ClintTheMint! A Peloton shout-out may well have forever changed my life — and why they matter

“ClintTheMint! Let’s go Clint!”

And with that my whole world changed. 2021? Maybe not so tricky after all. Thank you Tunde.

Call it the magic of the vaunted Peloton shout-out. Or maybe it’s just that we’re looking for nice little things wherever and whenever during shelter-in-place and COVID. Regardless it turns out virtual motivation can work and inspire us to try harder.

I’ll admit it. For the most part, shout-outs — when a Peloton instructor calls you out during a workout after scanning the leaderboard for milestone riders — are mostly silly things. And they can be at worst quite annoying, especially when you can tell they’re being force-fed during a class, almost as if needing to hit a quota, and in the process distracting all of us from the quality of the workout (really this doesn’t happen often thankfully). Yet here I am finally thrilled to have virtually connected with someone else. Sure shout-0uts are a dime-a-dozen. But it’s my first, and so be it. I’ll write if I want to.

Of course none of this happened by accident. It was all part of a master plan.

I was at 398 cycling classes before I planned to take this 45 minute live class led by Tunde Oyeneyin:

My 400th Peloton class was a killer 45 minute interval and arms ride. That burn you feel? That’s opportunity knocking at the door. Go ahead and let it in! — Tunde Oyeneyin (as paraphrased by the author, but you get the idea!)

So I quickly took a 5-minute warmup to notch that up by one, meaning my next ride would be milestone 400, and hence have a far better chance of getting noticed by the instructor. Cunning stuff. I know.

I started the class, and quickly forgot about my shallow quest for a gratuitous shout-out.

With about ten minutes remaining, drenched in sweat, during the final weights sequence came the “ClintTheMint! Let’s go Clint.” And the rest is history… well, for me at least.

How to Get a Peloton Shout-Out

There’s a few way to help improve the odds of getting a Peloton shout-out during a cycling class. No guarantees of course, and some classes squeeze in more than others.

Here’s a few quick tips:

  • Ride on your birthday
  • Make sure you ride on a major milestone (100, 200, 300 rides, etc.)
  • Take a long ride so you maximize the chance of getting noticed by the instructor on the Leaderboard
  • Stay engaged and match the call-outs for cadence and resistance so you’re fully participating as best you can (I have a theory — unproven — that the instructors most prefer to recognize riders who are trying their best)

Finally, this perhaps goes without saying:

  • Ride a lot, and enjoy yourself!

Peloton Catchphrases…

In true Peloton fashion Tunde sprinkles my shout-out ride with catchphrases and plenty of motivational metaphors.

“That burn you feel?” she says. “That’s opportunity knocking. Open the door and let it in!”

The first thing you do after a Peloton shout-out: Stop working out, grab your phone and capture the moment. Later, email your friends and family and declare the occasion ClintTheMint day. Oh, what?! There’s more important things in life? I see.

Funny enough when I find myself deep in it, huffing and puffing, ever so close to passing out and slightly panicked — this is tough! — these typically cliché expressions do work. I guess there’s a reason why they exist. Heck, it’s far better than just watching a computer timer guide you non-emotionally from one interval to the next.

A Pompadour is a Tricky Thing on a Peloton

Shout-out aside the other interesting thing about this ride was Tunde’s hair.

She was wearing her hair up, as in a massively vertical Marge Simpson-esque pompadour of sorts.

The style reminded me of a performance by the incomparable Janelle Monae many years ago. One for the ages.

Back in 2010 Loni and I were covering the short-lived San Francisco Black and White Ball. There Janelle gave an unforgettable performance. And wouldn’t you know it, a similar series of hair follies befell her performance as she too had her hair up in gravity defying style. Sure enough, like Tunde during this workout, the hair would collapse. To the left. To the right. Behind. Unlike Janelle, however, Tunde didn’t get to enjoy the luxuries that come along with having an entourage at your side; a hair repair army at the beck-and-call ready to sort everything, even if in the middle of “Cold War.”

45 minutes later I was drenched. I had earned my first shout-out. And in the process burned over 600 calories. If ever there was time to spoil myself with a small tin of Pringles this was it (why don’t they have vinegar flavored ones here in the States?!).

The Power of Positive Affirmation

Okay, this is all well and silly. There’s (far) more important things in the world — and especially the U.S.  — that warrant our attention and concern, yes.

Nevertheless, celebrating kindness and encouraging each other to be our best, helping all of us to overcome obstacles is a good thing in my books. And something that is increasingly in short supply in today’s disappointing, hyperbolic and combative culture.

If a simple Peloton shout-out prompts me to write about the experience here on Stark Insider I can only imagine would it might mean for someone in a truly difficult life situation.

Maybe that shout-out means something really special to someone who is lonely.

Or for someone in an abusive relationship.

Or maybe it motivates someone to address racism or a challenging situation that they might have otherwise felt unempowered to overcome without encouragement and affirmation.

Words matter. Even if they’re delivered virtually by someone that can’t see who they’re speaking to they can have a positive impact.

For now, Tunde is my favorite all-time Peloton instructor. No doubt. The best. Truly amazing. Number one!

Well…

… at least until someone else randomly calls out “ClintTheMint!” at a random time during a not-so-randomly planned ride. Then, obviously, I will have a new favorite.

Peloton class mentioned in this article (warning: it’s no walk in the park):
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