Managing Sobriety Through Peloton

142: The Results of Peloton’s Earnings Call Are Here and our interview with Amy Farber

TCO 142 | Managing Sobriety Through Peloton

 

Peloton’s earnings call is in the books and we have the results.

Peloton suffers a (slight) set back in the music lawsuit.

A settlement with Flywheel has been reached.

Soul Cycle revenues are in freefall.

Homecoming ticket sales are just around the corner.

A new Power Zone program has been announced featuring all of the current Power Zone instructors.

Boston College has an article about alumnus and Peloton co-founder Hisao Kushi.

We have a winner in our Stronger U challenge!

Dennis Morton (gasp) cut his hair.

There’s a new Artist Spotlight focusing on the sounds of Philly Soul.

Anna Greenburg announced Peloton’s first-ever Yoga Slow Flow class.

An update on Peloton users competing in the NYC Half Marathon.

There’s a new Facebook tribe for people in upstate South Carolina.

All this plus our interview with Amy Farber!

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

The Results of Peloton’s Earnings Call Are Here and our interview with Amy Farber

I am in Los Angeles for work. What do you have in store for people?

I just got off the Peloton Earnings Call. We’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about all the updates on lawsuits. We’re going to have lots of content updates. We’re going to talk about the winner of The Clip Out Challenge and lots of little stuff like that.

Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget that we’re available on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. You should be sure to subscribe, so you never miss an episode. You can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page and join the group. You can leave us a review there or on Apple Podcasts, whichever works for you. We’ll accept either we’re not proud.

You just won’t read the ones from the Facebook because you are very stubborn.

We’re trying to plow through all the Apple Podcast one and then move over.

As I said though, now we’re at two and a half years.

I thought we’d run out of reviews by now, but luckily people keep leaving them. Would you like to hear one?

I would like to hear one.

This is from RSA999.

In light of the current viruses, it sounds like a Corona Virus.

I’m sure they’ll love hearing that. They’ll pick out a new leaderboard name.

I don’t know if it’s a leaderboard name. It might be an iTunes name.

I meant they should pick out Corona Virus as their leaderboard. It says, “My First Real Podcast and I Love It. Started listing about four weeks ago after deciding the tedium of news, radio or bad music was too much. Only a short commute, so I can take a few drives to get through each episode. I really love the information and how transparent Crystal and Tom are. Thank you, guys. Another “not done before” activity prompted by Peloton. Final note, Crystal’s laugh makes me smile. It will brighten your day.” That was very nice. Also don’t forget, we throw a lot of information at you every week with all the links and articles and things of that nature. If you want to stay up to date on that, an easy way to do that is swing by TheClipOut.com. Sign up for our newsletter, which is absolutely free and worth twice as much, and you will have all that stuff sent to you in one easily digestible format every week almost. How about that? That’s it for this. Let’s dig in.

We should kick off with the results of the earnings call. How is it going? Can we retire yet?

No, we can’t retire, but earnings are going great. They have increased their subscribers yet again to 750,000, and I might be off a little bit. The point is that it’s up 77% for the year. That’s crazy. They think it’s going to be 85% during third quarter.

Especially that so many of the naysayers were like, “I’ve already seen their bump.”

That’s not even close. I heard some interesting things. A couple things of note. One, I found this fascinating, so you’ll have to humor me in my geekdom about this. I was fascinated by the fact that they talked about when they recognized the revenue. They recognized revenue when your product gets delivered. Why is that important? Because last year in 2019, when everybody was going and ordering during the holiday season, it took so long to get your item, they weren’t able to recognize that revenue until third quarter. We just finished up second quarter because they’re on a different fiscal year than the calendar year. In 2019, they said, “We’re going to have 100 orders hit in Q2 and that’s when we’re going to recognize the revenue.”

By the time they actually got delivered, it was in Q3 because they couldn’t recognize the revenue. That spread out the revenue, artificially inflating Q3 from last year’s revenue earnings. The fascinating part is they have done so much with their logistics. They now have 31 warehouses across the United States that they were able to go the other direction this year. Orders they thought they weren’t going to be able to recognize until Q3 they pulled into Q2. It was 6,000 orders that they did faster than they thought they would. That’s insane.

That’s a lot. For someone that’s thinking that 6,000 doesn’t sound like a whole lot, you’ve got to remember too that the lowest priced item they sell is $2,000 essentially. It’s not like in Amazon.

That’s 6,000 orders, not $6,000. That’s just the ones they moved. That doesn’t mean that was their entire holiday sales or anything.

I was saying 6,000 orders might not sound too big if somebody is used to thinking about all the things Amazon delivers or something, but Amazon can deliver you a $5 or $8 or $10 or $20 item. That’s not what Peloton has going on. It’s high dollar stuff that they’re moving into the other quarter. That’s a lot.

It’s huge. They also talked about the fact that Germany is surpassing what they thought it would do. In fact, it is outpacing the original sales in the UK. They also talked about the fact that they now have 96 showrooms across all the countries, all their markets. There are 96 of those. They just opened or just started a new version of their store called the concept store. There are two of them and it’s a regular show room, but then they have an additional footprint that allows them to show off their additional content, like the digital content, yoga, meditation, etc. Other highlights include Strength is up three times what it was in 2019 from user engagement. Meditation is up 22 times what it was in 2019.

There’s a lot we need to calm down about.

It was good news after good news. User engagement is up. User churn is holding steady. It was 0.74 and that’s fantastic. The investors were giddy about that number. They absolutely should be. They talked about The Super Studio. That’s what they’re calling the new studio in New York. That’s going to have all the content. I don’t know what they’re planning, but John Foley had that giddy sound in his voice when he talked about it, just like he did when he was talking about what we didn’t know then, but we now know was the Tread and all of their international content. He had that same giddy tone to his voice. Whatever is coming is going to be amazing. He also touched on the social platform changes. Again, he was giddy. He called them sexy changes that we’re going to be excited about. He thinks weird things are sexy. I am so pumped after hearing this call. There’s so much stuff that is coming out in the next year. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but they are legit excited about it. Therefore, I am excited about it.

The real takeaway here, judging by his giddiness, is that if you ever get a chance to play Poker with John Foley, by all means, do it.

That might be true. I love him. I love that he’s so honest. They all did such a great job. It was John Foley, Jill Woodworth and William Lynch. They all did an amazing job answering questions. There were lots of good questions from the investors. It was a great combo.

Where did this fall on the day? Did it have time to affect stock price or was the stock market closed and we’ll see ramifications tomorrow?

The stock market has been up all week, but I think that stock market has been up all week because of Flywheel. It’s actually down a little bit today from where it was yesterday. However, to answer your original question, the call just finished. 5:00 PM Eastern, markets are closed for the day.

If this has any impact on stock, then on their shares, we won’t see it until tomorrow?

Let me check the stock quickly. It might have gone up because they also released their official written version and they do that before the call. It remains stable for the last couple of hours of the day. Nothing changed.

Overall, it was a good day for them and all the people that are saying that they can’t keep this up were proven wrong yet again.

That reminds me, people asked about competition and they were like, “Are you concerned? Has it affected any of your sales?” No, it hasn’t. They were like, “We expect to see more of it. Right now, we’re not concerned because we think that we are well-positioned. We think that none of these other companies have a good financial backing. Either they don’t have a good financial backing or they’re not going after the same kinds of thing.” NordicTrack for example. They’re not going after Peloton directly because they’re never going to be able to keep up the content in the same way that Peloton does. The other thing they said is that even though technically they’re more profitable than they expected to be, which is to say negative profit, they said they are not changing their expectations. They still expect to be profitable by 2023. They’re sticking with that because they are going to continue to invest heavily in all things for accessibility for customers. They’re still saying they want everyone who can have anything Peloton to get it.

They don’t want it to be limited by things like income. They want it to be accessible to everyone. They are going to be investing heavily for accessibility and for experience. The other thing is that we should see with the new Super Studio opening. London is opening within 2021. Those two things are going to make the assets that they have, start to come down. Those fixed assets are going to get more out of it. That stuff has all been sitting there somewhere on their income statement balance sheet. They just don’t have the middle to use it yet.

Once upon a time, standard gym spin bikes had no metrics, just a resistance knob. Click To Tweet

That’s a lot to digest.

I didn’t say it all very well in an organized manner. I was just listening. I was very excited about it, so I took it all in very quickly.

You’re recapping this minutes after it happened. You haven’t had a chance to sit down and drill down on it yourself. Segueing into other topics. There’s good news, bad news on the legal front. Whenever anybody ever asked me, “There’s good news and bad news, which do you want first?” I always take bad news because then the good news can cheer me up.

That’s a risky gambit because not everybody has equal good news to bad news ratio. When people say that it is a risky gambit, but in this case, I agree with it. The bad news is that Peloton lost a battle regarding the music licenses. I want to be very clear here because some people automatically assumed this was terrible and that we’re going to have another purge. No, it doesn’t mean that at all. All it means is one of the countersuits that Peloton had put into place got thrown out. It’s a legal maneuver. If it happened, it was a Hail Mary pass and it would’ve fixed a lot of things very quickly. That didn’t happen.

The legal maneuver that got thrown out, from my understanding, Peloton basically tried to say that they, for lack of a better word, colluded and all ganged up and said, “Let’s not license these songs.” That’s mean and you can’t do that. That got thrown out as an argument. It’s moving forward as it would have anyway, but they didn’t lose the suit or there are not more songs they’re going to have to pull out or anything like that. It was a procedural thing that if it had worked, it would have probably into the suit or shut down a good chunk of it. It just didn’t happen.

I would also like to say there are a lot of people that are still very hopeful that all these old rides are going to come back, that this is all going to go away someday and it’s going to be fast. I want to say that my feeling on that matter is that neither of those things is going to happen. I don’t think this is going to be a quick lawsuit unless a settlement occurs. At this moment, I don’t see any kind of indication that will happen. These things happen behind closed doors, so that means nothing. If there is no settlement though, this could drag on for years. The other thing is I don’t think we’re going to get those old rides back because until this is settled, most of those songs are still question marks. I don’t know from a business perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to be holding on to all those old rides, taking up all that space, when you’re constantly creating new content. It doesn’t make good business sense to me, but I could be wrong.

I agree that these things take a long time and you could be looking at years before you have an actual legitimate resolution. My guess is they’re probably keeping these classes somewhere for their own archival purposes. I also feel that unless there’s some surprise settlement, by the time this finally gets resolved, those classes are going to be so old that I don’t know that they’ll deem them worthy enough to push back into the system.

That’s exactly my thought process with a few exceptions, because there are some rides in there that will be timeless. Think about it, they’re moving into a new studio. The studio is going to look completely different. Just like if you go back to the very beginning and you take a class from 2015 like I did, it’s a different world. They had stuff up on the mirrors behind them. They were being silly, lights were different. It was completely different than what we see now. If you’re looking forward two years from now, we’re going to be in a totally different studio. There’s going to be a different look behind it or going on different lighting, different music setup, probably even a different equipment set up because they keep changing monitor size and things like that in the studio. All these things are going to look different. I don’t think they’re going to pull all that back out.

Especially when that new studio hits, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the stuff from the old studio fade away because they want to show off the new sexy studio. Let’s segue into the good news segment of our legal portion of the show. The Peloton-Flywheel suit was settled.

Talk about surprising, Flywheel has been a pain about this whole thing. All of a sudden, they admitted complete faults. They said, “Yeah, we did steal it and we’re going to take all the tech off within 60 days.”

I wonder what that means. It’s not often you see a company completely acquiesce like that. You almost can’t help but think that’s indicative of something larger at play there on their part. Not like it’s a surprise attack, but like are there bigger problems coming? They were like, “Make this go away because we have other things to be concerned about.”

I don’t know. I don’t feel like their Flywheel At Home Program went the way that they expected it to in general. You and I both respect John Mills quite a bit. His theory on it that I saw that he posted was that he feels like it was probably costing them too much in legal. It wasn’t worth what they were getting out of it because they’re fairly new to the whole At Home portion of things. For whatever it’s worth, that was one take on it. I haven’t read tons of people’s takes on it because going to the OPP tends to make me angry. I thought that was a reasonable theory.

I think it makes sense. It’s a version of what I was saying. Are there bigger problems it plays? If they’re not selling these At Home Bikes anyway, then why is this a fight worth having?

I know that it is one of our further down discussions. It could be a situation that is very similar to SoulCycle where Peloton is taking a direct hit on their income, their revenue and they can’t compete. They can’t keep up.

That could very well be. While we’re talking about that, since you brought it up, let’s go ahead and call an audible and talk about the SoulCycle stuff now.

It’s on Vox.com. I was shocked because it shows a graphic of what their sales look like. Underneath the graphic it says, “It looks like Peloton is sucking up SoulCycle’s sales through a straw.” It does. It’s really bad.

I saw the headline. It was, “Peloton drinks SoulCycle’s Milkshake,” which is a reference to the movie, There Will Be Blood. If you’ve never seen it, that’s what they’re referencing.

SoulCycle is saying two things. Everyone thought that in 2019 whenever SoulCycle was being boycotted, that this was going to have a huge effect on them. It turns out Peloton’s Holiday Sale actually had a much bigger impact on them. SoulCycle is saying none of that is true. These numbers aren’t true at all. They won’t go on record to say what’s wrong about them or what’s inaccurate. From my experience with politics, that means they’re lying.

In the immortal words of the great philosopher, Chico Marx, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

It has been win-win-win for Peloton all week. Except for the music licenses thing.

That was one small portion of a much larger thing. It’s like whenever you see a murder trial and the lawyer is like, “Move to dismiss,” it’s not going to happen but maybe.

If you don’t ask, for sure it won’t. That’s the attorney’s job to ask the question.

We should probably also remind people that Homecoming ticket sales are just around the corner.

February 12th at noon Eastern. You need to be ready with multiple devices and be ready to go.

You need to stop giving people all your tips.

I know, but I can’t help it.

I know you’re too giving. Watch now, you won’t end up getting tickets. The new Power Zone program has been announced. I guess it includes all of the instructors?

It does, all of the Power Zone instructors. There’s a total of four instructors. In the past, it has not been the case, so this one’s great. It’s a new four-week challenge or a four-week program that you can do on the Bike. Now, you can take more than one class with each of the instructors, get a good taste of what the offerings are across all of them because they all have very different vibes. It’s a good way to sample everybody.

That’s cool that there’s finally a little bit more variety there for people, so they can partake in Power Zones but not be locked into one teaching style.

I also want to mention on this note, we have an audience who brings up all the time, not in a mean way, but one of their things would be that they would like for all of the Power Zone classes to have the actual format that’s going to be in a ride posted before you take the class. Thus far, none of the instructors have done it or have been willing to do it, even though they have been asked. Now, we have Christine D’Ercole, who always posts it ahead of time. The reason that’s important is because whenever you are doing Power Zone training, you might have a day that you want to be working on certain zones or a certain type of plan. To be able to have this information ahead of time makes it easier to decide, “Should I take this class? Should I not take this class?”

That’s pretty convenient. Do you think that’s something that she’ll keep doing and that’s something she always does?

Yeah, I do because she has always in the past been pretty consistent about posting the structure of her classes. I think this will continue for Power Zone training. For those of you that like to know what you’re getting into with Power Zone training, I think it’s good. Me on the other hand, when I do Power Zone training, I don’t want to know because if I know, I will talk myself out of it. When somebody tells me I have to hold zone five for eight minutes, I’m out. If I just get on the Bike and then they say to do it, now I can do it. I can talk myself out of it very easily.

You came across an article from Boston College about one of their alumni.

TCO 142 | Managing Sobriety Through Peloton

 

This made me so happy to see. I have to say it’s because I saw that one of our Clip Out members, Karen Kushi, is the one that posted this. She posted it because it was about her husband, Hisao Kushi. For those of you who don’t know, Hisao is one of the original founders of Peloton. He also is General Counsel for Peloton. He’s in charge of very high-level, anything legal that happens at Peloton, and could not be a nicer person. He’s so down to earth. He’s talked to Tom and I for a long time. Karen and Hisao have two kids. We’ve only gotten to meet one who also works for Peloton. She’s also one of the nicest human beings. I love the Kushi family. They’re great.

This entire article is all about how Hisao ended up at Peloton, but his history and what makes him so unique. He’s got a lot of cool stuff that he does that you would not guess whenever I say things like general counsel, but he’s really funny. Not only is he funny, but he has a great sense of humor when people are telling him things. You need to go read this article because it gives you an in-depth perspective of the kind of people that work at Peloton, which might give all of you a perspective into why I am so fanatical about this company. When I say things like, “They’re going to do the right thing because that’s the type of people that run the company,” this is what I mean. It’s because I have had conversations with them individually. I believe in them as people.

They’re all super nice. If anybody wants to find that, it’s buried in a Boston College magazine, that can be hard to track down. Our Stronger U Challenge came to a close. It lasted a little less amount of time than our Bingo challenge, which I think somewhere is still going on.

I hope not.

The winner was Dane Newman.

That means Dane won a twelve-week subscription to Stronger U Nutrition, which is a $449 value. Dane could not have been more excited. He’s been wanting to try Stronger U. He loves everything about Peloton. He was super excited. Also, couldn’t be a nicer person who reached out to me and said thank you. He was so great about it. Thank you for all of you who saw my post on Facebook and Instagram and congratulated Dane. There were a bunch of you playing the game. That was cool.

It was nice to have so many people enter. Fear not, we have another contest/challenge in the works with another wonderful prize. We will have more information on that soon. Sit tight, I think everyone will be super excited about the next one.

You had that John Foley giddiness starting to happen.

Our next prize is super sexy. Some sad news.

It’s not sad actually.

I think a lot of people would be very upset about this.

I’m going to say either way it’s okay. It’s all right.

Denis cut his hair.

I don’t know if any of you have seen the pictures where he was flinging it around for the camera when it was at its longest. He had a good two feet of hair on that head. He decided very appropriately for the very first reset class that he did, the kickoff, he cut his hair just before the class. What a reset indeed.

How are people doing with this? What’s the take? I know that a lot of ladies, and probably some men, were big fans of his hair.

He’s got great hair, but he also is adorable, so it’s okay. It’s a good thing either way. Unfortunately, there are a lot of women that objectify poor Denis, actually poor Denis’ girlfriend because I’m sure she gets really tired of it. He is such a good-hearted person. He doesn’t play into all of that. I’m glad for him that either way, everyone is supportive of his hair choices.

There are some new classes and artists series and content coming out over the next couple days.

A bunch of new stuff. First up, we have the next artist series, which is the Philly Soul Artist Series. That’s going to include things like the OJs, The Spinners, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, The Delfonics. You’re going to get to do a 30-minute Spin Class with Jenn Sherman. That’s going to be on February 6th and Kristin McGee, Yoga Flow on the 10th at 7:30 PM Eastern. That’s all. It’s just a ride and flow this time. That’s going to be really fun. That’s going to be awesome.

We should say that those are examples of Philly Soul. We’re not necessarily promising you that all those artists will be in there. That’s what Philly Soul is. If people weren’t familiar with it, the way I normally describe it is it’s like stuff that you thought was Motown that wasn’t actually Motown, Philly Soul.

That’s a good way to do it.

I have a great picture of me and The Spinners. There’s also a new class content coming.

There’s going to be a whole new yoga content. It’s called Yoga Slow Flow. Anna Greenberg is kicking this one off. It’s going to be on February 5th at 7:30 PM Eastern. Check it out. The cool thing is that for people who are new to yoga, or maybe you aren’t new to yoga but you just need more time to get in a position, this is the class for you. It’s able to take it at a little bit of a slower pace. Anna’s doing the first one, but they’re going to be doing these with all the different instructors. There will be more to come.

There’s a reminder for a new class that’s out there.

Another new kind of content. It’s a new time for UK. 7:00 PM UK time, 2:00 PM Eastern, there’s going to be a new class. This was going to be a 45-minute interval and arms ride, and it was going to be from Leanne Hainsby. That’s awesome to have a whole new time on the Bike that you can take live.

There’s a half-marathon coming up in March in New York, correct?

Yeah. It’s called the New York city Half Marathon. The cool thing is that this Peloton community is amazing. There are a ton of Peloton people who did not win a lottery. After watching Brittany Runs Marathon, it means that they had to find a different way in. They formed a team and they are going to be raising money for charity. They picked this whole Peloton team pick the multiple myeloma, and it affects some of the members within the team. There are family members within the team that have multiple myeloma. They had a goal of raising $9,000, so they could all be at the marathon. They have exceeded that. We want the entire Peloton community to know, especially if you’re going to be out there and you’re in New York and you’re able to cheer them on, go see them and find all of your Peloton teammates out there.

Lastly, we had someone reach out to us who has started a new Peloton Facebook tribe and wanted you to mention it.

We have a new tribe that popped up in South Carolina. It is the PeloGSP Tribe. They are looking for Peloton owners in the upstate area of South Carolina. That’s the Greenville and Spartanburg area. They want to extend to Clemson and Anderson and other local communities. They’re very new. They only have 50 members because they just started. They are super excited for more members. They know there are some out there, so they wanted to mention it here to see if anybody wanted to join. That was by Monica Amburn-Kimbrell sent that in.

Joining us is Amy Farber. How is it going?

I’m fine, thanks. How are you?

We’re good.

Do you have a sweet government job you’re off now too?

I have a work-from-home on my business job. I am off when I want to be off and on when I want to be on.

A big thing about getting sober is learning how to live in the middle. Click To Tweet

That is even sweeter than a sweet government job.

If you have your own business, sometimes you’re on when you don’t want to be on.

Not necessarily. I’m a photographer, so I don’t take projects when I can’t do them.

My parents both owned businesses, so sometimes they were going to work whether they wanted to or not. People think it’s this panacea and it is not.

Let me clarify. When you’re not paying the bills and you own your business, you can do what you want.

It’s nice to be in a position where you don’t have the pressure of paying the bills and you can tell people who irritate you to F off.

Tell us how you originally found Peloton.

I was a spin instructor for a solid fifteen years. I got certified Johnny G certification when my oldest was a baby. I have two kids. I have a 19, 18 and 14-year-old. They spend most of their childhood in gym daycares. I did it because I needed to get out of the house and I wanted to exercise. I thought it would be great to get daycare for free and get paid to exercise. I taught spin for quite a long time. The last spin class I taught was a few years ago. It was right after I got sober was the last class that I taught. I then went through this big transition. I couldn’t set foot in a gym. Every time I tried to take a class or workout, I was like, “No.”

Let me backpedal and say that I did own my Johnny G spin bike when the kids were little. I wanted it. My husband got it for me for Christmas and it was a perfect clothes rack. I was like, “This is horrible.” I don’t want to teach myself my own class. I couldn’t motivate myself like I could motivate others as I was teaching. I tried it while I was watching TV. I was like, “This is pointless.” I used it to try to distract myself from laundry and I couldn’t even distract myself from loads and loads of laundry. I would rather fold laundry than sit on a spin bike by myself in my house.

There’s an upside though. The laundry is done. Let’s not discount the importance of that.

Fast forward to Peloton coming out. I did think to myself, “I don’t know that that’s my thing.” I always was one that if I went to a gym, I was very motivated. Every time I tried to workout at home, not so much. I would get distracted by the tiniest thing and then walk away from my workout.

It’s fascinating that you could be an instructor and do it. When it came time for you to be on the bike as a participant, not so much.

I’m alone in my house without any specific training program. I was fine running outside. At the time, I was doing triathlons and I had a coach. I had a prescribed workout. She would tell me, “Go run this far and do these kinds of sprints.” I had all the training I was doing outdoor on the bike. I was totally fine outside. The minute I came inside to try to work out with my kids all around me and the distractions of being a mom with three little kids, it was like, “Forget it.”

I find it fascinating that you would do it professionally for yourself. I’m like, “Thank God, you’re not a dentist.”

Peloton came out and I thought, “I don’t think that this is for me.” I’m a fitness person that needs to be in a gym. I am very motivated by what’s going on around me. Even if nobody’s looking at me, I tend to run faster and go harder. It’s like if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, did it even fall? That’s how I felt about working out at home. No one’s paying attention to me, so I might as well get off and do laundry.

I wonder if tracking it all with Garmin would help because it’s not a workout if you’re not tracking it with Garmin.

This has got to be a number of years ago. There were no metrics. There was no real way to track yourself on a Johnny G spin bike. It was like your stock standard gym spin bike that had a resistance knob. There was no digital anything to it. Technology has changed. Circling back to Peloton, I saw it and thought, “That’s great. Who knows what will happen with that?” I don’t think that that’s a route I’m going to go. I know myself and I know that working out at home is not for me. A good friend of mine who lives in my town, I met her through Instagram and she got a Peloton and she was all into it. She kept roping me into going into the showroom to go ride with her.

I got the app a few years ago, and I would go into my gym and do the rides on the spin bikes at an off time when there wasn’t a class. I did enjoy that. From time to time, I’d go in with her and ride in the studio. I’d do milestones with her. I did get a sense of the bike and I thought, “I think this is something that I would do. I don’t think this is not going to be a waste of money.” At 1:00 in the morning, I couldn’t fall asleep and I was like, “I’m going to buy this bike,” so I bought it. I didn’t consult with anyone. I sent my husband a text in the morning. I was like, “FYI, my Peloton is getting delivered.” He was fine with it.

He didn’t point to the Johnny G bike?

He did that back years ago.

I promise you though, he has not forgotten.

That was a major eye-roll when I saw him. He was traveling so he didn’t get home until the following Friday and he was like, “If that’s going to make you happy. You’re not going to use it. It’s fine, we’ll see.” It got delivered on January 24th, which is my sobriety date. It got delivered on my seventh anniversary.

That seems fateful.

I did my first ride. I remembered I did a 45-minute hip hop with Robin and I was so happy. I was like, “This is exactly what I need for this time in my life.” It’s perfect. That’s how I landed the long road from Johnny G to Peloton.

When it showed up on that date, he couldn’t say anything. As a husband, you do the quick math in your head and you’re like, “Whatever that cost is cheaper than whatever fight we’re about to have.”

I was working a ton, so it was irrelevant. I was like, “This is how I want to spend the money that I was working on multiple different projects.” He was like, “That’s fine. That’s great, enjoy it.” He’s down on the Bike for his second ride. We’re going to the studio for my 500th ride, his century ride, my Peloversary and my eight-year sobriety.

Congratulations on all of that, so much to celebrate.

It will be super fun. He’s learning how to follow people and follow them back and the high fives. He’s coming around on the community part of it. He loves to workout. There are no regrets.

You were saying that you have your sober anniversary coming up as well. I know you also use Peloton as a tool for sobriety and mental health. Tell us about that.

I am coming up on my eight years of sobriety. For the first year of my sobriety, I did work out a ton and I was still teaching my regular classes. I had this transition in my life. The gym that I work out at was reworking their schedule. I was working on my sobriety and a big part of my story surrounding alcohol was using exercise and training to avoid drinking too much. If I knew I had to go teach a class, I had to moderate my drinking,

It was like a functional alcoholic. That was a way to keep you focused.

It’s crazy because after I quit drinking, people are like, “You’re an alcoholic? You did triathlons.” It’s surprising. It is a very common thing, especially for women to moderate their drinking with training for a marathon, triathlon or something like that.

It’s probably a way to offset some of the effects as well. It’s like, “Look how healthy I am over here.”

TCO 142 | Managing Sobriety Through Peloton

 

That and I don’t know if you’ve ever met any alcoholics or addicts, but we are all-in people. You throw yourself into things. If I’m training, then I can’t drink the way I want to or I would if I wasn’t training or if I didn’t have to get up and do what was on my schedule. The schedule changes at the gym. There was a woman who wanted my classes. She was a single mom and had some teenage kids and I thought, “This is the right time for me to back off and figure out,” because I didn’t love teaching. I was getting sober. I was working on myself and trying to figure out how to live in the middle. When you have a type-A personality, you’re either all in or you’re all out. There’s no in-between.

A big thing about getting sober was learning how to live in the middle. Where’s my middle ground? The middle ground was such a foreign concept to me that I had to step away from working out. I didn’t train for anything. I haven’t done a race since I got sober. I walked away from the gym thing almost to the extreme. Once I got out of the routine of working out, it was hard to get back to it. It’s like hours in my week were covered. I was 40 at the time. Women, I do not recommend stepping away from the gym at 40 years old. It’s so hard to get back. It’s the worst possible time. At eighteen, fine, you can jump right back in.

At eighteen, you don’t necessarily have the mindset to be like, “I think I’ll get sober.”

I do know people that have. Then began a seven-year track of me thinking, “I need to start exercising again.” I need to figure out how to make that work for me in a positive way and it’s going to be something I enjoy. I pick up and go for a run outside, not for nothing. When you’re twenty-plus pounds heavier and 40-something and you decided to go out for a run when you haven’t run in three years, you cannot run an eight-minute mile. That was brutal. I get home so mad. I had a hard time figuring out how to get fitness back in my life and it was a long time of starting and stopping or doing it for a little while but not loving it. It’s like checking it off the list. I was always someone who loved the process of working out. I loved it and I was not loving it.

I felt like Oprah. She always says she hates every single step and minute of working out. She does it to check it off the list. I never felt like that. That’s how I was starting to feel. I thought, “Maybe this is my new reality. Working out is going to be a chore for me. It’s something that I have to check off my list.” I continued to search for something that I would love. Finally, I got the Peloton. I got it at the end of January and until about mid-May, I did my rides, but I wasn’t a part of any Peloton community. I followed a couple of people that I knew in real life that had the bike. Otherwise, I wasn’t a part of anything. I had a friend in real life who said to me, “What online groups are you part of?” I thought, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The crazy thing is I had spent my years as an Instagram influencer. It’s not like I’m not online. I’m everywhere online. I just never considered that there were all these Peloton groups. It was funny, I was lying in bed and my husband is next to me. I was like, “I can’t believe there was a Peloton group for everything.” I was reading them off to him and it’s so funny. I was like, “Which one do you think I should join?” I ended up finding this Peloton Sober Riders. I joined the Power Zone Pack group, which kick-started my fitness because for me, it was all about training and training with a purpose. That got my mindset in a good place to ride consistently. In terms of mental health, the community was the thing that got me on and kept me on.

Was that because you had people to ride with or was that because of the connections that you made?

The connections that I made online, someone would post in a group and say, “I’m celebrating a milestone, can anyone join me?” I would try to be a part of. I say, “I’ll meet you on the bike.” They are strangers and whatever. I tried to participate and show up for other people. Through that process, I found a little sub pod of women. I have four women and we are in a group text on Facebook. We ride together every day and it’s been phenomenal.

What is phenomenal about it? Is it that you ride together?

Every time we ride, we text the whole time. You feel like you’re at the gym with a friend or having the same shared experience. Even if we do a ride on-demand, we’re like, “3, 2, 1, go.” We’re all at the same place at the same time. It’s very much a shared experience and very social.

How does that help you with the sobriety and mental health aspect?

One of the hardest things about anxiety and depression is getting on the bike, getting out of bed, leaving the house or whatever it is that’s your stumbling block. There’s a whole spectrum of depression and anxiety. It is very seasonal and it ebbs and flows. For me, it was hard to motivate myself to go work out when I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t feel great. I wasn’t in a great place. I knew mentally it would make me feel better, but it’s still like putting your clothes on and doing it is another thing. When you commit to other people at 11:00 at night or at 10:00 in the morning, that you’re going to meet them on the bike. I’m not one to back out of things. When I commit to things, I do it. I kept showing up. For me, it has helped with many things. First of all, I’m in much better shape and that has truly helped with mental health. It’s like not being winded up a flight of stairs. It was getting grim. I was out of shape. I can’t reiterate enough to not stop working out in your early 40s.

I feel better about myself. I feel much more like myself. It helped me. The other thing about mental health, addiction, and alcoholism specifically is it is a very isolating disease, all of it combined. My natural state is isolation. I don’t want to go to a party. I don’t want to go to a spin class. I’m more comfortable in my house by myself. I have found for me that the combination of accountability, the community, and the fact that I don’t have to leave my house has been helpful. It’s almost like baby steps. You don’t have to throw yourself in cold water. You can dip your toe in and you don’t have to leave your house, but you can exercise.

You’re still being social, which still makes you feel better.

One of the things that I’ve had to work on in sobriety and with my mental health is not isolating. For me, the building community and finding my people on the bike has been such a huge part of my recovery and part of my mental health.

Whenever people say at work, “Find a mentor,” you can’t force that relationship. You can’t force those relationships on the bike either. For somebody who might be out there struggling with depression or maybe some other mental health issues, it seems like the hardest part is pushing past that feeling that you don’t want to get up. How did they reach out and find people?

Join a group. There is a Peloton group for everything, so it doesn’t have to be sobriety-related or mental health-related. I live in Boston. You can join the Peloton Boston group. Find a group that’s active and when people post and say, “I’m going to do X, Y, Z ride, who’s in?” get on the bike and maybe follow the people that are on the ride. You can lurk in the background and still be a part of a little bit. Baby step your way into responding to the post and building a rapport with the people that are in the group, that you like and that you feel like you have some commonality with.

Since you do photography and you own your business, do you feel like that’s helped the working aspect as well, keeping you more grounded and healthier to be able to do that? Because that’s isolating as well when you’re working at home.

When we were joking about, “If I don’t want to do it, I won’t do it,” that can turn into isolation quickly.

I do make a point to schedule my rides out for the week, “What time am I riding each day and who am I going to ride with and what are we going to do?” I put that in my calendar first and then I build my work around it, so I am much more productive.

It sounds like the key part of all of this for you is you show up for yourself. If you make a commitment to yourself, then you follow through. You’re not one of those people who are like, “I’m going to run.” They then get up the next morning and they don’t feel like doing it.

If I make a commitment to other people, if I said, “Crystal, I will meet you on the bike and let’s do this ride,” I will not back out. If in my little head I said, “Maybe I’ll do this ride,” and then the alarm goes off and I don’t feel like doing it, I won’t. It’s important to be accountable to other people and I’m big on follow through. When nobody’s watching, it’s harder.

It’s easy to embrace the maybe.

Since I’m involved in many groups at this point, that is something that has fallen off for me. I used to ride every morning at 5:00 AM my time. That was the 6:00 crew on the East Coast. I rode with the same people every day. Since now we have the treadmill content, that’s diluted it a little bit because I wanted to do the running as well. There’s a different group of people running and there’s a different group of people biking. There’s not the same core group every day. I don’t have my go-to anymore. That has changed my focus on getting up every morning and working out. I’ve been a lot more lax since that happened. To your point, having that accountability does make a difference.

In my little pod of a group message, there are five of us. Two have the tread and the rest of us are planning on getting the tread at some point. That’s a bigger purchase that I might not be able to be like, “I bought the tread.” I’m strategizing that right now. I’ll let you know when I dropped that bomb.

She’s waiting for him to make some major purchase and then she’d be like, “If you can get that.”

It’s not like that at all. He used to love running. He was a running junkie and now his hip is hurting. My strategy was initially going to be like, “You love running more than biking, let’s get the tread.” I’m going to have to think through my strategy on that.

Get him a quick hip replacement

He’ll feel so old.

That’s the trade-off. I get a Tread, but we spend the equivalent money on your hip replacement.

He’ll love that. My point is that the group that I ride with, two out of five of us have the tread as well. We plan our workouts so that no one ever runs or rides alone. It’s so great.

What a good tool. That would be helpful advice for people, especially those who are starting out.

We are all strangers. One is San Diego, one’s in Seattle, one’s in Atlanta, one’s in Chicago and I’m in Boston. We’re in different time zones. Our kids’ ages are different. One works full-time. We have a lot of constraints around figuring out how to make this work. We’re committed to it and we’re committed to each other.

A lot of people say you need to have rest days. Do you ever worry about not taking a day off?

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We take day-offs whenever we need it because it’s very rare that all five of us will be on at the same time. No one rides alone. The girl who works has to get up and ride sometimes early before work or after work. We try to make sure that someone’s there for accountability so that no one blows off their workout.

I liked that system. Tell us about the Peloton Sober Riders. What is that? How did you find it? How did they form?

It’s a great group of people and sobriety is all-encompassing. There are a million different ways to get sober and stay sober, and there’s no one right way or wrong way. What I found about this group is it is supportive no matter where you are in your journey. There are a lot of new people who have jumped on and we added. Someone made a post and said, “Is anyone doing dry January? Where’s everyone with that?” Some people are thinking, “Maybe I’ll quit for a month and see how it goes.” It’s been going for a year. I joined back in May when I was sitting in my bed looking at all the different Peloton groups. I was like, “This one’s a good fit for me.”

The funny thing is I’m in another online sobriety group and then I started getting confused. I’m like, “Are you in my Peloton group?” We realized there was a bunch of crossovers and a bunch of us were in both groups. It’s super supportive and there’s no one way or right way to do it. I feel like the best thing about it is there are many people that have come to it from a different perspective. When someone is struggling or someone needs help or needs advice, there’s always multiple points of view. That’s great because I’ve been in other groups or other situations where people are like, “This is the only way to do it. If you don’t do this, you’re going to drink again.” I don’t believe in that. I feel like this group has been super supportive.

That’s got to be difficult. If you’ve been through it and you feel like you’ve come out the other side, you’re like, “This is what worked. Don’t ever veer from this formula.” That’s got to be rough for people to acknowledge that there are different ways to get here.

There are different ways to do it. As Dennis says, “I make suggestions. You make decisions.” I can say that this is what worked for me. Take it or leave it. Often if someone comes back to me multiple times and he’s stumbling over the same thing over and over again and has not tried what I suggested, not that there’s one way to do it, but you haven’t found your way. Maybe try what I suggested.

I tend to be the person that if I’m giving advice, I’m more than happy to help somebody. If they don’t take that advice, I tend to get a little frustrated. I don’t think I’d be good at helping people with this type of thing because I am in a box. I’m very black and white. If this worked, then this won’t work. If I’m talking to the same person as me, that’s true. I acknowledge there are lots of other people out there that are not like me.

I have gotten sober through a 12-Step Program. In that program, we sponsor other people. In the beginning, I was like, “She’s not doing what I say. She’s out.” As I said, I make the suggestions and they can take it or leave it. It’s honestly none of my business. Whether they take it and succeed or take it and fail, it’s not on me. I always say to people, “I am here, don’t ever feel like because you failed or you didn’t take my advice, I am here for you no matter what. Keep coming back. I will never judge you on your decisions. I want you to be able to get better.”

That’s how it should be. That’s why I say I would not be good at it. That is the way to do it, not the way I would do it.

All it takes is getting too emotionally invested in someone else’s sobriety that you have no control over. All of a sudden, they relapse and you can’t leave your room because you feel like it’s all your fault. All it takes is one time. Every single one of us has been through that at least one time, then you learn.

In some ways, it’s like how doctors won’t treat family members. You get too close to it. You need to have some degree of separation.

You need to be able to compartmentalize that I’ve done my best and I’ve given them the tools and whether or not they take them is their choice. The best thing about the group is there are men, women, and all different ages. There are different people at varying stages of sobriety. There’s a bunch of people in our group that had been sober over 25 years, which is phenomenal. I always find that super helpful because those people always have little gems of wisdom.

What’s the hashtag for this group that you ride together?

There are two sober groups. I’m in both of them. The one that I tend to participate more is Peloton Sober Riders. We do not have a hashtag. There’s no location or anything for it. The other group is the Peloton Alcohol-Free, that’s #AF. That’s funny because people in the group are like, “I thought it was “Ass-F.”

I thought that’s what’s happening.

You say you gravitate to one over the other. What do you find is a big difference? What’s the driver there for you?

For me, and this is my personal experience that you cannot drink. There’s a huge difference between not consuming alcohol and being sober. Sobriety is a lifestyle and you’re constantly working on yourself because if you remove alcohol from the equation, you’re taking away medication and not figuring out a solution.

That’s what they refer to as a dry drunk or white-knuckling it. You haven’t fixed the issues.

It’s going on the marijuana maintenance plan. Alcohol-free is purely alcohol-free. I’ve been alcohol-free for a while. I’m also sober. I don’t put anything in my body that will be mind-altering because I don’t want to go back to that place where I’m dependent upon things to ease my anxiety. At the time, I was thinking it was helping my depression, but I was wrong. Drinking alcohol for depression is like pouring gas on fire if anyone didn’t know that.

It’s a depressant and a lot of people don’t know that.

I gravitate to the Sober Riders because of the term sobriety in there and people are focused on recovery as opposed to abstinence.

That makes sense to me. I could see that. That’s a great way to explain it to the community because there are some people that are looking for alcohol-free and that suits their purposes. There are some people that are looking for sobriety. Thank you for explaining the difference.

There are some people in the Alcohol-Free group who simply don’t drink because they don’t enjoy it, which is mind baffling to me. I can’t relate to that at all. I feel like everyone in the Peloton Sober Riders is coming from a similar place. That’s a reason why they are sober and why they don’t consume alcohol or other drugs.

If you struggled with that and you’re around someone who’s like, “I don’t drink either,” because they don’t like the taste. For me, I probably won’t watch that person.

It’s like, “Why are you in the Peloton Alcohol-Free group?” That’s weird to me.

You’re not working toward avoiding it. You just don’t like it.

I’m in both groups and part of sobriety is service. One of the things for me about staying sober and my mental health is I can’t keep it if I don’t give it away. Helping other people is a big part of my journey. Being in that Alcohol-Free group, I always feel like there’s someone in there that’s struggling that may need to hear my story or may need a little nugget from me. Not all people in the Alcohol-Free group know about the Sober Riders. It depends upon what group you find first, where you are, and whatever. That’s why I participate in both.

I’m sure it’s a helpful group from the standpoint of alcohol has permeated our culture. A lot of people will talk about it casually, that it’s synonymous with a party or a celebration. Even if there are people who aren’t struggling in the Alcohol-Free group, at least you know you can go to a place where somebody’s not talking about casually having a beer or whatnot.

The crazy thing that we talk about a lot in these groups is how many leaderboard names involve wine or beer. It’s crazy to me. When I’m riding and I see that, I think to myself, “Thank God, that’s not me.” That was me before I got sober.

I can’t understand that. I’ve never struggled with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. I feel like food is an addiction for me and I struggle with that every day.

That can be a difficult one, not to have comparisons. It’s like you can stop drinking but you can’t stop eating. If you’re struggling with alcohol, nobody’s suggestion is going to be, “You should stop drinking except for three times a day, drink an appropriate amount.”

It’s fascinating and interesting that when people come into those groups, they are like, “I can’t even believe how many people on the leaderboard have names that involve alcohol.”

There’s a lot for sure. What is the best way for people to find these groups? Should they search for the names?

They are private groups but not secret groups. They can search for Peloton Sober Riders or you can find me on Facebook, Amy Russell Farber, and send me a DM. I can point you in the right direction.

It’s wonderful that part of the sobriety is service because I remember Laurie Besden said the same thing. That’s part of what you do. That makes a lot of sense that what you’re giving away is also keeping you grounded and it keeps you in the moment of your sobriety.

When I am helping someone who is in the early days, it reminds me how far I’ve come. It reminds me that I do not want to go back to feeling like that because getting sober is one of the hardest things you can do. It’s so simple, just cut out alcohol, but it is not easy. When I’m helping someone else at various stages of sobriety, it does remind me like, “I remember when I used to feel like that. It’s a miracle that I don’t feel that way anymore.”

What was the moment for you where you were like, “Enough is enough, I’m going to do this?

I have three teenage boys. After my youngest was born, I struggled a bit with postpartum depression and I noticed that my drinking increased after he was born. My husband travels for work. I chalked it up to being like a single mom during the week and getting through. I’d reward myself at night after putting everyone to bed with pouring a glass of wine or whatever. As the years progressed, I was like, “I don’t love the way that this makes me feel,” but I was still doing it. They call it drinking without your own permission. It was years and years of that thinking like, “This is not great and I can see where this is going.” I’ve never had a DUI. I’ve never been to jail. I’ve never gotten fired from a job like a high bottom drunk.

At the same time for me, it was how I felt inside. I’d wake up and feel gross, not even physically gross but mentally gross. It’s like you wake up in the morning and say, “I’m not going to drink,” and then the next thing, you’re waking up and you’ve drunk another bottle of wine. I’m like, “What’s wrong with this equation?” A few years ago, this was the thought I had almost every day. I need to quit. I always like, “I’ll quit tomorrow.” On a Wednesday night, I went out with some girlfriends. I don’t even know what happened. My husband usually comes home on Thursday. I had a babysitter for the kids. I went out on Wednesday night and have dinner with friends. I don’t know what happened like I was out of my mind drunk.

My husband ended up coming home early. I was trying to brush my teeth and whatever. I came out of the bathroom and he was standing in the bedroom and I was like, “Oh, crap,” because I was out of my mind. I proceeded to vomit the entire night, sleep on the bathroom floor in a pile of my own puke. To add insult to injury, I ended up with the norovirus. It’s the worst hangover of my life. A week went by and I hadn’t drunk and I thought, “This is it. I’m never doing that again.” I was mortified because he had never seen me like that. I was very in control on the weekends. I was the mom that was home alone. People always say, “It’s the grace of God.” I truly feel like that was my moment and I needed to take it.

Good for you for recognizing that and doing it. Even when you have a moment like that, it’s still hard to be like, “I’ll never do that again.”

I had a calendar and I remember I had a black Sharpie and I kept crossing days off the calendar. I was like, “A week, two weeks, three weeks,” and then on and on. I was like, “I don’t think I’m ever going back.”

Did you go to a 12-Step Program right away? Did you get some time under your belt of muscling your way through and then finally you’re like, “Now I’m going to do that?”

I was thinking about this. It took me an entire year to get to a 12-Step Program. I remember I went to my first meeting the day after Martin Luther King Day. I got sober January 24, so it was the following January 20th or whatever. I was miserable. I lost so much weight because the anxiety was through the roof. I had learned at 39 years old that I was self-medicating with alcohol. You would have thought that a well-educated woman would have known, but I had no idea. It was such a part of the cultural norm, the mommy drink culture.

A lot of times with mental health, it starts to get worse as you age. If you started self-medicating fairly young when it wasn’t that bad and then you remove the medicine and now all you’ve got left is that, I’m it was rough.

I was living on air. I was anxious. I couldn’t even eat anything. I didn’t connect the two. This is crazy. I remember I had about 6 or 7 months under my belt and I had gone to teach a spin class. I came out of that class with an elephant on my chest. My anxiety was through the roof and I wasn’t sure what to do. Back at the time, I’d had a babysitter who worked for me. She had noticed that I was losing so much weight and she knew that I stopped drinking. She had said to me, “My mom could probably help you.” I was like, “What? Who is your mom?” She was like, “My mom doesn’t drink and hasn’t drunk in 26 years. I think she could help you.”

She’s like, “If you ever need her, here’s her number, call her.” That is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I am never doing that. Who would do that? First of all, I hate talking on the phone. I came out of teaching this spin class. I was sitting in the parking lot of the gym and the anxiety was so bad. I could not figure out what was causing it. I was seven months sober. I googled anxiety and alcohol. The number for AA popped up. I’m like, “I took my medication away.” I ended up calling her mom. I have no idea. Still to this day, I would never ever do that. It’s divine intervention.

You did what you needed to do.

She met me the next day and she was like, “You go to meetings.” I was like, “Meetings? I have three young kids. I do not have time for that.” I didn’t end up going to a meeting. That was maybe in August and it took me to the following January until I was desperate enough. I was uncomfortable in my skin, not drinking and crossing days off the calendar that I was like, “I’m ready.” I went to my first meeting right before my one-year sobriety.

Tom and I have made comments before about Tom’s ex-wife and stuff. In all seriousness, she has mental health issues. She does have addiction issues. To this day, one of the things that concern us the most is that she’s never done any actual treatment. She just stopped doing the drug. To your point, you need to work on the issues that caused the addiction in the first place. I can’t even imagine what goes through your head to justify or convince yourself you do or don’t need to go. I congratulate you on having the ability to go even though you didn’t want to.

You don’t know what you don’t know. I had no idea what went on in those meetings. In my head. It was a bunch of people who lived under a bridge that sat around, smoked and drank coffee. I didn’t think I knew anyone who was sober. For sure, there was no one that looked like me that was sober. All of a sudden, my babysitter’s mom meets me at Dunkin’ Donuts and I’m like, “She looks like me. This isn’t that crazy,” that I went. That’s a huge difference too between being alcohol-free and being sober because I was miserable alcohol-free. That is not a life for me. I need to figure out how to live without alcohol.

Do you think that going through the steps change that for you? Do you think that getting your mind in a healthier place, in general, did that for you?

It’s getting my mind in a healthier place. When you go to meetings and you listen to other people talk about their experiences and you can relate to their experiences, you think, “I’m not that crazy. I’m not that much of an outlier.” We all think, “It’s only me. I’m the only person on the planet that feels this way or has experienced this,” or whatever. I would listen specifically to the women at the meetings who were talking. I would listen to what their solution was and how did they get through that time. I started doing what they had said. I did what they did.

That made you get to a healthier place by taking those steps.

It’s crazy to be 40 at the time and I felt like a child. I was like, “Why didn’t anyone teach me how to live like this?”

What do you think the biggest thing is that you struggled with that you took a step? What was that thing?

One of the biggest things that I didn’t like about the 12-Step Program is I thought it was religious or whatever. Learning that I did not have to be in control of every single situation in my life was such a relief. To be able to step back and rely on a higher power, take or leave that language but for me, it was all about like, “I do not need to be the ringmaster.” If Crystal is doing her errands in a way that is zigzagging across the town and not in an orderly way, I do not need to tell Crystal that she could be doing it more efficiently. Why was I taking on everyone else’s burden? When I realized that, I’m like, “Worry about yourself.” It’s so freeing and you take responsibility for your actions. When you’re only worrying about yourself, it’s easier to take responsibility for your actions because you don’t have everyone else’s problems swirling through your head.

Thank you for sharing all of that.

I always know if my ex-wife ever goes to a 12-Step Program because until the day she apologizes, she clearly has it and to her kids more importantly.

The best thing about any group like 12-Step Program or group of sober people is the way they live their life is very honest, pure and owning. Even in the day when you maybe do something during the day that you think at night, “I could have done that better.” It’s like stepping back and thinking, “How could I do better? How can I do better tomorrow? How can I be a better person? How can I be a better mom? How can I be nicer?”

I like that reflection. Regardless of whether or not a person has had addiction issues or not, everybody could stand a little self-reflection in that. All of us could think about that.

Someone was saying this in our sober group. The best thing about Peloton in early sobriety is you end up having a lot of free time on your hands that you don’t know what to do with it. If you are drinking at night, that consumes every night. All of a sudden, you’re sober and your mind is reeling and you’re like, “What am I going to do?” In that first year of sobriety, I would get in my car and drive to the gym at 6:30 at night after I fed my kids to get out of the house and have something to do. Having a bike and a community right in your own house is such a good way to get healthy and keep your mind off of other things.

That is an excellent point.

What is your leaderboard name?

My leaderboard name is ChasingAmyy.

Do you have any advice for newbies, not just Peloton newbies but maybe people who are getting sober or seriously contemplating it?

TCO 142 | Managing Sobriety Through Peloton

Managing Sobriety Through Peloton: There’s a huge difference between not consuming alcohol and being sober. Sobriety is a lifestyle, and you’re constantly working on yourself.

 

My biggest advice is to find a couple of people who are sober that you admire and do what they do. Ask them questions and listen. For newbie Peloton riders, I would say jump in, get involved, join a group.

It’s true for Peloton too. I firmly believe the more you put into this community, the more you get back.

It’s not about the exercise because I can find that anywhere. The thing that keeps me going back day after day is the community.

Where can people find you on social media?

On Instagram, I am @Amy.Russell.Farber and it’s the same on Facebook.

It’s good for branding, nice and simple. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to join us.

Thank you for sharing your story. I know it’s very personal and we appreciate your honesty. I know that it’s going to help somebody else out there or maybe several.

It’s timely. I don’t know if you saw Kendall on Instagram. She did a whole thing on mental health and how it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The more we get the dialogue out about mental health in general like addiction and alcoholism, more people will be able to find themselves and get out of a hole.

I have no doubt. I think it’s a great conversation to be having. Thank you.

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