download.pngA question came up on a message board I frequent, about whether an ebook reader can help you lose weight. I have been using the text to speech feature on my Kindle while I walk (in fact, this feature was a selling point for me as I am not a music fan) but that has not been as part of a structured fitness program per se. I am a transit user, but my bus ride home only saves about 15 minutes over a walk, so if the weather is nice, I am happy to take in the scenery. That’s more just lifestyle activity as opposed to actual exercise!

But CAN you use your gizmos as part of actual weight loss? Yes, you can! There are fitness apps available for every platform of phone or tablet or netbook, and ebooks abound with fitness plans of every type. If you have an iPad, you can watch video workouts off iTunes and YouTube. And if you have cardio equipment of any kind, your options widen further: you can read even without text to speech, and watch movies on Netflix, YouTube or via apps from your favourite network or specialty TV channel.


I’m ready to shake up my fitness routine a little, and I am interested in whether I can budge those last few pounds with sheer duration, even if it means sacrificing intensity a little. So I am pledging for the next four weeks to base my fitness plan solely on my ebook devices—my iPad and Kindle—to see where it gets me. I’ll report in weekly with what I did and where it got me.

There are only two rules to this fitness plan, and I will explain each in more detail below.

1) Thou shalt strength train on a daily basis
2) Thou shalt pay for thy media-viewing time with cardio minutes

The first component of the plan is strength and flexibility training. You have a few choices here:

1) Get an ebook which details a fitness plan, and follow it. Joyce Vedral has some good ones ($11.99 on Kobo). The latest Denise Austin was also there. Try to find one which either has a daily rotation, or else which splits the workout into an upper body/lower body split. Then do the upper body on one day, and the lower body on the other.

2) If you are using a multi-function device, you can follow a workout video in YouTube or iTunes. SparkPeople, the popular diet tracking website, has some good 10-15 minute routines. There are some nice yoga podcasts on iTunes as well. Again, choose either a rotation like the SparkPeople 7-day bootcamp plans, or alternate upper and lower body.

3) Import your favourite fitness videos into iTunes and use as above. This is probably the option I’ll choose as I have a substantial collection already of available choices. I am aiming for 30 minutes in the morning, but am getting over bronchitis right now so I’ll have to start light. 10 minutes is my minimum.


Now, for the fun part. Watch Netflix on your iPad or read books on your Kindle to your heart’s content, but only when you’re doing cardio. Feeling lazy? Cut the workout (and the reading!) short if you must. Can’t put the book down? Keep pedalling or walking!

You don’t need to shell out big bucks to get moving. I picked up a gizmo very much like this one at my local drug store. The one on Amazon is only $20. And it turns any chair into a recumbent bike. It may not be as intense as a hard-core circuit training class, but I am betting I can go for much longer and that has to count for something!

Or maybe it won’t count for something—we’ll see! I have about 10 more pounds to budge and I am curious to find out if duration will have more of an impact on it than intensity did. Hard-core circuit training was great for losing that first little bit. I want to see what happens now if I can keep moving for longer durations.

So, does anyone want to join me in a little ebook reader’s experiment? Strength train every day for at least ten minutes, and pay for your media habits with cardio minutes. Can an ebook reader help you lose weight? Let’s find out! I’ll check in next Thursday and let you know how my first week went.


  1. I’ve already been paying for my “reading minutes” with cardio minutes. That was the deciding factor (well, agreement) that gave me my husband’s okay to buy the new Kindle 3 without having to wait for Christmas. It’s working too! In fact, last week I ran upstairs to tell my husband that before I knew it I had been on the treadmill for 57 minutes because I was able to read. He said, “and you didn’t stay on the extra 3?” I don’t want to get too crazy!

    I’ll have to see if I can fit in the strength/flexibility training. I have yoga on the Wii Fit, maybe that will work.

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