Benji Jones: This bike costs $2,000,and it’s taking thecycling world by storm. It’s sold by the company Peloton,which reportedly now has more customersthan even the spin giant SoulCycle. But what really sets itapart is convenience. Using a monitor attached to the bike,you can join a spin class from anywhereand, according to the company,get a studio-grade workout. Now, that sounds pretty nice,but is it really worth the hype?To find out, I took aPeloton bike for a spin. Over the course of two weeks,I did a 45-minute Peloton class every day. And how did it go?Well, let’s just say I’ll probablynever be this fit ever again. First things first: To figure outjust how good of a workout I’d be getting,I visited the athletic trainerSean Kuechenmeister before my first class. Sean: You’re going to hopefully establishyour baseline level of fitnessfor biking specifically. Benji: Sean works at theNew York Sports Science Labin Staten Island, and there he assessesthe physical ability ofprofessional athletes. And now me, your more average gym-goer. All right, good to go. We started out by gatheringsome basic metricslike weight and body fat. Next were some not-so-basic measurements. I feel like I’m in,like, an ejection seat. That’s an isokinetic extremity machine. It measures the strength of my quads. After that, we tested leg power,Sean: Jump. Benji: mobility,and something called muscle drive. Sean: So drive would behow much electrical currentyou’re getting from thebrain through those nerves. The muscles are really justkind of like the mindless meat. The nerves are what determines howefficiently the muscles move. – But the mostdifficult test of all?A measure of what’s called VO2 max. Sean: The reason why the VO2max is so relevant for bikersis that’s a measurementof how well your body’sutilizing the oxygen that you’retaking in when you breathe. The better you use the oxygen,the more it’s gonna betransported throughout your bodyand the more efficientlyyou’re gonna be able to moveand perform whateverexercise it is you’re doing. Benji: I scored below average in VO2 max,in the 47th percentile,which was kind of a bummer. But overall, I was in pretty good shape,and with the assessment behindme, it was time to ride. This time, fortunately,without a gas mask. It got off to kind of a rough startbecause I couldn’t reallyget on the bike at first. I was just totally not feeling the music,just kind of like oldies or, like, rock. I’m not about to bike out to rock. I ended up joining a prerecorded class,and I thought I was, like,doing really well in the classand then looked and saw thatI was in 589th place, I think. To my credit, there were like2,500 people in this class,and that made me feel pretty average,which is totally fine. My quads are already starting to feel it. I can definitely feel a burn. I did a little bit bettertoday, look at that. 2,136th place out of 10,000. I mean, not terrible!I was tired almost right from the start,but the days went by quickly,and soon enough I was a week in. I am proud to say that I made itseven days in a row!But I wasn’t exactly seeing much progress. Instead, I was actually feeling some pain. I’m definitely starting to feela little bit of pain in my right knee. You know, to be honest, all of my statslook exactly the same todayas they did my first ride. I was burning a littleover 500 calories a class,no matter how exhausted Ifelt at the finish line,but I wasn’t about to quit,especially since Sean had predictedsome pretty rad resultsI could look forward to. Sean: I think if you’re gonna lose fatand then potentiallyburn into some muscle,I think we may see you go from143 maybe to about 141, 140,um, but I do expectyour endurance to go up,and I do expect thisnumber with your VO2 maxto go from fair to good. Benji: For my eighthride, I switched it up. Instead of riding at home, I went tothe Peloton studio in Manhattanwhere the classes are filmed. I was curious if Iwould push myself harderin front of an instructorand in the presenceof what seems to besome of New York City’smost fit and attractive. It was a good time. It’s the day before Valentine’s Day,so there was lots of breakupsongs, which was great. But as it turns out, all bikesare calibrated differently,so my readout on my bike in the studiowas super different than thebike that I have at home. There was probably likea 200-calorie difference. So I did push myself harder in the studio. My average heart rate was 10%higher than it was at home,but according to thedisplay on my studio bike,my output and caloriecount was my lowest yet. So fair warning, the calorie countersmight be different if you don’tuse the same bike every time. As I reached the middleof the second week,my output was finally starting to improve. I feel pretty good. Losing body fat, feeling like my legsare probably like athousand times stronger. Hopefully that’s the case. I also broke 600 caloriesin one ride today,which means that I’mgetting better in the,like, on my journey tostrength on the bike. Wait, journey to strength?Side note: If I had any critiqueof Peloton as I neared the end,it’s not the quality of the workout. . . Instructor: If something came up for youin the form of energyBenji: It’s the languagethe instructors use to motivate you. It might be a personal thing,but it just feels so inauthentic. This is an exercise class, not therapy. Anyway. A few days later came themoment I was waiting for. The end!Woo!14 classes!Yeah, it feels really good to be done,probably ’cause of meetingmy goal of doing this,partly because I am so excited to notfeel so exhausted and nothave to bike every day. Not that it hasn’t been rewarding,it’s just obviously too muchto do this every single day. Let’s see, 14 workouts, 10 1/2 hours,194 miles, 7,745 calories,that was the best outputI’ve gotten so far. I also broke 600 caloriesin one ride today,which means that I’m getting better,and you can see that I kindof started out really strongand then kind of took a dip and thenstarted working up again. The next day, I returned to the labfor my follow-up assessment. Sean: Your initialmeasurement, you were 143. 5. You’re 142 today alongwith that point zero,but your lean body mass,which is your muscle,your bone, you know, the connected tissue,first time was 125. 2. Second time, it’s 125. 4, soyou lost nothing but fat. You maintained your muscle. In fact,you gained 0. 2 pounds ofmuscle during all of that. – Interestingly, allthat new muscle I’d gainedended up in just one spot: my left leg. Remember that pain I wastalking about in my right knee?Well, I adapted by relyingmore on my left to pedal,building muscle there as a result. Everywhere else in my body, Iactually lost muscle weight. Sean: You lost weight in the trunk. You lost weight in your left arm,and you lost weight in your right arm. Benji: And that’s because I was onlydoing one type of activity every day. But the biggest change was in my VO2 max. Trainer: So this was hisinitial, and this is his new onewhere he’s ranked only 79% now. Camera operator: That is incredible!Dean: 47 to 79. Benji: So I’m, like,better than most people?Sean: Yes. You went from worse than most peopleto a lot better than most people. Benji: Wow. That’s amazing, wow!OK, so more muscle in my left leg,less everywhere else, andmuch greater endurance. What about strength?Sean: You actually lost power. You increased in your strengthin terms of your endurance,as far as aerobic capacity,but as far as anaerobic,the system of our bodythat uses more sugar,uses glycogen, what we use toproduce power and strength,you actually decreased in that. Benji: And in terms of just, like,trying to understand these numbers,for two weeks, like arethese pretty big changes?Sean: Oh yeah, for sure, for sure. I think most, most doctors will recommendthat about a pound toa pound and a quarterof fat per month is a healthyrate to be losing fat,so you’re actually well ahead of that,so I think if you were to continue this,you would probably – you’d lose more fat,you might gain some more muscle,but eventually there would be a pointof diminishing returns where we’d needto change something up in the routine. Benji: Got it, OK. Sean: This was good fora two-week challenge,but I think it’s not verylong-term sustainable. Benji: OK. And that’s a good thingbecause the thought of biking right now,well, it’s kind of terrible. But should I ever needto lose weight againand stumble upon a mountain of cash,I’m confident that two weeksof intense cycling like thiswill totally do the trick.