Skip Nav
Class Fitsugar
Try Demi Lovato's Workout With This 30-Minute Sweat Sesh
Beginner Fitness Tips
Workouts That Give Me Everything Running Promised (but Didn't)
Heading to the NYC Marathon? Here's the Only Travel Guide You Need

Photo of Matthew McConaughey Heading Into His Gym

Do You Read While You Work Out?

We all know that Matthew McConaughey is dedicated to fitness. Here he is walking into the gym. Notice he's holding the newspaper, leaving me to wonder if he reads while working out. Many folks pass the time on cardio machines while reading. I have even seen women using the leg press and hip adductor machines flipping through magazines. Reading and working out don't mix for me, but what about you?

Image Source:
Join The Conversation
ecel4687 ecel4687 7 years
only on the stairmaster
dvdsky81 dvdsky81 7 years
I cant do it. It screws with my head to much. I cant even really listen to music very well. I get frustrated and wipe up ripping the headphones When I work out I like to be very focused. It's therepeutic for me in more ways then just physically. It's my stress relief nad my personal Me Time to focus solely on myself and how Im feeling at that moment and I concentrate kinda hard on what Im doing. Im a frm believer in if you're going to do something half-assed, why do it at all? and I find that when I try to read, watch TV, or even music-that I dont work as hard and I dont feel the benefits...I didn't get anywhere with my workout and it was a waste of time...but that's just me..Im weird.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
pamela87 oh *raspberry* to you! Usually when I have my novel out I'm warming up on the treadmill before hitting the bike for a sweat session. The cardio machines at my gym even have little book holds! Having a novel on the elliptical is awesome too, because then the 20 min workout just flies by and I don't notice the resistance as much. Only time I don't read in cardio is when I'm on the rowing machine or the bike, I have my mp3 player in then.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
bisou002, not every workout is a balls to the wall one. the day after a 20 mile run or a 100 mi bike ride I may just want something slow and easy to get the blood flowing.
jkat jkat 7 years
I always read on the ellipitical, arc trainer or stairmill. And trust me... I am working hard enough and have great form. My heart rate is consistently between 170-185, and I don't lean or slouch (most of the time I don't even hold on unless I am using the arm attachments). Who knew my indulgence in a few trashy tabloids while working my ass off was so offensive?? ;-). I never read on the treadmill because it is too bouncy for me to focus.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Only if I'm on the stationary bike, otherwise I get dizzy.
bisou002 bisou002 7 years
I agree, Pamela87. If you can read while working out, you're definitely not working hard enough!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
No, I can't now cause I do TRX training and there's absolutely no way you can do anything else except focus and breathe while doing TRX. Even when I treadmilled it - I couldn't read and walk or run on the treadmill or even stationary bikes - bad vertigo. Nothing worse than losing your balance at 5 mph on a treadmill and falling backward off it slamming your head into the machine behind you cause you were trying to read Us Weekly. I cannot even read in the car - motion sickness flares into bad vertigo and then sickness prevails. Hooray for those bags from airplanes and my horriding them
1apple 1apple 7 years
I used to read more on the treadmill but since doing intervals, it's too hard! I have to just crank the music. I will listen to audio books if I'm walking on the treadmill though or outside. (Or read while walking if I'm on my way back from the library with a good book!)
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
@Pamela That was a pretty intense insult for anyone who is trying to get a workout in at school. And I dunno, I don't think it's that hard to maintain good posture while reading, heck, sometimes it helps because you have something to focus on. Plus, I sweat more when I read than when I work out without reading. AND you can consider it a double work-out, combining both reading and cardio, because some studies show that really intense reading will make you as hungry as a runner who just completed a sprint.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
If I didn't read while on the exercise machines, I couldn't go to the gym without sacrificing the chance of decent grades in my classes. So, I read every chance I get at the gym!
pamela87 pamela87 7 years
Hmm I'm surprised my comment offended so many! I won't apologize, b/c it is just my opinion. All good points though. I don't think calling me judgmental is productive though ;-)
kclulu kclulu 7 years
That's "consistent" not "consistrn" ;)
kclulu kclulu 7 years
I never read because I sweat entirely too much and it breaks my focus. I do listen to audiobooks when I am running at a consistrn speed and not doing intervals though. If I am doing anything more intense I definitely prefer to listen to music. I have to somewhat agree with pamela87 though. I used to mindlessly read magazines while riding the bike and I really short changed my workouts. When I was a student I would do this frequently but taking a break from school while I was working out ended up being great for my mental health and I was able to push myself further than I thought I could. When I see people walking very slowly while reading or pedaling slowly I do wonder if they realize that they aren't getting a very effective workout. Perhaps that is all they want to do or they are recovering from an injury-who knows-but if you really want to get a good workout in, I feel it is more effective if you put the book or magazine down. That being said, there are always exceptions!
ticamorena ticamorena 7 years
Oh man, I've seen people do all sorts of strange things whilst working out (in the Netherlands I saw people reading whilst cycling on the street!!). I won't lie, if I'm doing stationary work (usually strength training) I'm more than happy to pull out a magazine and read. My body will usually let me know if I need to up the intensity or change posture- reading doesn't interfere with how well I execute a workout any more than listening to music or watching TV would. As to those criticising gym-readers, I think the idea is to support those there for making the effort to take care of their health in the first place, not to berate them for not meeting your standards of what a worthwhile workout is.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
Heh yeah, pamela87, sorry this is such a bother to you. Are you mad because you think people block the machines longer that way? I read all the time, it's the only way I can get myself to go to the gym. I use the stationary bike, which even has something that looks like book clips to me. You just put the book there and only need your hands to flip the pages. (I do sweat, btw.)
Vanonymous Vanonymous 7 years
To Pamela87, I think it's important to realize that you know nothing about that person's fitness routine. The person you see "mindlessly chugging along" could just be loosening up before a 90 min. cardio/yoga/pilates class. I'll often show up early to walk a bit on the treadmill just to loosen up before a yoga class. In this case, the goal is not to work "HARD", it's to warm up my muscles. It also could be, like I mentioned before, that they're there on a break and would rather do something somewhat active and enjoyable than sit in the break room, and they plan on going back after to work to really sweat it out. Or maybe they are incredible athletes with an injury, and they're there just to ease back into exercising. I'm amazed at how judgmental and mean people are towards people who are not bothering them or causing them any harm.
becky0125 becky0125 7 years
I definitely think you can read and work out hard. I know because I've done it. mshoema is totally right, sometimes you have to study and workout and the same time and you can do some serious resistance while still being able to read. it forces you to isolate your legs and keep your upper body still, too.
Ajh Ajh 7 years
I get bored when I exercise, so sometimes I'll listen to audio books. Not quite reading, but not NOT reading either, you know? I can focus in on the audio book and then the will workout is tied to looking forward to what happens next in the story.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
No, it's not my thing --- I can't read while s/b/r-ing. But, geez, pamela87, judge much?
mshoema mshoema 7 years
Yes! When you are in vet school or any school for that matter, it is hard to find time to both study for the 7 tests you have in the next 5 days and to get a good workout. So I usually run for a little bit and then pick up my notes and head to the elliptical for at least an hour where I increase that resistance and random hills. Trust me, you get a great workout and are still able to get some quality study time in as well. I think that I actually learn more while I'm working out and studying because my mind is in action.
kimmieb124 kimmieb124 7 years
I never read while working out. I feel like my workout is more effective when I'm focused on what I'm doing. I did try to read on the elliptical once, but that didn't work very well. I got nauseous like when I try to read in the car because I was moving so much.
PinkNC PinkNC 7 years
I like to watch TV if I'm at home. And it's good to see Matthew M. with some clothes on. I get so sick of seeing that man with his shirt off. He'd eat at an outside restaurant with his shirt off back in the day, when no one else was.
Matthew McConaughey Talking About Donald Trump Video 2017
Matthew McConaughey's Dazed and Confused Audition Tape
Matthew McConaughey and His Family at Sing LA Premiere 2016
The Dark Tower Trailer
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds