emma lovewell in a field of flowers

Peloton’s Emma Lovewell: On Living and Loving a Plant-Based Lifestyle

A Letter From The Editor

I’ve been an Emma Lovewell fan for years, even before Peloton existed. Her tenacity, spunk, and commitment to an incredible playlist initially drew me in, and these traits have endured as she has evolved into a celebrated cycling and strength instructor for Peloton’s 7 million global members. Her newest endeavor, author, is an exciting new adventure for the plant-based entrepreneur.

If you’ve ever taken Lovewell’s class, you’re aware of the insightful advice that she gives. There are multiple times when the motivation she gave me–to tackle the interval or hill–was just what I needed to hear at the moment, on and off the bike. It turns out that she derives these inspirational words from things she needs to tell—or teach—herself. 

What you likely don’t know is, behind the grace and grit, there’s an outdoor-loving adventurer that has traded the hustle and bustle of New York City for the sanctuary of her upstate home, her garden, and her cats (one whose name is Kimchi). Her dedication to a plant-based lifestyle began in childhood and has since evolved to be a critical part of her wellness tool kit.

I sat down with Lovewell to discuss all things plants, and take a sneak peek into her first book, Live Learn Love Well: Lessons from a Life of Progress Not Perfection, which will be available on May 2nd. 

Let’s dig in!

Eliza Savage, Associate Editorial Director

Peloton’s Emma Lovewell is known for her no-nonsense interval rides and sweat-inducing strength classes. But, you might be surprised to learn about the power and presence of plants in her life. From veggies at every meal to potted plants in her house and a large garden at her upstate New York home, Emma embodies the modern, plant-forward woman. She relies on the power of plants to stay powered up on and off the bike.

On Living a Plant-Based Lifestyle

While the definition of plant-based varies depending on who you’re speaking to, a “plant-forward” style of eating emphasizes plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds, but is not strictly limited to plants. It may include meat or fish, but plants are typically the main focus. Lovewell considers this to be the definition that best categorizes her lifestyle. Though she admits she may be a bit biased—her brother owns a seafood company. She loves the fresh, sustainable seafood that’s sent directly to her door, though plants are almost always the focus of her meals. 

I prioritize having vegetables in all three meals. To feel my best, I usually make a smoothie in the morning with spinach. For lunch and dinner, it’s easier to add vegetables for me. It’s usually a side of greens, like kale or broccoli, or roasted vegetables.

Lovewell doesn’t just enjoy a plant-based, low-sugar diet—she depends on it to keep her digestion and energy on track. She says it all started in 2015 when a couple of friends tried out the Whole30 diet. She never considered how much sugar she ate, so she decided to test herself and skip sugar for a month. At the time (prior to joining Peloton), she was teaching 12 to 15 fitness classes per week and always felt depleted and dehydrated—never satiated. 

During this experiment, she started a blog, LiveLearnLovewell.com, to chronicle her low-sugar lifestyle and share new recipes. Lovewell is admittedly, “not a diet person,” but tried the 30 days, full force. Throughout the process, she began to pay attention to sugars in sauces and salad dressings, and even the amount of fruit she ate. 

At the end of her Whole30 month, Lovewell recalls thinking about how she was going to “treat” herself to an ice cream cone. She enjoyed one and found that “[her] body totally crashed. It was enlightening!” Since then, she has been more aware of reading labels and remaining cognizant of what she puts in her body.

Lovewell’s blog remains an important part of her life, giving her a place to share (primarily) plant-based recipes. She loves to add veggies to every meal, acknowledging that it can be a challenge, particularly with breakfast. While she loves the “dessert-like” component of a traditional American breakfast—pancakes, muffins, coffee cake—she’s found that it’s veggies that help kickstart her day. 

emma lovewell on a wooden deck

Courtesy of Emma Lovewell / Photo by Christine Sargologos

“I prioritize having vegetables in all three meals. To feel my best, I usually make a smoothie in the morning with spinach. For lunch and dinner, it’s easier to add vegetables for me. It’s usually a side of greens, like kale or broccoli, or roasted vegetables.”

If you’re dipping your toes in the plant-based waters, Lovewell recommends starting small. 

“Start with one meal per day that’s completely plant-based and then go to two. It depends what your goal is (and your goal can always change). If you fall off the wagon, just get back up. There’s no shame in that.”

Lovewell’s ties to a plant-based way of eating connect back to her Asian roots (her mom is from Taiwan). Her mom cooked frequently at home and taught Emma to make many dishes, including dumplings, which continue to be a family favorite. Lovewell uses Asian-inspired ingredients and flavors in her own dishes and appreciates the family-style way of eating. 

Start with one meal per day that’s completely plant-based and then go to two...If you fall off the wagon, just get back up. There’s no shame in that.

“In Asian cultures, meat is a little added flavor, it’s not the main event. Not the big steak on the plate. One of my favorite dishes that my mom taught me is Sauteed Soy Bok String Beans with Ginger, Sesame, and Garlic. You can make it completely vegan or vegetarian, but if you add a bit of ground meat into the vegetables, it’s amazing. A little added fat and flavor.”

Lovewell notes that her appreciation and acceptance of her heritage was not always what it is today and has evolved over the years. 

“As a kid growing up in a mostly white community [on Martha’s Vineyard], there weren’t a lot of Asian kids around. So at first, I did feel a little embarrassed that I would bring different lunches to school than the rest of my friends. I wanted to fit in. It took me this journey from being ashamed of my culture to really growing into it and becoming really proud of it.”

emma lovewell relaxing in a white t-shirt on a deck

Courtesy of Emma Lovewell / Photo by Christine Sargologos

On Learning

Lovewell connects with thousands of fitness enthusiasts on a daily basis, both in person and on individual screens across the globe. This special connection inspired her to write a book and share her experiences.

What you do in a fitness class, you can do in the real world. If you can get through a set of Tabata intervals or a challenging hill, you can crush your day.

“I think about the impact and influence that I have in my fitness classes. In-between intervals I’m throwing out some inspiration. [When writing a book, I thought,] If I had your ear for more than a 20-minute class, what would I tell you, what would I want you to know? So I took some of these phrases, stories, and things that I sprinkle into class and sat down and elaborated on them.” 

Lovewell uses these phrases, or tools, to motivate masses of Peloton devotees. For her, and those she teaches, fitness is a tool. 

“What you do in a fitness class, you can do in the real world. If you can get through a set of Tabata intervals or a challenging hill, you can crush your day. The willpower and ferociousness [you have in a workout] do translate, and you can apply that in other aspects of your life.”

With the insight of a seasoned instructor, Lovewell acknowledges that people use fitness for a variety of reasons: an escape from everyday life, a mental health boost, and simply, a good sweat. 

“Everybody is going through something different and you just don’t know what people need. Hopefully, I’m creating a space where they can get exactly what they need.”

Lovewell is known for her inspirational quotes that have become words to live by for many. Below we asked her to expand on some of our favorites.

Progress, Not Perfection.

If you've ever taken one of Lovewell's classes, you've heard her say: Progress not Perfection. It is a key focus in her book, as she highlights her trials and tribulations as a professional dancer and fitness instructor.

“You’re gonna learn lessons along the way. You’re going to meet new people and have different opportunities. Your entire goal may change itself. It can be embarrassing if you tell everyone what your goal is and then tell everyone it shifted. It’s like, wow, I failed. But it’s not failing. It’s pivoting. It’s changing your mind, and you’re in control. You don’t owe anyone an explanation of what your goals are or are not.”

Write Your Goals In Pencil.

Lovewell’s journey to becoming a Peloton instructor was not linear. In her book, she talks about various roles that led her to where she is today. 

“One thing that I like to say is ‘write your goals in pencil.’ When we’re really rigid in our goals, we can sometimes be really hard on ourselves. Life happens, and sometimes we need to acclimate. You have to be malleable and move with the times.” 

emma lovewell in martha's vineyard

Courtesy of Emma Lovewell / Photo by Christine Sargologos

She goes on to acknowledge how hard it can be to set a goal and then have to revise it. “It is important to set goals, to put it out in the universe that we want something and are working toward something and to strategize on how to get it.” But, she warns, “Be flexible on how you get there. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it matters how many times you get back up.”

Change Is Inevitable. Growth Is Optional.

This powerful statement is a cornerstone of Lovewell’s book. “This really speaks to a mindset shift. You can look at an event and say, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening to me. I am the victim of this situation.’ Or, you can flip your mindset and be like, ‘No, this is an opportunity for growth. My life is changing, but I’m going to look at this as an opportunity to learn something.” 

Lovewell admits that she is not blindly optimistic, but rather fairly realistic. While change can be hard, she says that choosing to grow from uncomfortable situations may lead to better outcomes. 

It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it matters how many times you get back up.

“I’m all about looking at the [difficult parts of life] and addressing them head-on. I’m all about going to therapy and having difficult conversations with people that you love.”

You Can't Hate Yourself Into Change.

Negative self-perceptions, or things that you want to change about yourself, can be highly motivating, but Lovewell argues that you can’t “hate yourself into change.” 

“Life is hard enough as it is,” Lovewell states. When working toward a goal, even if you don’t end up where you want to be, “give yourself some grace.” In addition to practicing self-compassion, Lovewell is also a fan of forgiveness. She talks extensively about the importance of forgiveness, particularly in relation to her parent’s divorce.

On Loving

Self-love—in the form of self-care—is a huge component of Lovewell’s life. She prioritizes gardening, muscle recovery, and her morning routine to support her mental health and delves into each topic in her memoir.


Gardening is one of Lovewell’s favorite hobbies. Her book’s cover features her in the garden, and she recollects how the setting is a key part of her childhood and who she is today. 

“We are very much gardeners in my family, and we learned how to live off the land at a very young age. It started off not in a glamorous way, it was mostly to make life more affordable on Martha’s Vineyard. Everything is very expensive. My parents didn’t have a lot, so they said we’re having a garden, we’re eating from the land. We would go fishing, clamming, and crabbing. And then we’d grow vegetables.”

While Lovewell admits she didn’t love to garden when she was younger, the childhood activity has transitioned into a deep love of plants. She particularly enjoys “the connection with the land and the seasons.” She also acknowledges the amount of “care and attention things take” and the way that home-grown veggies even taste better.


Recovery is key for Lovewell and comes in many forms: stretching, hydration, cooking, percussion therapy, and music. 

“Sometimes recovery can look like going for a walk or doing something low impact. A yoga class or nothing. Watching television and being horizontal.” Recent TV show obsessions include White Lotus and Wednesday. 

emma lovewell relaxing on a deck

Courtesy of Emma Lovewell / Photo by Christine Sargologos

Once a month, she sees a physical therapist who specializes in rolfing for a dedicated two-hour fascial release. If needed, she has an acupuncturist and other body workers on call, but she’s always stretching. 

To prioritize recovery, she’s created a sanctuary for herself at home, using plants, playlists, and essential oils to help her to set a calm, relaxing vibe. She’s also placed different items throughout her house that she can use on a whim: lavender oil, a massage gun, and massage oil. Small, intentional practices, such as making her bed every morning and committing to a relatively clutter-free home help to preserve the positive energy of her space.

When asked about her one piece of advice for people looking to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, there was no hesitation. 'Progress, not perfection!'

Non-Negotiables & A Morning Routine

Lovewell prioritizes practical habits, like a consistent morning routine, in her recovery strategy. What is non-negotiable? “A glass of water is definitely a thing for sure. Some people are really good at drinking water–I’m not. The same way I have to add vegetables to breakfast, it takes a real conscious effort, and I have to make [drinking water] a thing.” 

Movement and meditation are two other modalities that Lovewell depends on. “I have a toolkit of things that I go to when I am feeling off and need to get back to feeling great. That’s eating vegetables three times per day, making sure I get movement in, [and] doing some journaling and meditation.”

Mental Health

It’s no surprise that movement is a key aspect of Lovewell’s mental health toolkit, but she’s also a fan of therapy. “Mental health is so important,” Lovewell states. “And, I’m a huge advocate of talk therapy. It’s all interconnected.” 

The Peloton star also loves how fitness helps people address their mental health. 

emma lovewell relaxing in a croptop on a deck

Courtesy of Emma Lovewell / Photo by Christine Sargologos

“It all starts with tuning in with yourself. The way I motivate people is by tuning in. I ask myself, ‘What do I need to hear to get up this challenging hill? What do I need to hear to get through this interval set?’ And then, I say it out loud.”

What's Next For Lovewell?

It’s safe to say that Lovewell’s influence extends beyond the bike, and into the lives of those who enjoy her classes. For Lovewell, wellness is so much more than just fitness. Her holistic toolkit includes mental fortitude, a plant-based diet, a sense of humor, and surrounding herself with the people she loves.

This year, she’s leaning into low-impact workouts and slowing down a bit. “I’ve been prioritizing family... I’ve always had multiple jobs and been hustling, and it’s been nice to try to say no to more things so that I have more time for the people I love and for myself.”

When asked about her one piece of advice for people looking to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, there was no hesitation. “Progress, not perfection!”


Check out these simple, effective, and expert-recommended strategies for adding more plants to your plate this year.

By Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN
Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN, RYT is the Associate Editorial Director at Verywell Fit, a registered dietitian, and a published author. She is also a registered yoga teacher and fitness enthusiast who has completed 2 full marathons and more than 25 half marathons.