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Peloton’s Exodus of Trainers Explained: Kendall Toole, Kristin McGee and More Exits Have Fans Fuming

Peloton's Exodus of Trainers Explained: Kendall Toole, Kristin McGee and More Exits Have Fans Fuming
Kristin McGee, Ross Rayburn, Kendall Toole. Getty Images(3)

Millions of fitness fans around the world went into a state of shock when beloved online fitness giant Peloton announced that not one but three instructors would be leaving at the end of June.

Two of the departing instructors, Kristin McGee and Ross Rayburn, are from the platform’s yoga division, while the third, Kendall Toole, teaches running/treadmill classes.

For non-Peloton folks, this probably doesn’t sound like a big deal. But for the Pelo faithful, the news was a devastating blow. A large part of Peloton’s success relies on users’ parasocial relationships with the instructors. As a result, turnover has been very, very low so that fans can always workout with the instructors that they love, and love them they do.

Around America, in-person events with the Peloton instructors regularly sell out in seconds. The most popular instructors have found great success outside of their day jobs – Cody Rigsby, who teaches spinning, was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars; Ally Love, who teaches spinning and cardio, had her own reality show on Netflix; and Robin Arzón, the grand dame of Peloton, has had several best-selling self-help books and is a regular fixture on television talk shows.

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The company has over sixty instructors, each with their own massive online following. Before its popularity exploded during the pandemic lockdown in 2020, Peloton experienced a higher level of instructor turnover. Since then, the company has maintained a very stable cast of instructors. Two instructors were let go in 2022. Chase Tucker left for undisclosed reasons, though fans speculated that his classes weren’t getting high views, and there was no online outcry as a result.

The next instructor to leave was Daniel McKenna, a beloved fitness instructor who left in 2022; his shocking dismissal sent shockwaves through the Peloton community, with many fans claiming they were quitting the service altogether in protest. His firing resulted in an online petition for his reinstatement and a lawsuit from McKenna himself, alleging wrongful termination. The petition failed to reach the requisite five thousand signatures, and McKenna voluntarily withdrew his lawsuit.

Peloton's Exodus of Trainers Explained: Kendall Toole, Kristin McGee and More Exits Have Fans Fuming
Daniel McKenna Courtesy of Daniel McKenna/Instagram

Since then, Peloton has peacefully maintained a steady roster of 61 instructors, aged between 28 and 55, until news of the departures started to break.

First to announce their departure was Ross Rayburn, the 53-year-old head of the Peloton yoga and meditation vertical. In a video posted to his 56.6K Instagram followers, Rayburn claimed that the success of his first book had brought him opportunities outside of Peloton and he would be leaving to pursue them. Fans were not happy.

“I am truly devastated,” commented one fan. “So sad to see you leave Peloton,” said another. “You have been one of my favorite yoga instructors since I joined.”

Fans were still recovering from Rayburn’s surprise announcement when a second Peloton instructor, Kendall Toole, posted her own video saying that she too would be finishing up at the end of June.

“It’s with great consideration and many, many, many hours in reflection, but I’m choosing to close my chapter at Peloton,” the 31-year-old instructor said in an emotional video on her Instagram, where she has close to one million followers. Toole, who is also a brand ambassador for Lululemon, was beloved by fans for her headbanging, heavy metal classes and her tough but sweet demeanor.

Predictably, the online reaction was heartbreak, but a lot of attention was given to a single comment beneath the announcement by Daniel McKenna, who simply wrote: “YEEEESSSSSSSSSS FREEEEEEEDDOOOOMMMMMM.” Those two words weres liked by nearly 500 people, and they hinted that there may have been more to Toole’s departure than had been revealed.

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The final shoe dropped the following week when popular yoga instructor Kristin McGee posted her very emotional video announcing that she too was leaving, saying that it was time for her to focus on spending time with her family, including her 5-year-old twin sons William and Robert.

Things looked smooth, until McGee reposted a cryptic quote in her Instagram Story for her 187K followers, the last sentence of which indicated that all was not well in the Peloton world: “What is not okay is staying somewhere you aren’t valued or appreciated.”

Fans saw this as confirmation that something else was afoot and that these departures were not as amicable as they were being made to seem.

In an unusual move, Peloton released a statement saying that all three departures had occurred due to breakdowns in contract renegotiations: “During our most recent round of contract discussions, three of our beloved instructors have chosen to leave to explore new opportunities.”

Fans began to panic, thinking that more instructors would be leaving, but Peloton clarified that all of the remaining instructors had signed new contracts and were staying. With the annual salary of a Peloton instructor rumored to be as high as $500,000, it will definitely remain to be seen as to whether any of these three departing instructors will be able to continue earning at that level, and since none of them has indicated what they’re doing next, it’s impossible to guess.

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