Wednesday, April 06, 2011

How to write novels and lose weight and make millions (Part 2)

Tempo Fitness 611T
Way back a long, long time (and twenty or so pounds) ago I added a treadmill to my desk. In fact the date was Feb. 9th, 2009 if you want to read that original post. Since then I haven't looked back. I do have a newer treadmill (a Tempo Fitness 611T) which I bought for $400.00 from Canadian Tire (it was on sale). I removed the plastic tray and added a wooden desktop (see below). The console detached nicely and could be attached to the top of the desk for easy access to the controls.
As you can also see I bought a wall shelf and that's where my iMac sits (I highly recommend the 27 inch monitor, it's so much better for editing and gaming). I use a wireless mouse and keyboard, very handy. I usually walk about 1.6kph (or 1mph) a very leisurely pace (I did walk faster, but due to an old knee injury this is the only speed I can maintain without extra stress on ligaments and such). I know everyone always wonders about numbers with authors. How many copies did your book sell? How many fan letters do you get? How much do you weigh? Okay, no one has asked how much I weigh (they're so polite). 
But here are the numbers:
Total number of hours walking since Jan 2009: 1320 hours
Total distance travelled: 2568.12 KM's (or 1595 miles)
Total number of books written: 2 1/4
Average distance traveled (per day): 5.5 km's (3.4 miles)
Average calories burned daily: 450

Yes, I do actually have a chart:
When I started I weighed 197 pounds (I feel odd about mentioning my weight, but I'm male so I'm allowed to... funny society we have, eh?). I've reached that goal a few times, but always bounced back up. In fact I have a graph (isn't this exciting?).

The graph shows a big loss of weight at the start, then a bounce upwards (which is entirely natural, the body goes into starvation mode after a weight loss and so you don't have to eat as much to gain weight). Generally where the graph is lower it was summertime, so I was more active and it went back up in the winter (the last spike is from a week at an all inclusive resort in Mexico...mmmm). I now think that my "natural" weight is somewhere around 182 pounds. I'm happy with that. I do eat more healthy (I'm a Nutrition Action fan), but I am known to "snack" far too often and I have KFC once a year. The nice thing about the treadmill desk is when I pick up a Coffee Crisp I can ask myself is this chocolate bar worth walking for an hour and a bit? The answer is always yes.

But more importantly, how has this affected my writing? I am much more alert, can write for a longer period of time, and one of the side affects of consistent exercise is that it fights off depression (which is something a good number of we writers seem to struggle with, especially since the invention of Amazon rankings). I don't sit in my office chair unless it's a task that demands I sit. If I'm not walking, I'm standing at my desk. In all I feel that the constant exercise has added to my ability to multi-task and tweet.

It doesn't do much for cardio, so I do use an exercise bike most mornings. And Tai Chi when I remember to.

There you go....the update! All written while I was walking.


Unknown said...

You crack me up, Art. Loved the article about the treadmill and all your stats.

You should go on the shopping channel and promote the whole idea. Then you'd make millions for sure!

Cathy Thorneycroft Graham

Unknown said...

I love this. I use a standing desk. That alone does a lot, and allows me to pace, which I love to do.

The seated position sends your body into hibernation mode. Just by standing you burn 10% more calories throughout the day. I used to write for, and wrote an article about how to stay slim with a desk job.

Unknown said...

People could benefit from this type of thinking. I approve.

Katie Klein said...

(lol) This is so awesome!!

I try not to make eye contact with my treadmill. :)

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

I can't even imagine walking and writing. I seem to use different parts of my brain...maybe cause I speed walk.
Congratulations on a brilliant idea!!!!

Eve said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I'd heard that you worked on a treadmill and I've been trying figure out how that would work. Now I know. For the summer, I think I'll stick to walking outside -- good for plotting, but come that other season, the one that last 8 months ...

Unknown said...

@ Writercat. Hmm Shopping channel here I com.
@Alan Livestrong was a great place for me to keep track of calories etc. Didn't Lincoln use a standing desk?
@Austin thanks for the approval
@ Katie Yes, sometime I hear the theme from Psycho when I make eye contact with my chair!
@P&I Speed walking might make it hard to write.
@ Eve that long winter season can be a killer!

Shelley Banks said...

Yes, I love this idea!

R.J. Anderson said...

I just started treadmill desking a couple of weeks ago and am already loving it -- though at present I tend to walk and write for only 30-45 min at a time, 2-3 times a day, and do the rest of my work standing or sitting. Once I get better shoes and a better treadmill I think I'll spend more time walking, though.

And I'm delighted to see you have a Tempo 611T as that's exactly the model we're thinking of going out and buying this afternoon to replace our old noisy clunker! (Can't beat it as it was free, but it's definitely not performing to standard at the moment...)

Unknown said...

Yes, Rj the Tempo has worked really well for me. Nearly two years now that I've been using it.

I started slow, but eventually built up to 4 hours a day...or longer...depending on deadlines.

Unknown said...

Hey, your post and this article prompted me to write about my standing desk. I'll give a shout out to your post. It's talking about the study I was trying to remember.

Unknown said...

Thanks Alan,

That article is great. Yes, sitting is death (he says dramatically). Thanks for the shout out!

Joelle said...

So hilarious! I said to my husband, "Art Slade is crazy!" and he said, "Well, he did start a treadmill desk trend." I just meant you were crazy for keeping all this data. Of course, he didn't agree (not about the crazy part...he's with me there). He thinks the data and charts are "kinda cool." Boys!

Unknown said...

You're right. I'm crazy. I admit it.

Sarah said...

Hi Arthur,
Do you like your new treadmill? Is it quiet enough? I am thinking of buying the same one for the same purpose...

Unknown said...

Hi Sarah,

It's worked great for a year and a half!

Claudia Putnam said...

I've been on a fellowship/residency for most of a year and didn't bring the seemed too awkward & heavy to move and get into a second-floor apt in an old, New England house. But I sure miss it. I think not having it has made a huge difference in my productivity, alertness, mood, etc.

Unknown said...

I hope the residency is going well! I certainly miss my treadmill desk when I'm gone for a longer stretch of time.

Hmmm. I'm officially a treadhead geek now...