A Real “Book” Workout

While I’m a fan of loud, pumping music to get me through a class and a good juicy tabloid to help me on a machine, there’s nothing like listening to an audiobook while I’m walking or running outside. Yep, that’s right… an audiobook. For working out.

How do you do that?!” People ask. “Doesn’t it make it hard to pump yourself up and keep going?” Actually, it doesn’t. Not if you have the right audiobook. True, books don’t get my blood flowing and actually motivate me like music does, but they do something else that is just as useful. They distract me. I’ll be listening to a particularly engaging section of a book and before I know it, thirty minutes have passed. Admittedly, it has to be a book that one finds extremely interesting, so there will be no title that works for everyone. Though I listen to both fiction and non-fiction while driving, I prefer non-fiction while working out. Sarah Vowell is one, for sure, that I know will always do the job… and the fact that she reads her own books is icing on the cake (or one more mile on the feet).

My advice to people who’d like to try this is the following:

  1. Make sure it’s a book you know you’re already into. Do a trial run (no pun intended) by starting to listen to the book in the car, or on a short walking trip to the corner coffee shop, to make sure it’s something that keeps your interest.
  2. Always, always make sure your battery is charged on whatever device you’re using to listen to the books. Run out of battery mid-chapter three and the rest of your workout is a big bummer.
  3. Don’t waste time re-finding your place in the book. If you switch between music and other books on the same device (like most of us do), make sure you write down where you left off in your workout book post workout. That way, you won’t spend all of your following workout’s warm up time trying to get back to the “page” you were on when you came home from your last workout.
  4. Lastly, try to save your “workout book” for working out. If it’s particularly interesting, it can be tempting to take it in the car with you (or wherever else you listen to books). If you do this, the book will be over faster and you will have to take on the task of finding a book that is just as engaging to workout to next time, which is not always an easy feat.
  5. Have fun… and when people roll their eyes and think you’re crazy — just turn up the music book and keep the chapters (and your feet) flowing.