Before now, working out at home was a lot more convenient than the gym…
… but you had to sacrifice quite a bit in terms of the quality of your workout.
However, things have started to change since the introduction of products like the Peloton.
The Peloton bike brings a fitness class-like atmosphere to your home with its unique screen interface. It’s not hard to see why the bike has exploded in popularity in recent years.
But how does Peloton vs the gym really shake out, and which one is the better fit for you?
I personally do both! I do my strength training at the gym and most of my cardio on the Peloton bike.
But when it comes down to it, Peloton and the gym are designed for different people. The gym is the better choice for strength training and amenities, while Peloton wins on convenience and cardio training.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the Peloton bike vs the gym when it comes to cost, convenience, and more.
When put side-by-side, the monthly costs of a Peloton and a gym membership are very similar.
You will pay between $20-$50 per month at your standard big-box gym chain with full access to all of the amenities.
These amenities could be access to:
- fitness classes
- weight rooms
- and more.
(What is a big box gym? Click to read all about it.)
When you purchase a Peloton bike, you will need to pay $39 per month to have a Peloton All-Access Membership — that lets you access the app.
On the Peloton app, you can choose from thousands of different pre-recorded classes while also having access to daily live spin classes.
There’s also a ton of strength, yoga, and other “floor” workouts — plus outdoor running workouts and treadmill workouts, if you own a Peloton tread.
If you do not own a Peloton bike, you may also get a Peloton Digital Membership for $12.99 per month for other fitness classes.
You can access the classes with this lighter membership, but not on any Peloton equipment, and the app won’t track your stats and other metrics.
While things are pretty similar for the monthly fees, the initial costs between Peloton vs the gym are drastically different.
At many gyms, you may have sign-up fees.
But, these joining fees can be anywhere from $5-$200, depending on the gym.
As for the Peloton bike, the base package is $1,895 for the bike and screen display.
Along with the base package, Peloton also offers a Peloton Bike+ package with additional features for $2,495.
These costs stop many people from buying a Peloton bike, as it’s hard to know if you will enjoy it before making the investment.
Fortunately, Peloton has made these initial costs easier to manage with payment plans.
It’s a whopper of a down payment upfront, but over the long term — if Peloton is your only form of exercise — Peloton is pretty cost effective compared to regular spin classes.
The gym is still the more budget-friendly option for most people, however.
There’s no denying the convenience of a Peloton bike.
Wherever there is access to a power outlet in your home, you can set up your bike.
Instead of driving to a spin studio or gym, you can take a walk into your living room and hop on the bike.
However, the convenience also may be a disadvantage depending on the person.
In a study about motivation and working out, only 16.5% of people felt highly motivated to use a stationary bike.
In this same study, they spoke to several stationary bike owners, with 20.5% saying that riding the bike was not at all or slightly enjoyable for a home workout.
When people visited a specialized fitness studio, this number dropped to only 7.5%.
Just remember that the Peloton is a lot more engaging and dynamic of a workout than using the stationary bike on your own — in fact, a lot of people find it addicting!
While going to the gym comes with more excuses (lack of time, bad weather, long drives, etc.), most people find going to the gym more motivating than working out at home.
Gyms are also more convenient for people who want a balanced workout regime.
Aside from stationary bikes, you can also lift weights, swim at the pool, or take other styles of group fitness classes.
The amount of equipment at a gym allows anyone to meet their fitness goals.
With Peloton, you are more restricted in what you can accomplish. Even though the app has tons of different classes available, you’ll need to buy a lot of equipment to compete with the gym.
In the end, it boils down to what your main struggles are when it comes to sticking with a workout plan.
If you need easy access, no drive time, and the ability to jump into workouts quickly whenever the mood or free time strikes, you’ll love the Peloton.
If you’re more motivated by being around other people working on their fitness, and can fit the drive to the gym into your schedule, you’ll do great at a commercial gym.
Workouts & Effectiveness
When first turning on the Peloton, you will notice the sheer amount of classes they have to offer you.
With thousands of different classes, you can choose a class style that best fits your fitness level.
From beginner Peloton classes teaching you the basics to expert classes, there is a class for everyone on the Peloton app.
However, the classes are only as difficult as you make them.
If you follow along with the instructor, you are guaranteed a challenging workout.
If you don’t push yourself, you may be missing out on the full benefits of attending the Peloton spin classes.
Along with the spin classes, you can also complete other fitness classes using the Peloton app.
There are thousands of different classes available, including:
- strength training
- outdoor running
- boot camp
- and even meditation.
These classes will all give you a balanced workout regime with limited equipment.
At the gym (good ones, at least) you have every piece of equipment imaginable at your disposal.
You can lift heavy weights, run on the treadmill, and go into the sauna. At a gym, the amount of equipment gives you more flexibility to do what you want.
This flexibility makes a gym membership more beneficial for people who want to build muscle or train for a specific athletic performance or fitness competition.
Peloton versus gym results will ultimately come down to your goals and training style.
If you want to gain cardiovascular endurance and lose fat, a Peloton is a great option — it’s extremely convenient and effective.
You can easily burn 400-700 calories in a 45-minute class on the Peloton.
Strength classes on the Peloton are an excellent complement to regular spin training, as well.
(Learn more about the Peloton results you can see with regular workouts.)
For putting on muscle or other kinds of specific training goals, you’ll do better at the gym — there’s just more equipment and variety for you to choose from.
But you’ll have to know what you’re doing to see results at the gym.
Quality of Instruction
If you are interested in taking a group fitness class at a gym, you may be wondering how it stacks up against the Peloton.
Can a Peloton give the same level of instruction through a screen as an in-person class?
At Peloton, they choose only the most qualified instructors to lead their classes.
They only choose instructors with years of experience and with all different teaching styles. Truly, they only hire the best spin instructors in the entire world.
Once you find an instructor you like, you can choose from hundreds of classes they have taught. You might like:
- The best Peloton instructors for guys
- The funniest Peloton instructors
- The hardest Peloton instructors
Want to take a live class similar to a gym class?
Peloton has four classes throughout the day that are live, each with a different instructor.
You can join and connect with others taking the same class as you.
In real-time, you can see how you rank among others with how fast you are pedaling and keeping up with the instructor.
This competition pushes you harder, resulting in a better and more intense workout.
At a gym, you will have a limited choice of instructors who lead the group fitness classes.
However, the in-class atmosphere creates an environment that is hard to replace through a screen.
The energy in the room, the music, and the people around you all push you to be better and work harder.
You can also get feedback on your exercise form in class and how you can improve.
However, keep in mind that the instructors at big box gyms tend to be less experienced than at specialty studios.
For more on this, read about whether you should take yoga at the studio or the gym, spin at the studio or the gym, or pilates at the studio or gym.
Overall, Peloton gets the nod here.
They only hire truly elite instructors, and though you won’t get individualized feedback and attention, you’ll feel like you’re in the room with them during your workouts.
Is Peloton or the Gym Best for Beginners?
If you are new to fitness, you may be wondering which option is best for you.
Do you purchase a Peloton bike and learn in the comfort of your own home? Or should you buy a gym membership where there is plenty of equipment and in-person instruction?
There’s really no right answer, and it depends highly on what motivates you and what your fitness goals are.
If you have attended spin classes or group fitness classes before at a studio or gym, a Peloton might be a great option.
With a Peloton, you can take unlimited spin classes with your membership, quickly building your experience and fitness level.
If you’re not sure cycling workouts are for you, the price tag on the Peloton might be too steep right off the bat.
Peloton is also a terrific choice if:
- You can afford to buy the bike
- You enjoy the convenience of working out at home
- You primarily want to build your conditioning and/or lose weight
The gym will be the better choice if your fitness goals go beyond cardio and weight loss.
If you’re looking to put on muscle or build strength, you’re better off with weights and resistance machines at the gym than simple bodyweight floor classes on the Peloton.
The gym is also a great choice if:
- You want other amenities like childcare, pools, and sporting courts
- You like to mix up your workouts frequently
- You like being around other people & find it motivating
The good thing about the gym is that almost all of them offer free passes — try it out and see for yourself before you sign any contracts!
There is no definitive winner when it comes to Peloton vs the gym — both can get you great results if you put in the work.
Gyms give you the best equipment and amenities to fuel your workouts — tons of strength and cardio equipment, pools, saunas, childcare, and more.
With a Peloton, you have access to the world’s best spin instructors at your fingertips. The convenience is unmatched, and you can bring a gym-quality fitness class into your home at any time.
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Hope this helps!