Outside In: Adding Tech To Your Programming

Your clients love novelty.

They love new exercises. They love gadgets and apps. They’re drawn to them, and then sucked in.

As I wrote yesterday, you can try to compete with Peloton bikes in the living room…or you can build them into your programming.

This week, I’ll share a few examples of how to do it.

CrossFit + Peloton

Peloton (run OR bike) is mostly long-form aerobic training. Though some programs feature high-intensity intervals, Peloton’s biggest feature is its biggest flag: high volume.

Personally, I think most CrossFit gyms would do well to add some aerobic training into their programming. While HIIT covers a lot of bases, the original CrossFit programming template taught at the L1 seminar was “sometimes go long,” and included a 30-45 minute aerobic prescription every 10 days or so. When we first started testing CrossFit at our PT studio in 2007, the first workout we did was a 10k run! Pretty funny for a group of powerlifters.

The thing is, all of the high-intensity intervals in the world won’t actually prepare you to metabolize energy for events lasting longer than around 40 minutes…and frankly most events outside your gym last longer than 40 minutes.

If your client buys a Peloton:
1 – Prescribe extra strength work, but cut back on the MetCons. Depending on their level of conditioning, balance out the 3 energy systems.
For example, most in-home “spin” bikes aren’t set up properly. So teach your client how to set their seat first.
Then prescribe posterior-chain strength work to balance out the quad-dominant style of cycling you get in a spin class. While riding a road bike requires pretty balanced power between the knee and hip, spin classes force people up onto their toes a lot. There’s a lot more standing and cranking than you’d do out on the road. And that usually means higher tension on the bike and higher force on the knee.
Focus on lower-rep, higher-weight lifts like the deadlift and reverse hyperextension. I actually like the leg curl for cyclists too, because in a repetitive movement like cycling, it helps to have knee flexion with and without hip extension.

2 – Prescribe extra mobility work. Cyclists don’t need a lot of foam rolling, but the bike does create extra postural stress – you’re in a prolonged position of hip flexion and rounded torso while you’re on the bike. Combine that with our typical desk posture, and most Peloton riders could benefit from extra stretching of the hip flexors, adductors and glutes.

3 – keep HIIT very short. While there’s a lot of value in spiking a client’s heart rate, the random nature of Peloton group classes means that most riders are getting high intensity intervals in a class already, and there’s no sense dumping more cortisol into the system. Resist the urge to out-intensity the Peloton coaches.

When a client gets into Peloton, I’d shift them to Personal Training sessions twice per week. Focus on upper-body strength and hip extension. Give them short METCONs and some mobility work to do at home (be specific: say “Do these stretches”) instead of “Do extra mobility work at home.”

If they don’t want to do the best option (PT), I’d tell them to come to class but leave after the strength and mobility work. Remember, you’re not selling a 60-minute class; you’re selling a solution to their problem. And if the solution to their problem means leaving after 30 minutes, then that’s your decision, coach.

After they’ve been doing it for awhile, I’d weigh the option of moving them back to group classes. Most people get bored of Peloton quickly, but stick with it because they’ve invested $2500 into the equipment. However, if you give them a glowing alternative they like better, they’ll just switch back to CrossFit groups.

That didn’t happen in my case, so don’t assume it will always happen. And don’t assume that “getting them back to CrossFit” is your ultimate goal, either.


What I do:


Zwift on my bike – Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sun. Zwift is like Peloton, but on a real bike.

My coach delivers my weekly ride programming through another app (Training Peaks.) I do the workouts and the stretching he prescribes.

Monthly cost: $299 (plus the Zwift app, which is $15, I think.)

Nutrition – I follow a Macro plan with a coach. I enter my meals in MyFitnessPal, and report my adherence to her each week.
Monthly cost: $400 for 3 months (plus the MyFitnessPal upgrade, but you can use the free version.)

I should probably do two strength training sessions with a Personal Trainer, too. If my coach offered me those appointments, I’d probably do them. So add those at $90 per week, or $360 per month.


Total: $1059 per month to be coached on my bike (which I love.)


For reference, an “unlimited” membership at my box is $150.


The price is worth it for me, because I love my bike, and this training makes me better at my job (CEO of Two-Brain Business.)


It’s the ultimate irony: coaches try to convince their clients to exercise more. Then the client says “I bought a rower for my garage!” and the coach panics. They think the home gym or Zumba DVDs are competition. Instead, they’re huge opportunities.


I wrote a long essay called “Don’t Fear The Cyber” here, and yesterday posted another called “The Pendulum Effect” here.

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