Can Peloton’s new AI transform my midlife body?

As I finish, a human avatar appears on screen, with the muscle groups I have just worked shaded dark blue. The more strength workouts – which range from 10 to 45 minutes – you do, the more adept the device becomes at suggesting your next classes on the basis of working different muscle groups. In other words, it’s harder to shirk those pesky quads sessions.

Nonetheless, Chin dislikes the lack of human contact involved. “I am training some clients online who I used to train face to face, pre pandemic,” he says. “We have stuck with it for convenience, but it isn’t as good as when I see them live. There is a certain camaraderie. A virtual programme might throw out a few soundbites, but it’s all a bit formulaic.”

On this, I disagree. I have a borderline infatuation with the Peloton instructors who function not only as my virtual friends (sad, I know) but aspirational icons. If anything, this is my problem – Peloton has always offered me an escape from my humdrum life by streaming fully made-up semi-celebrities (Maggiacomo has 160,000 Instagram followers, fellow Peloton strength instructor Jess Sims 403,000) with Hollywood looks into my home.

Watching myself alongside them, sweating and clunky, punctures the magic somewhat. You can choose to minimise the size of yourself on screen, which makes it slightly less excruciating, but it is helpful to watch yourself in all your unedifying glory – I realise as my tricep kickbacks are screened that I have been swinging my arms too much (although not drastically enough to alert the algorithms). “In this respect, it’s an absolute positive,” says Chin. “It’s imperative to exercise in the mirror with weights to check your technique. It’s not about posing – it offers feedback.”

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