Member Story: Gina Mitchell

How did you find Peloton?

My journey to finding Peloton started nearly 2 years before I even heard of the bike. In September of 2014, I was pregnant with our first child. At 26 weeks gestation, I developed a rare illness called HELLP Syndrome. Essentially, my organs were shutting down. In order to save my life, my doctors had to deliver our daughter, Savannah. The doctors *informed* us that she likely would only live for 5 minutes but instead she fought for 3 days before passing away. To say that we were devastated would be an understatement. It took a long time to process what had happened and start to piece our lives back together. Months later, I started to deal with what had actually happened to my own body. I had nearly lost my life and I didn’t even know I was at risk. From that point on I decided to make my health a larger priority – it felt irresponsible to do any differently. Exactly one year after having Savannah I was pregnant again, and I was terrified. I stopped going to the studio and basically sat around for my entire pregnancy. I was afraid of doing anything that could harm my baby or myself, but I longed for that feeling I had during cycling class. Two weeks after our daughter Sydney was born I saw a Peloton commercial. At that point, I couldn’t imagine leaving her to go do something for myself. When I did the math, a 45-minute class in the studio was actually taking nearly 3 hours between drive time, showering, and the class itself. I turned to my husband and said, “I need that bike.” I did some research and once I got cleared by my doctor for exercise, I finally pulled the trigger and called to place my order!

How would you describe how you feel after class? 

It may sound strange, but I feel clean. Of course, I’m sweaty, but “clean” in a more holistic way. My mind is clear, my lungs are open, my blood is flowing. It just makes me feel like I’ve done this amazing physical, mental, and emotional cleanse all at once.

When you get on your bike, what makes you want to “give it all” during class? 

I give my all for my family and for myself. I never imagined that I could have such severe health issues at my age but now that I know what’s possible, I need to ensure I’m doing everything I can to get healthy and stay healthy for myself, my husband, and our children. On some days “giving it all” means that I’m shooting for a PR, and on some days it means that I’m just pedaling slowing to release some stress. Either way, I’m doing something wonderful for myself that is going to make me better.

How has Peloton changed your lifestyle? 

Having the bike and being a part of the amazing Peloton community has made me strive to be a better person.  Everyone has struggles –  I’m very open about sharing my own – but I’m also constantly inspired by how others conquer their fears, challenge themselves, and overcome obstacles. Even more inspiring is how the community rallies together to cheer everyone on. I used to be a person who would fade in and out of health and fitness routines. The support of the community and the amazing instructors have kept me consistent for the first time in my life!

Has Peloton helped you through any challenges in your life? 

Two challenges come to mind. The first was September 9, 2016, which would have been Savannah’s second birthday. I was determined to do something positive for myself that day, even if it was only for 5 minutes. I ended up doing a 20-minute on-demand class with Alex Toussaint. It was my first class with him, and his energy and motivation really spoke to me. It was exactly what I needed to ensure my day got off to a positive start. When I finished that class I remember thinking that I could get through the day, and that was really big for me. I was hooked on his classes from that point forward.

The second challenge I actually just finished – my third pregnancy! We sought fertility treatment for this pregnancy (and my previous one), and riding helped me get through the stress and waiting of that process. Once I learned that I was pregnant I was determined to stay active this time around. Morning sickness sidelined me for nearly 12 weeks but once I was able to ride again, I set a goal of riding an average of 3 times a week. With support from the Feel Good Fam (the Alex Toussaint fan tribe that I actually founded!), I was able to meet that goal and ride for the remainder of my pregnancy. At first I started off taking it easy but it wasn’t long before I found myself unable to hold back (with the OK from my doctors, of course!)  I even PR’ed on a 45-minute ride when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I cried like a baby afterward – I was so proud of myself! I scheduled my last class for 2 days before giving birth – a live class with Alex. Seeing all my Pelo-friends change their locations to wish us well and getting a shoutout from Alex made it the perfect ending to what was a truly wonderful pregnancy! Unlike my previous pregnancies, I had no blood pressure issues and made it to my delivery date. Additionally, I only gained 12 pounds and as I sit here 2 weeks later, I already weigh less than I did before I got pregnant. I give the Peloton 100% credit for that!

Is there something you couldn’t do before Peloton that you can now tackle? 

I never viewed myself as athletic. I always enjoyed being active, but would say things like “I can’t run” or I would see a new fitness craze and think “I could never do that.” Peloton has allowed me to find the athlete within myself. I’m no longer afraid of pushing and failing because I know that as long as I’m trying, I’m improving – and that means I can never fail.

How is Peloton different than any other workout? 

The Peloton workout is a fully immersive one. I’m not just riding a bike in my house – I’m riding a bike with friends all over the country who I’ve gotten to know through this incredible platform. I’m not just burning calories – I’m chasing my PR and tracking metrics to view proof of my progress. I’m not just taking an indoor cycling class – I’m being motivated by and learning from world-class instructors and athletes. Peloton has forced me to up my game, and I’m thankful for it every single day.

If you could describe your Peloton experience in 3 words, what would they be and why? 

Thankful every day. I know that I’m a healthier person – mentally, physically, and emotionally – since Peloton came into my life. I’ve made friendships with amazing people who I would have never met otherwise. I’m taking more time for myself (up from zero!) and it has made me a happier person at home and a more focused person at work. I’m a better mom, a better wife, and a better friend than I was before. Peloton has truly changed my life in such an unexpected and wonderful way – I truly am thankful every single day.

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