Peloton’s AI rep-tracking feels like a personal trainer is pushing me all the way

Peloton guide
(Image credit: Peloton)

My favorite thing about virtual workouts is that you can press 'quit' if you can't be bothered to complete them. Of course, the app will ask you if you're sure you want to leave when you press the stop button – but having an app nag you isn't nearly as effective as having a real-life personal trainer standing in front of you, urging you to keep going. 

While the best workout apps combine music, excitable instructors, and features such as leaderboards to keep you pedaling or pushing those weights, sometimes you need some real accountability – and the next best thing to having an actual personal trainer to push you further is having a virtual one.

I personally find lifting weights quite boring – the repetitive movements don't particularly make for the most exciting workout – so I was intrigued by the Peloton Guide's new feature: rep tracking.

Peloton launched Peloton Guide in April this year, giving a platform to its strength-based fitness fans. The camera connects to your TV, on which it displays your workouts and, almost like a video call, or the smart workout mirror device, it records your body movements via its movement tracker.

The new rep-tracking feature enables you to input the weights you're using for each exercise, then shows your progress as you work through the workout, and also uses its AI-powered feature to track the number of reps you do. 

When I first started using Peloton Guide I found it pretty creepy – I personally don't like seeing myself when I work out, but now that the new rep-tracking feature makes use of Guide, the results and motivation are worth it.

Peloton guide

(Image credit: Peloton)

I started lifting weights last year. I'd been a massive fan of cardio exercises such as running and spinning, but I wasn't quite seeing the results I wanted. I quickly started to see the benefits of strength training: weight loss, enhanced muscle definition and increased fitness levels.

Strength training, even if you're only doing a couple of classes a week, is a great way to increase your metabolism, help prevent injury and increase bone density. But when you're a beginner at strength training it's difficult to know which exercises you should be doing, and how heavy the weights you're lifting should be. I started using the strength-based classes on Peloton a few months ago, mainly for motivation and guidance, but I knew I was staying in my comfort zone.

So the Guide's new rep-tracking feature has acted almost like a personal trainer for me. As I moved through my first few workouts I picked two different weights – one for bicep curls, and another for upright rows – and inputted their weights into the Guide. The AI camera then tracks the number of reps you need to complete on the screen – and I quickly knew I'd gone too light, as I was completing double the number of reps I needed to do in the time I had.

"If you're completing the workout earlier than you should, or doing too many reps, then you probably need to increase your weight," my instructor confirmed, almost reading my mind.

It was the motivation I needed to opt for heavier weights – a change I could input straight away via the Guide. Other rep-tracking features that motivated me were the streaks and rep targets: when you reach a rep target, such as eight bicep curls in 30 seconds, you're awarded a streak. In my second class, I maintained my streak throughout the class, and it was like getting a virtual pat on the back from my PT. 

I wouldn't say the rep tracking was perfect, as it didn't register all of my completed reps, which always makes you feel a little cheated. The movement tracking via the camera also struggled to see me occasionally – although it did help me to adjust my position when it couldn't track me efficiently. 

Peloton currently offers around 20 strength-based classes which allow you to track your reps, and I'm sure it will be adding lots more, as I know how competitive Peloton members are.

Looking for more exercise-tracking options? Here's our guide to the best fitness trackers.

Sarah Finley

Sarah is a freelance writer - writing across titles including Woman&Home, Fit&Well, TechRadar, the Independent and the BBC. She covers a variety of subjects, including trends in beauty, business and wellness - but her biggest passions are travel and fitness. She can normally be found trying out the latest fitness class or on a plane to an exotic destination. While she loves to combine the two - signing up to do hiking holidays in LA, intense boot camps in Bali - last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddleboarding around deserted islands in Croatia.