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#LADYBOSS, Business, Interview

Jill Foley Has Cycled Her Way To Success

August 8, 2016
Jill Foley, Peloton

Have your cake and eat it too, Peloton is the perk of a boutique fitness class but in the comfort of your own home. This hitched duo was all about fitness from the get-go. The struggles of keeping that routine up while having kids was how this idea came to be. Her husband, John Foley, is the CEO, while Jill runs the merchandise side of it. We all gotta work out in style, duh. 

Tell us about Peloton? Where did the idea come from?

My husband John and I have always been addicted to fitness.  Our first dates were centered around fitness—running, indoor cycling, surfing, yoga, boot camps, etc.  We particularly loved attending any boutique fitness classes we could find.  We loved the way we felt after a high-energy, instructor-led interval training class.  But then, as our jobs got more demanding and we started to have children, we found it hard to get to these classes and we actually would get in arguments about whose turn it was to workout!  

So one day, John came home and said, “I have a great idea!”  What if you could get a high-energy, instructor-led interval training class in your own home!?  Working out at home was traditionally so boring and not very effective.  John had an extensive technology and engineering background and understood the power of streaming capabilities and knew he could stream these high-energy effective workouts to people’s homes.  And—there you have it—the Peloton bike was born.

What’s your role at the company?

I run the apparel side of the business.  We sell Peloton branded apparel online and in all 15 of our showrooms.  We have 60,000 Peloton riders and that number keeps growing, thus demand for the apparel keeps growing!  It’s been a wild ride trying to keep up with demand, but we love it.  

How is it different than a regular indoor cycling bike?

We are the only exercise bike that streams live and on demand indoor cycling class to your home.  Our bike has a 22” touch screen tablet on it where you can see the instructor and follow the leaderboard.  The leaderboard shows all of the riders who are taking the class from their homes along with you (or have taken the class in the past) and what their scores (we call them “outputs”) are/were.  These scores, or outputs, are a calculation of two metrics:  your cadence and your resistance.  Thus, the higher the resistance and faster you go, the higher your output.  If you are not the competitive type, then you can hide the leaderboard and metrics and just enjoy the instructor and the music.

Peloton Bike

The classes are live? How does this work? Can the instructor see you and help motivate you personally?

We offer both live and on-demand classes.  Our studio in NYC offers 11 classes per day like any normal indoor cycling studio, except at Peloton every class is filmed and streamed live to our rider’s bikes at home.  Our bike owners can join the class from home and their names will show up on the leaderboard.  The instructors can see the leaderboard and can see how each rider is doing.  Our instructors will call out the names of the home riders during the class to help motivate them and keep them pushing themselves.  And, this is what allows our riders to get that world class high energy workout but in the convenience of their own home.

What if you want to ride when there isn’t a class starting?

If you can’t get to your bike for a live class, no worries!  Our bikes have a library of over 4,000 on-demand classes, so our home riders can take a class anytime of the day or night.  And, we offer a range of different ride lengths—you can choose to do a 20 minute class, then a 10 minute arms interval class or a 15 minute climb ride, etc.  The ability to change up your workout is key.  The body loves cross training and variance and our bike offers all of that.

What drew you to heymama?

The diverse content!  I love that I can read interviews with other working mamas and also get advice on anything from etiquette to work tips.  I particularly like reading the interviews because obviously there are a lot of stresses that come along with being a working mother.  So when I hear the stories of other working mamas it inspires me and allows me to feel like “I can do this!”

Jill Foley, Peloton

How do you integrate fitness into your lifestyle?

Honestly, the Peloton bike is one of the main ways I am able to integrate fitness into my lifestyle.  The fact that I can hop on the bike, whether it’s at 6:00am before the kids wake up or at 8:00pm once the kids are asleep, and get an amazing workout makes it easy to fit fitness in.

I am also very lucky to work at a fitness company where working out is part of the culture.  For instance, we have team rides at least once a month and there is always some fitness challenge going on within the company where we compete against each other to see who can do the most rides or who can get the highest output (score) on the bike.  In addition, my friends at work and I like to go to fitness classes together.  We are often at Barry’s Bootcamp or Fhitting Room wearing our Peloton branded apparel and working-out together.  It’s just part of the culture.  

What do you think is the biggest draw for Peloton customers? What is their lifestyle like? Do they choose this as a compliment to other types of workouts or is this their main work out?

I believe the two main draws are:  convenience and quality of the workout.  It is AMAZING that you can get a world-class indoor cycling class in the privacy and convenience of your own home.  This is not a boring workout where you stare at a wall.  It is a fun, high-energy, instructor-led class where you can achieve real fitness.   

I have found that our customers are very busy people who like to work hard.  Thus, they love that the bike pushes them and they love that they can fit it into their busy schedules.

And, a lot of our customers are very social people who enjoy sharing their results and achievements.  Thus, our Facebook page has a dedicated page where our riders can write in to support and encourage each other.

Jill Foley, Peloton

How can busy mamas squeeze fitness into their schedule. Do you have any tips and tricks you can offer?

For me, fitting it in first thing in the morning is key.  I like to wake up and workout before the kids even wake up.  Or else my day gets away from me and I am too tired in the evenings to motivate myself.  

Have you seen people get more motivated by tracking their performance and sharing fitness accomplishments on social media?

Absolutely!  And, this is why the Peloton bike has a metrics feature (cadence, resistance and output) and the leaderboard feature.  If you know exactly how you did during one ride, then there is a little part of you that always tries to either get that same output number or beat it in future rides.  This inherently pushes you.  On top of that, the Peloton bike has a feature where you can post these results on Facebook or Strava and your friends can see your accomplishments and cheer you on.  There is no doubt that this is highly motivating and inspires people to work hard and get stronger.

Outside of spinning what’s your favorite workout?

I love running and I love Barry’s Boot Camp.  

What’s been the biggest challenge you face as a busy working mama?

I struggle with never feeling like I am the BEST mom or the BEST employee.  I can’t give 100% to working at Peloton because I have children who need me (and who I want to spend time with!) and I can’t give 100% to being a mom because I have a team that needs me.  So you get stuck feeling like you aren’t doing anything really really well.  

Jill Foley, Peloton

How do you see community fitting into fitness today?

I see community as necessary when it comes to fitness.  Necessary because it pushes you to try harder and that makes you stronger.  This is why the Peloton bike has the feature of the leaderboard.  Because most of our bikes are in private homes, a lot of people think the exercise is experienced in isolation.  But, because of the unique feature of the leaderboard, when you are riding, you don’t feel alone.  You know there are at least another 200 people riding along with you and this motivates you.  You also see the 60 riders in the studio taking the class with you and that motivates you as well.

Further, as I mentioned, we have a Peloton Facebook page where our riders can write in and cheer each other on, or motivate each other to take a class with them.  Because of the leaderboard and our Facebook page, our community has grown very strong.  This is has been one of the most surprising aspects of the Peloton business—the community.  We have thrown events at our studio in NYC where our home riders come in from all over the country to meet each other in person.  They have been seeing each other on the leaderboard and cheering each other on via Facebook, so when they meet each other in person they can’t help but give each other a hug and say “thank you for motivating me, thank you for helping me make myself better”.  This is the power of community.  

Photos by Stevi Sesin

@stevilou

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