As a mom to two toddlers, my self-care and fitness routine had became nearly non-existent in my early years of motherhood. After giving birth, my priorities naturally shifted from self-care to changing diapers and stubborn postpartum weight stuck around a little longer than I expected. Before I knew it, my pre-motherhood exercise routine evaporated and the only movement I was getting was running around after my babies, and doing YouTube random workouts while my kids were napping. Along with the extra pounds I put on, my self-confidence took a major hit, leading to general anxiety and inconsistent sleep patterns. 

After weighing in at more than twenty pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, I decided to order a Peloton and jumpstart my desire make healthier decisions for the year ahead. 

Enter Peloton Bike+—my new at-home game changer. 

For starters, having the Bike+ is like having a fitness studio in the comfort of my home. My goal is to hit the bike daily. I just need to clock in some form of movement daily. Easy. I head to my basement and spin for a few minutes or hours whenever I feel the need to burn some calories with an on-demand strength training or yoga class.  

The bike is extremely versatile. I can move from cardio to the floor with strength, stretching, yoga, even meditation and much more. Classes range from five minutes to ninety minutes so I can easily find time to sneak in a class on my busiest day. There's even a section of classes specifically designed for postpartum, which are more gentle on the body.

I’m also very competitive and I find myself motivated by others around me. And, Peloton’s real-time leaderboard allows me to see how others are performing and where I rank. When I just want to ride and not worry about others, I minimize it. 

But above all, I love my mood. Indoor cycling is a total-body workout, I wake up feeling refreshed, energized and ready to plan my next workout. 

Obviously your level of exercise should be discussed with your physician, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommends that women aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 days a week. “This can look different for everyone considering how busy new moms can be,” says Dr. Irobunda. “So if a mom is busy and doesn’t have 30 minutes in one shot, she may want to split it up into 5-10 minute intervals throughout the day.”

“Exercise can help improve your mood by providing feel-good chemicals like endorphins that have been shown to help in these situations,” says Heather Irobunda, MD, FACOG, an OB-GYN based in New York City and member of Peloton's Health and Wellness Advisory Council. “Additionally, exercise, especially exercise that focuses on your core muscles and pelvic floor, can help regain strength that may have been lost during pregnancy.”

Image: Courtesy of Peloton

Peloton has also given me a new community of other mothers striving to get their snap-back on. 

After a few weeks of regular use, I started to notice that my body was more toned and my mood was high. My crew of mom besties noticed as well. Not only were they excited for me, a few joined in on the fun and purchased Peloton bikes themselves to "join the club." Then the questions started. 

“Ok, so how long will it take to see results?” questioned one mom friend who has a 10 and 15 year old. 

“I like running better, but I’m still interested,” said another. “If I run and take a few Peloton classes, will that be doing too much?”

To answer their queries and give them insight into the best of Peloton, I suggested they join the “Peloton Mom” Facebook group that boasts over 97k members, and offers parenting tips—in addition to the your new "mom friends" being virtual accountability buddies. There’s also the “Black Girl Magic: Peloton Edition,” with nearly 30k followers, that offers feedback on Peloton classes, lists of hip-hop songs to ride to, and my favorite, laughs and jokes about how awesome our favorite instructors are. And of course, there’s the Peloton community in general which currently boasts 2.33 million connected fitness subscribers. 

Now I’m challenging myself both mentally and physically.

But regardless of how sleek the bike looks and how fun the community is, it really boils down to doing the work and finding ways to reach your goals. For me, I love slowly increasing my resistance to make the workouts really challenging and switching up the music genres so the class never feels predictable. These small tweaks make it easier to put in the time for intense workouts and avoid becoming complacent. 

In some ways, it is true that if you put in a ton of time and effort into an exercise program you will get a lot out of it,” says Irobunda. “You may see more physical changes to your body and your physical ability to accomplish tasks; however, for the mental health benefits that exercise can provide, just showing up some days for it can have immense benefits improving your mood.”

I may not have my complete pre-kid body back yet, and that’s OK. But wherever I land, at least I’ll have an army of Peloton friends ready to support me.