Peloton for Beginners: Starter Tips and Beginner Plan


peloton for beginners

When it comes to Peloton for beginners, there is a lot of territory to cover. I know. Because I was once a Peloton beginner. That was me in the picture here, back in 2016 when we first got our Peloton bike. I had no idea how to get started, beyond getting on the cycle and just riding.

Lucky for you there is more information out there on Peloton for beginners. For starters when you launch the Peloton app or the Peloton tablet and click around in “programs” you’ll find some “basics” classes to help get your started. In addition, when looking for classes to take, you can filter using the word “beginner.” FYI, even this many years into having a Peloton, I still take beginner classes.

But if you’re brand new to Peloton–like it was just delivered today or it’s coming tomorrow–none of what I said above makes any sense. That’s ok. I’m going to spell it all out for you plus answer common questions.

Questions about Peloton for beginners

There a lot of questions centered around Peloton for beginners.

  • How do I get started with Peloton?
  • Can beginners do Peloton?
  • Should you ride your Peloton everyday?
  • Who is the best beginner Peloton instructor?
  • How do I choose a username?

In this blog post I’m going to address all of these questions and more. I want this post full of Peloton starter tips to be your beginner guide so you can plan for how you can get the most out of your Peloton. Think of it as your onboarding guide for the Peloton newbie.


Peloton cycle for beginners

Keep in mind that this Peloton beginner guide is more for the Peloton bike than anything else. Here is my new review of the Peloton digital app, which lets you take tons of classes off the cycle. In addition, I have a review of Peloton yoga using the app, which you can read here. Finally, I get a lot of questions about the best mat for Peloton. So, I just wrote a blog post on that topic.

I don’t have the Peloton tread, so I can’t write a review of that equipment. However, I have been able to do Tread classes using the NordicTrack brand regular treadmill that I’ve had for years.

So with this Peloton for beginners guide, I’m going to offer you tips on common starter subjects for the spin bike or cycle. These includes how to understand the Peloton schedule, which rides or classes to take so you can figure out your first cycling class, how often you should be riding, plus basics like figuring out your username, setting up your profile and more.

How do I pick my Peloton name?

When it comes to choosing your Peloton bike name, keep the following in mind. It isn’t just your name when you use the Peloton cycle. Peloton names are used across devices and programs.

Your Peloton bike name is also your username for logging into Peloton, the Leaderboard name that shows up during rides and your screen name whenever you’re inside the Peloton ecosystem. FYI, LB means Leaderboard on Peloton. It’s the scoreboard, if you will, that shows up in every class to show where you are “placing” among your teammates.

Ideas for Peloton Leaderboard names

So, how do you pick your Peloton name? The answer there is no right answer for how you pick your Peloton name. You have to pick something in order to log in and take your first Peloton ride.

I find that one of the biggest challenges for beginners to Peloton is figuring out what you want to call yourself and making it fit in 15 characters. That’s all you’re allowed for Peloton usernames. You can use letters, and add numbers and the underscore or underline to your name. But that’s it. You can’t use any special characters.

Peloton leaderboard name ideas

Many people will add something about their professional in their username. I see a lot of DOC or RNs or LAW going by on the Leaderboard. Other members will work something in about their family in their screen name, like “GirlDadof3” or “MomofTwinBoys.” There are a lot of usernames with “dogmom” or “catlady” in them–so lots of pet lovers. Still others will give a shout out to their alma mater in their Leaderboard name. I see “GoBlue” often. That’s OK–we’re Michigan fans in this household.

Some people get really clever and creative with their Peloton usernames. Some of my favorites include “MomCantHearYou” and “MazelTough.”

You’ll notice that these two LB or leaderboard names are all one word. That’s how the names work. You can use upper and lower case letters and, like I said, even the underscore or underline to separate words. But all together your Peloton name is one word. So keep that in mind.

Always use vowels in your Peloton LB name

When choosing your Leaderboard name, always use vowels. Sound your name out phonetically. You may know what you’re trying to say. But one of the reasons you want an easy to read username is so that if an instructor sees your screen name during a ride, they can give you a shout out. (More about shout outs later) I’ve been in classes with instructor Christine D’Ercole where she wants to give you a shout out, really she does, but she says, “People, give me some vowels.”

Speaking of instructors, I’ve heard instructor Denis Morton chuckle and say, “Punny, I like that” when someone has done wordplay with their username. So if you want a cool, creative and clever user name, do some wordplay, like “MazelTough” (instead of Mazel Tov) or “PeloniousMonk” (instead of Thelonioius Monk).

Having mentioned the “pelo” prefix, keep in mind that a lot of people use “pelo” in their usernames. You may find a limited selection of usernames still “available” with Pelo in them. However, if you happened to have a name with the sound “el” in it, and want to have fun using your name, you could be creative with something Peloton-ish. Like, if your name is Sheldon, you could “Sheldonton.” See what I did there?

Peloton for beginners: username ideas

I’ve heard some people ask if there is a username generator or a name maker. When I Googled this, I did find some options, but I can’t vouch for any of them.

Instead, the easiest way to check the availability of your username or to figure out one that fits your personality is to look right in Peloton. Login (you can use your email if you don’t have a username yet) and look for people to follow–that’s how you’ll see people’s usernames.

You can start by typing what you’re thinking of using as your username and see what comes up. As I mentioned above, a lot of people use “pelo” in their Leaderboard names. Once you start typing that in, Peloton will auto-populate it and you can see what others have called themselves.

Can you change your Peloton name?

Yes, you can absolutely change your Peloton name. At any time. When I first started riding, my username was Leahtard. Why Leahtard? It was a childhood nickname from when I took ballet classes and we wore leotards, except my friends said I was wearing a Leahtard–because my name is Leah. Get it? It’s a pun.

However, I soon realized that the “tard” suffix might sound like I was somehow making fun of the “R” word. Not cool. So I changed it to “Leah_is_Pawsome.”

peloton for beginners username

Once you’ve determined your Peloton username or Leaderboard name, you’re probably going to want to get some Peloton swag that that you can customize with your leaderboard name. Etsy is a great place for that. In fact, in my post on Peloton gifts, I highlight all of this Peloton stuff and more. Have fun checking that all out.

Speaking of Etsy, I sell a Peloton-inspired workout schedule and planner there. You can see it and my other products on my Printables page. 

Peloton-Inspired Workout Planner Schedule Calendar PDF Printable

I designed this Peloton-inspired workout planner calendar because I found that I was great at getting my cardio on my Peloton--through cycling classes or walking on the Peloton app, for example--but I was neglecting the rest of my fitness routine, meaning strength and stretching.

Once I created this planner, which is now available on Etsy, and could fill in which classes I was going to do each week, I got better at actually following through. This is from someone who has had the Peloton since 2016.

How it's organized

To make it easier for me--and for you--to find your class on the Peloton tablet or in the app, I created a space for the class instructor, the kind of class, the date and time, and the class length. That was if you're doing the classes On Demand, you can filter by class length and instructor so it's easier to find them and bookmark them. I've also suggested themes to make it easier for you to find classes you could do for cardio, strength and stretch.

I find that writing down my workout plans as my fitness tracker on this calendar works better for me than putting them in a digital calendar, where I can simply ignore the notification.

Page 1 of this PDF is Monday through Wednesday.

Page 2 is Thursday through Sunday.

This comes in a version that is pink and red and another that is blue. Download once and print forever.

If you want to follow me on the Leaderboard, I'm #Leah_is_Pawsome

Peloton for beginners: profile picture

Don’t forget to create a profile picture for yourself. If you don’t upload a picture, you will appear as a letter in the little round circle where your profile picture is supposed to go.

You can take a picture of yourself using the camera on the Peloton tablet–didn’t know that was there? Me either until someone tried video-chatting with me during a ride. Um, no. Now there is a piece of blue tape over the camera.

Anyway, I found it easier to log into the Peloton app on my phone, and grab a picture from the saved photos on my phone for a profile picture. You can also connect Peloton with your Facebook profile and get pictures that way, but that’s a little too big brother for me.

How to choose a profile picture for the Leaderboard

Your profile picture should be clear and uncomplicated. The circle is so tiny on the Leaderboard. So, if you’re far away in the picture or in front of a busy background or in a large group, no one will really be able to see you.

Of course, you don’t have to actually show your face in your profile pic. You can create something in Canva (which is what I’ve done), or you can show an icon that means something to you.

For example, the people who tend to have a username about being a dog dad or cat mom usually have their pet as their profile pic. People who have their alma mater in their user name might show that college or university’s icon in their profile pic. Like I said I’ve seen a lot of “GoBlue” usernames go by on the Leaderboard, and they often have the maize Michigan M in their profile pic.

Peloton for beginners: what happens during rides

There’s a lot of lexicon to learn when you get started with the Peloton. Things like LB for Leaderboard, high fives, milestones and shout outs.

What are shout outs on Peloton?

You’ll hear people talking about getting a shout out on Peloton. This happens when an instructor welcomes you for your first ride or congratulates you on hitting a milestone. What’s a milestone on Peloton? When you reach a certain number of rides or classes, or when you ride for an extended period of time.

What does a milestone ride mean?

The Peloton instructors can see you when you’re riding–see your Leaderboard name, that is, no you at home on your bike–and they can see if you are riding a milestone. I believe the first milestone beginner Peloton riders can get a shout out for is their very first ride and then not again until 50 rides. However, you will get badges on the bike for your 1st, 10th and 25th rides along with the 50th, etc.

As of this riding, I’m closing in on my 1,100th ride. I got a badge for ride 1,000 and I won’t get another badge until I hit 1,500. But I did get a shout out for ride 1,050 and have heard people get shout outs for 1,100–even though there is no badge associated with it.

You’ll also get badges on your profile for riding on consecutive days. Three days, seven days, 10 days, 30 days and so on. Same thing with consecutive weeks. So, if you’re wondering, “Should you ride your Peloton everyday?” Heck, yeah, if you like to earn badges.

Here’s my blog post that explains all about Peloton milestones.

peloton for beginners ride badges

Peloton for beginners: high fives

Other riders will also get notified if you’re hitting a milestone when you log into a ride or join a live class. This includes ride milestone and how many days you’ve been riding milestones. You’ll see little hands showing up on the left-hand side of the tablet. This is people giving you a high five. Tap the hands to give a high-five back. It’s ok to high five strangers.

peloton for beginners high fives

Choosing your gender in your Peloton profile

Finally, you can get a shout out if you ride on your birthday. However, you have to go into your profile settings so that your birthday shows. I found that in addition to making sure the Peloton cycle has your birthday in the settings, you need to make sure that you’ve chosen your gender. One time I rode on my birthday and didn’t get a shout out. It was then that I realized that my gender wasn’t showing in my profile so I guess my birthday wasn’t either.

By the way, Peloton is super progressive about riders and their genders, and gives you three options:

  1. female
  2. male
  3. nb (non-binary)

Peloton for beginners: getting started

To get started on your first Peloton rides, you’ll need to log into the Peloton tablet on the bike. You’ll use your email or username for your login and set a password. The bike will remember you from here on in.

If you have more than one family member riding, each person needs to set up their profile. Then, you’ll need to choose your profile each time you want to use the bike. When you turn the bike on, the first screen you’ll see will be the profiles. Choose yours and you’ll arrive at a home screen with a ton of class options.

How do you pick a Peloton class?

At the top you’ll see if there are any upcoming live classes. Along the bottom you’ll see an icon that says “classes.” These are all the On Demand rides and classes that were previously recorded live. You can take these at any time. There is a filter within so you can look for classes based on theme, instructor name or length.

Click on classes and you’ll end up in the On Demand library. You’ll notice a spyglass, search bar in the upper right hand corner. Touch that and your keyboard will pop up. There, you can type in and search for classes based on a theme, musical artist or more.

Best beginner Peloton rides

When it comes to the best beginner Peloton rides, I would recommend using that spyglass to search the term beginner. Literally type in “beginner” and see what pops up. If you see a class you think you like, touch it and then you’ll have these options.

  1. See the class difficulty rating on a scale of one to 10
  2. You can preview the playlist in the class so you can see if you like the music
  3. Start the class

When I was in the category of a beginner Peloton rider, I started with 20-minute classes. There are 15-minute classes, 10-minute classes and even 5-minute classes, but these five-minute classes tend to be warm-up and cool-down classes. They are designed for you to take before or after your “main” class. Trust me–warming up and cooling down is a great habit to get into.

If you’d like a free printable of the best Peloton classes overall, subscribe to my blog using the form below. Once you share your email, you’ll receive this printable that you can print out and keep with you as you explore Peloton.

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Does Peloton have 30-minute classes?

You bet Peloton has 30-minute classes. Also, 45 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes. But don’t get ahead of yourself.

Like I said I stuck with 20-minute classes for the first few times on my Peloton bike, primarily riding with Hannah Marie Corbin. Then I moved up to 30-minute classes. My first 45-minute class was at least a month into riding my Peloton bike and it was a live new wave class with Christine D’Ercole. I finally tried a 60-minute class when Jenn Sherman had one of her Epic Sing a Long rides. And I didn’t die.

Peloton for beginners: Ride Live or On Demand

As I mentioned there is a schedule of live rides every day of the week. There are also other kinds of live classes you can do on the cycle tablet. Strength, stretching and more.

You have the same variety with doing classes or rides On Demand. It is all there, literally, at your fingertips–since the Peloton tablet is a touchscreen.

Your first live ride

So many people are nervous about taking their first live ride. Don’t be. The only people who will know it’s your first live ride will be you and the instructor. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard instructors give shout outs to people for their first live ride.

Trust me: it will make your stomach jump if you happen to get a shout out. It feels so good to hear your username–so choose one that makes you smile and is easy for the instructor to say. And then expect the high-fives to explode on the left-hand side of your tablet.

What are encore rides or classes

In addition to the live rides, you may see rides called “Encore” in the live schedule. So, they’re not quite classes On Demand but they’re not quite live either. So, what are encore rides or encore classes?

An encore ride or encore class is a repeat of a recent live ride. Usually, Peloton schedules an Encore class if it fits with a current theme that they are promoting. For example, in November 2020, Peloton released a series of Beyonce classes across a variety of disciplines. So, you could find Encore Beyonce classes throughout the month.

Encore versus live Peloton classes

Another reason Peloton offers Encore classes is if a group wants to ride “live” at a certain time that might not be popular for the whole Peloton population. For example, there are Peloton users in Germany and the United Kingdom who may want rides at a time that’s convenient for them. But instructors may not be giving a class at that time. Therefore, they plug in an Encore class.

peloton encore cycling classes

Finally, Encore classes are great if you want to ride with a group of people but there are not live rides to take. This way everyone can start at the same time, and high five along the way.

Recently Peloton introduced a beta test of “Sessions,” which are On Demand or Encore classes starting throughout the day. I’ve tried a few of these Sessions classes and I didn’t really like it, because they were starting every 15 minutes so there were only a few people in my class. I’m not sure if Sessions will stick or if they will overtake Encores.

Final thoughts on this beginner’s guide to Peloton

I hope I’ve done a good job helping you figure out how to set yourself up for your very first Peloton ride. It was important for me to remember back to when I was just a wee beginner Peloton rider, just getting started, and the things that confused me or that I wanted answers to.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to my other Peloton content, which is also appropriate for Peloton for beginners. This includes my Peloton shoes guide and review, tips on how to make the Peloton seat more comfortable as well as my list of the best Peloton accessories. Yeah, you’ve got some shopping to do, so enjoy.

If you prefer to do all of your shopping on Amazon, here is a link to my Peloton essentials shopping list. In addition, you may want to check out my exclusive page on Amazon where I recommend products from dozens of my blog post.

If I’ve missed anything that you ended up here looking for the answer to–and I didn’t answer it–post a comment and let me know. I’m happy to update this post accordingly with additional answers.

Welcome to the Peloton family. You’re going to love your bike!

2 thoughts on “Peloton for Beginners: Starter Tips and Beginner Plan”

  1. Awesome info, thanks!

    Based on your helpful tips I’m going to change my user name 🤪 It’s currently MW17588 which is just weird.

    QUESTION! When looking at the different types of classes… what is the difference between biking and cycling?! 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • I’m glad I’ve inspired you to pick a new LB name:

      From what I understand, BIKE is the equipment and CYCLING means the classes on the bike.

      Hope that helps.



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