Peloton's Cody Rigsby Is 'Always Competing' with Himself

The instructor shares how he channels his competitive side and stays motivated, even when he's doing workouts that are outside of his comfort zone.

Headshot of Cody Rigsby
Photo: Getty Images

If you had any questions regarding Cody Rigsby's competitive nature, consider exhibit A: The Peloton instructor could have easily thrown in the towel after contracting COVID (for the second time) during his run on Dancing With the Stars last fall, but he didn't. Not only did Rigsby persevere, but he slayed a remote performance to Britney Spears' "Gimme More" with the virtual support of partner Cheryl Burke. Incidentally, when we connect for a Zoom call in early May, I'm battling a case of COVID myself, and Rigsby is beside himself, offering commiserative well-wishes and support. So while yes, he's proven himself to be a fierce competitor (he and Burke finished the season in third place, BTW), Rigsby approaches everything — whether it's a television dance competition or a press interview — with serious heart.

"I'm like a true Gemini with this question," he says when asked whether he sees himself as a competitive person by nature. "I'm not the person who, in high school gym, was really competitive about which team would win. And I've never been someone who makes my goals about beating someone or being at the top in a numbers kind of way," he explains. "But I am always truly competing with myself and my yesterday's best to be the best version of myself. I do love to push myself and never get stagnant in anything that I do."

His sentiments make sense, considering all that Rigsby has taken on over the last few years. While he could have been content to simply ride the wave of Peloton superstardom, Rigsby signed up for DWTS, took on hosting duties at this year's GLAAD Awards, and has partnered with some big name brands to promote causes he cares about, including healthy nutrition.

"Self care includes nourishing your body," he says. "I think it's about making little tweaks that add up to these really healthy choices, like real hydration, or fueling your body with real foods. I don't think we understand how much crap we put into our bodies. And sometimes just replacing things or changing your routine really can add up to a lot of great benefits." (Related: Why Peloton's Cody Rigsby Always Takes Two Rest Days a Week)

To that end, Rigsby has teamed up with fellow athletes Sydney McLaughlin and Jessamyn Stanley to promote Gatorade Fit, which is free from added sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors. "I'm excited to add that into my summer program," he says. "I need something that's healthy and not loaded with sugar so that I'm getting the hydration and electrolytes I need to bounce back from these more intense conditioning workouts that I am dreading."

Rigsby is referring to the runs he's started to integrate into his training regimen, and he's not exactly stoked about the non-bike cardio. "I spent a lot of the winter trying to put on a lot of mass — bulking up, as they say — and now I'm trying to lean down a little bit," he explains. "So, I've been really pushing myself to do at least two runs a week. And I hate running; I hate it." (See: How to Start Running for Beginners)

Thankfully, Rigsby has found some moral support for his new fitness venture from his fellow coaches. "Honestly, I don't think I could get through a run without the Peloton app," he says. "I get so distracted and so unmotivated by myself. But I'm going to continue to do this throughout the summer, so I can be my best self and my fiercest self, because we need to be our fiercest selves for summer."

While Rigsby may need some friendly encouragement to get through those workouts, he's also been able to tap into that self-generated competitiveness that's driven him toward success in the past. "There have been times where I've taken rides, and I'd see on the leaderboard that I was really close to a PR," he explains. "So I kind of would — don't tell anybody this, but I guess tell everyone this — whatever the instructions were, I was like, 'Screw it. I want to beat this PR now, so I'm gonna climb for an extra 30 seconds.'"

While striving to crush his previous personal records fuels Rigsby in the gym, he acknowledges that ambition comes in all forms, and the leaderboard isn't for everyone. "Everybody's different and everybody has different motivators," he says. "Sometimes, maybe that little bit of competitiveness when you're riding with a friend pushes you over the edge into creating a new PR. Or maybe it's a friendly competition where you're pushing each other. If being competitive works for you and you need that sort of validation through numbers and beating someone, I'm all here for it," he adds. "Just don't do it in a way that's bringing anyone down. If you're competing, keep it to yourself and be proud." (Related: The Best Peloton Trainer to Match Your Workout Style)

Besides revving up his workouts and continuing to push himself to new athletic heights, Rigsby is also committing to other healthy habits this summer that support his overall well-being on every level. "I'm trying to be on my phone less, especially during the morning," he says. "Also, I've been trying to really make time for being social and connecting with people that I love. It's really easy to get into the habit of the day-to-day and forget to call people or go out to dinner," he explains. "That really does have a big impact on our mental health, and I think that really pushes and motivates us to be physically better. The little choices really add up to a lot physically, mentally, and emotionally."

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