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Peloton tips and tricks: How to make the most out of your workout

There’s more to riding your bike than meets the eye

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Fitness is about developing routines and forming habits, so don’t get stuck using just a portion of your bike’s potential! If you’re new to Peloton and are looking to getting the most out of your bike, or already on your 100th ride, we’re sure you’ll find something useful in this list of tips and tricks.

To get us started we interviewed Peloton Instructor Irene Scholz to find out what her top tips are for getting the most out of your bike.

Peloton is more than just a bike

Yoga, sleep, strength training — Peloton has it all. Add in another form of exercise when your legs get tired or you can’t bring yourself to get on the bike. Think about forming a holistic workout plan based on the hundreds of classes Peloton has to offer. If that sounds overwhelming, just try out something new: dance cardio or some chair stretching or learn to use that foam roller you bought at a garage sale 5 years ago. You’ve got so much more at your fingertips than just a spin class. Explore it!

Do an FTP Test Every Month

FTP stands for “Functional Threshold Power” and is typically described as the output one could sustain for around one hour. The goal of the 20 min FTP Test is to record your highest average power for 20 min. It’s important to warm up, and warm up in the same way when you take the test again. You should take the test once a month to track your progress.

The added bonus is that it updates your FTP stats so when you’re taking a class you know what zone you’re aiming to train in.

Stretch. Every. Single. Time.

Stretching if the most important part of the workout. You become more prone to injury and tighter on your next ride if you don’t.

Check your set up, even if you’ve been riding your bike a while

Follow the intro videos about setting the seat height and depth, and know that one of the most common setup errors that go unnoticed is that people don’t have the seat high enough.

Here is a video of our favorite German Instructor, showing us how properly set up your bike, in English of course.

Change instructors

As you get in better shape your preferences will change over time, someone that you might not have liked when you first started  could be your new favorite.

Do a beginner class

Even 50 rides later, I went back and learned a few things about form I had overlooked.

Check your form every time the instructor tells you to

After coming back from my wrist injury I consciously corrected my form every time they told me to, and it feels amazing each time I actually had to make adjustments.

You’ll find that some instructors do things to check their form, but don’t tell you to check yours. Whenever I see Denis lift and wiggle his fingers and lift his wrists, I do it, too. No instructor will have perfect form, but they’ll all do things unconsciously to check in on themselves.

Stop your knee from turning the resistance knob

This means you’re too far forward. Hitting the red knob whether you’re in or out of the saddle means you’re sinking into your joints, and you end up putting weight into your thighs or arms instead of engaging your core. The solution? Push your hips and booty back so your weight is right over the saddle.

Just like real life, there is no pause button

Accept it, there is no way to pause classes. Stop looking. If you drop your water bottle or the doorbell rings, you can’t pause the ride. People have been asking for it since the bike launched but Peloton wants to keep the rides honest. If you take a break you’ll be fresh.

Schedule a workout with a friend

Similar to a live class, Sessions is another way to work out together with other members. On the Peloton app, you can schedule any ride or run that’s 20-minutes or longer, then send an invite to your friends so they can join you in that class. Think of it like an Encore class, which is a class that is not live, but the people in the ride are all starting it at the same time.

If you’re like me who is not very organized, you’ll also see all the latest rides or rides people have selected that are available starting every five minutes at the top of the classes page.

If you’re competitive and using the leaderboard to push yourself, these rides are perfect to have real people to compete against.

Skip the intro

Peloton finally added a feature to skip the 1min opening dialogue! You’ll find the button on the top left hand corner of your screen at the start of the timeline.

Are you pulling up on the pedals?

Pushing down on the pedals happens naturally. Focus on lifting the opposite foot so you engage your hamstring and glute muscles. It will also increase your output. If you’re going after a personal best, you’ll get more out of your stroke if you’re using your quads on the front of your leg and your hamstring and glutes on the back.

Watch your grip

How tight are you holding onto those handlebars? They’re there for stability, not support. Relying on them to support your weight takes away the core and quad work you’re after. Flutter or flex your fingers during the hard parts to check in on form throughout the class. We do it a lot during sprints out of the saddle.

Double tap the screen

If you want to get rid of the progress indicators, leaderboard, music and high fives, double tap the screen. If you do it again, it will bring everything back. I find this useful when I throw my towel down and I hide something I want to see. Rather than trying to tap a specific button, I just double tap the screen a few times.

Listen to the songs you liked even after the ride 

Ever wondered what happens to all the songs you liked during a ride? If you connect your Spotify or Apple Music accounts, every song will be added to your playlist! When you do, you’ll see a playlist called My Peloton Music by (username).

How to connect Peloton Music to your Spotify account

Go to your profile on the Peloton Bike and select “Music” on the left navigation column. This page will show a list of all songs you have saved during your workouts.

From the “Music” tab, click the “Connect” button on the top right of the page to link to your Spotify or Apple Music account. Enter your Spotify or Apple Music username and password, and agree to the terms to proceed.

In your Spotify player, open “Your Library” to view your playlists. A new playlist titled “My Peloton Music” should appear in your playlists. If it does not appear, simply refresh the Spotify player by closing and reopening the app or you might need to scroll down through your playlists to find it.

Lower the instructors voice

If you have classes where you loved the sound track, save them and then choose to have more music and less instructor. It’s amazing how much having motivational music blasting helps. Hit the volume button on the right hand side of the display and on the touch screen change the mix. Note that you have to do it each time as it always resets back to an even mix of music and voice.

READ MORE: 5 best workout apps to try at home

Try more short classes

Opting for multiple short classes in a day instead of long ones will also lead to getting your milestones earlier. Once you reach a milestone stage — 50, 100, or any other rounded up number, opt for a live ride. You might just get that shoutout!

The bike gets a lot of attention but the app is a treasure trove

Beyond spinning, you’d be pumped to discover all the other classes available in the app. There are yoga, pilates, and barre classes. There are strength-training classes and boot camps. There are even five-minute cardio classes for the whole fam. I also love that there are meditation classes so I didn’t have to continue my subscription on another app.

Pro Tip: Save time by bookmarking your favorite classes in the app on your phone so you can easily find them on the bike tablet later.

How to get a shout out

Take an early class – If you’re taking a live class in Europe before the US wakes up, there will be less people in the class. That way, your chances of getting a shoutout increase and to grab the top spot on the leaderboard. 

Take a live class. This may be obvious to most but if you’re new to Peloton it may be unclear. The instructor can only give you a shoutout if you are on with them in real-time.

Have an easy to read leaderboard name. If your name is long, has a lot of numbers or no capitalization, it can be hard for an instructor to spit it out while leading a class. If you’re willing to alter your Pelo-identity, try to use real words or phonetic spellings so it is easy to read and to say. And yes, you can change your name without losing all your stats.

Join class early. Live classes usually start 3 or 4 minutes prior to the recorded session and “when the lights go down.” During this time instructors casually chat with the people in studio. They also scroll through the leaderboard to see who is on and give quick shout outs. It might not quite be the same as getting it during that final hill but it is nice to know they see you and it can give your entire workout a boost.

Ride on your birthday. Make sure your birthday is set in your profile.

Toe clips are great! For your friends…

I made the mistake of getting toe clips instead of shoes. I made this choice not because I was being cheap, but because I wanted to share the joy of Peloton.

The problem with using toe clips instead of real shoes is that you can’t pull up when you’re bringing your foot around. I’m not a cyclist so I didn’t think that these things mattered. After a few months I decided to get the shoes and it made a huge difference! If you want to increase your output and workout your whole leg, you need the shoes.

I’ve gotten good at clipping and unclipping the toe clips. The first time it took 30 minutes, now it takes just 30 seconds! I still suggest buying them if you have friends sharing your bike they’re worth every penny.

Make clipping out a little easier

What I learned about installing the toe clips is that you have to loosen one of the screws. I also noticed that if I forgot to tighten it, it was really easy to unclip. It takes practice to snap your foot out in a single graceful movement. Cheat a little, loosen the screw. The disadvantage to doing this is that when I’m standing and have my full weight pushing and pulling on pedals I hear a creak. You need to twist your ankle out at a 90 degree angle out from the bike. I’m never in danger of my foot unclipping, but it sounds like I need to tighten things up a bit, which I do.

Don’t loosen your pedal too much as you’ll risk damaging it.

Understand the types of rides

If you’re new to Peloton, some of the terminology and slang used will probably be confusing. Here are some basic ride types to get you started:

Low-Impact. This doesn’t mean low effort, but in general it means that the cadence won’t go over 100, the resistance won’t go over 50, and there will be little or no “out of the saddle” sections (i.e. standing).

Groove. This type means less cadence dictated by the instructor and more based on riding to the beat of the music. It can also sometimes include more movement on the bike. When people ask, “what ride is more like Soul Cycle?” this is one of the frequent answers.

Live DJ. This means exactly what it says: a live DJ is in studio mixing songs and helping to drive the class. These are fun when the DJ and the instructor have a good rapport.

HIIT. High intensity interval training or HIIT is a series of intense periods followed by a quick rest period. PRO TIP: avoid doing this as your first ride.

Tabata. This is a type of HIIT ride, but it follows a specific pattern. The classic Tabata pattern is 20 seconds of effort followed by a 10 second rest. I think “Tabata” translated means sweaty; or death.

70’s / 80’s / Y2K / Classic Rock / EDM. These are rides based on the associated genre of music, and it’s not limited to these. There’s country, jazz, broadway, etc.

Power Zone. Based on your calculated Functional Threshold Power, these rides direct you through seven different zones of output from “Very Easy” to “Max Effort.”

Call a Friend

If you’re wondering what the 5MP camera on the bike is for, during a live ride you can do a call with a friend. But first, you have to be friends on Peloton. In your profile settings, go to social, then enable video chat.

During a live ride, invite friend to ride at the same time. Click on their name on the leaderboard and an option to call them will appear. This will activate the camera located on the top part of your screen. A small window showing their video feed will appear on the instructor’s right. Now, you can see each other as you ride, talk (if you can) in between each pedal stroke, and enjoy milestones together — virtually, of course.

Fair warning: make sure to only use this feature with good friends because that angle is not flattering. There are only so many people that I would let watch me die during one of Irène Scholz’s rides.

Did we miss any tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments!

— with additional tips from Carol RH Malasig

If you’re keen to try reading this in German, visit Mobile Geeks!

This article was originally published on May 4th, 2020. It has since been updated to reflect Peloton updates.

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Ultrahuman: The essential app to get you through quarantine

Getting through isolation days through workout and meditation

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Taking care of our physical and mental health is very much important now more than ever. With everything that has been going on in the world, it’s not surprising that people are taking extra steps to advocate and practice self-care.

One way to do this is by adding good habits everyday and being disciplined to sustain these habits.

With self-care as one of their ultimate goals this year, Martynne and MJ decided to try Ultrahuman: an all-in-one fitness app that includes all the good habits they are currently incorporating in their lives — from workout to meditation.

For a few weeks, they put the app to a test and this is their verdict:

Meditation

Martynne: I am a huge advocate of meditation and it has been a life-changing practice for me, as someone who finds a hard time focusing and being in the present.

Ultrahuman has a wide range of course options that can match a specific mood or emotion. One of my personal favorites is the Managing Anger course, which helped me take a step back, consolidate my feelings and give compassion to myself throughout the process.

The Singles option with one-time meditation tracks helped me become more mindful and grounded whenever I feel overwhelmed in the middle of a workday. The productivity course, on the other hand, kept my eyes glued to my laptop screen until I finished what I needed to do.

The only thing I didn’t like about it, though, is the visuals seem basic to me, and the “dark” interface is much more fitting for the workout option.

Workout

MJ: When gyms are closed and home workouts aren’t fun anymore, how do you remain committed to your fitness goals? That’s what Ultrahuman did: Filling the gap by providing fun workouts and challenges that you can do in a span of weeks. It’s similar to how Nike Training Club presents their videos albeit more personalized.

The Ultrahuman app comes with guided videos from renowned trainers, and watching their instructions during your exercises felt like having a live session with a personal trainer. Unlike most fitness apps that offer video-on-demand workouts, Ultrahuman remembers that we are all beginners, offering a collection of videos through challenges that suit different levels.

After living a sedentary lifestyle, I knew I have to ease up when working out again. The app did wonders in helping me stay active by gradually increasing the difficulty of my challenges, without straining my body or having myself complain about how difficult a certain workout routine is.

Sleep

Martynne: There was an instance that I had a bad case of insomnia and I needed something to put me to sleep.

I tried listening to Ultrahuman’s Bedtime Stories and it reminded me of the sleep podcasts I used to listen to on Spotify.

The voices are relaxing, and the stories come with meditation and sound effects, but I realized I can be impatient with slow stories. I resorted to the app’s soundscapes and brain music, and they helped a lot to relax my brain and finally shut my eyes off.

I don’t exactly know what’s the science behind brain music, but they really work sometimes.

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You can now buy and sell bitcoin, ethereum within the Venmo app

You can’t pay with crypto though

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Cryptocurrencies are the most trending topic right now, and everyone wants to be a part of it. Well, PayPal-owned peer-to-peer money transfer app Venmo has rolled out a new platform that’ll let users directly buy or sell the cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin, within the app.

With more than 70 million active users, the app serves as a perfect destination for more users. They can hold a stake in cryptocurrency starting with as little as US$ 1. They can also share their acquisition of digital currency on their feeds.

According to the payments company, more than 30 percent of Venmo customers have already started purchasing cryptocurrency or equities. And 20 percent of those customers started doing so during the pandemic.

The Venmo app is straightforward to use, and everyone is habituated with it. Hence, it is easier for folks to get on board the cryptocurrency train without worrying about complex tools.

The announcement did not say anything about paying for goods or services with cryptocurrency, but that ability could come to Venmo later. Customers will choose between four types of cryptocurrency — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

PayPal recently announced it would let users pay for goods at checkout using cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, Tesla said it would accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. With wider acceptance on mainstream services, cryptocurrencies are become easier to grab for everyone.

Venmo is rolling the new crypto features gradually, starting today. They should be available to all customers “within the next few weeks.”

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Spotify will now let you download music on your desktop

You can finally play songs while working offline

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One of the biggest updates to arrives for premium members on Spotify is the ability to download music on your laptop or computer. While this has always been a must-have feature on mobile phones, it wasn’t extended to a full-fledged PC.

Music streaming has taken over the world, and Spotify is leading the market. Streaming lets you listen to anything within a tap, so you never have to download songs via pirated sites or torrents. But the biggest problem with Spotify was — you can’t download songs for offline playback on your computer.

The hurdle is now gone, and you’ll never have to think of piracy or a legal alternative anytime soon. Just fire up Spotify’s free desktop app, and you’re good to go. Similar to the mobile UI, you can choose to keep an album or playlist offline. It’ll download all the tracks and be ready for you whenever you need them.

While this may seem like a minor addition that should’ve been implemented long ago, it technically isn’t. Only the desktop app supports it, and you can’t access it via the website player.

Spotify redesign

Spotify is also rolling out a redesign for the web and desktop app that looks similar to the mobile app. The move was aimed to improve the app’s navigation, add new features, and make the experience uniform across platforms or devices.

The old search bar is now relocated and toned down visually and sits in the left menu section. The “Made For You,” “Daily Mix,” and more playlists now sit within your library section. The Recently Played tab showed playback history up to three months ago.

If you’re a playlist fanatic, there’s now an option to add a description, upload your own images, and drag-drop apps within existing playlists. The new update is aimed at improving your discoverability, in turn offering more opportunities to curators. The hybrid manul-AI setup gets perfectly tuned to understand your taste and offer the most relevant curations.

Read Also: Spotify launches Car Thing, a voice-controlled music player for cars

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