The Peloton Ad: My Take

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the “controversial” Peloton ad which a bunch of strangers using the soapbox that is Twitter have labeled “sexist.”

In case you haven’t, here it is (for as long as they keep in on YouTube).

I’ve read the opinions and articles on this ad. I’ve watched it a few times for the sake of this blog post. The analysis from the court of public opinion has ranged from a husband who bought the bike for his wife because he is obsessed with keeping her in shape to a husband that is abusive toward her.

Yeesh. The vitriol! I’m absolutely amazed by how many people turned out to be relationship experts and knew their status and history after watching a 30-second spot. In fact, the actor who plays the husband recently spoke out and is now worried about how the backlash from every Tom, Dick and Harry may be damaging his career.

Meanwhile, the actress who played the wife got a gig for Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin as a way to poke back at how the Peloton ad was perceived by the Twitterverse (or if you’ve been blogging for 15 years like me, the blogosphere).

At this point, another opinion about this doesn’t really make much of a difference because the consensus is that she’s more or less in a blink-if-you’re-in-danger relationship and she needs to workout – or else.

But I’m going to give you mine anyway. And because the ad has already been chastised and labeled as wrong, I’m going to look beyond the surface and try to put a positive light on it because hey, what else should I be doing on a Saturday night, right?

First, let’s be honest. At a starting price of over $2,000 (not including membership), this is not a cheap gift. Granted, the ad does depict them as affluent and not necessarily concerned about the cost but maybe, just maybe, she actually wanted the bike, hence her surprise.

It sounds silly, I know. But why would she want it? Perhaps she lives in a town where inclement weather is commonplace – the ad does show it snowing in one scene. Or perhaps she tried spin classes and it turns out she’s not a fan of being in a hot, sweaty, trainer-yelling-in-your-face environment. Honestly, I don’t care much for gyms either because the scenery never changes whether you’re on the stationary bike or treadmill. I’d rather be outside breathing fresh air and logging actual miles riding to the beach and back which is possible year-round where I live.

Then there’s the new GritCycle gym that just opened up in a shopping complex down the street from us. The place is so packed that we can hardly find parking if we just want to go for a tea. I wouldn’t want to deal with that, either.

Another criticism of the ad was that she doesn’t look like she needs to lose weight, hence the theory about hubby making her do the workouts. While I was never a fan of fitness ads depicting thin people trying to be thin, it’s not always about what you see on the surface.

Near the end of the spot, where she documents her progress throughout by shooting video selfies, she looks into the camera and says, “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me. Thank you.”

As you may have read in my previous posts, over a year ago my wife was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had a nephrectomy on October 2018. The road to recovery after any surgery, let alone one where they removed two organs and the fat pocket surrounding them, is not an easy one and getting back into the swing of things can prove to be difficult.

One of the things all of her –ologists recommended was being less sedentary once her recovery was complete – and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Last August, we paid for the annual parking pass for our local park so that I can aid in her recovery by either walking or cycling with her around the park or neighboring nature center trails.

To see her now, logging up to 5 miles either on foot or riding the saddle, you would never know that I took a week vacation last year to sleep next to her in a lounge chair while she slept on the couch – her stitches prevented her from climbing in and out of bed – to help her get up and sit down whenever she needed it. She’s now cancer-free and getting her doctor-recommended dose of exercise. Because of everything she’s gone through, she’s also the strongest woman I know. Let’s not even talk about her difficult pregnancy.

Although you would never know by her appearance, perhaps Peloton Wife falls into a similar category and her daily workouts are her way of proving to everyone that she’s not only on the road to recovery but getting stronger by the day – even when she begrudgingly wakes up at 6 am to work out (believe me, my wife and I have been there). Recovery takes strength and determination, both of which are shown in the ad.

And there you have it. I just spent a good amount of time analyzing a commercial that in today’s viral-obsessed world nobody will even care about in a week. But my point was that we don’t always know the backstory nor should we pretend to. This was just a way of, based on my personal experience, shedding a different light on what so many saw as a negative depiction of a relationship.

Because if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.