PELOTON’S MASTER OF MOTIVATION is adding running workouts to his repertoire. Alex Toussaint—the favorite cycling instructor of the PGA Tour, NFL legends Patrick Mahomes and Cam Newton, and countless at-home riders across America—is slated to start teaching treadmill workouts on the streaming fitness platform’s app and on Peloton Tread starting November 24.
To prepare his body, the 30-year-old has been supplementing his weekly schedule of cycling, strength, and basketball workouts with three daily miles of running, plus lots of stretching and mobility work. And he’s had to strip two more intangible things out of his routine, he says—his pride and ego.
“I realize I’m going through it right now in just many facets of life,” he says. “I think if we do a better job of checking our pride and egos as men, that allows us to reach our goal with less resistance.”
Toussaint took a few minutes away from pumping up the Peloton masses to offer some motivation to MH readers, including offering his key to staying pumped, a chest-and-heart-pumping pushup warmup ladder, and to talk about his favorite celebrity that’s ridden in one of his classes—Steph Curry.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
As you’ve been preparing for running classes and potentially just more running in your life as a result, are there strength or stretching moves that you’ve been adding to your routine to prepare for the additional impact?
I’ve been incorporating a lot of Peloton mobility and stretch content into my routine, just because I find it hard for myself to just put together a stretch routine myself and stick to it. Having an accountability partner, like using Hannah Marie Corbin‘s stretching content has been a game changer for me. So just incorporating that a little bit more in my weekly routine to make sure that I’m keeping on point for the additional running and strength workouts I’m incorporating.
Speaking of your weekly routine, what’s it like? Outside of your Peloton classes, do you train in a gym?
I actually built out my own custom training gym in my house. But I have everything that I need so I don’t have to go to a facility. Kettlebells, weights, the whole nine. And for me, I definitely have to incorporate a lot more running into it, so I’ve been trying to get up to like three miles a day, five days a week, just to make sure that my body is prepared for the demand that’s been placed on it. And as well as continuing to play basketball as another form of conditioning, and then obviously the strength training.
And what’s your weekly strength workout plan and schedule look like? Can you run us through your weekly split?
It’s hard for me to keep a consistent schedule. I travel a lot, but I try to keep at least four days of strength in, whether it’s lifting or Peleton strength classes. I try to run at least sort of three days a week strictly on the treadmill.
Discipline carries you when motivation won’t.
And then on top of that, I’m playing [basketball] for two hours a week as well. I’m in the gym six days at minimum, whether it’s conditioning or strength training, Peloton. And then I have my one rest day, where I don’t physically do anything.
On your strength days, are you doing Peloton classes? Or are you doing your own thing?
Monday, I did strictly strength training—my own chest day. And then on other days, where I wouldn’t say I’m not as motivated, but I need a little bit more direction, and a little bit more motivation—I rely on my teammates. I think that’s one of the best things about working at Peloton. The same people that the world is motivated by are the same people that I call my brothers and sisters. So I go down to the basement just like any other home rider or home runner, I click on my tablet, select an instructor. Put in my time and duration, and get right to it.
On the chest day, I start off with a 10-to-1 warmup. One of my good friends incorporated this for me one time on vacation. You do 10 pushups, you rest for five seconds. You do nine pushups, you rest for six seconds. Go down the ladder. I use that as my warmup.
Then I head to my bench, get either three or four sets of heavy lifts in. And I also just incorporated a Keiser [cable] machine into my house, just to get a little bit of strength-power as well. And just because I like to play basketball and don’t want to limit my range of motion, I try to get into the basketball gym somewhat directly after, just to make sure that my mobility is proper, that I don’t lose control of my basketball shot.
You’re known as a master motivator. But everybody gets a little demotivated once in a while. On days like that, who do you turn to for motivation?
Discipline carries you when motivation won’t. My parents’ situation—they were Haitian immigrants who came to the country with nothing. So for the days that I’m not motivated, all I have to do is think about my parents’ sacrifices. I don’t need to listen to anybody. I think about what my parents had to go through at a time when they had limited resources, and I look where I’m at in my life, and I have no choice but to go.
When someone has as much energy as you, people always want to know about their morning routine. What’s yours?
I wake up, I let my dogs out of the house. Seeing my dogs first thing, there’s something about that that brings me true joy.
And I have this routine for my coffee. I don’t even really love coffee like that, but it’s just something that I do to help me get aligned with myself. I’ve just got to drive and go to my local coffee shop, go to a Starbucks and get iced coffee. My teammates are making fun of me all the time because I barely drink it, but there’s just something about that separation of waking up and leaving my home—and having just an opportunity to be present with myself, realign with myself, for reason that helps me a lot to jump start my day. Separating from my environment, which is my home, and then coming back home, being fully rocking for the day. There’s something about that that gets me going. It’s fairly simple, but effective.
You’ve had rides with tons of celebrities. Was there anyone who left you a little starstruck, or super excited?
So now we’ve done such a good job of being such a presence within the fitness space, so we never know who’s taking a class, right? It could be anyone from just a regular father or soccer mom, teacher, police officer, all the way to the biggest celebrities out there. At this point no name shocks me.
I think the one person for me that just was like, ‘wow, I’m really in front of greatness right now,’ was Steph Curry. Just that interaction was definitely humbling for me. I mean, just a validating moment of, ‘I’m on the right track. I’m doing something right.’ The greatest shooter, one of the greatest athletes, was taking to validate what I do on the bike, on the platform … that was awesome.
I read that you went to military school as a youngster. And was there anything you know, you mentioned discipline earlier, so that popped into my mind as well. Was there anything that you took away from your time there, PT wise, that you still do today?
The way I count my push ups. I don’t count every one—I count them one-two-three, one. For every 10, you actually did 20. For every 20, you actually did 40. Same thing with flutter kicks. It’s a psychological thing. It helps you outwork the goal.
Can you leave our readers with a little motivational nugget? What’s the missing piece that you think may be keeping men from their goals?
Pride and ego. Myself included. I realize I’m going through it right now in just many facets of life. Pride and ego provide unnecessary resistance, and sometimes unnecessary resistance turns into doubt. But I think if we do a better job of checking our pride and egos as men, that allows us to reach our goal with less resistance. There’s still going to be some doubt there and uncertainty there, but removing pride and ego removes a layer of unnecessary resistance.
Greg Presto is a fitness and sports reporter and videographer in Washington, DC.