Peloton is having a tough go of things. After Mr. Big (spoiler alert) was killed in a Peloton-induced heart attack in the new Sex and the City reboot, yet another show has used a Peloton heart attack plot line. Cardio just can’t get a break.
Billions, a Showtime drama that follows the dubious financial maneuverings of hedge fund managers, just became the second show to prominently feature a character having a heart attack immediately after a Peloton ride. In the season premiere on Sunday, Wags (played by actor David Costabile) starts having chest pain immediately after his Peloton workout. Luckily, unlike Big, he survives. The scene was written and filmed before the now-infamous And Just Like That… plot line aired, the producers told the New York Times, but that didn’t stop them from nodding to the bizarrely parallel Peloton heart attack plots. “I’m not going out like Mr. Big,” Wags says triumphantly after returning to work, in a line added in post-production, per the Times.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults get 2 hours and 30 minutes of heart-pumping, moderate-intensity cardio every week to stay healthy. So, after the second fictional character on a major show suffered a heart attack immediately after exercising, Peloton responded with reminder that exercise is good for cardiovascular health. “We get why these fictional TV shows would want to include a brand that people love to talk about, but Showtime’s use of Peloton’s Bike+ and reference to a Peloton Instructor was not a brand, product, or instructor placement, and we did not agree for our brand and IP to be used on this show or provide any equipment,” according to a statement provided to Fox Business. “As referenced by the show itself, there are strong benefits of cardio-vascular exercise to help people lead long, happy lives.”
It’s no wonder the company wants to set the record on cardio straight. After the And Just Like That… scene, Peloton’s stock dropped by 10%, as SELF previously reported. It prompted the company to release a statement via one of their cardiologists refuting the idea that Peloton could really be a killer of the beloved character. “Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle—including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks—and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6. These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death,” said Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., a preventative cardiologist and member of Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council. “More than 80% of all cardiac-related deaths are preventable through lifestyle, diet and exercise modifications,” she said, emphasizing Peloton’s beneficial role in the latter. “The good news is Peloton helps you track heart rate while you ride, so you can do it safely.”
So, could an intense cycling workout cause a heart attack? Maybe, as SELF previously reported, but it’s not likely.