Peloton Rides That Make You Cry (And why)


Riding the peloton can be a really emotional experience, especially for people with strong empathic skills. However, from all the classes, which peloton rides make you cry the most?

As a whole, the peloton rides that make you cry the most are The Beatles Ride, Disney Ride, Hamilton Ride, Alicia Keys Ride, Metallica Ride, and Madonna Ride. Those classes contain emotional soundtracks that together with strenuous physical effort can elicit crying.

However, the situations and triggers that make us emotional vary between people. Keep reading to learn more about individual and interpersonal aspects that can elicit tears during the rides.

Peloton Rides That Make You Cry

Peloton rides that make you cry will vary from person to person because of different stimulants that make us feel emotional. In general, crying is associated with both positive and negative feelings.

Is it normal to cry during workouts? As a whole, it is normal to cry during workouts because exercise evokes emotional reactions like joy, elation, or gratitude that stimulate our tears. Also, listening to music that makes us feel nostalgic or sad can trigger crying. However, such feelings can vary among people’s genders, ages, and cultures.

Studies have shown that crying can be elicited by both negative emotions (fear, anger, sadness) but also positive feelings (happiness, joy) (Denckla et al. 2014). This means there will be several reasons why people cry during peloton rides.

Why do I cry on a peloton? As a whole, crying on the peloton is the effect of strenuous physical activity combined with factors like nostalgic music, sentimental thoughts, or compassion for the instructor’s words. Also, feelings of achievement can trigger emotional feelings that elicit tears.

Listening to instructors’ words can be very powerful while you’re exercising. Most of the peloton trainers are people with passion that share their personal stories to inspire us as their audience. That can be extremely emotional, especially when you’re doing high-intensity training.

Listening to inspirational stories about overcoming obstacles when your heart rate is up can trigger an emotional reaction, evoke memories and elicit tears.

#1 Metallica Ride

I get the most emotional during the Metallica rides because of the music. I find myself that when I listen to some of the Metallica tunes like “Enter Sandman” or “Unforgiven” I can push myself much more than usual.

There is something about metal music and exercise. Some people would consider metal music as the best angry Peloton rides, however, for me, that is not the case.

What is the Metallica ride peloton? As a whole, the Metallica ride peloton is a series of workout classes that have a soundtrack from the popular band Metalica. Classes vary from peloton ride, Bootcamp to even yoga. You can find Metallica rides in the peloton app under the “collection by artist” tab.

And here’s the thing.

The most common knowledge about crying is that its usually stimulated by emotions like empathy for others, or sadness after watching a movie. However, in sports, crying is very common among athletes who continue to perform at an extraordinary level (MacArthur, 2019).

Pushing yourself beyond what you thought is possible is mental fitness. Dr. Terry Orlick, researcher of human performance from the University of Ottawa and an author of a book “In Pursuit Of Excellence” interviewed high performers in various fields like:

  • Astronauts
  • Elite mount everest climbers
  • Olympic athletes
  • Top surgeons
  • World-class musisicans
  • Figher pilots

He conducted that “Human excellence in virtually all domains is guided by mental factors” (Orlick, 2002). The moment where your mind tells you to stop, but you keep on doing the work elicits emotions, and depending on the person can lead to tears.

Does exercise make you emotional? As a whole, exercise does make you emotional, especially when you push yourself to do more than you would think is possible. Physical activity and the sympathetic nervous system stimulate neurotransmitter activity in the brain that leads to increased emotional intensity.

#2 The Beatles Ride

I find the Beatles ride to be more emotional because of several positive memories that come from listening to their songs. It not only feels nostalgic but also therapeutic. It makes me feel vulnerable and connected to my emotions when I led go during those rides.

For some people, music has a prominent role in their lives. Studies have shown that music evokes strong emotions either about pieces of music or about episodes and information associated with that specific music (Jäncke, 2008).

Not only that.

Listening to music activates the entire limbic system (the part of your brain), which is responsible for processing emotions and controlling memory (Baumgartner et al. 2006). This means that music can activate neural brain mechanisms that play a role in pleasant or unpleasant emotions.

Some tracks make us even feel like crying without working out (more on that later).

Does music make you feel emotions? As a whole, the music does make you feel emotions because autobiographical information associated with musical melodies often evoke episodes or events from our life when we hear familiar sounds. This feeling of knowing is associated even with the songs that we don’t know the title or lyrics of the song.

That’s why the Beatles workout collection is the most emotionally stimulating peloton ride for me because of the positive memories that they evoke.

But that’s not all.

Studies have shown that songs with vocals are the most powerful in eliciting those emotional moments because text and language are encoded in semantic memory more, comparing to instrumental melodies (Peynircioğlu et al. 1998). 

This means that when you listen to songs that you know the lyrics it will trigger even more response, comparing to melodies of the same song.

Wanna try it? Find your favorite emotional song on YouTube in both formats (vocal and instrumental only). Play one after another and try to sense which one will create a more emotional response.

I can bet everything I have that the song with vocals will trigger more emotions than just the instrumental version of that song.

#3 Christine D’Ercole Rides

Christine D’Ercole is a peloton instructor that teaches over 470 rides. She is a pro-track cyclist that’s taken part in several cycling tournaments, including Valley Preferred Cycling Center on June 4, 2021.

Christine D’Ercole has the most inspirational peloton rides

I think she is the most inspirational peloton instructor because of her positive attitude and transparency about her feelings. She has become a very popular peloton icon since preaching her mantra “I am. I can. I will. I do” and “Words Are Powerful”.

Each class with Christine is different. I always get goosebumps when I listen to her personal and professional stories and how she overcome multiple obstacles. She talks a lot about self-talk, positive thinking, and positive visualization.

Many of those stories are filled with emotions, and if you have strong empathy and emotional intelligence, it can elicit tears in your eyes.

As she said, words are powerful. With words, not only we can describe our emotions, but also hearing the words can lead to changes in our mood. This means words can not only up-regulate or down-regulate our mood but also can remain in our memories for a long time (Hariri et al. 2000).

Christine D’Ercole also recently shared on her Instagram account that she’s been diagnosed with skin cancer. She said “I AM OK. They got it. All of it. I know I am very lucky. And I am very grateful for the lovely team of medical professionals who removed it and performed the reconstruction” (source)

#4 Disney Rides

I think Disney Rides are the most empowering peloton rides that can make a grown man cry. Those types of songs not only put a massive smile on my face but also makes me instantly warm inside.

Peloton Disney Collection is the most empowering rides

I’ve grown up when Disney was booming with movies like Lion King, Winnie-the-pooh, Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers, or Alladin. All those soundtracks bring so many positive emotions and memories.

A lot of Disney movies are filled with emotional and heart-breaking moments. In fact, some of the most popular movies like Lion King become successful because of the rollercoaster of positive and negative feelings.

But that’s not all.

After researching Disney, I’ve found a study done by Dr. Sophie Pils from the Medical University of Vienna which documented patients who were watching Disney movies during chemotherapy.

After 2 months, the patients who watched Disney movies felt less tense and less worried, compared to patients from the control group (Pils et al. 2020). Not only they improved their emotional and social functioning, but also reported less general fatigue.

There is something about Disney that not only makes people feel happy but also emotional. In fact, I don’t even have to be on the bike to drop the tears in my eye when I listen to the Disney soundtrack. So if you’re looking for Peloton rides to cry to and to let go of the emotions, I can highly recommend Disney Rides.

Learn more: Click here to read more about “best peloton classes for endurance

Why Do I Cry When I Cycle?

In general, crying during cycling can be elicited by physiological factors (increased heart rate, parasympathetic activity) or emotional factors (memories, nostalgic feelings). The reason why people cry will vary depending on the people’s empathy and compassion.

There is nothing wrong with crying while on the peloton bike. According to Meena Dasari Ph.D., crying is healthy when done in moderation. It’s a way to release emotions and self-soothe before moving on. The self-soothing mechanisms work by several physiological changes that happen during crying:

  • Parasympathetic response – several studies have shown that crying facilitate changes in nervous system and calms the body by activation of PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) (Rottenberg et al. 2003).
  • Opioid release – studies have shown that crying not only release endogenous opioids but also increases the pain tolerance limit (Wubben, 2008).
  • Nerve-growth factor release – nerve growth factor is a protein that is found in the lacrimal glands and well as in tears. It plays a role mood in humans, as well as in non-human mammals (Altar, 1999).
  • Oxytocin release – crying helps to release oxytocin, which is responsible for increasing calmness and general sense of well-being by decreasing amygdala activity (Labuschagne et al. 2010).

Crying also increases the cerebral blood supply, which helps to increase the blood flow to the facial muscles. This is one of the reasons why people look more attractive after crying.

Learn more: Click here to read more about “best peloton resistance bands workouts

Does Crying Make You Prettier?

As a whole, crying does make people look prettier because of the enhanced facial muscle activity after emotional expressions, which impacts thermoregulation and mood. Also, activity in the lacrimal glands triggers changes in the temperature that results in facial “blushing”.

In other words, the face gets warmer because of more blood flow. That’s why peoples face looks red and their eyes are filled with aqueous substances also called tears.

Can You Burn Calories From Crying?

As a whole, you can burn calories from crying. Crying is thought to burn the same amount of calories as laughing, which is 2–10 kcal for 10 to 15 minutes. Also, crying can relieve stress and increase the feel-good hormones like oxytocin and endorphins.

Of course, the amount of calories isn’t somehow significant to create any substantial changes. I find that crying brings me more therapeutic benefits than anything else.

Can Endorphins Make You Cry?

In general, there is no scientific evidence that the release of endorphins can make you cry. However, several studies have shown that crying itself can release endorphins, together with other feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters

I also find that when I get emotional I get more energy. A simple example is when you feel tired and ready to finish your workout, but all of a sudden you’ve heard one of your favorite tunes. What happens next we all know. Out of nowhere, you have so much more energy.

The combination of familiar music together with positive self-talk and visualization somehow gives this extra edge and allows for push it to the limit.

Conclusion

Peloton rides that make you cry the most will vary from person to person mainly because of the different music types we’ve been exposed to in the past. However, there are some commonalities in specific songs (e.g. Disney) and the emotional effects that they can trigger.

The most common reason why people cry in cycling classes is the physical effort combined with feelings that come from certain music types, as well as physical effort and visualization. Listening to music stimulates the limbic system that is responsible for emotions and memories.

Also listening to familiar songs with lyrics can trigger tears in the eyes. This explains why certain music genes elicit more emotions than others.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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