a little cycle studio of my own

How was I so late to this party, I wonder?

After reading this post back in October, (I’ve been following Kath for years) I wondered if I should ask for a Peloton for Christmas. I knew they were pricey, but I also knew we weren’t paying for a gym membership and that I’d love it, and that I hadn’t really had a good sweat session since before Maelle was born.

I’ve always wanted a dedicated workout space in our house, and you’d think with four bedrooms and only one child that I’d be able to find some. But, our 100-year-old house has small rooms and low ceilings, which aren’t conducive to jump squats. I’m not even that much of an at-home exerciser, preferring to run with friends and hit group exercise classes at the Y. But, between having a toddler at home and COVID stretching on and on, it was becoming more and more apparent I’d need to do something to break a sweat at home.

I brought it up to Andrew as a possible Christmas gift idea, and he was surprisingly open to discussing it. He’s actually always wanted to ditch our guest room in favor of another use for the space, and I’ve always put him off. (He calls the guest room ‘the most expensive room in the house’ because it’s square footage is rarely used.) All of a sudden, as we were thinking aloud about where we could put an exercise bike, turning the guest room into a home gym sounded pretty exciting. (Full disclosure: Our plan for when my parents visited was to put them up at one of two hotels within walking distance, and we thought they’d love it. They did not. I’ve since set up the extra twin bed in the office, and we’re looking into a nicer air mattress.)

I knew one friend who had a different brand of exercise bike at home, and when I brought up spin bikes at play group, it turned out that almost ALL my mom-friends had bikes of their own at home! I felt like I’d been living under a rock this whole time. It turns out none of them had Pelotons, but almost all of them used the Peloton app for their workouts.

I decided to rack-and-stack some of the popular bikes on the market to see what our best option would be. Ideally, I wanted to find bike that would give me the Peloton ‘experience’ without the price tag. My comparison tool was super old-school; I used a pen-and-paper spreadsheet and noted features, price, subscription cost, etc. This article and this article were extremely helpful, and I visited each brand’s website for details.

In the end, I opted for the Schwinn IC4, which is a mid-priced exercise bike that had enough bells and whistles (on-board weights for combined cycle and arms classes, connectivity to various fitness apps, good reviews) without a monthly subscription cost. BTW, the Bowflex C6 bike is EXACTLY THE SAME, check out this article here (prices are not current). I was doing my research sometime in November and at that time Schwinn’s website quoted a Dec. 12 ship date; by the time I ordered in mid-December, it said it would take my bike eight weeks to arrive. Four weeks later (!!!), the bike was on my doorstep and we were out of town…neighbors to the rescue!

In the two months before the bike arrived, I’d begun prepping the room to become a workout space. I researched ideal wall colors for a home gym (turns out a faded aqua is a front-runner, so I didn’t need to re-paint) and gym floors. We happened to have an extra TV laying around (I won it in a work raffle a few years back but we never had anywhere for it to go), so I figured I could use that in the room too. I also found this Ikea unit during my home-gym inspo search, and picked it up last time we visited Abigail and Marvin. Andrew fell in love with this mirror, and while I’d planned to throw a couple cheap over-the-door mirrors next to each other on the wall, I was more than happy to acquiesce for something much nicer. It’s truly a statement piece and makes the room feel special and bright and unique, and can also be used in a few other spots in the house should we want to move it.

Everything else was already in the room (wall shelf) or something we already owned, like the cute pineapple fan. For now, I tend to leave my good yoga mat out and switch it with my old yoga mat for strength workouts. I’d like to get an oversized exercise mat to put down next to the bike as the floor is very slick, even in sneakers. I’ve already almost done the splits once when my foot stepped off the mat!

The room makes a great home for some of my plants, which have been shuffled from room to room to keep them safe from Maelle once she started crawling. I put some ‘inspirational’ items on the wall shelf, and I love the pop of color they add and that I can see them while I’m on the bike.

The bike and room came just in time, as I’m (sadly) no longer a fitness instructor at the YMCA. I know it’s not personal; we’d all been sent letters last spring when the pandemic first started informing us that if an employee was not recalled before Dec. 31, they would be dropped from the books. At the time, I waved it off, not imagining that the YMCA doors would remain largely closed for so long. It’s sad and I’m disappointed, but I understand. I enjoyed teaching my weekly cycle classes, and I hope to be able to return to the Y soon.

That being said, having a ‘home gym’ is almost a necessity once you have a baby! Last spring, I had just decided to get Maelle into child watch at the Y so I could go back to the gym, but I wasn’t exactly excited about it. It would turn a 45-minute workout for me into a morning-long affair by the time you factor in the getting ready and transportation time. Then COVID hit and it was a moot point. I tried working out at home for a few months in front of my computer, but there really wasn’t sufficient space. For almost the last year, my fitness has largely come from running.

The first week with the bike was a bit of a trial and error period. We ended up getting a Roku so I could stream the app on our TV since I don’t have an iPad. We have really slow internet and our router is in the basement, so the classes kept buffering while streaming via the TV’s internet. I also got a pair of earbuds since I’ll be using the bike a lot when Maelle is sleeping. I love them! I’d thought about buying earbuds a couple years ago (I even got a gift card for a pair as a gift one year–I held onto it until now!), but I’m glad I ended up waiting because I got the next generation with active noise cancelling, and I liked the new colors way better!

I’ve done a few workouts so far, but I’m still working out the kinks (literally and figuratively). I’ll have to write a post to let you know how I like using the Peloton app once I’ve taken more classes!

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