337. Peloton Guide & Tread+ Get New Features And Our Interview With Jody Avirgan

TCO 337 | Peloton Sports


  • Tread+ gets auto-incline.
  • Peloton aims to set TWO Guinness World Records.
  • Peloton celebrated Transgender Awareness Week.
  • Peloton inks deal with University of Michigan running back.
  • Peloton’s ‘Made To Move’ tour hits Germany and Austria.
  • The Guide gets a new feature.
  • Peloton partners with 776BC for rowing apparel.
  • Tunde stuns in Photobook Magazine.
  • XOXO, Cody was nominated for Goodreads award.
  • Jess Sims’s grandmother passed away.
  • Jenn – Convincing yourself that you can.
  • UFC swaps out Peloton for Echelon.
  • The latest artist series features Take That and KISS.
  • TCO Top Five.
  • Sundays With Love is back.
  • Jess King adds stretches to class types.

All this plus our interview with Jody Avigran.

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Peloton Guide & Tread+ Get New Features And Our Interview With Jody Avirgan

I have picked up our Thanksgiving dinner. When you hear this, we will already have eaten our Thanksgiving dinner, but I got back from picking it up. I’m very excited. 

If you had played your cards right, you could have made it sound like we actually made our Thanksgiving dinner instead of picking it out.

I picked up all the ingredients for the Thanksgiving dinner that I will be making tomorrow morning for the entire family.

It’s too late, Tom. If I make something like brownies because that’s about the extent of something that I would do, he will close the oven door and be like, “You’re welcome, I made brownies.”

I was part of the process. It’s a team effort. I don’t know why you would discourage a team effort. Next time, I’ll let you do it by yourself.

You do.

When you ask me for help, I’m like, “The last time I helped you, this is what occurred.” I’ve been burned before. I can’t abide by that, but I went to the Cracker Barrel.

That’s what happens in the Midwest.

It’s the Cracker Barrel and I picked up our Thanksgiving dinner so we can throw it in the oven 40 minutes before it’s time to eat or whatever it is. They have a good system.

They said that they had all the cars out there. You just tell them you were there and they brought your order right to you.

Should we tell them about our panic attack this morning?

Yeah. By the way #NotAnAd.

It’s not an ad. There’s no promo code for you. What good would it do to you if Thanksgiving is over?

This morning, I was asking Tom all of these questions about our order that we had. He was like, “I’ll look it up. I’m not sure what time.”

I was like, “I’ll look at the email and get all the stuff. I think I set it up for three, but I’m not 100% sure.” Ten minutes later I’m like, “I can’t find my email.” I’ve done this before where you get to the screen and it’s like, “Do you want to do this?” “Yes,” and I’m done, then there’s another screen that says, “Confirm,” and then another screen that says, “Are you sure you’re sure.” I thought I was done, and then I ended up not ordering anything. I was like, “Dear, God.”

We have no Thanksgiving meal.

We will be like Charlie Brown eating toast and jelly beans. We would not make Franklin sit on the other side of the table.

We would not, but I did have a backup plan in case everything went to crap.

What are you going to do? What was the backup plan?

I am going to the store and I am going to get those tiny little baby turkeys. They’re not called turkeys.

The Cornish hens?

Yes, I am going to get the Cornish hens and whip up some stove tops and some instant mashed potatoes.

We’re going to have turducken, minus the tur and the du.

They always have still a frozen pie so I was ready. I could have pulled it together had we needed to.

It was like, “Frozen pizzas, here we come.” When I lost the email and I was like, “No Thanksgiving dinner,” I was like, “How happy is Angelo going to be?”

Not happy with the substitutes. By the way, this is not the bonus episode. We have to move things along.

Sorry. I almost screwed up turkey dinner, but I did not. I had accidentally deleted the email and I found it in my trash and everything was okay. We have dinner and we will have eaten it by the time you hear this.

Tom deletes emails faster than anybody I’ve seen, which is how it ended up in his trash. I have no doubt.

I think it went to my promotion folder and then I missed it. That’s what I think happened. We should remind people that we have a new book club coming up on December 12th.

We sure do, 7:00 PM Central, 8:00 PM Eastern for those of you who are used to us saying Eastern time. This is our last one. Did I give you the wrong one? This is not the correct one.

Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Oh, I’ve been reading it for so long already.

I’m like, “That’s the next one.” That’s how I also have known the date. If it’s not on the thing in front of my face, I wouldn’t have had that committed to memory. This is me we’re talking about. I almost threw away Thanksgiving dinner.

I haven’t been sleeping so I’ve been reading this every night. I’m pretty much done. I felt like I had moved on to the next book. I’m so sorry. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Lindy Linda Holmes.

The book club is all over on the Patreon at Patreon.com/TheClipOut. It is free to all comers. This is available for the free tier. Yes, there’s a free tier. You can sign up. We don’t take your credit card. Nothing like that. You don’t get charged. No risk or anything like that.

You’ll know if you’re in the right place. If you can see on the page, when you click Join Community and you can see the book club info, you’re in the right place. You have gotten there.

Come on in. The water is fine. Don’t forget the holiday is just around the corner. If you want to treat yourself to a Clip Out Patreon subscription or someone else, you can do that as well. We should also say the guest for this episode is Jody Avirgan from The Good Sport podcast. We talk to him for a spell. You’d want to stick around and hear that. What else do we have in store for people?

We’re going to talk about the new features that just dropped with Peloton, what’s in store for the Turkey Burn classes, and Transgender Awareness Week. We have our first NIL deal. What is NIL? We’ll get to it. Also, what’s going on with the brand-new Peloton apparel that dropped, and a bunch of instructor news. Actually, just one thing. Dr. Jenn is going to visit us. We’re going to be talking about convincing yourself that you can do something when you think that you can’t, a little competitor news that I think is hilarious, and then some content updates.

Before we get to all that, shameless plugs. Don’t forget, we’re available wherever you find a podcast. While you’re there, be sure and follow us so you never miss an episode. Maybe leave us a review. That’s super helpful. We greatly appreciate it. You can also find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page and join the group. Don’t forget our Patreon at Patreon.com/TheClipOut where you get all sorts of bonus content, things that we can’t fit in the episode. You can also get the episodes ad-free. If we get them early, you get them early, and you’re helping the show. Things like this cost money. What else do I push here? YouTube, YouTube.com/TheClipOut, where you can watch us. Crystal always waves at you when I say that. You can also sign up for our newsletter at TheClipOut.com. There’s all that. Let’s dig in. Shall we?

The Tread+ finally got auto incline. How exciting for you, specifically.

Yeah, it’s great. Just like on the regular tread or on the bike if you have it, where you can click a little button that looks like a little lock. That means that it’s going to lock into what the instructors are saying. Obviously, this is not happening in real-time. These are only on on-demand runs, walks, hikes, etc. It’s great because you don’t have to necessarily have your volume up to follow along with the incline, which is nice, especially if you’re just walking. Maybe you might be on a work call or something like that. You can still take your walk uphill. That’s pretty cool.

Not that you’re saying you’ve ever done that.

I actually have not done that. If I did do that, I would totally tell my clients that that’s what I was doing because it would encourage them to do it.

“I’m so committed. That’s what I do.”

The other thing I am super excited about is I can’t wait until we get the Lanebreak for Tread+. It has to be right behind this.

One would think.

Scenic on-demand classes, you can use it. There were reports that this disappeared the next day, but I’m hearing it’s back again. I think it was rolling out the first day I saw it.

That makes sense. That’s a lot of machines to push out all at once. Although I fear what the news will be out there. I have a question about the picture in this article. Was this something we found or was this given to us by Peloton or used by them in some capacity?

It’s the trick question. I actually went to their media assets and pulled this down for this particular article.

I find it fascinating because this is a guy who clearly seems to be doing this in his basement and it’s not all beautiful. You can see the ceiling has exposed rafters not in a rustic way but like, “I’m in my basement,” or maybe a garage. It’s a nice space but it’s not one of those aspirational “I’ve put my equipment on a pedestal while I overlook the mountains.”

That’s exactly right, but that is their new look.

I just found that an interesting little work.

I think that’s an excellent point.

Every once in a while, I have them. The Guide also has a new feature.

Now, if it’s saying you have eight reps to do, it tells you that you got done with however many reps that you were supposed to do and how much time is left.

It gives you a certain amount of time to do your eight reps. If you get it done faster, it rewards you by saying, “You got it done faster.”

I’m hoping that this will be helpful going forward in classes that do AMRAP and things like that. It might be step one of using this technology.

It goes on to the next thing and you don’t sit there for 40 seconds.

No. You can AMRAP as many as you can in a minute, but when you do as many as you can in a minute, then you get a rest period before you move to the next one. That could be helpful to somehow use that technology later on. Either way, it’s helpful for people to be able to see how much time they have left so they can get a little rest if they pushed hard, or if they didn’t push hard, you need to add some weight. That is what you need to do.

Also, spend the rest of the time doing more reps.

There you go.

Peloton’s goal for Thanksgiving is to set two Guinness World Records. By the time you hear this, we will already know if that has occurred but we are recording this on Wednesday because we’re dedicated. Even on a holiday, we’re still putting an episode out. They’re looking to set two world records.

I love that you say that because we do that every year. It’s not really shocking.

I know because we’ve been for years, year in, year out.

It’s going seven years. We’ve done this before. I don’t know if you remember, but it was the year that you felt like you were sleeping. I joined the app in all seriousness. You know what I’m talking about.

We were at Pere Marquette Lodge, just the two of us because the kids were off at the other half of the equation. It was the first year for the Turkey Burn, right?

No, it was not the first year of the Turkey Burn, but it was the first time they attempted a Guinness Book of World Records. That’s why I wanted to be on because I wanted to be part of History.

That’s how they do that.

It didn’t matter because app people I don’t even know were counted.

You were watching on your iPad while I slept.

Yes, but this year, things have come a long way with the app because now it’s a lot more integrated. I do think the people who are on the Apple will still be counted this year. That was a long time ago. There are going to be two Guinness Book of World Records. Last time, it was around 20,000. I don’t remember the exact number but they totally hit it easily. I have no doubt this year, we’re going to blow that out of the water. They’re also doing for the first time ever setting a Guinness Book of World Records for the most runners in a class for the same time. We’ve only done rides. This will be the first time we do a run. I love that the Guinness Book of World Records breaks it out as “On a bespoke platform.” I have to call that out.

What does that mean?

I think they’re trying to say, “Not in person.”

It’s like there might be a marathon that had more people or something.

Something like that. I don’t know. I’m just telling you that was the exact wording because it stood out. I was like, “Bespoke platform? Really?”

They get a lot of people on these so I’m not disparaging that, but the idea of calling it a world record when there isn’t anyone else that could even attempt it.

Yeah, but there are other companies that will. I can think of one that will fail.

Nobody has an audience that could even attempt to ride the list.

That’s the thing because of all the crap that people give Peloton, it’s still that.

We have the world record for most downloads for a Peloton podcast.

We sure do. There’s no doubt about it and I mean by a long shot.

Not unlike this situation, but I don’t know if you can.

Echelon can’t get us. I am excited though because this is the first time that I have been doing Peloton that we are actually going to be home on Thanksgiving.

We used to be world travelers. Wait.

It’s true.

No, it’s not true. We did not go anywhere during COVID.

Maybe there weren’t classes that were live because it was COVID.

Maybe that’s what it was.

I really don’t remember.

Because in 2020, we were home for sure, and then 2021.

I think we did go somewhere in 2021.

2021 I thought was when we went to Plymouth because it was the 400th anniversary of Thanksgiving. We celebrated it in Plymouth because we love America more than other people do. What? I’m not saying we love America and they don’t. There was a person we met there who recognized you.

This will be the first time that I will be able to participate in a Turkey Burn class. How about that?

Okay. Very good.

We’re eighteen minutes in and we’ve done nothing.

It was Transgender Awareness Week.

Peloton did not have any specifically listed on the actual schedule as Transgender Awareness Week classes. We took the opportunity to go back in the archives and pull out our favorite classes that have been celebrated for Transgender Awareness Week or Transgender Day of Remembrance. I was told, which I did not realize, that Joslyn had done a walk for Pride 365 on November 19th and that it was for Transgender Awareness Week. They didn’t label it that way but there is one out there. I wanted to make sure people knew about that. I think it’s important.

Peloton has inked an NIL deal with the University of Michigan running back Blake Corum. I’m sure it’s a very big deal. I know nothing about sports, even less about college.

I asked Helper Bee Nikki. She knew instinctively that we would struggle.

Anything we’re about to say, if we get it wrong, you should yell at Nikki. Call me and I’ll give you her home phone number.

If we get it right, we’ll give her all the credit.

If we get it right, it’s because we know these things because we’re very smart.

This is why Peloton is doing this. It’s because it’s good exposure for Peloton and it’s an enormous financial deal for student athletes. These deals have changed the face of college sports and the financial deals that athletes can get now as they have an enormous impact on which school they ultimately choose to play for. The more money that the NIL deals that a school can offer, the better athletes that they can attract, which makes sense. Of course, like anything, there’s a controversy attached because athletes do not have to disclose the money that they get from these deals which I did not know. If they don’t want to, they don’t have to.

I guess it’s their money.

The other thing is a lot of times these kids because they’re young and they’re in college, have a big social media following. That means that if he talks about Peloton on his platform, Peloton is now getting all that notoriety. Notoriety is a good thing or is it a bad thing?

I think it’s either.

Notorious sounds bad. There is a good strong chance that his fans would be fitness-minded. One thing that a lot of people have been bringing up is that this is not the best time for Michigan right now. Because Tom and I have no idea, Nikki fills us in on this too. The head coach of Michigan was punished by the Big Ten, which is their conference for cheating and spying on other teams that they thought would be their playoff competition. That is controversial for sure, but it is important to point out that these student-athletes were not cheating because they weren’t students when that happened so Peloton is not partnering with cheaters. Take your hashtags and stick them somewhere else.

People were hashtagging it.

Of course, they were.

I think you’ll see a lot more of this and it makes total sense.

Nikki does too. That was the last thing she said.

I was going to pretend like I knew that now.

She knew it too.

Damn it. I think I would have arrived at that. Obviously, this is a good way to get the product in front of people.

Do you know that somebody actually bitched about this picture because Alex isn’t wearing Michigan colors in this picture?

Oh my God.

I know. I’ll save my soapbox for the Patreon episode.

That’s where we really go off.

That’s where you’ll hear what I have to say about that.

If you want to hear Crystal tee off on somebody, Patreon episode. I get it for free. If you are the one who said that and you want to hear what Crystal is saying about you, you have to pay us $5. That’s just the way things are. The Made To Move tour is hitting Germany and Austria.

This will be the first time we’re seeing events happen in Austria. That’s worth noting right off the bat. It’s great that they’ve had this big tour that occurred all over different places that Peloton is. The German instructors went to Berlin, but this is going to be a lot more spread out. They’re going to hit a lot more places. You’re going to be able to meet the instructors. You’re going to be able to try out the equipment. You’re going to be able to buy stuff. It’s going to be fun. Plus there are all these little activations that are going to be happening. You get to play games and have a chance to win. It’s going to be great. Soon they will be announcing these dates and we will be sure to tell you. Very fun.

Peloton also unveiled a new apparel collaboration with 776BC, and it’s rowing-related.

Tom, do you see how he looks like he’s wearing a superhero shirt?

It looks like it has fake abs on it or something.

It’s on purpose because that is where the Row handle goes, so the instructor can tell you “Top one, bottom one.”

That could come in handy.

One of the people who saw this article was so excited about this. They went out and bought every single thing that dropped.

Thank you for explaining this to me because I’m like, “Rowing apparel?” You’re not really going to get wet that you need swimsuits. What do you need rowing apparel for?

This particular material they say has a bunch of movement. You’ve seen me doing the rowing. It’s a lot of repetitive movements. You can have some chafing and things like that. It moves with your body so it is nice for your skin. It’s like performance wear. It has that going for it too. It’s not just the thing.

Are they going to be looking down the whole time?

I don’t think so. Once you get it, you get it. It’s like your muscle memory.

It seems like something rowers wouldn’t need all that long.

At that point, it just looks cool. I don’t know.

I was thinking you’re looking down the whole time.

You’re not going to look down. That would hurt your neck. Anyway, that’s a new partnership. That is happening. That dropped this week.

After the break, we’re going to come back. We’re going to tell you whose book got nominated for an award. Stick around.

Tunde was featured in some very artsy photographs.

Isn’t that amazing?


This magazine is called Photobook Magazine, so they lived up to their name. She’s absolutely gorgeous there, like the color and everything.

It’s a very striking photo.

It is amazing. This was a big deal. She is the focus of this entire article.

That’s in the latest issue of Photobook. I had never heard of it.

I hadn’t either, but now I’m following them because I’m like, “That’s pretty neat.”

I missed the days when you would see a really big bookstore newsstand and they have all these magazines you never heard. You’re like, “There’s a magazine about that?” Now it’s all internet articles.

I know because it used to capture your imagination. We didn’t read them enough that they could stay in business.

Especially once the internet took over, but I love the idea that there were all these little niche magazines like Goat Fancy. I’m like, “Who would have thought?” There was a whole magazine just for lighthouses. I’m like. “Right on. More power to you.” Now lighthouse magazine was put out of business by screen savers.

That’s sad but it’s true.

Cody’s book XOXO, Cody was nominated for a Goodreads award. I guess the Goodreader’s Choice or whatever they would call it, and you can go vote for that.

It takes me back to Dancing with the Stars days. We all had to gather around and vote for Cody. That’s what we did.

I don’t know about we, but you did.

You did too. I think you did. I think even Brian and Sydney did.

You just grabbed my phone and did it.

I might have, but I really do think that you did.

On a more serious downbeat note, Jess Sims’ grandmother passed away.

She did last Sunday. She had to cancel some classes, obviously. We wish the best to Jess Sims and her whole family. I know it’s hard. Holidays are so rough too.

This close-up, for sure. There’s never a good time, but 96 is a hell of a run.

It’s almost a year to the day that my Grandpa died.

He was 90 and my grandma was 95 when she died. Also had a hell of a run. Our condolences to the Sims family. Coming up after this, we are going to talk to Dr. Jenn. She has tips for helping you convince yourself that you can when you think you can’t because you can. Stick around.

Joining us is Dr. Jenn Mann, a licensed marriage, family and child therapist, and Sports Psychology consultant. She also has a wonderful app that you should probably check out called No More Diets. It’s Dr. Jenn.


It’s so good to have you here. I feel like this happens to a lot of people even if they don’t admit it. Sometimes I will get nervous about starting a workout. I’ll have it in my head like, “I need to do a long run today.” It could be like I have to do all hills or I have to do 90 minutes or whatever. I’m afraid that I’m going to fail, or I know that I’m going to be tired at the end. I may not feel amazing. I started getting nervous about it. How can a person push through that feeling and do it anyway?

It is such a great question. When you were talking about it, one of the things that popped into my head is Ross Rayburn had a 10-minute long-run meditation that was recently taken down in one of the purges, which I’m pretty devastated by, but that’s a whole other story. One of the things he talks about in his long-run meditation is you’re going to hit a point where you feel like not going on, or you feel tired, and it’s going to be okay and you’re going to be able to keep going.

I love that meditation. I listen to it every Friday night. Ross needs to bring back that meditation, but that aside, it speaks to that any time you’re doing an intense workout, a long workout, a long run, a longer weight class, or anything like that, you experience periods where you don’t feel so great. You’re like, “Can I keep going?” At the same time, you also have to recognize it. Sometimes you may need to take a little walk to catch your breath and then go back to jogging or running and finding what is that balance. This occurs more and more as you are more athletic and know your body better over time.

What is the difference between “I need to take a break. That is what my body needs” versus “This is something I can move past. When I do, this is going to help me be a better and more confident athlete and it’s going to help take my endurance, strength, or whatever it is to the next level. That’s part of it. To go back to answering the beginning of your question like, “What do you do when you’re about to start that tread class, that spin class, that row class, or whatever it is and you’re nervous? Can I do this? Can I get through this?”

The first thing is you want to change your self-talk. You want your self-talk like you don’t even have to believe it to be, “I can do this. I’m getting through this. I’m going to feel so amazing at the end of this workout. I’m going to feel such a great sense of accomplishment.” That shifts your energy right there. The other thing is if you are now doing something challenging to you, you have probably been doing Peloton for a long enough time to have a history of doing things that are difficult and doing them anyway.

You want to look at that framework that you have of “I do difficult things. I accomplish it and I actually have a long history of getting through classes that scare me or seem challenging, or I wonder if I’m going to be able to get through.” Those are some of the key factors and it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be nervous. It shows that you’re challenging yourself and that’s cool. That says you’re growing as an athlete and that’s a great thing.

You always put such a positive spin on things. I love that. Thank you.

She’s a trained professional.

She is and I love it. I missed these talks.

We are flailing amateurs. Thank you so much for all that. Until next time, where can people find you?

People can find me @DrJennMann on all social media.

Thank you.

We talked about the UFC guy, whoever is in charge of that.

I guess it’s Dana White.

He was all upset because Peloton three years ago didn’t want to advertise on a show, and so he’s sticking it to him now three years later.

My favorite is that they released it with Echelons.

The update on that is they replaced the Pelotons with Echelons. My guess is it’s because there’s only a month left in the fiscal year and they didn’t have budgeted for anything decent. They were like, “I guess Echelons. I have a Black Friday deal at Walmart. We could buy a couple over there.”

This thing is funny and people who are getting riled up over this are funny because no one is reporting on the fact that it’s three years old. No one is saying that. It’s driving me crazy.

He said in the interview that it happened because they were concerned about their IPO, which is a long time ago at this point and a totally different regime. Now, he decided to take a stand. I’m like, “Oh my God.”

That’s like they’re trying to get clicks all over it.

These are the same people who are worried about everyone else getting triggered. Okay. Enjoy your Echelon.

There’s a new artist series coming up featuring Take That.

It’s a British band, but it had Robbie Williams in it.

I thought Take That was a boy band, and then I’m looking at this picture and they’re very grown up, but it was a boy band from a while back. That would make sense, but even the other boy bands that you see present-day photos of still have that look of a boy band, like New Kids, Backstreet, and 98 Degrees. They still look like they’re boy bands even though they’re in their 40s or whatnot. These guys look like an alt-rock hipster band.

I was confused. I was like, “Who is this?” People were telling me, “It’s the one with Robbie Williams.” First of all, I didn’t listen to any boy band so that makes sense. I was not the demo.

My boy band knowledge stops with The Monkees.

That’s pretty much where mine stops as well.

Because of me.

Yeah, but they did a whole video leading up to it. They were talking about their artist series and stuff. I think Take That was a lot bigger in the UK.

I think so too. This picture cracks me up though. This is so bad about how my human brain works. I saw the picture and I was like, “Take That?” I don’t remember them but this looks like a band I would listen to, and then I was like, “It’s a modern-day picture of a boy band,” and I was like, “I would not listen to that.” It’s so funny that the picture looks like an alt-rock band. It looks like they could be The Lumineers or something and I was like, “I might like this,” and then you were like, “It’s a weird picture of a boy band.” “Okay, never mind.”

Robbie Williams isn’t in this picture. Is he?

I have no idea. I thought he was the one in the middle.

Maybe he is.

I honestly don’t know what Robbie Williams looks like.

I thought I did.

The guy on our left is Bob Ross, right?

No. Bob Ross has sadly passed away for many years. Maybe he has a little squirrel in his pocket.

Also, we should say that it’s not officially announced yet but we can tell that there’s an artist series.

It’s out there. It’s on the schedule. We’re not telling stuff that we’re not supposed to tell

There is a Kiss artist series coming up probably to coincide with their final concert.

We’ll talk more about this next week, but they’re taking over the whole city of New York. It’s pretty cool. They have activation all over the city. It’s neat.

Let’s tackle the TCO Top Five. Every week, we ask you to chime in and tell us which classes you like best, and then we repeat them for all the people who didn’t chime in so they know things that they should focus on.

I have to first own up to something. We read the wrong one last week. I thought it was familiar and it was from August. I don’t know what happened. Darcy doesn’t know what happened. I’m sure it was my fault. I probably copy-pasted something.

I don’t know how you copy-paste August.

I don’t know what I did, but it’s been a rough week. This week, we did not actually post people asking for the TCO Top Five because it was a short week.

This way, people who got skipped last week, we’re still hitting. We got you.

This favorite Peloton strength class makes a lot more sense from last week. This is 11/9/23 with DMX. This was a 20-minute DMX full-body strength with Jess Sims. This was Sarah Phillips Taylor’s favorite class. She said, “Amazing program, and I love me some DMX.” We have the favorite Peloton Pilates class. This was a 20-minute Disco Pilates from November 10th with Kristin McGee. Sanna Princi said, “This turned into a mood boost. I was tired. I was sore from another workout and not in the mood to exercise, but I needed my blue dot so I decided to take this class. The playlist was amazing and the class boosted my mood so much. I decided to add two more workouts to my stack that day.”

Our favorite Peloton ride was a 30-minute Club Bangers ride with Alex Toussaint from November 11th. This one, people were excited about. Kim Barnsley said, “I’ve been waiting for this post, AT’s Club Banger ride on Saturday was a group of veterans and a few family members. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that Peloton honors US veterans on Veterans Day like this. AT was funny, and motivating, and gave us a good workout like always. He called the music military ball style so there was something for everyone. That’s me in the bottom right-hand corner,” and her mom right behind her.

Favorite Peloton anniversary ride. There were a lot of anniversaries in the last week, but everybody’s favorite. I shouldn’t say everybody’s but the one that came up the most was Jenn Sherman’s ten-year 30-minute epic sing-along ride. Linda Hawk, one of my all-time favorite people in the world, said eight reasons to take the class. It’s Jen, the music and the singing, of course, the instructors who came to support her, Matty, Jess, Cody, Alex, and Ally, her friends and family who came to support her. Her husband even made an appearance, which has never happened in the history of Peleton. Number five, Jenn getting off the bike to perform a rap, which I have a story about. Number six, Jenn thanking John Foley for believing in her and Jenn saying, “How about 10 more years,” and did I mention the ride was all Jenn? Number eight.

I’m excited that she was allowed to say John Foley.

She has before and no one ever said a word. I don’t think anybody is anti-John. A little side thing. Years ago, she did the Rapper’s Delight and it got taken down. She got off her bike to do it. I’m sure she had to have permission to get off her bike. She got off her bike like she did the first time around and did the whole thing.

Finally, our unstackable.

This came from Becs Gentry. It was a 60-minute interval run on November 11th. Mandy Rose said, “Becs Gentry’s 60-minute intervals from Saturday were challenging, inspiring, and great music. A fun suffer fest, I like to call it.” That’s awesome.

Moving right along, we should let people know that Sundays With Love is back.

We’re going to have a live ride on Sunday, November 26th. We are not sure at this time if this is a one-off or if this is the start of a season. Stay tuned for that.

Jess King adds stretches to the class types.

I’m not saying she has not done an after-bike stretch or after-run stretch, but this was a full 10-minute lower-body stretch.

It’s like the last part of an existing class. It’s like, “Here’s a whole thing for stretching.” Those are out there now if people want to find them.

They’ve been doing live classes for the stretches as well.

Coming up after this, we’re going to talk to Jody Avirgan from The Good Sport podcast, and who used to be with 538, which is also a big deal. You should stick around and check that out.

Joining us is Jody Avirgan. Jody, how is it going?

I’m doing quite well. You can tell I’m a little sweaty. I just worked out. It wasn’t planned but I figured it would be appropriate.

When you get the chance, you have to go with it sometimes.

Are we still talking about Peloton?

Yes, we are, Tom.

It was pouring all morning in New York. I had grand plans to do some stuff outside, and then I saw this little window right before I was chatting to you. I went outside, ran a little in the park, and then to honor our conversation here, I did a ten-minute ab workout through the Peloton app, so I recently engaged.

TCO 337 | Peloton Sports


Did you run in Central Park or other parks in New York where you can run? All we know is what we see on TV.

When you say the state of New York, we’re like, “It’s Manhattan.” That’s what we know.

I live in Brooklyn, which is the best borough. I live near what I consider to be the best park in New York City, which is Sunset Park. With your reference, Tom, to images you see of New York, my wife refers to Sunset Park as “Their only vision of New York is through Sesame Street.” That’s what Sunset Park is. It’s families, diversity, people playing, music, and people cooking food and hanging out. It’s lovely. It’s great.

If there are Muppets hanging out in your park, I am coming there next time.

I’m moving.

You have new neighbors.

You had me at Muppets.

It has a pool, a track, a soccer field, and a little hill that I like to run. It’s half a block from my house.

Is Brooklyn the area where there’s the neighborhood that goes crazy at Christmas with all the decorations?

It’s down in Dyker Heights, which is not that far. We’re in South Brooklyn. It’s this funny thing where Brooklyn used to be North Brooklyn and South Brooklyn, and now there are hundreds of micro-neighborhoods often designated by real estate agents. We’re relatively close to Dyker Heights, and we do go down there. It’s funny. It is a little over the top. For New York City people, it’s a huge thing. For a lot of suburbs, what happens in Dyker Heights is table stakes.

We have 1 or 2 neighborhoods that do something but nothing like what you see there. It would be intimidating to buy a house in that neighborhood.

You see the 1 or 2 holdouts, and you’re like, “What’s going on here?”

I assume they’re Jewish. I would hate to live in that neighborhood if I was Jewish. I would be so singled out 25 days of the year.

It is very fun. It’s mobbed on the weekends but we live close enough that we go down during the week. This is exactly where I expected this conversation to go.

This is what we do.

You never know. These are rabbit holes. We’re good at them.

Sometimes at Christmas time, if a family is over, you’re always like, “What to put on TV?” You want the TV on but you’re not paying attention. I’ll go to YouTube, pull up walkthrough videos of Dyker Heights, and let it play on the video because they’re two hours long of people strolling through Dyker Heights because there are so many amazing houses there.

We all play, “I wonder how much that one cost.”

We go to Zillow and we’re like, “This is why we live in the Midwest.”

“This is why we don’t live in New York.”

It’s not a fun game.

It’s like, “That’s five McMansions in our neighborhood.”

If you ever do want to come to Dyker Heights, you are welcome. I will give you a tour as best I can, and you could also stay in our extra room. That couch folds out. It’s all yours.

That’s so sweet. Thank you. Jody, how did you originally come across Peloton and bring it into your world?

You will be shocked by my answer, which is it was a pandemic thing. It’s funny. The single, not critical, but very important decision we made was on March 9th, 2020, we bought huge kettlebells and a bunch of exercise equipment because we knew we were probably going to be inside for a long time. That was on our minds, “I want to keep working out inside.” The other thing we bought was a small trampoline for our daughter to go nuts. That was huge. A few weeks later, Peloton started to take off. People start to realize that being at home or working at home is a whole thing.

You were ahead of the curve. March 13th was the day when everybody was like, “This is a real thing.”

The day in my head is March 13th. I happen to be good friends with a doctor-in-science journalist who works for The Atlantic. I don’t know if you remember but there was this big article called You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus. It was published on March 12th or something in The Atlantic. It went completely nuts. Two weeks before that article came out, he and I had gotten a drink together, and he laid out, “Here’s probably what the next two years are going to look like.” Everything he said in there came true. I had a little bit of that inkling. You know how it was in those moments and those days. Six hours changed everything. Days felt both super long but also radically fast. Having three days of foresight compared to others made a huge difference.

It was a game-changer. Everybody talks about how they ran out of toilet paper, but I remember going on Amazon, and they had limited how many days you could buy because I was like, “Let’s buy bidets for all the toilets in the house.” They’re like, “You can only buy two.”

We weren’t ahead of the curb on the Peloton thing. We don’t have the Peloton. We have a Keiser, which is a very reputable bike. Pelotons weren’t even available at that point. They were completely sold out. This was closer to mid-summer or so when we got it in. Now my Peloton existence is I use the app but I use a different bike and make it work.

It’s allowed. This is a judgment-free zone. It’s better than it used to be but there used to be this real classist douchebaggery like, “You’re using the app.”

I was part of that back at the very beginning when the app was first starting to take off.

The app was bad at first.

You couldn’t do very much on the app. When the app first came out, they used to call it Beyond the Ride, and all you could do was do some yoga and a few classes. It was not the beautiful thing it is now.

It was about the hardware and the integration there. I don’t have a leaderboard. I don’t have deep integration into the stats and so forth, but my watch comes next to the app. I can see my heart rate, the time, and all that stuff right in front of me. I just don’t have that interface on the bike itself. The other thing and a lot of people who are in my position have probably noticed this, but I’m somewhat caught up in a little inconvenienced by the fact that Apple and Peloton don’t want to play nice with each other. It would be quite nice to have my Peloton rides show up in my Apple Fitness thing. When I go for a run, I put on the Apple Fitness thing, and when I do other exercises or I lift, I track through that but then my Peloton rides don’t show up in there. It’s corporate sniping.

Apple and Peloton don't want to play nice with each other. Share on X

Mine does work. That’s so weird. I don’t know if that’s something bike-specific.

Since you have the bike and it’s integrated there, it’s going straight to Peloton. Whereas I have to route it through my watch, and my watch won’t hold the Fitness app and the Peloton app at the same time. They won’t talk to each other. If audiences know a hack for this to get my heart rate stats into the same app, that would be great.

I do know when I go for a run outside, I have to open up Peloton first and start my class. Once the class has started, I can go to my Apple workout and do an outdoor run, but I have to do it in that order or it will not work.

Maybe I just learned how to do it. I’ve been sitting here and hoping that it would turn on or do its normal thing, “You’re on a run.” There you go. I’m going to write this down. You’ve solved a big problem for me. That’s great.

Have you always been into fitness? Have you always been a person who works out? Tom and I both aren’t. I’m always curious about that.

I have. I played sports my whole life. I have a very long, evolving, and good relationship with sports and fitness. I’ve done a lot of journalism and stuff about that. I always have worked toward the goal of being better at playing sports. I do like to workout a lot. I’ve had moments in my life where I’ve been maniacal about working out, but always to get better at playing a sport or something. It is a new thing now that I’m not playing sports super competitively because I’m a little older. It is a new thing for me to grapple with fitness for fitness’s sake and weight loss. It’s something I’ve had to think about a little bit. I don’t have that “I’m going to get better at X sport” thing. Peloton has come along at an interesting moment.

The sport you’re playing is, “How long can I live and still be mobile?”

Here’s probably the most underlying answer to your question and one that has been the case more and more. Something I’ve realized and noticed is that there is nothing in my life that has a clearer one-to-one connection than working out, my mood, and my productivity. It is the underlying key to a good day, bad day, good life, or bad life. I know that about myself. To your point, I know that it has bigger effects. Now, I value it. Probably the place where I value it the most is knowing that if I work out, I will have a better day than if I don’t work out.

If I work out, I will have a better day than if I don't work out. Share on X

Amen to that. When you and I were going back and forth, you talked about how you had thoughts on Peloton culture. That sounded loaded. I was curious about that.

Maybe this gets us there but I do want to ask you the question that led you to invite me on the show, which is something I posted on Twitter, which hopefully you have an answer to. I have long been curious when I’m on the app and I’m doing a ride. They do those shout-outs. I never get a shout-out because I’m never doing it live. I’m always doing it at some other random time. When they do the shout-outs to the riders, they’re like, “So-and-so is on their 3,500th ride.” The numbers are insane. I stopped riding and pulled out my calculator, “What’s the math on this?” How do people get to thousands of rides?

One of the ways is you have to go back in Peloton’s history. The Kickstarter started in 2012.

There are people who have been doing this for eleven years.

Peloton celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2023. I know that’s hard to believe but that happened. A lot of people on the Kickstarter campaign got their bikes in 2013. You also have to remember that back then, there were no other classes you could take. It was all bike. You either had a bike or you didn’t have a bike. If you had a bike, you were taking a bike class. There was no running or rowing, none of that.

At that point especially, there was no app at all. If you wanted to take a class, you were on your bike. That’s one way. Back then, they also had a lot of themed rides that pulled people in, and they used to do things in the studio. Remember, that was the first time people ever had a leaderboard at home. When they first started with a leaderboard, there was a person standing in the room and writing everybody’s names down on a dry-erase board. That was the first leaderboard.

That was the first person ever to die of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but I came close when I was fourteen.

They also would have a contest back then. Laura Pug is a member of the Peloton community. That is her late name that we all call her. I believe her last name is Pugerude. She was one of the very first people to ever reach 1,000 rides. It was a huge moment when she did. They had a contest based on how many rides you could do in a week. She and a bunch of other people took it very seriously. That’s where it all started.

Back then, most rides were 45 minutes.

That’s where I was headed next because everything was 45 minutes. It started to change around 2018. The rides started getting a lot shorter and a lot more frequent. Those people who were used to riding for 45 minutes or 60 minutes at a time stacked. Now you easily have people who are doing 3 and 4 rides in one day. Plus, if you add on a cool down and a warmup, that’s five rides.

Those little five-minute things count toward that shout-out number. It still seems insane to me. I know that they’re only going to shout out the huge numbers. They will shout out 100th ride but if they see a huge number, they’re going to shout it out. It feels over-represented to me, but some of those numbers are wild.

It used to be everybody got shouted out on all of their milestones. Can you believe how ginormous they got? They don’t do that anymore.

Does that flow into ideas about the culture? I use the app to get sweaty and ride. I have certain people I like and ways that I like the rides to be structured. I get into it but I don’t watch the names. I don’t know anything about the larger community. I’ve often found myself in other fitness environments. I did CrossFit for a long time. It’s like, “This is a slippery slope toward something. People are turning over their entire lives to this thing. I like the workouts.”

There’s a little bit of that but I also am very aware and I admire the way that it seems to have mattered to a lot of people, especially during these last few years. It’s a community in the truest sense. I’ve done a lot of work and a lot of thinking, and I’ve built a lot of my communities through athletics. I’m not going to disdain it but it is this interesting thing where I see that whole world of culture off there. I’m like, “Have fun with that. I’m going to go over here.”

You’re like, “I get it but I also don’t.”

The cool thing about it is now, it feels like you can approach Peloton regardless of where you are on that line. For somebody like me who is never athletic and never got into being able to workout on a regular basis, Peloton engaged me in a way that nothing else ever had. It became a huge thing for me because it changed my life in so many ways. A lot of people found that since they were able to workout at home in a way they were able to keep doing it consistently. It became a community to them in a way that other places couldn’t. I’ll call it what it is. It’s a culty thing. It is culty but a positive healthy cult.

It’s like your friend group in college and the sports team you played on. A lot of those are right up against it. That’s how we build ourselves. It’s through those ties. It’s cult-adjacent. Even in prepping for this, I was thinking, “I do have people I like on it and ways that I ride. I like it when the instructors do this, and I don’t like it when the instructors do that.” I do have opinions and things that I’m attracted to but I’ve had occasionally people be like, “Give me your name. I’ll find you on there.” I’m like, “Why? I’m going to workout and you’re going to workout. If you want coffee, let’s do that.”

You’re not the guy who’s joining somebody else and spreading a ride together.

I wouldn’t even know how to do that, to be perfectly honest.

I could teach you if you are interested. It’s super easy.

You’ve already taught me one very important trick.

His engagement is similar to mine, except that you like it. I hate exercise. It has never become an enjoyable thing for me, but I’m the same way. I don’t focus on a lot of the metrics or anything.

I find it fascinating. Dr. Jenn Mann is on our show all the time. She’s on every week, and she talks about sports psychology and all kinds of stuff. She and I have become good friends. She lives in California. I live in Missouri. We were both training for Big Sur. Every weekend, we would do our long run together on the tread. It was so fun because we would have our iPads going. We would be like, “Hi,” the whole time we were running, and it felt like I was running with her in the same place. That’s pretty cool that you can do things like that even if you don’t have the screen on. Being able to share that moment with people all over the country is crazy.

I have thought a lot about sports psychology and all that. Working out with somebody is key. When I’ve been on teams and when I’ve done coaching, it was always like, “Get in little groups. Run your workouts together. You push each other.” I do a lot of my workouts with my cousin who’s training to be a physical therapist. He’s also a great trainer. He’s using me as his Guinea pig to get in his hours.

We do it over on Zoom but our workouts are great. I would never be that way if I was writing down my workout on my own, or if he was texting it to me, and then I was going to the gym and trying to knock it out. At this age, I need that community and that motivation. I completely agree with that. Occasionally, I’ll feel it from the instructor. They will say something, and it will get me motivated. I’ll feel a little bit of kinship as those endorphins start to flow. For whatever reason, that hasn’t been the place where I found the community. I’m not trying to say that’s not key to consistent productive fitness.

Part of what makes Peloton successful is you can engage with it from a lot of different angles. It’s not only this thing about community and working out together. If you value that, it is there for you. If you don’t value that, the product works just as well but in a different way.

Part of what makes Peloton successful is you can engage with it from a lot of different angles. Share on X

In some ways, it’s freeing because you can go and do the ab workout that you did today without having to think about anything else. You just do your workout. You don’t have to worry about other people.

I do a lot of 20 to 30-minute rides in the morning. That’s how I most use it. When I first wake up, I get that in. That starts my day, and then later in the day, I’ll often do another workout in the gym. I do a lot of twenty-minute ab workouts. I do a lot of the bootcamp on the bike and off the bike. I like that stuff a lot. I do a lot of those on the weekend. Can I ask you some questions?

Of course.

I’m not as naive as I sound but I do get the feeling, and I know that some instructors have real cults of personality around them. Who are those instructors who have the most fervent fans? Do all of them have their super fervent fans? When I take different instructors, I’ve had that sense but I haven’t been able to figure out exactly why. Although prepping for this, I’ve been thinking a little bit more, and I have more thoughts that have been useful for me but can you paint the landscape of which instructors are the ones that have their minions?

They all have minions to some degree.

The instructors that you probably are thinking of are people like Cody, Robin, Ally Love, and Alex Toussaint.

I have thoughts on all of them.

You and me both. The thing is they all have super large personalities. It’s like a rock concert. There’s something about a musician or somebody famous but not all famous people. Tom and I have talked about this. He books concerts. We go to a lot of shows. There is something about a person who has that charisma. They can walk on stage, and they don’t have to move. They draw everybody in. You have other people who are still good at what they do. They’re still charismatic but they don’t have the same level of intensity. Cody, Robin, and Ally do. They also hustle hard to go to a lot of events and do a lot of PR, sponsorships, and things like that. All of those things come at it.

I know Ally as the in-house announcer at the Brooklyn Nets games. That’s one of her jobs. I always found her to be a very fascinating person at the Nets games. She’s weirdly low-key but also engaging.

It’s hard to do that end-game shtick without wreaking desperation.

I’ve admired her but I’ve been surprised because usually, you expect someone super cheesy and over the top. She’s cool and almost disaffected in a cool way. I love her as a Peloton instructor. She’s a super compelling and talented person there.

Every instructor the Peloton has is super talented in many different ways. It’s a huge umbrella. Jenn Sherman is one of my favorites because she comes across to me on the bike. When I met her in person, she was so genuine. She remembers all of her fans. There are so many classes I’ve been in with her. She hasn’t seen them in two years but she remembers their names and things like that. She makes you feel like her friend and that you went to high school together. You have people like Cody that everybody loves because he makes them laugh. It’s the humor. Matty Maggiacomo is one of my favorites. He’s on the tread. That’s probably why you don’t know him.

I’m looking at the app and trying to see the instructors. I’m not distracted.

“I’m not ignoring you. I’m playing along.”

Matty is one of my favorite people on the planet. He is so sweet and nice. The funny thing is that he and Cody are good friends in real life, and they have been long before Peloton, but they’re nothing alike. They’re alike but they’re nothing alike. Matty has a gentler delivery on things but he’s still incredibly funny. Tom says this all the time. Matty would probably be an even bigger star.

If Matty was on the bike, he would be a rockstar, like a top-tier instructor that’s going on the shows.

He was a journalist on the news.

He would do red-carpet interviews and things like that.

Alex Toussaint seems to pull in the sporty people. I don’t know why, because I don’t like sports, not because I question him.

I get that sense too. I’ve tried a bunch of workouts with him and thought, “He’s probably the one for me.” He comes from sports. He’s like, “You got this.” He’s like almost agro. It’s funny. He doesn’t work for me because I like clear instructions, and I’m like, “We’re going to do this for this long.” I like having a plan in my head.

You need Matt Wilpers.

I don’t know who that is. The one I like most is Leanne. She’s pretty clear and has a good personality. Maybe a British accent will do it for me every time. I took a class with this guy, Jermaine Johnson. I’ve never done him before. I was like, “This guy is great. Maybe it’s the accent.” With Toussaint, I feel a little lost at sea every once in a while. I’m like, “What are we doing? How long? Where am I at? When did the change happen?” That’s my least favorite thing, “Did I miss a change? Are we supposed to have gone up?”

There are times when he will stop riding and yell at you for a while, “What’s happening?” Part of it is also I don’t have the interface that’s telling me exactly where I should be. When I’m biking, I usually put on something to watch. I do sometimes want to be able to check back in visually and be like, “They’re riding, standing up, and going hard. That’s what I’m supposed to be doing.”

There are times with Alex and a few others that I found where I’m like, “Wait a minute.” When I have done rides with Alex, at the end, I’m like, “I’m pretty beat up here. I’m sweaty.” He’s very effective. I’ve done a lot of coaching and designed workouts for people. It made me think a lot about the nuance of how you schedule something, how you sequence something, how you convey the information, and how much information is too much. There’s a lot of that stuff I like to think about in here.

I also think it’s super personal. What I have found over the years is that usually, per person, there are 2 to 3 instructors that you will love, but there’s one you’re going to connect with. There are going to be 2 or 3 that are your go-tos, and then there will be others, depending on how broad your spectrums are. There will be others you like but you don’t go to all the time. That tends to be how it works for most people.

I have those for all different disciplines. Matty will always have the most special place in my heart, but Susie Chan is my favorite tread instructor these days because I feel seen by her. She’s in her 40s. She didn’t start running until later in life, and she didn’t start running ultras until a lot later in life. I started running when I was in my late 30s. I feel this connection. Similar to what you said, she spells it out in a way for me, “We’re going to do this.” It’s not a bunch of cheesy stuff. It’s just “These are the things we’re doing.” With Matty though, if you ever want to laugh and be in a good mood by the end of your class, you cannot go wrong. If you’re having a bad day, Matty is the way to go.

That stuff does matter. There are times when Leanne or Cody will say something. Even Leanne veers into some cheesy, “All we have is this moment. Be present,” but sometimes I need that and I like that. I’ve used language like that before. There are times when I’m like, “Stop thinking about ten things.” Especially when I’m doing those rides in the morning, it’s as much about a mental thing. I’m trying to kickstart my metabolism for the day but I’m also trying to be like, “Give yourself a 20-minute or 30-minute moment of focus before you let whatever is happening the rest of the day cascade over you.” Leanne reminded me to be in the moment. It’s helpful and it works in those moments too.

To me, the big takeaway here is there’s probably somebody on the platform for anybody. There are a lot of different kinds of people who need a lot of different kinds of instructions.

There's probably somebody on Peloton for just about anybody. Share on X

They have done a great job of hiring different personality types. They haven’t hired the same instructor over and over again. They’re very different.

You’ve been a coach. You’ve been on teams. You’ve also been a host. Tell us about Good Sport. You have to know. Tom and I are not sporty people.

I hate sports. I once struck out a tee-ball. That’s true.

The most knuckleball of knuckleballs is the tee-ball if you think about it. It doesn’t move at all. I can see that. I played sports my whole life. It’s the place where I learned all my big life lessons. It’s not the only place where you can learn your life lessons but it happens to be the place where I learned mine. I’ve been in journalism for a long time, and I spent a long time in this corner of ESPN called 30 for 30, which are these narrative sports documentaries.

I don’t like sports but I’ve watched some of them.

That’s what you heard all the time at 30 for 30. That’s music for my ears. A lot of the work I do in sports is about sports but it’s not really about sports. Sports is a lens to get to larger stuff. 30 for 30 was historical documentaries. I started and hosted the audio arm there, and I was there for a bunch of years. We did a bunch of great stories, and we heard that a lot. Our philosophy there was always like, “We’re telling a sports story but it has to be something bigger.” The big question was always, “So what?” It can’t just be, “This cool thing happened on the field.”

It has to be more than, “Do you remember that time a guy caught a ball?”

That’s where I’m at. Those are the kinds of stories I like. I left ESPN at the beginning of 2020 and have been freelancing and doing a bunch of stuff in sports, politics, and lots of stuff since then in podcasting, but then in 2022, the folks at TED reached out and said, “We’re thinking of starting a sports show.” Ideas are the philosophy there. It felt to me like a chance to go even further than some of the stuff I did at 30 for 30, which still needed to be about a story from A to B to C to D, and do something with this series that was more starting from an idea, a question, or a curiosity I’ve always had about sports that feels like it unlocks something bigger.

It was satisfying for me to make this series. Each episode starts with a basic question that you pull on a thread, and it gets to something bigger. We have episodes about what it means to give someone an opportunity, to thrive and evolve in sports, and to give them support. That ends up being a story about the rest of our lives, opportunities, nurturing, coaching, and all that stuff. We have a story about stadium deals and how they are this perfect representation of all the broken things in our local politics.

For the first time, in a lot of my work, I got a little more personal than I have in other stuff. I talk a lot about my relationship with sports and how I view sports as a lens to understand things about myself and the world, and then also some of what we have talked about here like how I’m at this interesting point in my life where playing super competitive sports is behind me, and I’m trying to figure out, “What is my relationship to this thing now? Where do I put that competitive fire? How do I find a community?” It was satisfying to make. It was good too. The team from TED was lovely to work with. We continue to hear that classic, “I don’t like sports but I like this.” I love that.

I do like a good sports story. Just don’t ask me to watch it or play it.

I’ll tell you the thing about a sports story. You learn this at 30 for 30. Every writer and journalist talks about, “The thing you want is stakes. You have to have a person who’s going to change in some interesting way but you also have to have stakes.” Sports is built in. You’re starting from something that has stakes. I came to love doing gambling and casino stories. We did a couple of those at 30 for 30 because if you want to remind someone of the stakes, you could stop and be like, “There’s $1.5 million in line, moving on.” It’s instant stakes. It’s nice. I like doing those.

One of my favorite documentaries is When We Were Kings. I couldn’t care less about boxing but that story is riveting. There’s a parallel documentary called Soul Power. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it or not. It’s all about the concert that they staged in conjunction with this. As a concert promoter, talk about stakes, when they can’t figure out how to get the power so they can perform, I’m like, “I’m getting hives right now. That’s not how you do concerts.”

There’s a huge lineage of not just concert films but staging concert films. Some of my favorite documentaries are that too. That’s good storytelling. You have a bunch of people trying to overcome something. How does it change them? What does it mean?

You mentioned podcasts. Do you host a podcast?

I was in public radio for a long time, and then I went to this place called 538, which is Nate Silver’s data journalism site. I hosted the show there and covered politics. That was owned by ESPN. We got floated over to and made friends with the 30 for 30 folks. I’ve always floated between sports, politics, history, and so forth. In the last few years, I’ve been freelancing in a production company of one.

I have a political history show called This Day in Esoteric Political History. It tells you what it is. I host that with two historians, and I’ve been doing that for a couple of years with this network called Radiotopia. I do a bunch of for-hire, or I’ll get asked to host some stuff here or there. I did this TED show. I do a lot of production work as well for other folks. It is my living. It’s also satisfying to get to work with a bunch of folks in a bunch of different ways. I like being a producer, a host, and an editor. It has been nice to go into different projects.

It seems like freelancing is a scary road to go to.

It is a scary road. This is just for me. Is there one part of all the things you do that you like or dislike more than the others?

This is how I’ve organized my thinking about the world. It’s the parts that feel most like I’m on a satisfying sports team. That’s what a project is. You’re building a team. You’re figuring out your internal dynamics to get to a common goal. You want to make sure everyone who’s working on it feels satisfied and heard. That’s hard but when it works, it’s satisfying and often leads to actual work that you can feel proud of. The thing that other people hear is the end goal or end result of all the satisfying internal work.

My answer to what I dislike is similar. Teams are tough. Management is tough. If I’m being perfectly honest, these last few years of freelancing have been satisfying in the sense that I’m not stuck inside a place. I’m not managing a team. I’m not navigating a corporate. Mostly, I’m patching into a project. I know it’s going to be, “In six months, we’re going to make this thing, and then I’m going to move on,” which is an interesting challenge because I still want to build relationships and feel invested, but there are times when I’m quite happy that there are not people putting meetings on my calendar, or I don’t have to deal with HRBS and all that stuff.

I was afraid the dislike was going to be interviews with amateur podcasts.

He’s like, “I’ll save that for after.”

Part of the job is dealing with poor audio quality and someone who forgot to turn on their mic or all that stuff. I also have become much more sanguine about what we’re up to. Even at 30 for 30, which is a very stressful environment, it was tough. The stories we were making were hard. I remember an editor of mine who was also my boss and the person driving me hard. At one point, she was like, “Sometimes we have to remember that we’re just telling sports stories. We can’t take this too seriously, and we have to realize how privileged we are that this is what we get to do. Get some sleep. Take a breath.”

The TED folks that I worked with on this last one in our first meeting together said, “One of our mantras is there’s no such thing as a podcast emergency.” I was like, “Thank you for saying that.” It’s not that we weren’t stressed. It was nice. It’s true. Have some perspective about what we’re doing here. I do try and keep that in mind.

There's no such thing as a podcast emergency. Share on X

We should do that too. We have our podcast emergencies.

The reason I was asking you is because I have a full-time job, and we do all of this. It’s stressful to do both. It’s exhausting. Sometimes whenever things aren’t working or something breaks, you’re like, “I’ve got an hour to get everything done in time.”

Somewhere in there is the satisfying thing. You set up these hard systems and then work yourself through them, and that’s what satisfaction is. I often talk about this in Good Sport a little bit. Satisfaction is clearing a bar that is out of your grasp. No one wants the bar to be right here where you could step over it easily. That’s not going to lead to growth and satisfaction. You put it in second gear a couple of decades ago. That’s where growth happens. That’s where the real interesting stuff happens. It’s because it’s hard. Somewhere in there is that balance. I got my start in live radio where it was the case. This mic is going to turn on at noon, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to hear you.

It’s what Lorne Michaels says about in SNL. He is always like, “We don’t go on at 11:30 because we’re ready. We go on at 11:30 because we go on at 11:30.”

That has its own satisfaction too because you do it and then move on. I worked on a morning show from 10:00 to noon. At 12:01, this was another big sports thing. You have to flush it, move on, and learn from the mistakes quickly but then you’re onto the next thing. That’s a big sports mentality thing too. Everything has its lessons, difficulties, and satisfaction. Most of what I do is radio stuff but even in there, your notion of, “I have my day job, and then I also do this thing on the side,” in the aggregate, is going to lead to a satisfying overall picture. That has been huge for me to think about. For a while, I was trying to find a job that checked every box for me.

Everything has its lessons, its difficulties, and its satisfaction. Share on X

They’re not there.

I think that’s natural. I realized that this job as a producer is going to mean that I’m going to be behind the scenes, write, work with someone else, and help them be better. If I want to talk into a microphone, have my project, and call my shots, then I’m going to have to do that on the side. In aggregate, the list is going to get checked. When I realized that, not only did I start to satisfy all different things but it meant that I loved everything for what it was because I wasn’t sitting there on one project to be like, “I wish this was something else. I wish I could do that,” because I’m doing the other thing that I want to do with other projects.

It allows you to enjoy the thing for what it is rather than hate it for what it isn’t.

The freelance life allows you to enjoy the thing for what it is rather than hate it for what it isn't. Share on X

Coming out of the mouth of Leanne Hainsby, that would get me going.

Speaking of Peloton stuff, what is your leaderboard name so people can follow you, and then you will never follow them back?

My leaderboard name is PacificStandard, which is the name of my Wi-Fi network. It’s also the bar where my wife and I met. If there’s any username that isn’t my name that has some significance, it’s probably going to be that. It closed during the pandemic.

Thank you so much for joining us. This has been a lot of fun. Before we let you go, let everybody know where they can find you on social media, where they can find your shows and things like that.

I appreciate it. Good Sport is my latest big project, and people should check that out wherever. I have a website, JodyAvirgan.com. On there, I do try and keep up to date with all of my projects and speaking engagements that I do from time to time. I have a newsletter and all that stuff. I’m on X. I’m on Instagram, which has mostly pictures of a cute kid. My website is a good place to poke around and see some stuff that you will like.

Thank you so much for doing this.

This was great. Thank you so much.

I guess that brings this episode to a close. Until next time, where can people find you?

People can find me on Facebook.com/crystaldokeefe. They can find me on all social media and the Peloton leaderboard @ClipOutCrystal.

They can find you and me in London next week.

I’ll be in some classes too. You can check me out there.

If you’re hanging around the final stop Peloton on Tour, keep an eye out for Crystal.

Keep an eye out for us.

I’ll take the picture. You hand me the phone. That’s typically how it plays out. They hand me the phone and then I take the picture.

For anybody who’s wondering whether we still try to do the meetup, I’m still trying to find a place where we can get together before the wrap-up party on Saturday. It’s likely to be somewhere very close to the studios and it will probably be very small. Expect both of those things. Keep your eye out on Facebook. That is where I will post it. I will post it on all the socials but Facebook is the easiest place to find it.

You can also find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/tomokeefe and on Twitter @RogerQBert. You can find the show online on Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page, join the group, and of course, don’t forget our Patreon at Patreon.com/TheClipOut. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in and until next time, keep pedaling and rowing and running.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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