Sounds too good to be true, right? While this plan might not work for everyone, I think it can be tweaked and personalized to fit just about every bibliophiles fitness goals.
I’ve been slowly learning to love working out – being fit and looking and feeling healthy have always been important to me, but I began to find myself getting more and more sick of the same old routine at the gym day in and day out. I’ve tried different hacks to motivate myself to go to the gym (some of which can be found in my blogpost for lazy fit lovers) and I’ve found that my favorite way is motivating myself to workout by reading my favorite books.
I personally love crime dramas, mysteries, thrillers, autobiographies, and a good non-fiction/informational book. I’m not very big on mushy romances; I never get into the Notebook or Dear John but I read the Hunger Games cover to cover in two days. Whatever your preferences in text, you can probably find a way to use those interests to jumpstart your fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or just tone up a little, I think you’ll find this plan might work for you!
*Please note: this post contains a couple affiliate links for services/products I have used myself and personally recommend. If you choose to try the services yourself, I may get a small monetary commission!*
Here’s the secret:
You read while you work out. TA-DA!…
I’m assuming you had already guessed that was the strategy here, right? Seems like a no-brainer but it has genuinely changed my cardio game! By the time I’ve sunk into the climax of a good book, I can be cycling 10-15 miles on a stationary bike without even really thinking about it! On average, most people read 200-250 wpm which comes to about a page a minute – if you’re reading thirty minutes (or thirty pages) a day and cycling at the same time, you’ll get through 5-7 miles a day! Increase the bike resistance/level gradually and you’ll really get some good toning happening! And if it’s a great book, you probably won’t want to stop at 30 pages…
Cycling has some amazing health and fitness benefits including:
- strengthen your core & back
- improve circulation and digestion
- tone your legs & booty
- burn fat (45 minutes on the cycle burns up to 500 calories!)
- keep your heart healthy
- good for all fitness levels – easy on weak joints!
I have weak knees myself and just cannot bring myself to love running, so I was elated to finally find a cardio workout that I don’t hate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: CARDIO IS HARDIO.
Audiobook or eBook?
You can follow this plan in a few different ways: you can take the physical copy of the book with you to the gym, which is perfectly fine, or you can try an electronic copy that’s less bulky and much more convenient.
Try an Audiobook:
I used to really like listening to music while I worked out, but I have recently discovered audiobooks as a second option, and it’s honestly changed the way I work out. A good song will get me pumped up and motivated to keep moving, but an exciting book does the job even better!
I especially like this option for running or elliptical workouts because even an ebook on your phone isn’t exactly easy to read while you’re running… I’m currently listening to the entire Harry Potter series using Audible and let me tell you, going to the gym (even being 7 months pregnant!) has become my favorite part of the day. If you want to try this out, Audible is currently running a special where you can get TWO free ebooks to try this out and see if it works for you!
Ebooks on your e-reader or on your phone:
If you prefer reading the book yourself but don’t want to lug the physical copy to the gym, try an ebook! This is how I do most of my reading these days since I can store the books on my phone and I take my phone everywhere.
I personally use the Kindle app on my iPhone and have been able to get any book I’ve ever needed instantly! I have also found that most library districts offer eBook/eReader apps now as well, so you can get the books for free! Heads up though, if it’s a new or very popular book, you might have to wait a couple weeks to read it!
Here’s How I Did It
I am currently going through a 2017 booklist with my mom which has different kinds of books to read each month (for example: a book by a male author or a book you read as a child) and this month we were reading a book that was published within the last year. I had heard amazing things about this book and I vowed to myself that I would ONLY read it while I was at the gym in the hopes that it would be good enough that I wouldn’t be able to stay away! (Spoilers: I was totally right)
Book: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Here’s the lowdown by GoogleBooks: “This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship. A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.Except things don¿t go as planned. Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.” (Spoilers again: the book is AMAZING!)
Note: I didn’t do all of these sessions/days in a row. I didn’t plow through almost 6 hours of cycling during my first week. There were rest days and days where I went to the gym to do some weight lifting and light running/jogging in between these sessions!
Day 1: Read pages 1-30, Cycled for 30 minutes
Resistance 1 – 1:00 – 10:00
Resistance 2 – 10:00 – 20:00
Resistance 3 – 20:00 – 30:00
Day 2: Read pages 30-87, Cycled for 45 minutes
Resistance 2 – 1:00 – 15:00
Resistance 3 – 15:00 – 30:00
Resistance 2 – 30:00 – 45:00
Day 3: Read pages 91-120, Cycled for 30 minutes
Resistance 2: 1:00 – 15:00
Resistance 3: 15:00 – 30:00
Day 4: Read pages 121-184, Cycled for 60 minutes
Resistance 1 – 1:00 – 15:00
Resistance 3 – 15:00 – 30:00
Resistance 5 – 30:00 – 35:00
Resistance 3 – 35:00 – 50:00
Resistance 5 50:00 – 60:00
*I was SO sore the next day, but I got to a part in the book that I felt like I couldn’t put down! Every time I said “I’ll stop at the next chapter”, the end of the chapter was a huge cliffhanger! I knew I was gonna have to take it easy the next day.
Day 5: Read pages 184-222, Cycled for 30 minutes
Resistance 1: 1:00 – 10:00
Resistance 2: 10:00 – 20:00
Resistance 3: 20:00 – 25:00
Resistance 1: 25:00 – 30:00
Day 6: Read pages 223-260, Cycled for 45min
*I had planned on only cycling for 30 minutes this day, but AGAIN got to a point where I was so riveted by each page that I had to keep going. I made myself late to work because of it — oops!
Resistance 2: 1:00 – 5:00
Resistance 3: 5:00 – 10:00
Resistance 5: 10:00 – 20:00
Resistance 3: 20:00 – 25:00
Resistance 5: 25:00 – 40:00
Resistance 3: 40:00 – 42:00
Resistance 2: 42:00 – 45:00
Day 7: Read pages 261-293, Cycled for 30 minutes
Resistance 3: 1:00 – 5:00
Resistance 5: 5:00 – 15:00
Resistance 3: 15:00 – 17:00
Resistance 5: 17:00 – 27:00
Resistance 3: 27:00 – 30:00
*This was one of the toughest workouts I had done but I noticed a significant difference in my stamina. I had started out with only five minutes on Resistance 5 on Day 4 and increased to twenty minutes during this session. It burned but it was the most satisfying burn I’ve ever felt. It could have been in my head, but after this session, I could swear I actually noticed a difference in the appearance of my legs already. The pre-set Resistance 1 when I first turned on the bike felt uncomfortably easy which also boosted my confidence a little.
Day 8: Read pages 293-340, Cycled for 45 minutes
Resistance 3: 1:00 – 10:00
Resistance 5: 10:00 – 15:00
Resistance 7: 15:00 – 17:00 (#burn)
Resistance 5: 17:00 – 20:00
Resistance 7: 20:00 – 25:00 (#somuchburning)
Resistance 5: 25:00 – 30:00
Resistance 3: 30:00 – 35:00
Resistance 5: 35:00 40:00
Resistance 7: 40:00 – 45:00
(**Cool down/not reading**) Resistance 3-2-1 45:00 – 50:00
The entire book and all seven sessions took me about two weeks. As I had mentioned at the start of the plan, I didn’t do all these sessions in a row, I didn’t cycle every day for seven days. It didn’t fit with my schedule and, not to mention, I would’ve really burnt myself out considering I was pretty new to cycling.
At the end of those two weeks, I felt like I had accomplished something really incredible. I really felt genuinely proud for pushing myself, and let me tell you, hitting some of those higher resistances required a lot of pushing. I could see a difference in my legs; they looked and felt thinner but stronger.
Oh, and I managed to lose 5 lbs. in the process!
Got a book you’ve been dying to read? GET IT. READ IT. CYCLE WITH IT. TRY IT.
Here’s some helpful starting thoughts as well!:
- You might not need to have or get a gym membership to accomplish this! Most apartment complexes or neighborhood clubhouses have weight rooms with stationary bikes. You might even have one at home!
- You don’t need to go out and spend money on the book either – borrow it from the library, from a friend, or check second hand book stores!
- If you’re not a fan of cycling but wanna spice up your other cardio workouts like running, rowing, elliptical, etc., try an audiobook version!
- You can also look for your favorite authors in eBook format and download them to your smart phone or tablet and take those to the gym instead! (Some people don’t like the idea of carrying around a bulky book, I totally get it!)
Be sure to comment and let me know if it worked! It might not work for everyone, but give it a try, share the article with a fellow bibliophile, step a little outside your fitness comfort zone while remaining cozy in your book cocoon!
As always, thank you for reading, and try to spread some happiness today!