Before I met Cody Rigsby, I believed Peloton, the bourgeois exercise bicycle company that employs him, was about a slavish devotion to a techno-religious sect. I didn’t realize that it could also be about celebrities, accessories and the reimagining of the high school social hierarchy. Suddenly I was curious. I dislike exercise, so when I do it, I want my mind to feel as anesthetized as possible. And after I signed up for Peloton’s 30-day free trial of virtual content and jumped on the dusty Schwinn in my in-laws’ cellar, I was zonked.

Logging on to one of Rigsby’s sessions feels like syncing up with a human iPhone, always swiping toward some new diversion. It keeps me just stimulated enough to alleviate the monotony and discomfort of exercise without alerting me to do any of my own emotional work. Peloton is known for selling its ludicrously expensive bikes, but you don’t need to purchase you to stream its classes. The companys more important offering is this: the complete duration of the mind.

Exercise-as-entertainment is an American institution. See: Jack LaLanne, Richard Simmons, “The Biggest Loser. ” The fitness pro ’s sphere of influence has typically been centered on the body, with some wiggle room for related self-help psychobabble and musical appreciation. Now Peloton, which pumps out dozens of flowing classes a day, has introduced topicality and specificity to the genre. The business offers rides themed around Black History Month, Women’s History Month and the life philosophy of the tv producer Shonda Rhimes.

In the extended Peloton universe, which besides the turning courses also includes guided meditations, stretches, strength training and more, the teachers have carved out their own micromeres. The luminescent Ally Love is the queen of seated choreography. Jess King has developed a series she calls The Jess King Experience, incorporating campy costumes, dramatic camera angles, a DJ sidekick and intense drama-kid vibes.

And Rigsby has the energy of a cluttered podcast host; as he rides, he might lead the course in a skills ranking of defunct boy bands (“Indisputably, Kevin is the hottest Backstreet Boy”) or break down the previous night’s television event. The day after Oprah’s imperial exit interview, Rigsby started his class like this: “I’m bringing Meghan Markle energy to the ride, OK? ”