Peloton Guide Review: Its Body-Tracking Tech Gives Good Fitness Advice


What, you may ask, is the difference between working out with the help of the Movement Tracker and doing the workouts on one’s own? Well, lots of people cheat. Even the most scrupulous ones. It’s not on purpose, but I arch my back during overhead tricep dips, instead of standing up straight. I poke my butt into the air during pushups. (“This is not a butt museum!” Chided instructor Jess Sims.) Being able to see yourself makes it easier to check your form.

As you do each set of reps, a little bit more of the Movement Tracker graphic gets filled in until you hear a ding, and the set is completed. At the end of each workout, the Guide also shows you the parts of the body you just worked on. As I checked my cumulative workout summary, I discovered something else that I hadn’t known in over two years of using the Peloton app: I always pick full-body workouts, but those focus much more on my core and glutes. Seeing the imbalance after about a week made me start prioritizing my chest and arms.

As I was testing the Guide, my 4-year-old was on spring break. Both he and my dog ​​find my workouts irresistible, dancing in front of me to the music (the dog) or rolling on my mat and trying to lick my face (my son.) The Guide and its Movement Tracker software managed this chaos remarkably well . Out of a dozen sets, the system only counted one or two as incomplete, even though my companions were moving around in the frame the entire time. Voice recognition also worked well. Guide heard me shout “OK PELOTON PAUSE!” over barking and the Encanto soundtrack playing right next to it.

As my colleague Lauren Goode explained in her in-depth look at the Guide, Peloton is taking privacy into account with this release. All of the movement-tracking data gets crunched on the device itself instead of on a cloud server, so images and audio of your body and your home are kept off the internet. You can slide the front cover over the camera lens when the Guide is not in use, and use an onscreen toggle option to disable the microphones. However, Peloton’s privacy policy notes that in the future, the company may use the Guide’s camera to collect biometric data about you, including facial scans. Of course, you can always unplug it when you’re not using it.

Only the Lonely

Peloton spokesperson Amelise Lane noted that, in the last quarter, Peloton had 2.77 million Connected Fitness subscribers (people who owned a Bike + or a Tread +) and 862,000 digital-only subscribers (people who use the app to work out with their own equipment). As a member of that latter group, I’m in the minority. But it’s a significant minority.

In a world full of workout devices that are trying to keep you addicted to healthy habits, Peloton’s special sauce, as Goode puts it, has always been its software — not only the company’s engaging exercises, the great music choices, and the personal magnetism of its instructors, but also how well Peloton’s apps are organized. Out of all the apps I’ve tried, only Peloton’s seems to understand how busy, ordinary people lead their lives.



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