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Mad or sad? Peloton’s Cody Rigsby shares the best workouts for every mood

The beloved cycling instructor is getting vulnerable and deep with his fans through his new memoir, "XOXO, Cody."
/ Source: TODAY

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Exercise is a well established way to improve mental health. But can it help heal a heartbreak?

In general, working out can improve our moods by distracting us and encouraging social interaction and self-efficacy, according to the National Institutes of Health.

As for which emotion warrants which exercise, we turned to Peloton's Cody Rigsby.

The TikTok-beloved cycling instructor aims to bring his whole self to his rides, and sometimes that means talking about why Britney Spears is the greatest pop singer of all times instead of pedaling.

In his classes, “90%” of his hilarious and often viral rants are off the cuff, he says. (You can listen to his explanation for why people who wear flip-flops in metropolitan cities don't love themselves here).

"I have not been able to shut up since 5th grade," he says.

But in his new memoir "XOXO, Cody," the Peloton instructor gets vulnerable, discussing his experiences surrounding addiction, poverty and homelessness.

"I really got to sit down and write stories that I haven't told before or go deeper into stories that I have told," he tells

In the process of writing it all down, he also had to slow down and figure out not only how he feels, but what he wants to say about it. In the process, he learned how to take more time to celebrate his own success.

"Sometimes I feel like life is so chaotic that I forget to give myself a little bit of self love," he says.

For anyone hoping to use exercise as their form of self-care, here's what Rigsby recommends based on your current mood.


Someone interrupted you at work. You missed the train by half a second. Another driver cut you off in traffic. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself seething with rage, Rigsby recommends pumping some iron.

"Grab those weights," Rigsby advises.

“Make a grunting noise as you make a bicep curl, OK?" he adds.

Anger can make us feel like we have a short fuse, and strength training involves a repetitive motion that requires a burst of energy.

There's a reason professional weight lifters look furious. Channeling a feeling of rage can be a powerful motivator to expel our emotions through the push and pull motions of strength training.

Here's a full-body strength workout to try, in the gym or at home.


The perfect workout for coping with heartbreak depends on where you are in the relationship, Rigsby says.

If you broke up with someone recently, you should do something distracting, he says, like high energy exercise that leaves you breathless and focusing on your body's recovery rather than your ex.

"Nobody needs to see you crying right now," Rigsby says.

High-intensity interval training is one example, which involves exercising at a high level of exertion for a short period of time and resting before starting the movement again. Here are 10 HIIT workouts to try.

But after a month or a few months have passed since a breakup, it might be time to try some yoga.

"Be more internal, slow it down," Rigsby says. "Tap into the feeling, and move through the discomfort."

As a place to start, try moving through this 5-minute yoga flow while focusing on your breath and acknowledging your emotions in each pose.


If you're feeling gloomy or sad, and interested in using exercise to cope, Rigsby recommends going on a run, specifically outdoors.

"There's something about running that allows you to move through the sadness," Rigsby says. "And endorphins make us happy, as we learned in 'Legally Blonde.'"

Here are 8 steps to getting started with a running program.


Some days you wake up and you're just not feeling yourself — even Risgby's been there.

He recommends taking a cycling class, ideally something upbeat and inspiring. But any kind of exercise can build our confidence when we don't feel it, especially when it's done with a good mindset, he says.

"When we feel insecure, we tend to look at the outer and the physical, and I think any form of fitness, any form of wellness when it comes to moving our body, remind us that our worth is through what we can do — our power, our strength, our resilience," he says.

So doing anything that involves moving our body — whether walking, dancing, you name it — can build confidence if we focus on all that we're capable of.

"(Exercise) and creating that relationship is what's going to make us feel confident about ourselves," he says.

The Start TODAY community offers a variety of exercise plans and beginner's guides to jumpstart movement.


If you find yourself struggling to get up and get moving, Rigsby agrees: It's perfectly fine to take a rest.

"Give yourself a damn day, it's OK. You can not work out today, even two days," he says.

But, if skipping workouts is starting to become a habit, moving into weeks without exercise, find something quick to do.

"Go do a 10-minute, 20-minute ride, 20-minute workout. Start short and have these small, snackable achievable goals, so that you start to build your confidence and you start to be like, OK, I'm doing something, I'm moving towards greatness," Rigsby says.

Short workouts can also be efficient. This 10-minute treadmill walking program will leave you breathless and torch calories.