you can use the Peloton digital app without owning a bike or Tread. When I’ve had to travel for work and stayed in hotels without Peloton bikes, I was able to bring my phone with me to the gym. There, I would load a Peloton cycling class and use it while riding a regular spin bike in the hotel gym. Here, by the way, is my list of Peloton hotels or hotels with Peloton cycles in the gym.
In fact, you can do your own Peloton bike hack at home. It’s one of the reasons the Echelon bike has become so popular. Echelon is a “bring your own device” home spin bike. In fact, after our daughter quarantined with us this spring–and became obsessed with Cody Rigsby classes–she started looking for a way to recreate the Peloton experience at home without buying a new Peloton cycle. The Echelon has become a top contender. (She’s still weighing her options.)
Other spin bikes to use with Peloton app
Echelon is hardly the only bike you can use with the Peloton digital app. Some of the other brands I know people have purchased to use with the Peloton app include the Schwinn spin bike and the Sunny Bike.
Here’s something important to keep in mind. Some of these alternative to Peloton bikes have a chain drive. Others have a belt drive. You definitely want to go with the belt drive. Why?
First, a belt drive is quieter. Second, a belt drive is likely to last longer. In other words the chain drive tends to wear out more quickly. And you don’t want that to happen.
Yes, belt driven bikes are a bit more expensive than chain driven bikes. But if they last longer and work better, it’s worth the money.
How do I connect my Peloton app subscription to my TV?
As I mentioned earlier, I do classes from Peloton, off the Peloton equipment, by connecting my laptop to my TV using an HDMI cable. But that’s only because I have an older TV. With newer Smart TVs, you can get Peloton right on the screen.
Here is how the Peloton website describes the devices that you can use your Peloton subscription with:
Can I use the Peloton Tread without a subscription?
Well, no. Because if you buy a Tread, then you’ve already got the subscription. But let’s flip that question around and do what I do: use the Peloton digital app to get Tread workouts without owning a Tread.
How do I do this? With my regular NordicTrack treadmill that I’ve had for years. I’ll just use the app on my phone, and take any Tread class on there. I can even do live class on the app.
In addition, you can take classes with Tread instructors outdoors. You’ll just choose the “Outdoors” or “Audio Only” classes from the stream, breakout your headphones and head outdoors for a run or walk.
I only do the walk classes for real. Why? Because I only run when chased. No, but seriously, I don’t enjoy running. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t “listened” to running classes. Sometimes their playlists are so good–I’m looking at you Selena Samuela, Jess Sims and Chase Tucker.
Is the Peloton digital app worth it
So, is the Peloton app worth it? I think so. The Peloton app lets you pursue running or walking classes on any treadmill, practice yoga at home, do strength training with your own equipment–or a hotel gym, if you’re traveling–and put together a cycle hack so you can spin, too. At just $13 a month, it’s significantly cheaper than any other gym membership, including the $39.99 a month we pay for our Peloton subscription that you have to have when owning the Peloton bike.
I have dozens of friends who were devout Orangetheory participants who has since converted to the Peloton digital app. While they can’t compete on the big screen leaderboard like they could at Orangetheory–and rowing isn’t an option; please, Peloton, introduce a rower–they can still find challenging workouts to keep them in shape.
For example, any of the boot camp classes you can do on the digital app include part of the time running on a treadmill and the rest of the time doing strength or HIIT workouts on the floor. That’s any treadmill, not just the Peloton Tread.
Finally, you can even get shout outs when you do a live class using the Peloton digital app. There have been so many times during a cycling class where I’ve heard the instructor call out riders on Peloton digital or the Peloton app. So, if you’re looking for that kind of gamification and reinforcement, you can even get that by using the Peloton app.