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184: Are We About to Get a New Instructor? plus our interview with Jeff Pearlman
John Mills joins us to discuss changes to Peloton class filtering.
AOL (AOL?) is reporting on the next, next Peloton rival.
Peloton runs into another obstacle with the class action lawsuit.
Do we have a new instructor on the way? Instagram posts say we might.
Peloton’s financing partner Affirm is reporting just how much of their business is Peloton-driven.
Dr. Jenn Mann – How past trauma affects exercise.
Android users can finally share the fancy video clip to their Instagram Story.
The beta testing of Sessions is over and Peloton is looking for your feedback.
Tonal is offering $250 off this holiday season.
Wall Street Journal is talking about how people are tired of waiting for their Peloton deliveries.
Popsugar sits down with Cody Rigsby.
Christine D’Ercole is on the Eat For Endurance podcast.
Well And Good writes about which instructors are best for certain types of workouts.
Emburse has a story about unusual work-from-home expenses including a Peloton.
The boutique had a small drop this week that sold out in record time.
Jenn Sherman’s Cover-To-Cover series debuted last week.
Leanne Hainsby started a new series – Work It Out.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Are We About to Get a New Instructor? plus our interview with Jeff Pearlman
It’s Thanksgiving week. It’s Gratitude week at Peloton, so we get to say Happy Thanksgiving all week to those who celebrate.
I think everybody celebrates Thanksgiving. It’s not like a religious thing where some people opt out.
There’s somebody out there that doesn’t.
That’s true, and we have a lot of international audience. They’re like, “We don’t celebrate that. What do we care?” I think they’re probably more like that about July 4th.
I think we’ve just managed to offend a lot of people at this point.
That’s my brand, people got to know by now, “That’s what he does.”
What are you thankful for?
I hate when people do this game. I’m always put on the spot.
I’ll go first. I am thankful for all of our audience.
That’s what I was going to say.
You didn’t say it. Thank you sincerely to all of you who read week-after-week, we really do appreciate it.
People read this every week, that’s nice.
I don’t know why they read. It’s been four years, they’re still reading.
Thank you. We are thankful for that, even though I pretend like I’m dead inside. With that out of the way, what pray tell do you have in store for people this week?
We’re going to talk about Peloton. There are all kinds of stuff going on though. There’s stuff that’s appeared on the app that we need to talk about that’s showing differently. Peloton in the news. We’ve got some interesting “competitor news” that we’re going to touch on. Is there a new instructor coming? We’ve got to talk about that, and then what the instructors are up to of course.
Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, wherever you find your podcasts, you can find us. While you’re there, be sure and subscribe so you never miss an episode. If you would be so kind as to leave us a review and that way people that come along after you will know that maybe we’re worth a try. We have a new review. This is from MILES6279. They say, “I was always a fan of Peloton, but it’s not like you can just turn on the TV and hear the news about it. When I found this podcast, I realized that there was so much I never knew. This podcast is now my happy place.” You can now turn on the TV and hear about it because you can check us out on YouTube at YouTube.com/theclipout. You can see these episodes in their entirety with full video.
Also a lot of TVs will play YouTube for you, so you can literally watch us on TV.
We post them on Facebook too but we post on YouTube every week, so if you go on over there while you’re there, subscribe to that as well. That’s always helpful. Don’t forget, you can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/theclipout. While you’re there, like the page, join the group and of course sign up for our weekly newsletter at our website, TheClipOut.com.
Thank you for that awesome review, we really appreciate it.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Returning on Thanksgiving week, we don’t even give the poor guy a Thanksgiving off.
We just keep him working on like, “John, get to work for free.”
I should officially say his name so people know, it’s John Mills from Run, Lift and Live. Hi, John.
How’s it going?
It’s good to see you. We’re starting off the week. What are you thankful for?
She’s trying to pull this on everyone.Exercise is exercise. If you're able to squeeze a 10-minute ride, that's great. Click To Tweet
I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to be thankful for, but if I don’t say I was thankful for Erica, Jasmine and my granddaughter, Zoe, I’d be in all kinds of trouble. I’m thankful for that first of all. I’m actually also thankful for you guys and the community and this Peloton thing. This has been crazy over the last four-plus years and that is huge for me.
I agree. It’s the gift that keeps giving.
You noticed something going on with the Peloton app this week.
You mentioned that there’s a new listing for the bike and the tread. Tell us about that.
I’m probably the last person to see these things. I might’ve just saw it and it’s been there for weeks. I have no idea. I have a work iPhone and I have my personal Android phone, and I noticed this week that on my iPhone, if I’m looking at the previous classes that I’ve taken, it will tell me if I took them on a Tread+ or a Bike+. Whereas if I go to my Android Peloton app, it just says Bike or Tread, there’s no distinction as to whether or not it’s on a Bike+ or Bike or Tread+ or Tread.
I do find that fascinating because when Bike+ first came out, everything was listed as app, regardless of if you were on the Bike or taking it from the app. It just said app. Clearly, Peloton is behind the scenes tinkering with this. I saw your theory and I totally agree with it because your theory is that they’re going to eventually be able to filter by this on the leaderboard.
Maybe this is wishful thinking, but that’s what I thought. If we know there’s this clear distinction specifically in the Bike, not really in the Tread, there’s a clear distinction on what your output means based on their ability. Now, they have that power meter on the Bike+ so there’s a more accurate measurement that would align to what your measurement would be if you had power meter pedals on an outdoor bike. We know the Bike+ has been that, whereas the Bike, it’s all noise. You put between a Bike in one person’s home versus a Bike somewhere else. If we’re talking about getting into gamification and more types of competitions and that whole ESPN thing, if you’re doing that type of stuff, wouldn’t you want to know that you’re building? That just got me thinking that at some point, you would think that distinction would be you’d be able to see it live or on the leaderboard, or at least be able to filter by it or something. It seems like this is a slow thing coming.
I also think it has some implications for the Tread and the Tread+ because the Tread only goes up to 12% and the Tread+ goes up to 15%. Also, the Tread+ has free mode and the Tread doesn’t. Instructors might want to be able to see how many people are on a Tread, how many people are on a Tread+, how many people are on a completely different piece of equipment. They might be able to tailor the discussion or the class a little bit more, depending on how many people are taking that. Also, I think that Peloton is so incredibly data-driven, they’re going to want to see how many people are taking classes from that Tread+, how many people are taking classes from a Tread, so that they can start to dive deeper into that metric as well.
It would also tell them if the people on a Tread+ or a Bike+ are behaving differently than people on a Bike or Tread. If you find that the people on the Bike+ are taking more classes or fewer classes, then you’ve got to ask yourself, “What’s going on there?” and you can try to adjust and drill down.
That’s a really good point.
You found an interesting story about of all things, AOL.
First of all, you crack me up because AOL is still a thing.
I always get in trouble on this article in my group because the shocking thing to me in these two things were one, AOL is still around? I was an AOL subscriber in ‘95, ‘96.
My mom still has an AOL email address.
My folks told me the same thing.
I think it’s a fair thing to be shocked by.
They want to enter the bike game?
In their website, they have lifestyle type news articles and travel and tech type articles. They’re a media outlet now. Who knew? Anyway, they’re talking about bikes that rival Peloton, specifically MYXFitness Bike. When I saw that, first it was AOL, then I was like, “MYXFitness a rival of Peloton?” I was saying that from a perspective of, if you remember MYX, they’re a Connecticut-based company who decided that their niche was going to be, “We’re for folks that are antisocial, that don’t want to be socializing with anybody.” They don’t want anybody giving them high-fives. They don’t want any instructors talking to them. They want to be working out to a recording. They don’t want any social interaction. MYX literally advertises themselves as that. They call themselves the un-Peloton, you don’t have to deal with anybody.
Just because you’re a hermit, doesn’t mean you’re not concerned about how you look.
That’s true, also there are more reasons to work out than just aesthetics.
When they said rivaled the Peloton, my mind was, “How are they a rival, if they unrivaled? They call themselves the un-Peloton and they don’t want social interaction. How can they be a rival when they’re doing something completely different?” I said that in the article, but one of the respondents to my posts were like that I was trying to bash them. Actually, they’re not even not that low cost. At one point they were $1,600 for the bike. They came down to $1,300.
All of these bikes look the same, but then they all like try to put their own stamp on it. At least they use different colors. At least it’s not orange and they added some white. All of them are just copycats. None of them have really done anything all that different.
They are now using that plus acronym, but they use it in a context of you can get the MYX or the MYX+. The MYX+ is actually the same bike. It’s just has a different package that gives you a mat and some other stuff
In their defense though, you’re seeing the plus everywhere. You see in Disney+. I saw an article about all the different people that are starting to incorporate plus. It’s like how in the ‘90s, everything was extreme, right now everything is plus.
Maybe that’s where it came from. That’s a new thing for them as well. I noticed on their side now they have the MYX+ package. By the way, they do a comparison of their MYX+ to the Bike+, which that is disingenuous. It’s really the same. From a Peloton world perspective, it’s a different bike. When they show the difference in pricing, you’re seeing a different bike. Whereas in the MYX comparison, it’s just a different package. They’re trying to say, “Look at this disparity in price,” when it’s actually just bike with a package. They’ve got an interesting thing going on. If you’re a person that doesn’t like all that interaction component of it, they’re for you.
You really can’t use the Peloton app either because many of these bikes like to throw out there that are like, “You can still get Peloton on our product,” you wouldn’t be able to do that with these.
I don’t think they talk to that with this one. I think they’re more hardcore, their material, their content and their philosophy on working out. I can’t remember the detail of their philosophy, but it’s more like coaching that is more supportive. They use this terminology that it’s a little easier, it’s not so aggressive. I don’t know that they would want you to use others.
I was disappointed. I thought this was AOL had a bike coming out. Before we let you go, it looks like there’s more information about Peloton class action suit, and it’s not good or at least not good for Peloton.
At one point, Peloton requested that they take this to arbitration and the class action suit representatives were like, “Dure, let’s go to arbitration.” It sounds like in this article, based on other suits, another suit similar, an individual but not a class action that Peloton lost. They may not want that now. Peloton was trying to get this thrown out and get it thrown out because one of the plaintiffs in the case is not actually from New York. I guess this is all based on New York law. It turns out that the judge slapped that down. They were like, “One of them are but the primary plaintiff is from New York.”
Probably 80% of their clientele isn’t from New York. If that’s all it took to get a lawsuit thrown out, every company would be based in Rhode Island.
Doesn’t that mean though that they can’t do it there? The lawsuit could still happen, but it would have to happen in a different state where that person lives. Isn’t that what that means?
What I’m more spun around by, no pun intended, is the idea that normally the giant company is the one that’s like, “No, you agreed to arbitration.” I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of a company saying, “I know we forced you into legally binding arbitration, but we don’t want to do that anymore. Let’s go to the courts.”
I’m making an assumption that the only reason that’s occurring is because now they’ve lost them, they lost a suit. They went to arbitration. That was separate from this one. Otherwise, I don’t get it either.
It’s so weird, the companies always tend to think that arbitration works to their benefit. It’s unusual to see them say, “Let’s go to court.”
This all sounds interesting to me. This is a big one. The other turned out in the best interest of the attorneys.
They do, but this one has been really bad. I’m worried about Peloton with this one. I thought they had nothing to stand on, but as it turns out, they do and I’m concerned about Peloton on this one.
At the end of the day, they’ll write a check and it will be what it is.
It will fly by, we’ll forget all about it. It’s still odd though. The library didn’t hit me that way.
Me either, I never was upset about it. It sucked but this is what they’ve got to do to make it right.
It’s not like it’s not an ever-changing evolving library.
It feels to me just another excuse for somebody to have a lawsuit and to make some money. Nobody got hurt from that. There were no real damages.
At the end, the slap on the wrist is just that Peloton used the term “ever-growing.” They have to get rid of that. If that term had not been in any of their publications, we wouldn’t be talking about any of it.
Change it to ever-changing, ever-evolving.
You solved the problem.
If only they had talked to you before they put all their marketing out.
I’ve been saying that for 183 episodes. Here we are. John, thank you so much for joining us in the middle of a holiday week on short notice. We really appreciate that.
Our love to the family, we appreciate your family too and all of the lovely pictures. Thank you.
Before we go, until next time, where can people find you?
They can find me on Facebook in my Run, Lift and Live group or Run, Lift and Live page. They can find me on Instagram, @RunLiftAndLive or at RunLiftAndLive.com.
Thank you, John. Have a great holiday.
You too, talk to you later.
There was an interesting Instagram post this week.
I have to say, there were actually several. this was posted by many instructors in different ways. They all had different things that they did. For those of you who can’t see the screen, it was a post of all the instructors from America, getting together and doing a class together where they were learning how to arrange flowers. It’s like a team building type of thing. Why did this stand out? What stood out is that every time an instructor posted this, they had stickers on the screen over one particular square, indicating that there was something to hide. At one point, there is a picture of this person holding the actual flowers in front of their face, there are heart stickers. I can’t see what this one is.
It looks like a Palm tree maybe.
There’s no name on the square. This one is from Robin. If you missed it, it was in Robin NYC story. We have it up on the YouTube channel. Matty posted one, Emma posted one, I think almost all the instructors did and they were all different. What they all shared was that person was hidden. This has led to much speculation. The biggest piece of this is we think we have a new instructor coming.
I don’t know how else to read that.
At first, I thought this was the German instructor, but two things. One, the German instructor we’ve identified is a black male. This appears to be a light-colored female. Those filters, you never know. The other thing that was pointed out to me, which makes a lot of sense once I thought about it, is that this was done at night. This flower arranging was done at night. This person, if they were from Germany, would be the only non-American instructor and it would have been 1:00 AM.
The time difference would just be pretty epic.
Now I’m thinking not so much is this actually the German instructor. That makes me think we have an American instructor joining the team and very soon, because I don’t think it would have been on any social media like that if it wasn’t going to be soon. I don’t think it’s going to be this week because I don’t see them introducing an instructor in the middle of a holiday week, but I think it’s very soon.
Who else is worth hiding? Who else would you invite to something like that?
We all know how Matty Maggiacomo likes to play pranks. It did occur to me that this was the person who was teaching the class and he was like, “Let’s totally mess with everybody, and hide the person teaching the class so that they think it’s a new instructor.” I ran it by The Prophet, and The Prophet was like, “We’ve got a new instructor coming.” The Prophet has always been right, so we’ll see. Watch this space.
There’s an interesting article from Axios about Affirm. For people that are unaware, Affirm is the company that handles the financing when you don’t pay outright for your Peloton.
Just so everybody is aware, Affirm works with lots of companies now. I know they work with Tonal and I’ve also seen it pop up on anything. A lot of things that I click on through Facebook or Facebook Ads, whenever I look at it or other pieces of exercise equipment, all of them come up with this Affirm thing, this option to buy. How fascinating is it that Affirm says Peloton accounts for 30% of all of their business. That is a stunning number.
Comparing was it year-to-year? Last year 2019 was like 12%.
I didn’t read the rest of the article. I got sidetracked. I saw the 30% and I was done.
It was a significant increase over previous quarters.
It says that they’ve been growing so fast that they now have 30%.Peloton is the pinnacle, and so it's hard to move somewhere else. Click To Tweet
Maybe John Mills dug through old numbers and he put it in a post. He was talking about that 30% is a giant increase. It was already a big number, but it’s crazy jump.
Affirm is one of the ways that they’re able to do the 0% financing. It makes sense that it’s jumped because many people have taken advantage of things like using that on the Tread, on the Bike. Maybe it’s just me, I think it’s easier to justify for people to say, “I will invest in myself because it’s 0% interest. Even though I can’t afford this outright, I can afford to pay it over two years.”
Even if you can’t afford to pay it outright, if it’s 0% interest, why not?
Because if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it.
I misspoke. What I meant to say was even if you can afford to pay for it outright, why would you not accept an interest free loan? You might as well let it sit there and pay it monthly if there’s no penalty.
There are people that disagree with that. I’m going to go ahead and mention that because we’re going to get the Dave Ramsey people yelling at us. I only mentioned that because I know that there are certainly people who are trying to pay down their debt and it needs to be taken into consideration. It’s not the right call for everyone. We are not saying you should go out and buy it if you cannot afford it, don’t do that. What we’re saying is it makes sense for us to use it as an interest free loan, take the free money. That’s our call. Everybody is allowed to have their own way of looking at it. I just know we’re going to get comments. I don’t even know that that would offend them. I just think that I would get a lot of like, “You need to correct this.” I’m going to go ahead and proactively correct it.
I’m starting to say things that are purposely upsetting to people.
Joining us is Dr. Jenn Mann, a licensed marriage, family and child therapist, sports psychology consultant. You may know her from VH1’s Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn or VH1’s Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn or her long-running radio show, The Dr. Jenn Show. She’s written four bestselling books, including The Relationship Fix: Dr. Jenn’s 6-Step Guide to Improving Communication, Connection & Intimacy. Dr. Jenn, hi. Now I’m scared to bring this one up. I feel like this is coated.
It fits a little too well.
Historical trauma and how it affects workouts or lack thereof.
Which is the perfect segue for me with you, Tom, even though originally I was inspired by a conversation Crystal and I had off air about how these two things connect. I do think that given what you’ve shared and shared very publicly about your family history and how that has ultimately prevented you and stopped you from exercising, that you came from this family where they push exercise on you and almost forced you to exercise when you didn’t love it, you didn’t like it. They didn’t let you find your own way. It was something that was pushed on you in a very authoritarian way. You’ve spent a lifetime rebelling against it and are now making choices that are harmful to your health by not working out. Although interestingly, you are hosting this podcast with Crystal, which makes me think that there is a part of you that would like to connect to that in some way, shape or form.
I have been losing weight. I’ve been eating much better or less anyway.
My belief, and you’ve heard me say this before, this pertains to you and it pertains to a lot of your audience in a lot of areas, that as long as we are making choices that are guided by historical traumas by people who have harmed us intentionally or unintentionally. Those people still have the power over us. When you’re able to free yourself from that and make the choices that are about your own health, your own well-being, your own best interests, your own self-care, that’s when we’re truly free of the bondage of historical trauma.
I think that is a wonderful sentiment. I feel like it’s hard to know when you’re being affected by it. Tom and I were talking and he was like, “I don’t have any trauma from childhood.” I was like, “Yes, you do.” I talked about this. I’m guilty of it too, where I do not realize it in the moment that it’s connected to something in the past.
When we were talking about I don’t have trauma, that just sounds so extreme. There are people that have legitimately been abused physically, psychologically or sexually. I’m just like, “My parents made me play T-ball and soccer, and I didn’t want to.” It feels like I’m trivializing people who have experienced real Trauma.
I get what you’re saying. In chapter four of my book, The Relationship Fix, it talks all about how our family trauma, how our historical trauma relates to how we are in relationships. One of the things I talk about in the book for exactly this reason is it looks trauma occurs on that spectrum. Just because someone was physically or sexually abused, which is horrific, tragic and heartbreaking, it does not mean that your experience did not impact you, did not hurt you, did not prevent you in some way from making healthier choices for yourself. When we write off our own trauma, even if it is something as simple as having a parent or parents who didn’t understand you, you feel like you’re growing up in a home where nobody got you, nobody grokked you, that’s a painful experience.
Is that the same as being beaten every day? No, of course not, but it absolutely has an impact on you. It’s important that we are able to acknowledge it, address it and process it because otherwise, it hurts us. In your case, it has hurt you by you not exercising. That’s something that will affect your lifespan, how long you live, how long your wife gets to enjoy your company, how good your health is, all of that stuff. As long as your history is guiding your choices, you’re not. It’s important to get your power back by working through that so you can make those choices. There are people who have been beaten or sexually abused or harmed in other ways, and it impacts their work out differently. A lot of the time for people like that, they can use the workout to hurt themselves, push themselves too far, not listen to their body, use a workout as a punishment instead of something that is healthy and helps them to grow.
Those people are more likely to injure themselves and harm themselves. They can use their workout to beat themselves up emotionally, “I wasn’t far enough on the leaderboard. I didn’t hit these numbers.” There tends to be more of an external focus. Also, people who have been through those kinds of traumas are more likely to be hypercritical of their bodies, have more eating issues and body image issues. It’s all connected. Most people don’t realize how their history and how trauma anywhere on the spectrum connects to how they treat themselves, how they treat their body and how they exercise.
I never thought about all that stuff like how they would do that. It’s interesting. Thank you very much for joining us.
It’s my pleasure. I like to plant a seed with you, Tom, and then water.
Until next time, where can people find you?
People can find me on all the social media, @DrJennMann.
There was an interesting little tweak for Android users. You were unaware of it because you have an iPhone now, so let me tell you.
Share with us, Tom.
I know all about it because I’m using the Peloton app on my Pixel all the time. You can now share the little nifty screen from Instagram to the stories.
It’s the thing that you see people do all the time that has the movement of whatever instructor they are taking. It’s the cool little graphic that you can share that highlights whatever instructor you were taking the class with. There’s movement in it. The iPhone users have been able to use it for a while. Let me tell you, Peloton audience, people who work at Peloton, everybody thinks it’s real flipping funny that I get an iPhone and you’re adding all this crap to Android. Everybody thinks that’s funny. Were you guys just waiting?
I think they were waiting.
iPhone users have been able to do this for a while, but now Android is able to do it. Android users still can’t preload and they can’t preload their classes, which allows you to be able to take it when you don’t have Wi-Fi. That’s a thing that Android can’t do. I think just about everything else though, they’re getting very close. It should be, so with all my joking aside, I’m glad that Peloton is finally getting Android where it needs to be.
People were enjoying the sessions featured that they were beta testing and it’s over.
We reported this a couple of weeks ago, the Peloton Prophet told us that they’re going to do this for a couple of weeks and then they’re going to take it and tweak it and then it’ll be back. This is the tweaking period. We knew that it was coming and here it is.
All you tweakers out there, this is your moment. It’s your time to shine. Over on the OPP, they have a link where you can give them feedback. If you did sessions and enjoyed it, you can go to their webpage and they got a little Google Doc and you can tell them what you thought. If you have any great ideas that they should incorporate, it’s right there.
A lot of people felt like the biggest thing missing from the sessions feature was being able to schedule it. You could do it on a lot of the classes that were coming, but you couldn’t tell ahead of time, very far in advance. If you wanted an entire group to ride together, you didn’t have very much time to be able to put that group together and go take it. That was a lot of the big piece of feedback that I’m hearing. A lot of people didn’t really understand how it worked because they didn’t roll it all out at the same time to everybody’s equipment, there was also a lot of confusion about could you only take it if it said sessions on your screen or could you go to any class and enter a session? People could not wrap their heads around that. That’s pelotons fault for not having it look the same on everybody. I don’t think that people were not getting it. It’s a communication thing. I think when they finally get this where they want it to be rolled out for real, it’s no longer a beta, everybody will have it the same.
That was the point of what they were doing yeah. Watch this space.
As always, and spread the news, tell people. I have to say a little bit of irritant to me is to constantly tell people telling me that they had no idea something occurred. Listen to the podcast or at least read the notes. W tell you everything that we talked about.
Sign up for the newsletter, it comes out almost weekly.
I’m not talking about our audience. I’m saying for our audience to share the show with people because the community has grown so much over the last year. There’s a ton of people who have no idea that we’re all here creating all this and telling them. We’re here telling them what’s going on that they don’t know. Help us spread the word.
Speaking of sessions, if you like that, Tonal has got something that’s pretty similar.
We have talked about it before. It’s called the Group Workout. When you do a Group Workout on Tonal, you can gather a group of friends and take a class together. It is really cool. In fact, I use it again this week because I’m doing this program, it’s Coach Nicolette’s Smart Flex Strength or something like that. It’s a whole program around this new feature. I love watching these videos. I’ve love Tonal. What it does is it allows you to customize your workout. That’s what Tonal does for everything, but Smart Flex allows you to also take the hardest part of any move and make it a little bit easier. Then on the easy part of the move, they make it a little bit harder. That means that the entire movement is going to be something that is more challenging than what you would’ve done on your own.
As I’ve learned from our other podcast, The Superset, it’s important to get your form. This enables you to keep your form where it needs to be by adjusting the weight ever so slightly so you don’t struggle more or bend in a goofy way or what have you.
Back to the Group Workout feature, this week I was on the second because this one is a three-day program. I was the second day and I was not feeling motivated to work out on Saturday. I reached out to Diane Trantham, who’s a huge Peloton person. She has a whole clothing line and everything that she has, the SAG Wagon Swag. It’s over on Facebook and she’s been a Peloton user. She is now a Tonal user. I knew she was taking this program, so we decided to do it at the same time. I said, “I’m not feeling it today. Do you want to work out together?” She was like, “You would not believe this. I was getting ready to do the second day also, so let’s do it together.” We hopped on and we did it together and it was great. It’s awesome to be able to connect with somebody in another state, a thousand miles away at the exact same moment, and feel connected. The community aspect of Tonal and Peloton have been absolutely life-changing for me. I cannot say that enough but I know that you were asking you about the group workout, it is similar and I love it.
Right now, you can save $250 off your Tonal if you want to jump on board if you go to www.Tonal.com. You don’t need any fancy code or anything. The deal is going on, take advantage of it. It’s $250 right off the top.
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article about people getting sick of waiting for their Pelotons.
I knew it was only a matter of time before this became a bigger deal. That’s not good for Peloton. This whole article is everything that you already know when we’ve talked about this. The numbers are going crazy. The wait times are crazy. Apparently, it was above ten weeks for a Bike+ plus. I saw John Mills post about it. He was like, “Does this mean that there are going to be less people buying it for Christmas since they have to wait? Would they have been buying it from Peloton? Now they’re not.” I don’t know because the demand has consistently been crazy high for Peloton, but it is getting noticed in a big way. I felt like we needed to talk about that.
I’m sure there are some people that are getting sick of waiting. Obviously, there’s big, giant headline about it. I still think that if Peloton is what pushed you over the edge to want to pull the trigger, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of going with a different product.
The thing is that once you get it, you forget about it. I know that people who are going to move to these other ones are not going to hear me because they’re not going to be reading a Peloton blog. The thing that I would caution them towards switching is that you get such amazing customer service from Peloton. I know there have been issues this year 2020, but I also know that Peloton strives for that, and other companies don’t, that is not their focus, and Peloton does. In the end, Peloton is going to make it right. It might take a little bit of time and effort.With the decline of newspapers and print in general, writing is a different ball game. Click To Tweet
Also long-term if you like the ecosystem, and many people of your friends and coworkers are on Peloton, you’re not going to get that if you go with Echelon or whatever.
That whole thing we were talking about the community and riding together, you’re not going to do that in NordicTrack. You’re not going to be able to be like, “I woke up this morning and I would like to ride with my friend.” Good luck finding another friend that rides NordicTrack, unless you guys bought your bikes together.
While we’re in the news, Popsugar featured Cody Rigsby. He talked about journaling and meditation.
Cody has been doing meditations on Peloton for a while now. It’s great that he is getting featured for that. He’s funny on the Bike, so to have this completely other different aspects of his personality get to be highlighted, not just in the Peloton world, but also out to the rest of the world so that people know to check them out is awesome. I love that about Peloton letting their instructors be themselves.
For the unaware, a past guest, Claire Shorenstein, a nutritionist extraordinaire, she has her own podcast now called Eat for Endurance.
She was a guest on The Clip Out a few times. I wanted to point that out.
She had Christine D’Ercole on there.
This was a very long form podcast. Congrats to Claire and Christine. I want to point out that Christine goes into a lot of detail about her own eating disorders. For people who might be interested in hearing her background and how she tackled that, how she got through that, this is a great way to do that. Also check out Claire’s podcast because she’s one of our own. While we’re talking about podcasts too, Tunde was on a podcast, and this one is called Forever 35. She was featured there. It looks like it is episode 147. It sounds like this is a person who took a class with Tunde and talked about their experience. I think that might be a fun listen.
Well and Good had an article about how to pick the Peloton instructor that best suits you, which upsets me because we all know that’s your superpower. Not only are you good at picking who they should take, but you’re also good at guessing who they already like. If you meet somebody, you talk to them for two minutes, you know those people that are like, “I’m going to guess you’re a Virgo,” you’re like that.
I’m like, “You’re an Alex rider or you ride with Cody.”
Your drag record is pretty stellar.
I’m a little disappointed they cherry picked some instructors here.
There are many now, it’s hard to list them all.
This bothered me too. If you want to get a seriously hard workout, work with Robin. If you want to have a ride that leaves you dripping in sweat, Alex. Isn’t having a seriously hard workout the same as dripping in sweat?
It seems like a distinction without a difference.
I think that there is an article here, but this person didn’t get into it in the same way that I would have, so I’m not as excited about this article. The only one that I agreed with is if you want a ride that will make you smile, ride with Tunde. However, if you want a ride that’s like a party, don’t forget Jen Sherman. She’s not on this list.
No wonder you’re upset. Finally, while we’re talking about Peloton in the news, Emburse.com had an article about unusual work expenses for people that are now working at home.
First of all, everybody should read this article because you will get a chuckle out of it. You cannot work from home and not get a chuckle out of this. You might get mad too because of some of the things that have been submitted. One of the things submitted in this article was Peloton.
Did they get away with it?
I don’t remember. It’s been a while since I read the article. One of the ones that was not approved was the $7,600 facelift expense. They put it down for repairs and they did not get it.
I get the Peloton. I still think that’s a first world problem, but if your work had a gym or something.
That was actually exactly what they said, “We had an employee gym and now I’m not working out there. That was a perk you offered, therefore you should give me a Peloton.” At the same time, are you going to give to everyone?
That seems unrealistic. Once that cat is out of the bag, everybody that works here is going to want a Peloton. The facelift, that’s what filters are for. Just what I would do. Peloton had a pretty nifty Instagram post.
I’m sorry to our readers because this one is one you have to see.
It’s super visual.
You can always check it out over at YouTube.com. It is literally an ad being built in New York City. The reason that I mentioned this is because it’s one of those time-lapse photography or videos that you see happen. Peloton did their ad that’s all about us as people, like real riders. This is a real rider and he is on a billboard in New York City at the corner of Grand Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. That’s freaking awesome.
It’s pretty cool. It’s neat to watch him put that up to.
If I was ever put on a billboard in New York, we would have to go there.
There was a small drop at the boutique.
It was super small and it was for women. Two pairs of leggings and two tops. The one pair of leggings everyone actually wanted was red and Nike, and it sold out in 30 seconds. Then there was also a pair of Lulu Lemon that also sold out really fast. It was a black pair. Everybody was really after the red pair because Jess had been wearing them. They were gone. I didn’t even get it.
You know it’s fast if you didn’t get it.
Honestly, I’ve bought enough lately. I’m okay. I don’t know if that’s the last one we’re going to see for 2020. I’m not feeling confident either way in that. People keep asking is there going to be a Black Friday sale? I don’t think so. There’s nothing there. They would have to have a whole drop and then do it. Anything’s possible at Peloton, but it seems unlikely. I’m not feeling it.
A couple of classes to check out. You really enjoy Jenn’s Cover-to-Cover.
I talked about this and I was able to take it a ton of fun. The first one that she did had a lot of cover songs that people would recognize. She talked about the fact that she plans to get deeper and more obscure as the weeks go on. I believe it’s a four-week series, that’s every Sunday morning at 9:30 AM Eastern. It’s a fun class. I love writing with Jenn on Sunday mornings, all of my friends are there. There are so many high-fives, I cannot keep up, it’s insane. I love that there’s music that is different and I haven’t heard a billion times, and Jenn’s always good for that. This series in particular is really good for that.
Finally, Leanne has a new series to check out.
It started and it happens on Fridays at 9:30 AM Eastern. It’s called the Work It Out series. I believe it’s like Dance Hits that you can take. I don’t typically ride with Leanne lot, it doesn’t usually work with my schedule. I only am saying that I think it’s Dance series because she has a dance background and that kind of thing. I’m not actually sure about that. If you want to take those, make sure you check it out Friday mornings.
Joining us is New York Times bestselling author, Jeff Pearlman. You’ve seen his work in News Day and Sports Illustrated. His book is Three Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and The Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty, a rollicking deep dive into one of sport’s most fraught yet successful pairings. Jeff Pearlman, how is it going?
I want to say I’m not driving my car while I do this.
Do you live in LA, Jeff?
I live south of LA.
California is a sunny place versus the Midwest. If Tom were somehow able to get all the way to California that quickly, I would be very impressed with him.
To get here, you’d have to go through a lot of fires and charred land right now. You’re probably better positioned where you are.
I’m sorry that the fires are still raging. It’s been such a weird year with everything. It’s awful.
We’re in Missouri. You have raging fires and we have raging COVID.
I always say to everyone. I feel like there’s a real missed opportunity in 2020 where we’re so hyper divided over everything, yet we all share the bond of having the worst year ever. It feels like not enough people are realizing that we’re all going through this crappy 2020. We haven’t bonded over it enough.
It has been the worst year on record.
It will be very interesting to see what the take on 2020 is once we’ve come out the other side. In the same way when we look back at 1968, it will be interesting to see how history pulls it in. What is the narrative that gets layered over 2020?
I’m happy I don’t have children. I’m kidding. I have a daughter sitting next to me. I can tell you this only because she’s sitting right next to me. She’s a high school senior. She’s always been a disappointment.
What a rough year to be a senior though. I’m going to pull it back to Peloton. I’m curious how you originally came across Peloton because you’ve been in the sports world.
I was a runner in college. I work out 5, 6 days a week usually at my local gym. When COVID happened, I didn’t feel comfortable going to a gym anymore. I used to play pickup basketball every Saturday morning. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel comfortable playing pickup basketball. Friends of ours had a Peloton and I’m not a big biker. I’m not someone who’s ridden a bike a million times, but I liked the idea that you could have a sense of community. You’re not leaving your house and get a good workout. We only got our Peloton probably a few months ago. I’m new to the circuit, but I do it five days a week and it’s been good so far.
I know that you said you work out all the time, but to go from zero times a week to five times a week of Peloton, that’s a lot. I’m glad that you’re enjoying it. Are you doing all different kinds of rides? Are you sticking mostly to the cycling? What does your typical week look like?
I stick mostly to the cycling. I try to mix it up with instructors. To be forthright, it’s a challenge because it’s an adjustment. I always liked the diversity of the gym as far as jumping around to different equipment. With Peloton, there’s some diversity of things you can do but it’s not the same. It has been an adjustment to me. I like finding new instructors. I like challenging myself. I like trying to beat my old records and all that stupid stuff. I feel overall especially because of the pandemic, it’s helped me out a lot during the pandemic. It made a rough year a little less rough.
Are you riding with people that you already know or knew or have you gotten into the community aspect of just finding people on the leaderboard?
Not either. My daughter was riding for a while. She’s a water polo player. Part of her season was canceled so she was riding for a while. Mainly, I just jump on. I have a public Twitter profile. I put my idea on there. I gained a few followers and have some engagement, but I’m not super communal. I hop on there. I compete against the people I see on there, try to improve and ride the rides. That’s my routine.
The fact that your daughter started doing it and then stopped, is that part of why you’re disappointed in her so much?
Overall, she’s a huge disappointment. I wanted a boy and I got a girl. I’m kidding. She’s the best.
I used to always joke about my dad. He was very upset when I was born. He was hoping for a boy. We’re polar opposites. I don’t like sports. I don’t want to work on anything mechanical. I don’t want to get my hands dirty. None of that stuff interests me and it drove my father insane.
My daughter, her name is Casey. She’s looking at colleges now. She’s the best. She’s a true delight.
To be able to joke around with her like that, it shows what a great relationship is there to be able to tease like that.
She also knows all the words to Gin & Juice by Snoop Dogg.
They need to know the classics. It’s important. I was wondering what your thoughts are on how much Peloton seems to have been embraced within the ranks of professional athletes over the last several months?
I have a lot of sports writer friends who have gone to Peloton, which might be a weirder answer, but it’s true. I feel like writing relies a lot on getting everything going, your endorphins going, getting psyched up, getting built up and having an outlet physically. That’s been tip for me personally. For some friends of mine who are also writers or journalists of different forms, it’s hard to write without taking a walk, going for a run, going to the gym, lifting weights, etc. I know a ton of writers who have become Peloton people because they need something to give them a boost before they write. I know that’s not the answer to your question specifically, but it’s a weird phenomenon that a bunch of wimpy writers like me, who couldn’t lift 20 pounds are super into Peloton.
Because of the pandemic, it’s escalated how quickly Peloton has moved forward in our cultural consciousness. It’s been fascinating to watch, but I hadn’t thought about that from the writer perspective. We keep seeing all these things about NFL players and basketball players. There’s a whole ton of people, but I never thought about it from the people who are writing the stories about the basketball players and the NFL players.
The thing about athletes is they rely on regimentation more than most professions. Most athletes who succeed at a high level are very regimented and they are used to a routine. COVID has thrown a lot of routines into disarray. The thing about Peloton is you can be very regimented. You can set your schedule. It’s very easy to do what you used to doing and that’s important. It’s an appeal to me.
To segue away from Peloton, was the plan always to be a sports writer? Was that always the goal or is it something you fell into?
I don’t want to brag. I was sports editor of my high school newspaper, the Mahopac High School Chieftain. It’s the number one publication in the hallways of Mahopac High School.
Is it always number one or did it have to overcome something?
It struggled. It made it up there. When I was in high school, I was the sports editor of Mahopac High School Chieftain. One time I wrote a story, it was called “Cheerleading, sport or activity.” I was this sniffling geek. I was a member of the cross-country team. I had no game. I’d never kissed a girl, nothing. I remember writing this story and it was bashing cheerleading. All of a sudden, the paper comes out and at lunch, I’m surrounded by cheerleaders, in a great way because they were paying attention to me. They’re all surrounding me, the perfume, the long hair and the skirt. I was like, “They’re paying attention to me. All I had to do was write an article about cheerleading.” That’s not why I write now. That’s not my motivation now. It was about attention. When I started, it was about people notice you. That was my birth as a writer.
I don’t ride a Peloton. I do it because I like hosting this with her. I too am an attention whore. It’s okay.
You don’t ride a Peloton?
I don’t exercise. I’m a fat, lazy bastard.
How many days a week do you ride your Peloton?
I have a tread as well and I also have a Tonal. I have gotten down to riding maybe two days a week and I run two days a week. I also intersperse that with the strength workouts.
Can I ask you a question? I’m up to 58 rides. I see these people with 5,000 rides. I don’t get it. I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how people do it.
There are a couple of things. One, 5,000 is totally doable because Peloton has been around since 2012 for the very earliest people like Laura Pug comes to mind. She was the first person to get 1,000 rides within all of Peloton. She rides 3 to 4 rides a day. She still runs, but she used to run a lot more than she does now. It was taking a toll on her knees and so she started riding all the time. They started having these challenges where it was how many rides can you do? That led to her doing all these rides in a row and now she rides all the time. She was the first person to hit 3,000 rides too.
We interviewed her. It was her and somebody else were neck and neck. It was like who was going to get there?
One thing that’s important to note about that because I am a Peloton geek. The Peloton rides used to be almost exclusively 45 minutes long. Laura Pug riding 1,000 rides is different than somebody starting out now riding 1,000 rides because they might only do a 5-minute warmup and then a 20-minute ride and then a 5-minute cool down. That’s very different. That’s three rides in one day versus her one ride that she did back in the day.
We have a word in sports writing for people like that, frauds. They should be ashamed to show their face on the Peloton leaderboard.
We try to shy away from that. There are so many different types of people. There are people for health issues or time issues, they have reasons for that. They’re not even necessarily caring about how many rides they get. It checks a box.
To me, this has nothing to do with Peloton. Exercising is exercising. If you’re able to squeeze into a ten-minute ride and that’s what you can do now, and you have the choice of a ten-minute ride or eating Fritos. If you’re doing the ten-minute ride, that’s great. I’ve never subscribed to that, “You need to do X amount every day or you’re an exercise failure.”Now in media, everything's become very opinion-based; things have become all about who can scream the loudest. Click To Tweet
I totally agree with that. The reason that’s such an issue to give you a history of Peloton. There are discussions within the Facebook group and there will be people that will say, “I’m getting ready to come up on my 100th ride, but I’ve taken all these cool-down rides. Should I delete them? Do they count?” This becomes a real discussion. It’s deep.
In 2020, when there’s political controversy and COVID controversy, there’s also Peloton controversy. I dig that.
I could go on a whole journey with you about all the Peloton controversies that have happened just in 2020.
You should dig through some of the archives. There are some good ones back there.
Do people ever come on your show and complain?
Can I use you one complaint?
Go for it.
I was doing a Peloton ride with the instructor, Sam Yo. It’s so funny. I was thinking, “Do I ever say something?” I don’t know because he’s good and seems such a nice guy. It was a Bon Jovi themed ride and it was great. The music was great. I love Bon Jovi but I don’t like when instructors sing along with the music. I’m okay with lip-synching. I don’t want to hear Sam Yo whisper Bon Jovi lyrics. I want to hear a Bon Jovi and that drives me crazy.
You should not ride with Jenn Sherman.
I love the way she sings. There are epic singalong rides that are some of the best rides I’ve ever taken. Everybody has feelings about it. I feel people come into the community with those kinds of feelings. Over time, either you go to an instructor where that doesn’t happen or you get over it.
A lot of times what happens is people start to form a relationship with an instructor. When that instructor does it, they think it’s cute or funny. They give them a pass in a way that maybe they wouldn’t at the beginning.
At some point, they’re going to be your friend.
I love all this. Is there a lot of debate over who’s the best instructor? Who’s the worst instructor?
I came in the Peloton and I started riding a lot of Kendall Toole rides and I enjoyed her immensely, but I could see someone like her having very strong opinions either way. I wonder does it get heated or does it get personal?
It’s less than it used to be, but that’s because there have been some very loved instructors that have left Peloton for various reasons. When they leave the community, you would think that it was the only instructor that they had. It becomes a huge deal.
Who’s the oldest Peloton instructor?
Jenn Sherman is the very first person ever hired by Peloton.
I mean the oldest age-wise.
It also is Jenn Sherman.
I would love to see one who is 70. That would be amazing.
A lot of people have asked for that because there’s quite a robust elderly senior community. Jenn Sherman is 50. That is the oldest they have now, but who knows when they will be adding more?
I hate sitting here at 48. That pains me a lot.
When you think about the fact that some of them are in their early twenties, does that make you feel better or worse?
It makes me feel horrible. I like that Jenn Sherman is older than me. That makes me a fan of hers. I would listen to her singing again.
If you like to have fun, you’ve got to give her enough chances that you get past the singing because I’ve never had more fun on a bike than riding with Jenn Sherman on a Sunday morning. It’s the best.
I love the instructor who works for the Brooklyn Nets. She gives off sets of positive vibes. I’m a big fan. I’m new to her.
She’s Ally Love. Have you tried the Sundays with Love classes?
I did one and that was great.
They came out with Sundays with Love apparel.
She came out with apparel?
No. Peloton did, but it was the first time that there’s ever been an apparel that went with a ride series. That’s the first.
Do people buy a lot of Peloton apparels?
It is a constant source of amazement. We’ve done some math and they sell 500 to 600 orders a minute when they drop.
It’s like trying to get Springsteen tickets.
One day it was dropped and I was doing a workout when it dropped. I finished my workout and I posted. Things were already sold out and that was 30 minutes after it was up. That’s a while. It can sell in 6 to 7 minutes. It’s crazy.
First of all, I don’t mean to confiscate your show. Am I doing that?
I’m having a blast. This is the stuff I love.
I have some questions about this. Number one, I know Peloton riders, but who are the people who are like, “There’s new Peloton gear?” Is it the loyalty to Peloton or is it to the rider or the teachers themselves?
It’s both. It’s a pretty even mixture. I don’t know that there’s been an instructor yet who’s big enough that if they left, people would be like, “I’m done with my Peloton now.” We’ve talked about this before. I feel like Peloton is a paradigm shift. You almost have to think of it less as an exercise bike or an exercise equipment company. It’s almost like a television network that you have to buy a specific device to utilize. All these instructors are different programs and you’re starting to see them create programs like Sundays with Love and the Jess King experience. It’s like TV shows. If you don’t like the instructors that sing along, find one of the ten that don’t. There are so many different permutations of instructors. You can get ones that are silly. You can get one that are super analytical and they focus on nothing but metrics and it’s all science. There are all these different types of ways that you can then engage with the Peloton. When all these upstarts are coming at them or these heritage companies that are trying to pivot to be more like them, that’s what they can’t get through their heads.
I have another question. When Peloton instructors leave Peloton, is it a springboard to entertainment professions or is it mainly viewed as a fitness job?
Thus far, it has not been a springboard for people.
People love to stay in Peloton.
You could argue right now that Peloton is the pinnacle. It’s hard to move somewhere else. I’m surprised we haven’t seen a Bowflex or a NordicTrack go and scoop up an instructor who’s left.
Nicole Meline did end up over in NordicTrack to some degree.
They don’t leverage it.
It’s not the same. Every instructor that’s left is in the fitness industry to answer your question. They have pivoted to something else. It’s either another company that does something fitness-related or they have found ways to be a personal trainer and amplify that through other platforms.
I would compare it to chefs many years ago. You decided to be a chef because you loved cooking and you wanted to cook food for people. The concept of a celebrity chef, those two words didn’t even make sense next to each other. It’s either you’re a Julia Child or you’re a mom. If you want the backstory, Alice Cooper’s manager decided he was going to make this guy a celebrity. He invented the notion of Celebrity Chefs and now we’re here. I feel we’re seeing that happen with fitness instructors right now.
I want to say three things on this. Number one, it’s a very nice Alice Cooper reference. Number two, you mentioned Julia Child. My mom, when I was growing up, didn’t realize that ketchup and spaghetti sauce were not interchangeable. Number three, my dad, Stanley Pearlman who is 78 years old, still exercises on the original NordicTrack that he bought in 1984. If you walk into our house or his house in New York, you don’t want to see it, but you might see my shirtless father NordicTracking in front of the TV.
You know that gym that Chuck Norris made famous, The Total Gym 2000 or whatever it was. For his birthday, I’m like, “How about I get you a Tonal?” He’s like, “I don’t want that finagled thing. I want a Total Gym.” We got him a Total Gym.
She had to host a podcast about Peloton. She hosts a podcast about Tonal. She had to buy her dad a Total Gym.
Sports writing, I’m interested to see. Sports writing is one of those profession. I’m in a profession that I think is similar in this singular regard. I used to work in radio. Now, I’m a concert promoter and I booked concerts for a living. They’re both jobs that I feel a lot of people want to do, but not many people get to do. There are many people that want to do it and take a shot at it. Now with the internet, there are so many people that will do it for free and try to get their voice out there. How do you break into that?
It was a lot easier when I was coming up. I went to the University of Delaware and graduated. I got hired at the Nashville Tennessean. It was a daily newspaper. My first job was a food and fashion writer. I didn’t know anything about either subject. It was the only opening they had. I didn’t know anything about it. I still can’t cook. I dressed up for this episode. It was an opening. I went from that to covering high school wrestling. My dream was to write for Sports Illustrated. It was always my goal from the time I was a kid, from the time I was writing for the Mahopac High School Chieftain. It would have been a step down from the Chieftain to go to Sports Illustrated but I was willing to take that for a dream.
I’ll tell you the true story. I kept applying to Sports Illustrated, my dream job. They wrote back and they said, “Can you pitch a story? Can you pitch an idea that maybe we’d be interested in, then we could see how you write it?” I’ve pitched a couple of stories. I got rejected. When I was a junior at the University of Delaware, for the hell of it, I applied early for the NBA draft. I did not play college basketball. I know you guys don’t seem to be big sports fans. You have to be a basketball player to enter the NBA draft.
I wrote a letter to the NBA saying, “My name is Jeff Pearlman. I’m a junior at Delaware. I am ready. I would like to give up my eligibility and join the NBA.” This whole thing happened where they wrote me back. I got a call, “Who are you?” “I’m a forward at Delaware.” I did it because I played so I was a forward literally in the state of Delaware. I pitched the story and I said to Sports Illustrated, “I applied once for the NBA draft.” They said, “Write that.” I wrote that and that became my gateway to Sports Illustrated. I was there for many years. I decided I wanted to write books. I’ve now written nine books. It’s harder now with the decline of newspapers and print in general. It’s a different ball game.
It would be a scary time to be in that industry.
It’s rewarding. If you look at the work, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, a lot of people are doing good work. It’s just harder to land.
There is so much noise coming out. It’s hard to stand out within all that noise I’m sure.
One thing that’s tough now in media, everything’s become very opinion based. Everything is who can scream the loudest, whether it’s Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity or Stephen A. Smith or whoever crossed the spectrum, political, sports, whatever. It used to be to turn on the TV, there’s a nightly news, listen to the nightly news, and you develop an opinion based on the nightly news. Now because of 24-hour news and there’s not a 24 hours’ worth of news, it’s become opinion journalism. It’s telling you how you should think and not just, “Here’s the information.” To me, it’s a very disappointing development because you end up with a lot of screamers and not a lot of reporters.
In my research for writing the wonderful intro that I gave you, I don’t know a lot about sports. When something sports-like crosses my path and sticks in my head that’s saying something, if it’s not the Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island, I don’t know about it. You had a moment. You wrote what would go on to be the infamous John Rocker article.
I have to ask a question. You broke up for a second. Did you say the Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island?
Yes, I did.
First of all, I want to say it never made any sense to me. The robots show up, but they can’t move their heads. How is a robot going to play a basketball game and it can move its head? It’s impossible. They jumped out to this big lead and they’re winning. The Globetrotters decided to start passing. It was ridiculous. They were trailing 103 to 17 at a halftime at that game. You’re not making up that differential no matter how many tricks you do. I’m calling BS about that game. I can’t sanction that.
To make it even worse, it’s prior to the three-pointer because you’re talking 1981.
There’s no three-point shot in the NBA at that point. I know you’re not a sports fan. It’s interesting how you’re not a sports fan and you have a sports writer as a guest. You don’t ride Peloton, but you’re a Peloton host. Do you remember the John Rocker story?
I do. That was a huge deal. He said some offensive stuff in that interview. It became a non-sport story, which is why I know about it.
I was a very young writer at Sports Illustrated. There was a baseball player for the Atlanta Braves named John Rocker. He was having a good year. The magazine wanted me to profile him. I went down to Atlanta from New York and I met him. You knew it was going to be an interesting day when you’re driving down the street. I was in his car and he’s driving. We get to a toll booth and he throws into one of the change bucket. He throws in a quarter and the bucket doesn’t open. There was another quarter and the bucket doesn’t open.
The guy behind him starts honking. Rocker rolls down the window and sticks out his middle finger and goes, “F you.” He spits on the change bucket. We’re driving and there’s a car in front of us. It’s moving slow. He said this nasty epitaph about Asian women drivers. We pass the car and it’s a white guy driving the car. Throughout the day, he hated everybody. He hated the foreigners. He hated gays. He hated African-Americans. The weird thing was, he’s like, “I’m a pretty liberal Northeastern Jew.” You’ve got to know your company at least a little bit. It was one of the craziest days of my journalistic career.As a journalist, when someone tells you who they are, it's almost a precious gem. Click To Tweet
Was that scary? “How much of this do I put in? How much of crap am I going to create here?” Were you like, “He said it. He knew who he was talking to?”
I was too naive to know the impact of it and how it would blow up. I was pretty young and not that savvy. As a journalist, when someone tells you who they are, it’s almost a precious gem. The reason you do this job is to have people open up to you and explain who they are. When someone does it so willingly, it’s not my job to protect racists or to protect anyone. My job is to write profiles and write about people.
Did you take any heat when that blew up or were they like, “Good for you? You sold a bunch of copies,” or was it on to the next thing? That was something you wrote three weeks ago and you don’t even remember.
It was terrible. It was the worst. I became a pariah in Major League Baseball. The players wouldn’t talk to me. Teams were not good to me. It was rough.
Instead of not talking to you, how about not saying racist crap around you or at all?
First of all, I’m so happy I can curse on this show. That made me happy. The baseball world is a very insular world. It’s not a political statement. It’s a very conservative world. It’s a very narrow world. It’s a lot of protecting your own. The Mets had a very famous catcher who is now in the hall of fame. His name is Mike Piazza. He was with the Mets at the time. One day, I was in the Met’s locker room. I did not know Mike Piazza. The clubhouse guy comes up to me and he’s like, “Mike wants to talk to you.” I’m like, “Mike wants to talk to me.” He’s like, “You’re Jeff?” I’m like, “Yeah.” He said, “Mike wants to talk to you.” I walk up to Mike Piazza. I’m expecting Mike Piazza to say, “Why would you write that?” He goes, “Are you Jeff Pearlman?” I was like, “Yeah.” He goes, “You wrote the Rocker story?” I’m like, “Yeah.” He goes, “What was that guy thinking? Does he not know you were a reporter?” It wasn’t everyone, but it was difficult.
Tell us about your book, the Lakers story. We’re so not into sports. To give you an idea, we were watching The Last Dance. We’re halfway through it. We didn’t know any of the story.
I have a serious question. If Michael Jordan knocks on your door, do you recognize him?
Yes. That we can do.
He played with Bugs Bunny.
What about Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson?
Scottie Pippen, but not Phil Jackson.
It’s the other way for me. I would recognize Phil Jackson, but not Scottie Pippen, except for the fact that I’m assuming he’s 100 feet tall. I’d be like, “This guy might do something basketball related,” but then I wouldn’t want to ask it because that seems offensive.
Tell him the story about the time you were at the Blues.
I worked for the St. Louis Blues by accident. We worked for the building in the concert wing. I almost didn’t apply for the job. The very last line of the job description said, “You will not do anything with the St. Louis Blues. I was like, “I can apply for this.” They were retiring Al MacInnis’ jersey. It was going to be televised. It was this big thing. They needed to rehearse the TV portion. They had people in the admin office. They’re like, “You’re going to go out. You’re going to play a different hockey person that will be there that night. They’ll call the name and you’ll walk out and sit down. We can get the timing right.” I was Brett Hull. I had heard of Brett Hull. You can’t live in St. Louis and not have heard of Brett Hull. They call the name and I walk out on the ice. I sit down on the Brett Hull seat as they’re practicing this.
They call the next guy and he’s supposed to be Bernie Federko. He comes out and he sits down next to me. We get talking. He’s like, “Who are you supposed to be?” I go, “I’m supposed to be Brett Hull.” He’s like, “Who are you?” I’m like, “I’m Tom O’Keefe. I work in the marketing for the concert end of things. Who are you supposed to be?” He’s like, “I’m supposed to be Bernie Federko.” I’m like, “Who are you actually?” He’s like, “I’m Bernie Federko.” In St. Louis though, people know Bernie Federko. He was an announcer. Locally, he’s a big deal. I knew the name, but I didn’t know what he looked like. I didn’t work there much longer.
We could talk about my book, but is it that interesting? I’d almost rather talk Peloton.
What other questions do you have about Peloton?
Number one, do people complain about Peloton instructors cursing? Some do, some don’t. Does it ever come up?
What’s the general take on that?
The general take is go F up.
Are there Peloton instructors who are talking about 2020 and how bad it is? Do they ever dip their toes into politics as far as we need to get Trump out of here or we need this, etc.?
They’ll talk about social issues. They’ve talked about Black Lives Matter and things like that, but they’ve never overtly said yes or no on a candidate, but you can read between the lines.
I also notice a lot of Black Lives Matter hashtags and etc. Do you see every now and then MAGA hashtags? I’ve never seen one.
They’re definitely out there.
There’s Trump 2020. There’s MAGA. They have removed nonpolitical but polarizing hashtags like White Lives Matter, All Lives Matter.
They’ve removed some QAnon stuff. There was somebody who brought up the white supremacist.
I don’t want to do it. The symbol like the green frog guy. Somebody had that in their profile that got deleted.
How long has Peloton been around?
They officially started in 2012.
When did they start going as far as big time?
We started the podcast in 2017. It was just starting to blow up. Late 2017 is when it went crazy. It hit a whole new thing. When I got my bike, it was July of 2016, there were 8,000 people in the official Peloton group on Facebook. There are now 350,000.
I know you’re a fan, but you know how those shows they used to have on VH1 like I Love the ‘80s and it would be like, “Remember Diff’rent Strokes,” or whatever.
Do you remember swatch cards?
I do. I want to say my Peloton name is Alien Life Form and it’s a picture of ALF. My hometown is listed as Melmac, which is the planet where ALF is from.
Are you sure that it’s okay that your name is out?
I worry about Peloton stalkers. I’m kidding, not at all. Does that exist?
Yes. I can tell you the Rob Lowe story. Jenn Sherman loves Rob Lowe. She was talking about him on one of her rides. On his Instagram, he was like, “I got mentioned on Jenn Sherman ride.” He had a picture of Jenn Sherman and the ride. He had his screen up. You could tell which ride it was that he got mentioned in. He talked about how Jenn Sherman was his favorite instructor. He was clever enough to not have his leaderboard name on it. However, the Peloton community, specifically those in the JSS tribe tracked him down. They found his leaderboard name by cross-referencing several different things. Overnight, he went from eight followers to something like 3,000 followers in a couple of hours. It was insane. Soon after that, they then installed the privacy features so that you can have a private account because prior to that, there was no ability to say you don’t want to have people follow you. That single instance made that happen.
What are the negatives of having people follow you on Peloton?
People will know that you’re at home if they know that you ride your bike at home.
There are apps and Pelotons in hotels and stuff these days. You can figure that’s true, but you don’t know it’s true.
It does say if you’re on your bike versus the app, it does say that.
When you become a sports writer, you get used to the groupies. It becomes a thing. It’s not a big deal for me to have stalkers and lots of followers. It comes with the business of being a mediocre sports writer. I have another question. Early on, I was talking to my wife about Peloton. Some of these instructors are all in good shape and most of them are good looking people. Kendall Toole, she is mid-twenties or whatever. She’s pretty. She’s perky. They’re wearing somewhat revealing outfits. I’m sure there are riders who would think like, “She’s my friend. I like her. I’m going to write her on Instagram.” Does it get weird? Have there been instances of that?
They have bodyguards now. They didn’t use to have bodyguards. It was not necessary at all. Now they have bodyguards. You can go into the studio and ride. There are these two big dudes at the end of the stage. The last time that they had a homecoming, which is where all of us riders, who are huge nerds like myself, go to New York. They no longer allowed the instructors to mix and mingle during the giant party.
It used to be a cocktail party and you could hang out with the instructors. Now, it’s too massive. It’s a concert and then the instructors are up in a balcony like where Lincoln got shot and then you don’t get anywhere near them. You can get pictures with them. I say now it’s like Wizard world for Peloton.
I covered when I was at Sports Illustrated Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering.
They took over the world, but initially all they did was Magic: The Gathering and then they bought TSR. Now they own Dungeons and Dragons and I’m a big nerd.
If a million riders go to the gym and Sam Yo and Kendall Toole are mingling, are they going to get besieged by people?
If you go on a regular day, like on a Wednesday, you can totally get into the studio and you can visit with the instructor after their class. They have a little line and you can take pictures and everything. That’s still a thing. Sam Yo is in London so you’d have to go to London to see him, but that’s totally a thing. At this party that I’m talking about, that happens once a year, they would get besieged. You can’t do it. I remember the last time we were there, I asked to get a picture taken with Jenn Sherman because I was supposed to be in a class with her and the whole thing happened. She was kind enough to come over and take a picture. She got mobbed. She was standing there for five seconds with us to take a picture and she was swarmed. They had to whisk her away. It was crazy.
The weird thing about celebrity is I’ve interviewed tons of celebrities and covered them. Everyone’s excited to get a Jenn Sherman picture. In the moment, it’s exciting because of Peloton, then 3, 5, 8 and 10 years passed. One day it’s like, “Who is this in the picture with mom?” That’s what happens with celebrities. Unless it’s Michael Jackson or Michael Jordan, it doesn’t last that long. It’s funny they’re celebrities at this moment in time.
They will continue to grow. You’re going to continue to see that with the Peloton instructors.
You see more of that with a celebrity in general. You see fewer huge celebrities that everybody knows and you see more niche celebrities, which would be a better way to be a celebrity. If you’re Bruce Willis, you can’t go anywhere. If you’re Joel Hodgson from Mystery Science Theater 3000, you got an area where people know you, but if you still want to go to the grocery store or if you still want to take your kids to Disney World, you can do that.
The Bruce Willis reference is a little dated.
I was thinking of people I’ve met. I’ve met Bruce Willis and I’ve met Joel Hodgson so that’s what I was doing in my head.
The book I wrote about, a lot of it involved Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq is a huge celebrity. He’s very famous. I do think there’s a way to own your celebrity. In our house, we talk about this who are celebrities who have a Mohammad Ali type of thing about them. Mohammad Ali, he could show up in an airport, at your mom’s house, at the Republican Convention, the Democrat Convention, everyone wants their picture with him. He had a warmth and a decency. Shaq has that. Shaq, Snoop Dogg and Dolly Parton are the three people who wear their celebrity like a very comfortable robe. There’s something to be said for that.
I’m trying to think of more people that would fall under that.
Maybe Taylor Swift for a younger generation.
She seems genuinely nice. It doesn’t seem like a shtick. It seems she’s a nice person. I’m not even a fan, but if she’s not nice, it’s going to be upsetting because she seems so nice.
There was that musician that we met one time that was disappointing. It’s Nate Ruess. He is not nice.
They named the band Fun ironically like when you call a big guy tiny.
He was up there on stage and dancing. He walked back. I was like, “I’m a big fan.” He has no movement. He didn’t even half smile. He didn’t even acknowledge that I was talking to him. It was sad.
It was like a radio station meet and greet. I worked at a concert venue. I run the meet and greet. It wasn’t we went up to him in church. This is part of the gig. The radio station brings you out. You take pictures with some people.
Even though I get super excited, I don’t show it. I was very calm. I wasn’t all giddy.
You know what the best payback is, you don’t remember his last name.
That’s a good point. On the other hand, a person that I had no idea was going to be so much fun was the guy from the Goo Goo Dolls, who I also can’t remember his name, John Rzeznik.
He also has a Peloton.
You’ve got to get him on the show.
We’ve tried. We can’t get past the gatekeepers.
I even have worked with one of his managers because I’ve done Goo Goo Doll shows and I haven’t got an answer.
When I was in high school, I was writing for the Mahopac High School Chieftain. People are still talking about my groundbreaking story about the Mahopac High School boys basketball team. It’s heavy stuff. Somehow or another, I arranged an interview with the owner of the New England Patriots. I was in high school. He ran Remington and I did all my research. I was super excited. I was going to do a story about the owner of the New England Patriots. I called his secretary who set it up. She’s like, “Jeff, Mr. Kiam is very excited to talk to you.” She connects me to him. He’s in his limousine. No doubt a phone connected to a cord. I go, “Mr. Kiam, this is Jeff Pearlman. I’m the high school reporter.” He goes, “Who are you?” I said, “No, I’m the high school reporter.” Keep in mind, I’m seventeen years old. I’m shaking. “I’m the high school reporter.” “I don’t know anything about this. I don’t have time for this. I don’t even know what this is,” click. That was my first celebrity interview. Much like the band Fun’s career, Victor Kiam is dead.
We’ve got to get through some more Peloton stuff here. Who’s your favorite instructor? Is it Kendall?
It’s Kendall. I enjoy the enthusiasm. Number one, she doesn’t sing out loud very much. Number two, she’s very enthusiastic. She’s got that positivity.
Does she cuss enough for your liking?
I don’t need a lot of cussing.
It’s enough to know that it’s there.
Did you take her Movie Buff ride?
Yeah. I hated it. I quit halfway through. I was like, “This is garbage. I can’t do this.”
I loved it. I had so much fun.
Can I ask another Peloton question? I know it’s about me, but can I ask one more? I like to turn up the resistance super high and go high resistance but a little lower on the cadence. Is that cheating?
No, it’s your ride.
The instructor is like, “We’re going to go faster.” By doing that, you generate a lot more total output. That’s okay.
You do. First of all, if you have a bike that is not a Bike+, you have a regular bike. Every bike is different. Even if you’re doing exactly what the instructor calls out and your neighbor down the street is doing exactly what the instructor calls out. You’re going to have different outputs because your bike is different. If you have the Bike+, then in theory, everybody is a lot closer. That’s a real metric. That’s the first thing. The second thing is as long as you’re having a good time and you’re challenging yourself, that’s all that matters. That’s what we were talking about. It’s the same thing as if the ten-minute ride works for you, then do a ten-minute ride. If it works for you to crank up the resistance and go slower on the cadence, do that. You gave us your leaderboard name. I know you’ve only been with your bike for a few months, 58 rides. What is your best advice for somebody getting started?
I’ve found for myself I get real joy in trying different instructors. We mentioned Kendall Toole. For a bunch of the first days, I was doing Kendall Toole because I felt comfortable with her. I feel I’ve had a lot more joy, almost going to the buffet of instructors and trying different instructors. It’s fun. It seemed different styles, approaches and cadence. Even doing the Sam Yo ride where he’s whispering and I’m annoyed, it was still a fun ride and a good experience. Underrated musical genre on Peloton is country. I’m not a huge country music fan, but it’s great music for the Peloton.
Hannah Corbin has an excellent past catalog of country rides. All the instructors have a few, but those are some of my favorites. Denis Morton’s country rides are some of the best.
It’s good to know. I haven’t done that. That’s good.
I used to work at alternative rock station in the market. We were doing our radio festival. This was back when Green Day would play things like that. They were a big deal, but they were on our festival. They were supposed to do a meet and greet that winners would come back and meet Green Day. I was in charge of running all the back streets to meet and greets, which was a lot because it’s a festival. We pounded through seventeen meet and greets in a ten-hour period.
We were stunned that Green Day had agreed to do a meet and greet. I had all these kids lined up to meet Green Day and their manager comes out and they’re like, “They don’t do those.” I’m like, “Your record label said you were going to.” I don’t care if you’re not going to do a meet and greet, but don’t tell me you’re going to do a meet and greet and then not do one. I was backstage and I was so mad. I was like, “These jerks, if you’re not going to do a meet and greet, don’t tell me you’re going to do a meet and greet. Like I could give a crap, but don’t promise something and not do it, rock star BS.” I turned around to walk out of the backstage area and this guy taps me on the shoulder and he’s like, “We’re not going to do a meet and greet either. Just so you know.” I turn around and it’s Dave Grohl. I was like, “Your record label told me you don’t do meet and greet so I didn’t set one up. I don’t give a crap.”
If you find yourself in that position again ever, you should be like, “You guys are behaving like Nate from Fun. What happened to that guy?”
I want to say thank you. This has been so much fun. If you ever have Peloton questions, please let me know.
Thank you so much for having me on. I appreciate it.When you become a sports writer, you get used to stalkers and followers; it comes with the business. Click To Tweet
Is there anything you want to plug or tell people where to find you or sell a book or something?
I’m the Alien Life Form on Peloton. On Twitter, I’m @JeffPearlman. You can go to JeffPearlman.com. I’m so happy I didn’t talk about my book. It’s like doing a meet and greet. I’ve done 160 about interviews. The book is called Three Ring Circus. It’s about the Shaq, Kobe and Lakers and it’s out and about.
You’ll probably shoot up the bestseller list as soon as we’re done.
I’m going to make sure that one of the Peloton instructors does a fun ride. Number one, because there are only about three songs. It would be a very nice, easy ride. Number two, it would relate to this show.
I am going to follow you. I am @ClipOutCrystal. You should follow me back.
I will follow you back.
That brings this one to a close. What pray tell do you have in store for people next week?
I am super excited to announce Chelsea Jackson Roberts.
We teased this last week and we unfortunately couldn’t get it edited quite in time. She’s a cusser, we had to edit out.
I just want to say this because our editors do an amazing job. I do not want to blame them for this. The fact of the matter is that we did not feel we were giving them enough time to do their job properly. We submit everything quite a bit in advance. I want to say thank you to our editors.
Because they’re listening to this because they have to.
Also because it’s Thanksgiving week and we were thankful for that. We are thankful for how all of this comes together and all the work that goes into it. Thank you to them. I am very excited about Chelsea’s interview though. It was so much fun. A lot of your questions got in there, guys.
We pounded through some questions and she didn’t cuss once. On the other hand, right out of the gate. Until next week, where can people find you?
People can find me on Facebook.com/CrystalDOKeefe. They can find me on Instagram, Twitter on the Bike and of course the Tread, @ClipOutCrystal.
You can find me on Twitter, @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TomOKeefe. You can find the show online at Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page, join the group. Swing on by our YouTube channel, you can watch these in their full HD glory now in color at YouTube.com/theclipout. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep pedaling and running.
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About Jeff Pearlman
I’m the New York Times best-selling author of nine books. My latest release, “Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty” comes out in hardcover In September 2020 and is available now in myriad places. I am a former Sports Illustrated senior writer, a former ESPN.com columnist and a former staff writer for Newsday and The (Nashville) Tennessean. I wrote a weekly column for The Athletic, and contributed to a whole bunch of places, ranging from Bleacher Report to the Wall Street Journal to Sports Illustrated to CNN.com. I also co-host the Two Writers Slinging Yang podcast as a solo artist.
I’m a habitual blogger, an addicted Tweeter and a guy who knows how lucky and fortunate he is to make his career as a writer/author/Tom Cruise lookalike. There are plenty of people in this world who hate their jobs; hate starting the day; hate what they do and dream of retirement.
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