In the Balance With Champion Gymnasts and Peloton Members Becky and Ellie Downie
Name: Becky Downie
Life motto: “Never give up.”
Favorite hype music: R&B
Did you know? Becky has coached herself for the past six years—a rare feat in gymnastics.
Name: Ellie Downie
Life motto: “Be the best version of yourself.”
Favorite hype song: “Starlight” by Matt Cardle
Did you know? Ellie intends to try her hand at athletics (track and field) one day.
Sport can break our hearts. It can knock us down, force us to confront failure and make us question our inner strength. But sport can also be beautiful. It can be the greatest teacher we’ve ever known, it can show us our purpose and make our wildest dreams come true.
Gymnastics, then, could be known as the sport of life. Gymnasts soar, they stumble; they reach unimaginable heights, they misstep at pivotal moments. Mid-routine—on the uneven bars, the beam, the vault, the floor—the stakes are so high that the difference between ultimate victory and sinking heartbreak sits on a knife’s edge. But through it all, the stunning, awe-inspiring performances we witness from the exterior are just the tip of the iceberg—a manifestation of the undulating internal life of the athlete before us.
To borrow the term “mental gymnastics” and add new context to its meaning, training for any gymnastics event is just as much—if not more—a mindset practice as it is a physical one. Just ask world medalists, and sisters, Becky and Ellie Downie. Navigating the gymnastics universe with aspirations to make it on the global stage is an adventure not intended for the faint of heart. Luckily for Ellie, she had elder sister Becky to lead the way. “Growing up, I wouldn't say I massively had a sports hero, but it was so useful watching my sister go through the sport. Becky inspires me to be my best self.” In fact, the sisters feature quite prominently in one another’s life. They live and train together in Nottingham, England. The pair have three World Championship medals and multiple Olympic appearances between them. Together, they’ve cofounded their own leotard business Double Downies. And, they’re both Peloton Members, utilizing the extensive offerings on the app to supplement their gymnastics training. Says Becky, “The Peloton App has been brilliant for cardio and for recovery. Our training is predominantly skills-focused, so we need to keep fit in addition to that. We train in the gym for eight hours a day, so we need something effective! Peloton yoga and meditation classes have been wonderful to clear my mind.”
The classes that the sisters frequent on the app help them achieve optimal restoration so they can constantly improve upon their gymnast skillset (because champions never settle)—resilient to injury and re-energized to keep chasing their goals. But there are undeniable mental gains that a regular yoga and meditation practice brings about. “It can be difficult to keep mentally conditioned, particularly in a sport like gymnastics where often it can be a case of ‘one step forward, two steps back,’” says Becky. Between navigating injuries, high-stakes competitions and the inevitable ebbs and flows of a training cycle, a gymnast’s mind may be her greatest strength. For the sisters, Peloton provides a space to escape, for even a brief amount of time, from the mental rigor of being a champion athlete. “Peloton yoga and meditation relax me on rest days and even before bed sometimes. I’ve found they’ve really helped me unwind from training in the gym,” says Ellie.
But what happens when the heartbreaking side of sport rears its ugly head not in competition—but in life? In May 2021, just ahead of the gymnastics Olympic Trials, Becky and Ellie tragically lost their brother, Josh. An unimaginable pain that no athletic shortcoming could ever hold a candle to. Team Peloton and our entire community send strength and love to the Downie family—and we know that their incredible mental fortitude will guide them through.
The sisters tell us they’ve been inspired by the power of the Peloton community. “With Peloton, there’s such a positive, community focus. That’s very rare in exercise, I’ve found. But equally, you can focus on your own personal developments,” says Becky. As for Ellie, she sees a bit of herself in the instructors she takes class with. “The instructors genuinely love what they do and that helps the rest of us enjoy it.” Whether you’re an avid app user yourself or tend to stick to your hardware, we think you’ll want to hear this: You can now train alongside Becky and Ellie, with class stacks they’ve curated themselves on the Peloton App!
For a bit of restoration after a tough session or a chilled weekend rest day, the Downies’ stack picks are perfect for all of us Peloton athletes. Keep scrolling to see all four days of stacks, and find every class in the Champions Collection now.