I Tried the Peloton Guide — Here's My Honest Review

Find out if the strength-training device is actually worth the nearly $300 price tag.

Peloton Review Guide
Photo: Peloton

Let me be transparent: I am a big fan of Peloton — not quite obsessive like some people, but I do live for the high-fives from others on the leaderboard, whether I'm using the Peloton Bike +, the Peloton Tread, or the app. And, as a regular consumer of the brand's strength content I was really excited to get the opportunity to test out the Peloton Guide, the latest connected device from the fitness tech giant.

After testing the product for about a month, I can say that there are benefits to be had for novice and advanced strength-trainers alike. The brand claims the Peloton Guide is "everything you need to reach your strength training goals from home," so read on to see if I agree.

What Is the Peloton Guide?

The Peloton Guide (Buy It, $295, onepeloton.com) is a 12-megapixel front-facing camera (the purchase also includes a remote, batteries, magnetic stand that positions the camera to best see your movements, HDMI cord, power cable, and adapter to pul into the wall) that connects you to Peloton's robust library of strength content. (Note: Right now, to get the most out of your Peloton Guide workout experience, utilizing Guide-specific strength workouts is recommended, but the company says it has plans to expand the library in the future.)

Unlike other fitness equipment from Peloton, this gadget doesn't require much storage space at all, measuring 6'.5"L x 2'.5"W x 1'.7"H and weighing a mere 18 ounces. Of course, you'll still need plenty of room to safely move around for your workout. (Peloton recommends an exercise space that is roughly the size of two side-by-side yoga mats and that you stay within 6 to 8 feet of the Guide's camera for optimal movement tracking.) The Peloton Guide can sit right in front of your TV using the accompanying stand or be mounted, magnetically, to the set itself. To successfully pair the Peloton Guide with your TV, you'll need to make sure your model has an HDMI port and a 16:9 aspect ratio.

You can purchase the Guide separately or bundle it with some at-home gear. The Peloton Guide Strength Starter (Buy It, $545, onepeloton.com), comes with three sets of dumbbells, ranging from 5 lbs. to 30 lbs. and an exercise mat, and the Peloton Guide Power (Buy It, $935-$1,270 depending on the size weights you select, onepeloton.com), comes with six sets of dumbbells, ranging from 5 lbs. to 50 lbs., a mat, and a heart rate band.

Peloton Review Guide
Peloton

How the Peloton Guide Works

Let's be clear: The Peloton Guide camera attached is no ordinary camera. In fact, it's quite advanced. Using AI technology that "watches you," the device, which places a mirror image of you on the screen with your instructor, creates an "evolving strength training experience," by tracking your movement during your workout, according to the brand's website. Your movement is tied to the movement tracker icon on the screen. As you exercise, performing various sets and reps, the tracker icon fills up. The trick? You only get full credit if you are moving the entire time during the allotted interval. (Don't worry, there are built-in rest breaks, so you won't be exercising nonstop.) So, if you want those award badges, you are going to have to stay engaged.

At the end of each workout, you receive information from the body activity feature which highlights the muscles you worked during your session. The Peloton Guide will also recommend your next classes based on the muscles groups you haven't worked yet, ensuring you have a well-balanced workout schedule and give those tired muscles time to recover.

Also handy: You can use voice-activated mode to start or pause a workout, for example, which I found to work seamlessly and avoided me having to fumble around looking for the included remote. To use the feature, you simply say "Okay, Peloton" and command the Peloton Guide to do your bidding (think: start, pause, rewind, fast forward or end a workout; increase or decrease the volume; and/or customize which stats, such as calories or heart rate, you want on the screen.) You can find a list of voice commands on the website.

For anyone who may be worried the people behind Peloton (or worse, hackers) will track you even when you aren't actively using the Peloton Guide for a workout — it is a camera after all — there's no need to stress. Peloton takes preventative measures against this by adding a privacy slider screen that covers the camera when the Guide isn't in use. The Guide also won't be listening in on your every conversation either, as there is a switch on the back of the device that you can slide to the left to cancel out the mic. (You'll know it's off when the switch is under the icon of a mic with a line going through it.)

Classes Available On Peloton Guide

If you're already a Peloton member and have taken some of the brand's strength training classes before, know that you'll get the same quality live and on-demand workouts you are used to with many of the same amazing instructors (think Adrian Williams, Selena Samuela, Rad Lopez, Andy Speer and Robin Arzón). These workouts, though, will be Guide-specific. What does that mean? If you are using, say, the regular app, you will hear the instructors reference the Peloton Guide, but you won't have access to all the sweet metrics that are unique to the Guide.

What's more, Peloton offers a series of live classes throughout the week, such as Strength Roll Call, where instructors will teach a 20-minute class at the same time every day, Monday to Friday. Those classes are then curated into five-class mini-programs that only Peloton Guide users can access for a determined period of time before being released to the wider Peloton community. Utilizing the Guide and all its features will also help you get the most of out the app's programs such as Floor Bootcamp and Split Programs (a more traditional style of strength training with the option to use heavier weight and the intent to build muscle).

While the Guide will also showcase other workout modalities (yoga, HIIT, etc.), they won't be Guide specific — at least not yet. (The reps for Peloton did mention the brand was looking to expand the Peloton Guide offerings in the future.) For now, know that the stars of the show are the strength-training workout and the elevated experience you get from doing them on the Peloton Guide. (

Peloton Review Guide
Peloton

So, Is the Peloton Guide Worth It?

If you're new to strength training, I think the Peloton Guide will be super helpful as you learn proper form and check your technique. It's like having a personal trainer in the room with you without the hefty price tag. Before you even choose your workout, you can view exactly what moves are involved, and if you're unsure of how to perform any, you can watch an instructor demo the moves before you even get started with your workout. (This feature is available in the app as well.)

Plus, being able to see yourself next to (or stacked on top, depending on your view) the instructor on one screen throughout class really allows you to see how your form matches up — or doesn't — so you can easily make adjustments in real-time. (

One thing I found myself wishing for, however, is some kind of notification or signal that you're doing a movement incorrectly. So while, you have a visual representation of yourself and the trainer on the screen, some sort of ding or graphic on the screen that identifies improper form would be helpful.

The Peloton Guide is also great at helping you better program your workout schedule. The Body Activity tracker literally shows (via a highlighted outline of a body), the muscles that were targeted during a workout, and how hard they were taxed, so you know exactly what kind of workout to do next — whether you're stacking shorter workouts together or looking to build out your weekly routine. Not getting the hint? The Guide will also recommend specific classes for you.

I also loved how the AI-enabled camera was surprisingly motivating. Typically when I work out with the Peloton app on a mobile device, there may be a few exercise reps that I may casually "forget" to do. (I mean no one is watching, right?). But since I know that I won't get all the "credit" during Peloton Guide workouts if I slack on some of the reps or, say, break form in the middle of holding a plank, it makes me fight harder to push through. It kind of feels like having a built-in workout buddy to help cheer you on, compete against yourself, and compel you to never quit even one rep early.

So in the end, I think no matter where you are in your fitness journey, you can get something out of the Peloton Guide and its specific features, but I definitely believe beginner strength trainers have the most to gain. Still unsure whether this gadget is for you, you can test it out for 30 days.

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