I’m well into my first book of the series and should have a review soon. Until then, the ever wonderful and witty Sarah Wendell over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books has put something together for those of you who are adding fitness to your New Year’s Resolutions: the Romance Novel Reader Workout.

She posted Part I today, and it is very clever: you do strength training exercises, like planks and squats and push ups, every time something happens in the chapter. For example, whenever “A tingle or spark goes up the arm of one or both characters if they touch,” do 10 jumping jacks (and I would like to point out that I accidentally typed “humping jacks” first there. So you know where my mind went while reading her post). At the end of the chapter, you re-do whatever exercises you did while reading.

I’ll also add that reading a romance novel while on the elliptical or stationary bike is a great way to stay on the machine longer, though I don’t recommend doing that while running. It’s too jarring, at least for me.

Sarah’s first book was part of the second series of “Book a Week with Jen.” Since then, I’ve interviewed her more times than I can count, and usually see her once or twice a year. She’s a fun lady who has done a lot for a much maligned industry. And now, she’s helping you work out, too. Five gold stars for you today, lady.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Anonymous on January 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Romance novel workout, I like it! It's an interesting twist on drinking games — only instead of taking a drink, you do exercises every time something happens? I may have to try that (it'd be a good way to trick my brain into thinking I'm doing something fun instead of "I'd better use the stationary bike for a while, *sigh*" 🙂

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