Rider Story: Derek Fitzgerald

Peloton Cycle
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How were you first introduced to Peloton?

My friend Jennifer (#jrock) introduced me to the bike. The first day we met she had just come from a class at the studio. I had heard of Peloton before, but this was the first time I really got a sense of how much people love the bike and its community.


What’s your favorite part of the workout?

My favorite part is the passion of the instructors. They really know how to make a class with hundreds of people feel like an intimate session. Somehow they know exactly what to say to motivate all of us, forcing everyone to dig deep and reach a new personal best.


Who is your favorite instructor and why?

Robin is my favorite! We both have roots in Abington, Pennsylvania. Her intensity is great, but more than that, I admire how she hasn’t let Diabetes keep her from excelling as an elite athlete.


Has Peloton helped you work through challenges?

My biggest challenge is time. I’m the father of an amazing 3-year-old and I run a company that creates technology solutions designed to help improve people’s lives. I am also the Founder and President of the Recycledman Foundation, which helps those who’ve gone through significant health challenges become more active and healthy. Somewhere between princess tea parties with my daughter, meeting with clients, and speaking engagements, I also train for IRONMAN triathlons. The Peloton app is also motivation for those odd-hour, impromptu training sessions!

What advice would you give to anyone working through a challenge?

Everybody faces challenges, whether you’re the top of your field or trying to work your way up from the bottom. It’s easy to compare yourself to others or get discouraged because your brain thinks you should be able to do something that you just aren’t ready to do. It’s all noise; block it out! Your only competition is who you were yesterday. Push yourself to be a little bit better than you were the day before and then celebrate each tiny victory along the way. Before you know it, all those small victories will add up and you’ll be further than you’ve ever hoped you’d be.


How has Peloton changed working out for you?

I train all year long, with a mixture of riding outside and indoor training sessions in my basement when it gets too dark or too cold. I love riding outdoors, but I’ve always had a hard time staying motivated to spin on the trainer. Using the Peloton app adds a new twist; indoor training that’s challenging and fun!


How have your past health challenges made you a stronger athlete today when riding the Peloton bike?

I think everything I’ve survived has given me a stronger understanding and appreciation of what it takes to be healthy. In my late 20’s, I was overweight and completely out of shape. I wasn’t willing to invest time in eating right or exercising and as a result, my body started to fall apart. At 30, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Chemotherapy killed my cancer, but it also damaged my heart in the process, leaving me with heart failure. For seven years, I wondered how much abuse a body could take before I closed my eyes and never woke up again. Finally, in January of 2011, I received the gift of a new heart. I don’t know how I survived, but I’m grateful to be here. I know that the time I spend with the Peloton community, cycling and sweating away, is an investment in myself; not only does it allow me to be the best, most healthy version of myself, but in the process, it allows me to honor the memory of the person whose heart beats in my chest.

How would you describe the Peloton community?

Passionate and caring. It blew my mind to see how supportive complete strangers were when they heard my story and knew I was riding in the studio. I loved seeing their locations changed to #DonateLife in recognition of National Donate Life Month.


Find even more inspiration! Check out all of our past Rider Stories here.