The Sufferfest vs Peloton Digital – which indoor cycling app is better for you? Let’s break it down, and discuss what each training app has to offer from pricing to programmes so that you can make a more informed decision on where to spend your hard-earned cash.
Which is better, Sufferfest or Peloton? It’s a fair question. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t quite so simple. I’ll do my best to take you through a comparison of both cycling apps, as well as give you give you my personal opinions on which is the better option for you.
What is The Sufferfest
The Sufferfest is essentially a large library of structured indoor cycling (and cycling-related) workouts. What differentiates them is a distinct tongue-in-cheek feel to their workout videos: You are a nameless rider in the kingdom of Sufferlandria riding for the Sufferlandrian team. The majority of the videos have a storyline as well as a goal. Fail and the minions will punish you for your Couchlandrian tendencies.
It’s honestly hilarious. And tremendously motivating. All at the same time.
What does the Sufferfest cost
The Sufferfest costs US $14.99 paid monthly, or US $129 paid annually.
They offer a 14-day free trial.
What is Peloton
Recently exploding on to the indoor cycling scene has been Peloton. Its unique selling point is that it offers live as well as on-demand classes taught by a variety of instructors, each engaging in their own ways. The number of instructors alone means that there’s a “someone-for-everyone” accessibility to the app.
Peloton vs Peloton Digital
An important point to note is that there are actually two separate offerings by Peloton. There’s the better-known option of owning a Peloton bike, and there’s the slightly lesser-known Peloton Digital, which is the app that allows you access to all the same classes, except using your own spin bike, or indoor trainer. And then, there’s the much lesser known option of owning a Peloton treadmill.
This review is based on access to Peloton Digital...because you know, I can't afford a Peloton bike.
What does Peloton cost
Peloton Digital costs US $12.99 per month, per user, and comes with a one-month free trial.
The All-Access Membership (for use with the Peloton bike or treadmill) costs US $39 per month, per household.
Sufferfest vs Peloton: App Comparison
Both Sufferfest and Peloton have clean, well-designed apps. If I had to pick one, I’d say that the Peloton app has a better UI in that it’s got a cleaner, more polished aesthetic. However, the Sufferfest app allows for a lot more data to be displayed – especially the more involved cycling-specific information, which is invaluable. It also allows for some additional customisations such as turning off music, or video so you can tailor and experience that works best for you.
System & Hardware Requirements
Sufferfest can be accessed via MacOS, Windows, and its iOS app; Peloton can be accessed via desktop browser, iOS app, Android app, and the Peloton bike/tread (provided you have the All-Access Membership).
At the very least, both platforms require an indoor cycling trainer (with adjustable resistance), and a cadence sensor.
For Sufferfest, a smart trainer is preferred. It doesn’t make a difference with Peloton.
Both apps monitor your heart rate so having a heart rate sensor is ideal, but not entirely necessary.
I use a Wahoo Kickr Snap, with Garmin’s Speed and Cadense sensors. (Please note: these are affiliate links, and I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase using them. Thank you for your support!)
Apple Watch & iPad
Sufferfest doesn’t have an Apple Watch complication, which is a shame…since there’s a built-in heart rate sensor.
Peloton does work with the Apple Watch; you’re able to use your watch as your heartrate sensor, as well as a remote for the video you’re watching. (There’s also a nifty little graphic that shows you how far along the workout you are.)
However, when using the iPad, you can no longer connect to your Apple Watch - this is am iOS limitation. Aside from that, the apps work fine on the iPad.
If you’re using the Sufferfest, your workouts can be easily forwarded to Strava, and a number of other cycling apps. However, the data often shows up slightly differently.
Peloton bike users are able to easily forward their rides to Strava, whereas Peloton Digital app users have no automated forwarding available. The ride can be manually forwarded, however none of the ride analytics will forward. Bummer.
The extra analytics as well the ability to easily integrate with other riding/training apps puts Sufferfest a smidge ahead.
Sufferfest’s Cycling Workouts
Fantastic video workouts with a great soundtrack. There are around 50 workouts currently available.
The ride difficulty is determined following a gruelling fitness test, lovingly titled the Full Frontal. And this is what really sets the Sufferfest apart. The test results determine a rider’s Four Dimensional Power (4DP) – that is, their five-second neuromuscular power, one-minute anaerobic capacity, five-minute maximal aerobic power, and 20-minute functional threshold power.
Following this, Sufferfest’s videos are tuned to your personal 4DP results. That means, the difficulty and demands of each section is specific to your ability. It’s really as close as you can get to having an online coach…err, without actually getting one.
The videos themselves are typically race footage with instructional overlays, as well data such as cadence, heartrate, power, etc.
A shortcoming in the videos is a lack of shorter workouts. I know, I know…cycling = suffering and all that, but not everyone has time for rides over an hour during the week. It would be nice to have a wider variety of options in the 30-45 minute range.
Personally, I try to get my ride in during my one-hour lunch break on days when I work from home. Realistically, that means I’ve got about 40 minutes to actually ride. The long rides are something I look forward to in the weekend!
(By the way, if you’re a beginner cyclist, you might want to check out this list of easy Sufferfest videos for beginners.)
Peloton’s Cycling Workouts
Peloton is unique in that it provides a mix of live and on-demand cycling workouts. The workouts are generally very well presented, with an excellent mix of instructors, and music styles to choose from. The live videos are later added to the gigantic collection of video workouts available to choose from.
Also available is a collection of Scenic Rides, which are...pretty much exactly what you'd expect - a collection of videos rides through very beautiful locations. If you've ever tried Rouvy, these are quite similar (though they're not connected to your pedaling).
It’s important to note however that Peloton’s videos are geared (…geddit?) towards Peloton bikes…so if you’re using an indoor bike trainer, you need to guess what “resistance 3” means for you. (I usually convert by thinking of it like Rate of Perceived Effort, and doubling it so resistance 3 = 6/10 effort. Though there are some exceptions where this doesn't work perfectly.)
While Sufferfest’s rides tend to be longer, the vast majority of Peloton’s rides fall between 20 and 40-minutes in length. I don’t think they have a single ride longer than an hour (and even the few hour long rides available are labelled as rides for cyclists).
From the perspective of a cyclist, Peloton’s workouts are more spinning than cycling (and they never claim otherwise). Though there is a lot of value there for casual cyclists too. The quality of videos, ability to attune ride difficulty specifically to your 4DP results, and the variety of different types/lengths of videos give Sufferfest the win here.
Strength training programmes are available on both Sufferfest and Peloton.
Peloton’s strength format follows its cycling format of an instructor-led session with a curated playlist. It’s well-presented, and the number of videos leads to a large variety in routines.
Sufferfest’s strength programme abandon’s its premise of Sufferlandria, and instead opts to narrate instructions while using pre-recorded demo footage of each exercise (this means you’ll see the same footage repeat). There’s also no music.
Both strength programmes are good for what they are – basic introductions to strength and resistance work at home. But don’t expect any actual strength training or even a high level of functional fitness training from either (which is fine, you really should learn this from a coach who can correct your form. Not a video.)
While neither programme provides what would be considered actual or "serious" strength training, Peloton is the clear winner here. The variety of workouts, the presence of an instructor, and the general presentation puts it above the Sufferfest when it comes to strength.
Yoga by Abi Carver & Sufferfest
The Sufferfest app gives you access to 41 yoga sessions led by Abi Carver. The focus is short yoga sessions without the humming meditation or any of the esoteric element that is common to many yoga classes. The presentation is simple with little to no music, and a voiceover by Abi.
Again, these stray away from personality of the Sufferfest, which is a huge missed opportunity. Bringing the tongue-in-cheek humour and storylines of the Sufferfest cycling videos to yoga classes could have been masterful.
The level of yoga is geared towards beginners and is a gentle mix of power, vinyasa, and hatha styles. The beginner-intermediate classes lean towards hatha yoga, while more advanced sessions are closer to power and vinyasa yoga classes (though there’s really very little here that would be considered demanding yoga).
Is the Sufferfest’s yoga better for cyclists?
Honestly, not really. While there are many mentions of cycling, there’s very little to set the programme apart from any other “yoga for cycling” programme – and honestly, there’s very little that sets most “yoga for <insert sport here>” programmes apart from any standard yoga programme, other than the look and the attitude of the instructor. (There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Yoga is fantastic for cyclists. But you should know that there’s nothing really different about the yoga on offer here.)
Yoga by Peloton
Like its cycling and strength counterparts, Peloton yoga has a large bank of videos from various instructors with different musical tastes. Class lengths range from five-minute basics to over an hour.
There are a few different styles of yoga on available on the Peloton app; while power, hatha, restorative, pre and postnatal are all present, vinyasa is the dominant style. There are classes suitable for most practitioners from beginner to advanced. Furthermore, a benefit of the multiple instructors is that subscribers get to choose which instructor’s approach to each style of yoga they prefer.
On the downside, people that prefer to practice yoga without music are out of luck here. Peloton Digital doesn’t currently offer a way to turn off the music for any of its sessions.
It’s not even close here. Peloton’s yoga programmes are superior in quality, better value for money, and likely just better for you. The only situation I could recommend Sufferfest’s yoga programme over Peloton’s would be for a beginner that is very averse to yoga class vibes and terminology, and/or someone who despises music being played while they practice (…though for this person, I’d still suggest checking out yoga videos on YouTube first).
Mental Toughness vs Meditation
This is an interesting one as Sufferfest’s Mental Toughness programme is not the same as Peloton’s Meditation classes (though they are both audio-guided thought-walks, of sorts). While Sufferfest’s programme is much more structured, Peloton offer a much larger number of meditation classes (including some fitness-focused ones).
I personally prefer Peloton’s approach in the sense that it’s easy to join a quick Zen-in-10 meditation class each day. But this category will boil down to what you’re looking for – if you want something that will help with your mental preparedness as respects your training and perseverance in rides, Sufferfest offers more. If you’re just looking for a quick way to wind down or for deeper guided meditations, Peloton would be more suited to you.
Sufferfest only has a modest selection of indoor run-focussed workouts available, while Peloton has a large (and continually growing) collection of running and walking workouts to support Peloton tread users. In addition, Peloton also have a number of audio-based outdoor run workouts available to choose from.
Both Sufferfest and Peloton offer a number of training plans that can be set up and followed in-app. The Sufferfest’s plans are separated by your training goals (i.e. improving speed, ability to climb, etc) while Peloton’s plans are more focussed on method (i.e. Strength training plan, cycling plan, etc.).
The Sufferfest also offers customised training plans for an added cost.
Sufferfest is the clear winner here. The plans are more customisable, there’s a larger number of them, and they’re able to incorporate different disciplines (i.e. you can add strength and/or yoga sessions to your cycling plan) for a more well-rounded approach.
It’s worth noting that Peloton also includes a variety of cardio and bootcamp classes for which Sufferfest does not have a directly comparable programme.
Sufferfest vs Peloton: Which is better?
Both Sufferfest and Peloton Digital are excellent fitness apps that provide the user with a lot of value. Which one is better really depends on which is better for you.
(Of course, in an ideal world you'd have access to both.)
Overall Winner: Peloton
There’s something about a live instructor that just feels better – you get to know them, they occasionally shout out your name, others doing the workout along with you give you a virtual high-five…it’s fun. And encouraging.
Peloton’s vast library means that there’s something for just about everyone to enjoy and benefit from.
With a longer free trial period, and a lower monthly price point (assuming you’re subscribing to Peloton Digital…the higher All-Access Membership price seems like a way of punishing clients that have already invested $3,000+ in a Peloton bike/tread!), it makes sense to check out Peloton first to see if it meets your fitness needs.
For Cyclists: Sufferfest
However, if you’re a cyclist and/or your main goal is increasing your cycling ability, Sufferfest is the better option. While its supplementary programmes for strength and yoga are not as strong as what’s available on Peloton, they are perfectly adequate when it comes to supporting a cycling-focussed training plan (and bear in mind, this is a much superior cycling plan to what is available with Peloton).
I’m not an affiliate for either company, but for the sake of transparency: I’ve been using Sufferfest for a few years now, while I’ve been using Peloton for only a few months (albeit very regularly). The opinions presented here are my own.
So…that was it. Have you used either app? Tell me about your experience with them in the comments below. Does it even need to be Sufferfest vs Peloton, or should you get both?
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