Peloton Gym is a big step away from bikes — and it's completely free (EXCLUSIVE)
The future of Peloton might not be all bikes and monthly membership fees. On May 23, Peloton is launching a rebranding initiative that better structures app-based offerings and introduces free programming through an all-new feature called Peloton Gym.
Peloton’s new target is making the workouts accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere. The Peloton App and at-home machines already had a reputation for flexibility — remember the time people had no option but to work out while quarantined at home? — but the brand’s fresh messaging doubles down on free exercise features.
The Peloton App now offers three distinct membership tiers: Peloton App Free (free), Peloton App One ($12.99/month) and Peloton App+ ($24/month). App One members will get strength and floor-based workouts, while App+ unlocks cardio classes. These new tiers also separate app-only users from the $44/month All-Access membership required for Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread and Peloton Row.
With the recent Bike recall in mind, it seems like a natural move for Peloton to invest in workouts that aren’t tied to machines. Ahead of the app announcements, I spoke with Peloton execs about the recall, new programming, content adaptations, and the company’s journey ahead.
Peloton strays further from the home
Unlike with its Tread and Tread+ recall, which the company initially resisted, Peloton moved much more quickly when it was discovered that the seat posts of its bike could detach while exercising.
“In terms of the recall, we’re talking about 36 out of 2.5 million seat posts,” said Tom Cortese, Chief Product Officer for Peloton. “We’re taking it very seriously and responding very quickly with our members. This is how we’re always going to make sure we put safety first when it comes to hardware. And we’re going to invest a ton in new pathways into Peloton.”
The foremost of these pathways is Peloton Gym. Different from timed video and audio classes, Gym is more like a catalog of guided strength programs that users can follow at their own pace and desired location. You could certainly follow the programs with equipment you have at home, but the intention is that you’d use them outside or at a real gym.
“What we’ve seen is that, especially post-Covid, people are going back out into the world, and they want to bring Peloton with them.”
“We’re moving from the value and convenience of home, which is what you get with the Peloton subscription and from premium Peloton hardware, to the value and convenience of anywhere,” said Cortese. “Turn the park in your town into your gym. Or use your ‘gym’ gym and take Peloton with you.”
Workouts can be filtered by length, muscle group, instructor. When you launch a Gym workout, you’re taken through a number of circuits curated by a Peloton coach. Once you complete the recommended number of sets of a circuit, you swipe to move on to the next one.
“This feature is like taking a whiteboard workout from a Crossfit gym and bringing it into the Peloton experience, meaning it’s built from what we’re amazing at, which is our instructor-developed content,” said Brent Tworetzky, VP of Product Management for Peloton. “What we’ve seen is that, especially post-Covid, people are going back out into the world, and they want to bring Peloton with them.”
Entering the free frontier
For the first time, the Peloton App is becoming a destination for free workouts. Previously, Peloton offered promotions for trying content at no cost. But when the trial period ended, you’d have to pay to continue using the app. This certainly deterred people who need free workout programs, whether it was about cost or their exercise locales.
“We believe that what we do to change people’s lives and the expertise of our instructors is pretty much something no competitor can touch.”
“We believe that what we do to change people’s lives and the expertise of our instructors is pretty much something no competitor can touch,” said Jen Cotter, Chief Content Officer for Peloton. “We want to continue to extrapolate that in more ways to widen the funnel and super-serve the members we have already.”
In addition to Peloton Gym, the free tier of the Peloton App will have 50 video classes and Peloton’s “Just Workout” open-goal format. No matter which way you engage, you’ll be able to review your metrics, track workout history and explore community features.
“We want to make sure every tier is amazing,” said Cotter. “No matter where a member ends up, once you settle into a routine, you stay with Peloton. This new model is supposed to help you find that balance of where is right for you, and then keep you at Peloton.”
“It's okay if they want to stay in the free tier forever,” said Tworetzky. “But we also imagine that some users are going to use our free tier as a complement to the other types of workouts that they do. Over time, some of those users will decide if they want to get more serious in the areas where we can really support them.”
A less cult-like Peloton
By opening Peloton up to a larger audience, the company loses some of the exclusivity that, depending on who you asked, crafted a cult-like bubble around the content. With programming like Peloton Gym, Peloton might be able to convince more people that the brand is about more than expensive exercise machines.
Now, with a free tier and workouts that let you follow your own pace, perhaps there’s a place for everyone in Peloton. (Though Cotter joked that Peloton still needs to find a way into swimming pools.)
“It’s an intentional way to help people who are new to fitness and new to fitness apps to give us a try and see if we can fit into their lives,” said Cortese. “And it's okay if they want to stay in the free tier forever. But we also imagine that some users are going to use our free tier as a complement to the other types of workouts that they do.”
“We’re hoping our new message will explain to people who think that Peloton is not for them that it’s more than they think,” said Cotter.