Let's Talk About the Peloton Guy's Whole Water Thing

Illustration for article titled Let's Talk About the Peloton Guy's Whole Water Thing
Photo: Kimberly White / Stringer (Getty Images)

John Foley, the founder and CEO of expensive treadmill company Peloton, is not someone I know much about. Or knew, rather, since I received a crash course into the man’s psyche via New York Times profile this morning.

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What have a learned? That Foley is a “big dimmer guy” whose downstairs has at least 14 separate light switches (presumably all dimmable.) That he stores his own not-yet-released product, the smaller Peloton Tread, in the bathroom of said downstairs—and runs on it on Sundays, and potentially other days, too, before leaving the house. But he let slip one habit, pertaining to his preferred means and level of hydration, which I have been unable to shake since reading it:

Twenty years ago a colleague told me the key to your day is to hydrate at much as you can, so the first thing I do is drink 40 sips of water from my hand at the upstairs bathroom sink. It’s efficient. I drink until I feel like I’m going to throw up water. Every day.

Truly deranged. I love it.

Efficiency

Objectively, this is untrue, and I know because I tried. A single, one-handed sink-to-hand sip took around 2.5 seconds. To get the requisite 40 sips Foley is looking at 1 minute and 40 seconds to get (and again, I measured) a little under two cups of water, total. Pouring that into a glass and chugging, I completed the task in just over 17 seconds. How I have yet to come up with an idea that could make me wildly rich, I’ll never know, but maybe there’s some way to spin a tech company valuation around the concept of a cup.

I can only conclude that having the water in contact with the skin of one’s palm confers on it some immeasurable benefit not reflected in my calculations.

Stomach capacity

As mentioned, Foley claims roughly two cups of water, by my estimation, is enough to make him feel overly full to the point of potentially vomiting. What health benefit it could have to feel that way first thing in the morning, I have no idea, but he seems to be on the low end of the stomach capacity spectrum. As Popular Science notes in the blog, “Is it possible to eat so much that your stomach explodes?”:

For most people, that “Ooof, I ate too much,” feeling kicks in after your stomach contains between 16 and 50 fluid ounces.

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Two cups is equivalent to 16 ounces, but fullness and the precipice of puking are not one and the same. However, Business Insider, in interviewing Mary Roach, author of Gulp, back in 2013, paraphrases her in stating that:

The stomach can handle around a gallon, or nearly 4 liters of food before you will throw up as a gag reflex

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Forty sips, using both hands cupped together, got me 3.3 liters total, which is more plausible for causing the sort of violent discomfort Foley describes, though the lingering issue, obviously, is this: 2.8 ounces is outside of sip territory. Each handful is, generously, a large gulp or several small sips.

I’ll caveat all these findings by stating that I have no idea what John Foley’s hand size capacity is. It may be smaller than mine (he appears to be on the small side, based on this photo where he’s a few inches shorter than Kimberly Guilfoyle’s ex-husband Eric Villency—who is variously referenced as being either 5'10" or 5'7"); then again he might be one of those guys with gigantic hands.

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Location

Foley mentions that one of the first things he does (on a Sunday, but again, possibly other days as well) is to hop on a treadmill. A treadmill that is stored in a bathroom.

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He also drinks water in uncertain quantities from a bathroom sink.

Strangely, the sipping sink is not the same sink as the one abutting, or in close proximity to, the treadmill. Emphasis mine:

the first thing I do is drink 40 sips of water from my hand at the upstairs bathroom sink

I did the new Beyoncé Bootcamp on Tread, which lives in our downstairs bathroom because we didn’t have anywhere else to put it

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You love efficiency! Do the water thing downstairs, John!

In Conclusion

I absolutely cannot get over Foley’s dedication to repeating this same apparently uncomfortable behavior every single morning for roughly 20 years. Taking leap years into account: 7,305 consecutive days—the majority of his adult life. Over 913 gallons this man has hand-cupped into his gullet, at the absolute asscrack of dawn.

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Who is this mysterious colleague who taught him to do this? What does “the key to your day” even mean? And why is John, who is clearly a savvy businessman, just giving this knowledge away for free?

It’s impossible to say, for now. But do I know that Sundays (and probably other days, too) Foley will “work for a couple hours, catching up on the hundreds of emails I receive every day.” Well, one of those emails is from me, John, and if the fountain of youth has been in my bathroom sink all along, I’d love to hear it from you directly.

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Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

DISCUSSION

fabian6
Fabian Knockwurst

Of all the bizarro fixations i’ve encountered as a clinical biochemist, (and i blame my social network for having more than my share), the most commonly involve water, (straight out of the Gen. Ripper character from “Dr Strangelove” and his “bodily fluids”). Chlorination, fluoridation, too much water, too little, magically filtered, “The seven essential ions” ... it’s more than all the copper socks, crystals, and balanced seven chakras combined.

One of my physiologist colleagues, working for the athletic department, did an extensive study about whether the athletes gauged their water intake (ostensibly to match their water outflow; sweat and urine...) properly. In short, she found that they naturally guzzled almost exactly to the milliliter what their inter-cellular volume had lost and needed to replenish. Our swallow gauges are amazingly accurate.