How I burn 600 calories a day blogging

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treadmill desk

I tried to fight it for so long.

I’d schedule exercise for 4pm every day. When the warm weather was around, it was pretty easy. By 4pm, I’d be itching to get out into the afternoon sun. Okay, I’d miss days, but it was still a lot easier.

But, then winter came…

And, while I do yoga, limitations caused by multiple surgeries don’t allow it to deliver the cardiovascular workout and calorie-burn I need to stay healthy. Plus, with more and more of my career requiring me to write for extensive periods of time, my level of “sedentary-ness” skyrocketed. But, that all ended a few weeks ago, when I set up my…

Rocking, calorie-torching treadmill desk at home…

Whaaaa??? You heard right! That picture below is little old me walking 1 mile per hour while blogging…at my desk. I’m there from 8:30am t 12:30pm, five day a week now. And, here’s the amazing thing…

treadmill desk walking

It doesn’t even feel like exercise!

One mile per hour is the equivalent of a very slow walk. It’s slower than the pace I usually follow whenever I am on the phone (I have to move when I talk or feel like I’m gonna die). You don’t really get tired, you don’t sweat and, at my weight…

By lunchtime, I’ve already burned around 600 friggin’ calories!

And, here’s the other cool benefit, I actually work faster and think better when I am moving, so I end up getting more done faster. I wish this was my idea, but I have to admit to being turned on to this by one of my yoga students, Emiliya, who told me her and her boyfriend had been doing it for months.

Then, she turned me onto a very cool treadmill desk website/blog that not only showcased Steelcase’s new commercial treadmill desk, designed by a Mayo Clinic doctor, but had a gallery showing how a bunch of people made their own versions for next to nothing.

In the end, creating my treadmill desk came down to accepting that, because a big chunk of my career now revolves around writing, I pretty much have to spend a lot of time in front of a computer every day.

But, rather than assuming that working in front of a computer “required” me to be sedentary, by getting hyper creative (and shamelessly stealing and adapting someone else’s idea), I could transform my computer time into my active time, too.

There are so many ways to customize your own treadmill desk, but bere are two more pictures of my set-up. I kept is really simple as used as much bluetooth stuff as possible to keep it almost entirely wireless…

Screen View (Apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse, shelf from $19 Target shoe-rack and Dell monitor)

treadmill desk keyboard mouse monitor

Does this all mean I’ll stop doing yoga or, when it’s warmer out, go trail running, hiking or mountain-biking?

Of course, not, but, now it’ll actually allow me to do those things out of pure joy 2 to 4 days a week, when I can fit them in and not have to feel guilty about the effect my career path is having on my body any more.

It’s amazing what can happen when you allow yourself to reexamine your fundamental assumptions, think outside the box…and go for a walk!

So, anyone wanna join me on the treadmill desk journey?

I’ve got this wild fantasy for a treadmill blogger walkathon to raise money for a cause!

PS – I still have a little more tweaking to do with the monitor position and I am looking for a way to feed the TV into my monitor, too (my rockin’ wife loves to watch Ellen while cranking out the miles, hehehe!).

If anyone knows how to do this, please share the details in the comments…

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171 responses

171 responses to “How I burn 600 calories a day blogging”

  1. Allison says:

    That. Is. Awesome. Too bad I don’t have a treadmill (or any room at all for one) or else I would totally do that. I definitely need to get more excercise in my life!

  2. Jarkko says:

    I have the same problem as Allison, but I’ll definitely try this one day when the space and tredmillessness problem is fixed 🙂

    Great idea, Jonathan!

  3. Jay Buster says:

    Hello from atop of my Treadmill Desk,

    Congratulations on your new Treadmill Desk.


    Jay Buster
    Boulder, Colorado
    (formerly of Roosevelt Island, NYC)

  4. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ allison – Yeah, I’m loving it. I got a new treadmill, but I actually know someone who did this getting as used on on Craigslist, too

    @ Jarkko – Hey buddy, space is definitely an issue, I don’t have much behind mine, but at the pace I am walking, I don’t need as much as if you were using it to run all the time

    @ Jay – Walk on, brother! Send me a picture when you get a chance and we’ll compare notes! (typed from atop my TM desk and not even breaking a sweat)

  5. Naomi says:

    Wow, that is fascinating! I’ve heard of people standing, but not walking all day. Walking is one of my favorite things to do and this looks so great. I’m going to have to try it one day.

    I kind of bounce when I walk though. Does that make it hard to type? Hubby thinks it might be hard drawing on a graphic tablet too.

    • @ Naomi.
      Walking is great. There have been various trials in the UK testing the effects of walking compared with running. The subjects all covered the same distance and over the same terrain. Some walked and some ran.

      The test subjects that walked, lost more weight (fat) from their limbs and torso than those that ran the same distance.


      • Stef says:

        I think the higher fat burning is because when you do something in slow motion your muscles work harder since inertia and gravity aren’t helping you out. It’s the same idea as when you lift weights. Doing it slowly and controlled gives you better results than yanking them up and down.

  6. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Naomi – The pace is slow enough so that I don’t have any trouble typing (and I’m a terrible typist), working on a tablet should be interesting, though, let me know how it works if you try it!

  7. sharon says:

    holy cow! you were serious about the treadmill. I tot it was in jest.

  8. Shana Albert says:

    Wow, Jonathan….. what an amazing idea!! I work out at 1:00 everyday… Well, that’s my plan anyway. I actually only get to it 3 or 4 times a week because there are many times I am working on something and just don’t want to stop. I am afraid to stop working that I will lose momentum or get out of “my zone”. So, I skip working out for that day. Or, say I will work out later and later never gets here. I freakin love this idea!! Combining working with working-out. Love it, love it, love it!!


  9. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ sharon – totally serious!

    @ Shana – It’s like a manna from health and fitness heaven for computer-bound people. Though, for those relatively new to movement, yes, even walking, I’d definitely recommend really good shoes and easing their way into it over a few weeks.

    PS – I’m really curious to see how it effects my sleep over the next few months, too. Will report back on all!

  10. I saw the mayo clinic article too, and was definitely interested. It isn’t feasible where I am at now, however, we are buying a home soon, woohoo!

  11. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Hayden – Hey, sometimes you just have to buy a new home to accommodate your computer fitness needs! 😉

  12. I’d heard of exercise-bike-powered TVs and monitors, this is seriously cool. I might have to rig something up! Thanks for the inspiration, Jonathan!

  13. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Michael – go for it, brother! Then, e-mail me your pictures. Maybe we can get enough people to do it to set up a little gallery. PS – love the gravatar pic, very stylish! 🙂

  14. Wow, this is great! We are on a trip around the world so I can’t buy it now, but I think it is fabulous.

    I have just lost 50 lbs and have more to go, but I also spend more time on my laptop than I would like. I use to love to read while on my exercise bike, but this is even better.

    Thanks for blogging about this!

  15. What did you use, how did you set yours up? It doesn’t look ghetto like the one I am afraid I will build!

  16. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ soultravelers3 – Congrats on losing 50 lbs, that’s an incredible accomplishment! 🙂

    And, the great thing about this, in contrast to an exercise bike, is that it actually burns a lot more calories and it’s better for your skeketon, because it’s weight bearing, where riding and exercise bike is not.

    Very cool that you’re traveling around the world, curious where you’re checking in from today?

  17. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Hayden – Okay, so, here’s my set-up:

    Treadmill – I went with a True treadmill. It’s pricey, but it’s also about the best buy for the money in home treadmills. If you’re only going to walk, it’s probably overkill, but we have multiple users and I’ll sometimes run, so we went for it.

    Monitor – Dell 20- inch LCD.

    Monitor stand – Right now, it sits on top of two file cabinets, but I am going to replace that either with one of those pole-based shelf systems from IKEA or with the kind of monitor stand that gyms used to support TV’s in front of their cardio-equipment. They’re not cheap, though, about $250-275 from Gym Source.

    Desktop – I bought a $19 shoe-rack from Target and just used the top from it at a shelf to lay across the rails of my treadmill. But, I am sure you can go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and get a finished shelf and even have it cut to size for a few dollars. I don’t need a big workspace, especialy since I have access to another desk, which I never really use anyway, so I kept the worktop pretty minimalist

    Keyboard & mouse – I’m an Apple guy, so I stuck with the Apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse because they are wireless they since easily with my computer. I actually tried out a different keyboard and mouse, first, but it had trouble being discovered by my computer, so I went back to Mac.

    Hope that helps!

  18. No Debt Plan says:

    That is simply the best thing I’ve read all week. Awesome.

  19. shelley says:

    i can’t say that i am interested in walking while i work- but kudos to you for taking the right…uh…steps.

  20. Thanks Jonathan, I have more to go, but it feels great to be going in the right direction again & finding ways to do it on the move.

    At the moment I am in sunny southern Spain and we do a lot of walking on our travels which has helped me, as well as going vegan.

    I crushed my knee years ago, so that is why I have favored bikes ( moving and non moving) which are kinder to my weakness.

    We are in permanent travelers/global nomad family mode, so I do not know when I will test out your idea, but I like it and think it is a great one.

    I always love to make a healthy choice that accomplishes a few things at once!

  21. Jonathan, you seem to have stumbled upon the “Amish Secret”. I recently read an article in Men’s Health (I think) about how the Amish log approximately 18,000 steps daily, more than double what the average American does.

    To paraphrase the article, while a lot of us get all excited over putting in 20 miles of running a week, your average Amish farmer simply walks twice that distance. It seems that moving your body weight through space requires a certain amount of energy, and that energy is the same whether you walk or run.

    It was a really interesting article. Burning an extra 600 calories per day is no joke! I hope you have a good tailor, because you’re going to need to take in your pants pretty soon. 🙂

  22. Just awesome. I must setup a rig like this to combine two of my favorite activities! Thanks.

  23. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ soultravelers3 – Southern Spain, wow that sounds fantastic. Yeah, cycling is generally gentler for knee injuries, but it sounds like you’re doing quite a bit of walking around now anyway. Keep us all updated with your travels!

    @ Christopher – Very cool, never heard of the Amish Secret, but it makes perfect sense.

    @ Fitness Friend – Hey, I’m all for combining fun. With time being so precious, these day, why not give it a shot?

  24. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ No Debt Plan – Glad to be able to share something fun for you to read!

    @ Shelley – I’ve walked around the city with you and I can honestly say…I have trouble keeping up. For a Texan, you sure know how to walk NY-style! Of course, maybe it’s the fact that your legs are twice the length of mine! 😉

  25. Dee says:

    That is so awesome. I would like to do that. How can I get my laptop to stay on the threadmill though?


  26. Kris says:

    A treadmill desk…what a fantastic idea! It makes me wish I hadn’t replaced my treadmill with a recumbent bike last year. Now if only I could figure out a way to make exercising on the bike the sole source of power for my computer, I’d be pedaling at least four to six hours every weekday.

  27. Lisa C says:

    I LOVE this idea!
    FYI my husband bought something called a SlingBox to do the TV through the computer. It works great!

  28. Dave Navarro says:

    LOL … I just saw this in my reader after mulling over Michael Martine’s post on blog content strategy while on my treadmill … which was funny enough without the fact I’m about to do some yoga!

    Off I go …

  29. That is one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen in a long time. It seems like a brilliant solution, one I will definitely need to look into. I’m currently training for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer — now I’m intrigued by the idea of being able to train and write at the same time! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  30. Jonathan, I highly recommend purchasing a Slingbox and connecting it to your television. Using the included software you can then placeshift your audio/visual content to any PC or Mac on your home network or you can view / control the television, DVR, DVD player, what-have-you and watch from a supported phone over the web. It’s a life-changer!

  31. Wow, also i am a tapis roulant but i never blogging while i was running..i have to try. Hoping not to fall. 😛

  32. […] I saw a post that Steve Rubel did earlier on an awesome multi-tasking environment set up by Jonathan Fields. Since I’m currently in the process of shedding a few extra pounds myself, this caught my […]

  33. Mio Destino says:

    I like the idea but I’m not sure I would be able to concentrate on both tasks at once! However, it may be worth a go as I could do with losing a few calories….
    Mio Destino

  34. […] tilsyneladende godt kombineres. Se bare ham her. Det kan være det er svaret på mine kaffebønner, for jeg savner mine 15 km om dagen på […]

  35. Paul Nelson says:

    Awesome setup. Kudos for the great idea.

    For your wife: buy a tv tuner card (PCI) or usb peripheral. you can get them for as cheap as $20- $300 from TigerDirect or any computer warehouse. this allows you to attach a cable signal to your computer so that you can watch it on your computer screen or in your case for your treadmonitor. I have a Hauppage PVR 150 that works great on my pc.

  36. Julian says:

    This is some nice idea if you absolutely can’t go outside, like for people with injures. But why not real sport? Why don’t you find a sport that doesn’t feel like suffering, something that you like? You’ll burn more calories, you’ll train your aerobic conditions, and develop strength. For instance, playing tennis, soccer, or squash will train your aerobic condition without noticing. Rock climbing (even indoor) will train your muscles like in a gym and you won’t even realize your are doing work.

    The way to exercise is to find something that motivates you to do the activity, that will keep you doing it over and over. With your technique, I promise you that you’ll give up within a few months.

  37. Red says:

    Very interesting, how has this affected your electricity bill?

  38. […] here to view LifeHacker’s blurb on the treadmill desk Click here to view Jonathan Fields’ article – […]

  39. Steve Louie says:

    To get TV on your monitor I highly recommend Slingbox. This will read off your current TV and then broadcast it to any computer. I have a similar setup and it works wonders.

  40. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Everyone – So, a few things to follow up on from a number of comments.

    1. I actually switched my utilities to water and wind power about a year go (for my business, too) and I buy carbon credits on top of that, so I am okay with the energy usage.

    2. This is NOT intended to replace other activities that I love, this is much more just a replacement for sitting in front of a computer, rather than my sole form of exercise. It’s equally comfortable, but WAY healthier than sitting at a desk for hours and hours. As I mentioned in the column, I do yoga, run on trails, mountain bike and do all sorts of other things that I really enjoy and will continue to do. Though, especially, because I do those things less in the cold winter, being on the treadmill while I type is a big help.

    3. Yup, I totally understand this is not a serious cardio workout, I do other things for that.

    Big point – I just started this regime and the plan is not so much to replace the activities that I love, but to replace the sitting that previously accompanied my computer time.

    And, thanks so much for the recommendations about how to broadcast the TV signal to the monitor, will definitely check out the various options offered.

    Awesome comments and questions, everyone, have a great day!

  41. I think this is a great idea! When I get back to Canada this month I’m going to see if we still have a treadmill somewhere. I swear we did.

  42. Keely says:

    I also walk & compute in this fashion, although I admit to picking up the tempo quite a bit when I’m breezing through RSS feeds that take so much of my day (over 5km/hr). I put my MacBook on this specialty stand I bought that has articulating arms and weights on the base (unfortunately I can’t find the website of the vendor from which I purchased the stand originally) and it works very well. I also watch my Slingbox when all the reading and typing gets too much. 🙂

    I highly recommend it if you are “confined” to your desk at home for hours a day – your metabolism will thank you for it!

  43. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Jonathan – Go for it, man, good luck finding that old treadmill!

    @ Keely – Yeah, I think I am actually going to try playing with picking up the pace a bit when I doing more “surfing” type activities on the computer and see how that affects both my ability to compute and my energy for my other “fun-based” activities. I’ll report back soon!

  44. Justin says:

    For watching tv on a Mac, as I assume that’s what you have since you use the keyboard and mouse, Elgato’s EyeTV is great. I bought it about 2 months ago, and it has worked great for me.

  45. DJ says:

    To start off with, I think this is a pretty good idea. I imagine that it has to be much nicer to be moving and typing than to be just sitting in front of a desk. I will have to say that the 600 calories burned from walking is likely a stretch. There’s a really great article article from a researcher at Duke University that discusses the difference between net and gross energy used during exercising. The moral of the story is that what you’re doing is really healthy, but it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to add an extra 600 calories to your diet.

  46. […] Love this idea of simple multitasking, keeping the blood flowing while computing. Do want. How I burn 600 calories a day blogging [Awake At The […]

  47. ThatTallGuy says:

    Looks great except for one thing — you are carpal tunnel waiting to happen with your wrists bent back so far.

    Angle the keyboard the other way (i.e. tip the number row down) or find some other way of straightening out your wrists.

  48. […] How I burn 600 calories a day blogging […]

  49. Rod says:

    Working while walking or even light running is definitely a growing trend. I have many online meetings that are an hour or two in length with twenty or more people. The meetings are primarily discussions with headsets abd mics in an online classroom. This is an ideal time for me to use my own modified treadmill. I’m still searching for a wireless headset and mic as the wires can be a bit of a safety concern. Keep on treadputing and getting off your butt.

  50. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ ThatTallGuy – thanks for the tip about keyboard angle, I will definitely check into that and make sure I set it up with good ergonomics!

  51. […] for me at work.  Check out the gallery below of this life changing setup. >Lifehacker>Jonathon Fields [Show as […]

  52. […] Learn more about how a freelance writer / blogger might use this tool here. […]

  53. […] said that being in front of your computer could make you fat? You could burn 600 calories while reading some news in google reader or do your daily blog […]

  54. Phil Leitch says:

    I love this. I’ve been looking for something to replace my current desk which is just your standard old desk. I wanted to find something that used less space and possibly even one that had me standing. I also wanted to mount my iMac to the wall reducing even more the amount of desk space I needed.

    Right now sitting opposite my desk is my treadmill. After reading this I am now thinking I can kill two birds with one stone. Not only do I get a new desk but I’ll also get a smaller footprint desk and free up the space where the treadmill currently is.

    This is brilliant.

  55. […] more easily, with something like bike pedals under my desk or a cool treadmill desk like seen on Awake at the Wheel. That picture below (see site for picture) is little old me walking 1 mile per hour while […]

  56. memobug says:

    How’s about using a laptop on that tray? The ergonomics might not be ideal, but it seems like it would be fine for web browsing.

  57. […] How I burn 600 calories a day blogging […]

  58. Lane says:

    I’m not committed to this project yet, but I’m off to a good start. It turned out that a pre-finished 3’x1′ shelf from Lowe’s is exactly the right dimensions for my treadmill. The treadmill arms are the right height and non-slip. The only difficulty is that, at only 1 mph, the belt is kind of squeaky… well, that and trying to find a way to fit the treadmill in my home office!

  59. viola says:

    Hi Jonathan – this is a ‘bloody’ good idea. Maybe I should get myself a treadmill. Not only could I write, burn of some calories, I have also had a ‘nasty’ accident abou 5 months ago. I fractured the inside AND outside of my right ankle, had to have surgery (plates and screws…VERY painful)… and I need to walk a lot for my exercise… one mile per hour sounds good to me 🙂

    VERY good idea!

  60. […] Treadmill desk at home: Whaaaa??? You heard right! That picture below is little old me walking 1 mile per hour while blogging…at my desk. I’m there from 8:30am t 12:30pm, five day a week now. And, here’s the amazing thing (… read more) […]

  61. […] [From How I burn 600 calories a day blogging | Awake At The Wheel | Personal Growth | careers | entreprene…] […]

  62. […] [From How I burn 600 calories a day blogging | Awake At The Wheel | Personal Growth | careers | entreprene…] […]

  63. Ok, you see, now THAT’s just cool.

    multitasking in such a way that makes your heart smile 🙂

  64. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ memobug – tried getting away with just plopping my notebook down on the shelf/desktop, but the downward angle and small screen were bad news. Wouldn’t do it for more than a few minutes.

    @ viola – just make sure you take it easy and do what’s right for your ankle. I am actually just getting over a foot injury from trail running, myself, so the pace has been really therapeutic for me, too.

  65. leslie says:

    I love this idea. I am a professional writer and sit for as much as 12 hours a day. I am prone to headaches and wear glasses – does this make the words on the screen move a lot or give you vision problems?

  66. Brad Rhoads says:

    We’ve gotten a social network started around this topic. Please join us at

  67. This is great! Once I get to the point where I can work from home I want to try this!

  68. friarminor says:

    Whoa! Guess she’s your precious kid in the pic! Gave me an idea! For almost sometime now I’m lugging my kid who prefers to sit on my lap while watching Youtube vids on a desktop while my left hand is working on a Macbook while the treadmill gathers dust.

    Thank God I’m no coder.


  69. I’m a writer and spend lots of time sitting and I did this exact thing with my stationary bike last year. I loosened the handlebars and positioned them backwards and balanced the keyboard on it. It was great except for dealing with the mouse.

  70. will says:

    Put a slingbox on you cable/dvr box and watch it on any computer/cellphone connected to the internet. Problem solved!

  71. […] wet cold and windy outside. He’s found a solution however that allows him to “burn 600 calories a day blogging” – a treadmill […]

  72. Jake says:

    That is a great idea!

  73. Jeff F. says:

    Jogging & Walking is by far the best exercise you can do. Whether you do it on a treadmill, as described in this post, or just walk around your blog a couple times a week….. It is by far the best way to trim down, and be overall healthier person…

    …also, proper diet plays a role too. Great Post!!

  74. […] Blogging. The new way to lose weight. […]

  75. Dom says:

    Nice job! Glad to see it’s working well for you.
    Do you FEEL or LOOK healthier at all compared to before?
    Also, do you think you’ll make the big move to 2mph or even 3mph sometime? 🙂


  76. Reality says:

    Truth is that those calorie calculations, especially on machines like your treadmill are almost pure fiction. Walking at 1mph is likely only burning you ~300 calories. However, never underestimate the placebo effect.

  77. ryan says:

    This man is a genius!

    I have always wanted a small cycle thing under my desk. I joke that if all web heads did this then you could tall in public from people with massive legs. Look that dude is buff what does he do… he blogs dude… all day…

    But this is even better.

  78. JC says:

    A low-tech alternative is to sit on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair. It’s cheaper, doesn’t take up more space, and doesn’t use electricity. I got the idea from a PBS program that showed a 5th grade class using them instead of chairs. It doesn’t tell you calories-burned, of course, and it exercises different muscle groups (core more than legs, I think). But the more pro-active you are about it (e.g., sitting with your feet together uses more energy than than sitting with your feet apart), the more you’ll feel it. For me it’s been a great addition to my fitness / weight-loss program.

  79. Not only does this make sense from a health perspective, but it’s probably doing your brain a whole lot of good too. As per studies reported by John Medina who reckons because we evolved on the move, our brains work best when we’re active 😉


  80. I’ve revisited this entry so many times since you first posted it. “That’s a great idea”, I kept telling myself. “But I don’t have a treadmill.”

    Well, I do now. Or, rather, I’ve got one on the way and I can’t wait to get it set up so I can start burning calories while blogging. Six hundred calories per day is amazing now matter how you look at it, but to be able to burn them AND still have time to blog? Priceless.

    Thank you so much for this.

  81. […] blast through Lifehacker posts a few weeks ago, this post called Burn 600 Calories a Day Typing (source) caught my eye. Long story short, Jonathan Fields built a fancy keyboard for his treadmill and he […]

  82. […] a while back I read over at Lifehacker about a man who has rigged his computer so he can type while walking on his treadmill. He’s burning 600+ calories a day doing what he’d been doing for years: working online. […]

  83. […] the creative approach Jonathan Fields has taken with his own working environment. He literally turned his treadmill into a desk and walks while he works. Brilliant.If you’re looking for other ways to keep a healthy and […]

  84. Roger Moore says:

    Great post Jonathan!
    Do they make the desk for an exercise bike?

    It really can be easy to pick up a few extra steps each day just by walking a minute here and a minute there.

    Roger Moore

  85. […] a web worker can implement. Want to burn calories and work on a computer? Look no further than the treadmill desk, as shared to me by Jonathan Fields. A very quick hack can get you working on your treadmill in no […]

  86. sue says:

    I have been at a treadmill desk of my own now for 2 months. First, it works. I had back issues that have disappeared. I sleep like a baby at night and during the day I feel like I am on drugs….the good kind, endorphins. I walk 6 – 8 miles a day in my home office and sweating is not an issue unless I want to ramp it up a little while I am reading on the internet. I have lost 18 pounds already so I am a convert. The cost of the WalkStation is a concern for me but there is another product that offers more flexibility to use you own treadmill during the day as a desk and for exercise after work. It is called the TrekDesk. Pricing isnt set yet but it states on the TrekDesk website that it is going to be very affordable. They also are offering a pretty snazzy exercise ball chair that swings onto the treadmill (or off) for those moments when you have to sit. The website is and has a lot of information on studies which focus on the long term benefits of walking.

  87. Chris says:

    Jonathan it’s friggin’ brilliant. I used to be a personal trainer on my feet all day and about a year ago I transitioned into a marketer… sitting on my butt all day in my home office. Even though I enjoy marketing more than training I have definitely packed on a few pounds. I do the same amount of good eating and exercise as before but instead of running around making my clients exercise I sit behind a lap top and cell phone now.

    I think what you’re doing with the treadmill is awesome. I have a buddy who does it with a stationary bike and loves it. I need to get my butt into gear and do something similar as well

    Totally cool!

  88. V1 says:

    That is a sweet setup I need to make something like that for myself (the belly keeps growing not the muscles)
    What do you call blogging/jogging?
    bjogging, jlogging, maybe blogjob hmmm that almost sounds dirty..

  89. […] is an interesting post by Jonathan Fields on blogging on this treadmill. This idea has been around for a while now. Here […]

  90. Herb C. says:

    That’s a pretty smart idea…. I’m the same way, I have to pace when I’m on the phone. If I’m sitting at my desk, I’m always tapping & shaking one of my legs. It’s like I have to constantly move, in order to think straight.

    I jog every morning before work. But, I’ve never tried walking at 1mph on a treadmill. I bet it’s sooooooo slow that you barely feel like you’re walking. When I’m jogging, it’s like I have the ability to clear my head and think. That’s when I come up with the best ideas.

  91. That’s cool Jonathan. It is really true that doing the stuff you like won’t make you feel you’re actually doing it. I too like having the ability to exercise while working my butt off at the office, but not a treadmill. I just don’t like treadmills because for me, it only benefits the lower part of my body and gives all the shock to my knees whenever I try recoiling my legs.

    Instead, I use a compact home gym. It fits nicely in the corner of my office and allows me either a quick, effective workout during lunch or I take ten minutes here and ten minutes there. By the end of the day I have relieved a lot of stress and I am in the best shape of my life.

  92. […] agree with that. But do we have time? Can we find time is a better question here. You could be like Jonathan Fields who burns 600 calories a day while blogging. I would rather say to wake up a little extra perhaps. Don’t complain on waking up early as […]

  93. scott says:

    I am just curious? Are you still using this treadmill desk? Have you tweaked it?

  94. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Scott – Funny you ask, I actually broke my foot fairly early into my treadmill desk career and had to stop using it about two months ago. I am just about to return to regular shoes tomorrow and am hoping to get back to it asap.

    Before I got injured, though, I did discover a number of changed that needed to be made in the design and I am preparing a “roadtest” update post to go live in the next few weeks.

  95. sciencemax says:

    This is a fantastic article. it takes your mind into different dimension you cant think of. Thank you very much. i really enjoyed it.

  96. […] learned how to blog and work-off 600 calories at the same […]

  97. Rose says:

    I need to get myself one of these. lol

  98. Dave Navarro says:

    Just moved my treadmill into the home office and am working from home 2 days a week.

    Looking forward to doing some goooooood walking tomorrow.

  99. Awesome idea! I actually make and sell workout videos for a living. I am surrounded by people who workout non-stop, yet, I too find myself stuck behind a computer screen for hours on end! I own that exact treadmill – the modifications begin tomorrow!

  100. Kevin says:

    You’re my inspiration. I work at my desk, with a great treadmill in the basement which I never find the time to use. I’m building a treadmill desk this weekend.


  101. Orla says:

    People should read this.

  102. Akavar says:

    that is an ingenious idea. i would never have guess that walking that slowly could burn that many calories. cool that its working out for you!

  103. Ryke says:

    WHooaa that’s amazing piece of treadmill.
    Being a gamer freak i think i should mod my treadmill into gaming zone. Glue my PS3 on the handle. Or perhaps i should get wii fit:)

  104. Kevin says:


    With a new house, there were many priorities, but I finally built my shelf for my pro-form treadmill, and I’m trying it out on a Sunday morning. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I’ve got to attach it a little securely, but so far so good.


  105. Jeff says:

    This is a great idea although I wouldn’t recommend it for running. It would be good for a stationary bike as well.

    I’m going to have to start doing this workout.

  106. Olivier says:

    I have a white trash treadmill desk setup.
    It features a $100 Phoenix Easy-Up 516 Manual Treadmill, a $400 I-Inc iF-281DPB 28″ Widescreen LCD Monitor and a plywood box resting on the treadmill arm to elevate the $40 Logitech wireless keyboard & mouse by “10. I can send the pictures if anybody is interested.

  107. Melissa says:

    Hi! I have been checking out these treadmill desk ideas and think I may have to do it! I work from home and have to stay attached to the computer 9-5, so I think this will be a good change for my poor body! I also do Yoga, but start out so stiff after sitting all day! Anyhow – Can you elaborate on your design – looks like the shelf is just sitting across the bars of the treadmill – is it attached at all? (sorry if you already answered this – I couldn’t read all of the many many commments!) And – I would totally join a group to raise funds for a good cause – once I have mine up and “running” (pun intended) I’ll let you know. Thanks!

  108. Lane Lester says:

    Melissa, as far as attaching the shelf goes, you might or might not need to. I just bought a prefinished 3′ shelf from Home Depot, and the nonslip surface of the arms keeps it in one spot. And I know what you mean about reading all comments; blogs are not great places for conversations. At least you can subscribe to a post by email; that’s how I knew to come back and respond to your comment.

  109. Check out my White Trash Treadmill Desk on

    White trash treadmill desk setup:

    $100 Phoenix Easy-Up 516 Manual Treadmill

    $400 I-Inc iF-281DPB 28? Widescreen LCD Monitor

    Plywood box resting on the treadmill arm to elevate the $40 Logitech wireless keyboard & mouse by “10.

    If you have any question, feel free to email me:
    oschreiber.ae90 at gtalumni dot org

  110. Melissa Gassert says:

    Thanks for the response, Lester – much appreciated. Well I got a basic treadmill from Craigslist for $95 – the handles are slanted and short, so I set up the extra leaf for my dining room table on stacks of boxes, and it’s working very well so far! It may be even more white trash than Olivier’s thought! Will look for a better/more stable shelf system this weekend. I’ve officially joined the work-walkers – hooray!

  111. Just set up a blog for my work-walking journey –

    Also – sorry Lance – in my previous comment, I called you by your last name!

    So…when does the fundraiser begin, Jonathan? Let’s do it!

  112. Steven says:

    This is an excellent article. it takes your mind into different reality you cant think of. Thank you very much. i really enjoyed it.

  113. Jeremy Colon says:

    Wow, it would take a tremendous amount of concentration for me to do that! It’s hard enough talking on the cell phone driving let alone working out while typing!

  114. Brad Rhoads says:

    @Jeremy Colon You walk at 1-2 MPH max, so it takes very little concentration. In fact, it pretty quickly becomes unconscious.

    We now have a community of > 1 treadmill desk users at Come on over and ask any questions you might have.

  115. shonofear says:

    nicely done,
    seems like its sparked a lot of interest,
    ive been looking into this for the last few weeks now and am ready to buy into 1.
    I say give it a crack, no harm done.

  116. […] The more I think about it, the less I think sitting at a desk is conducive to stimulation and creativity. I find my body stiffening, and it slowly seems to tighten the edges of my brain. I sit on one of those giant exercise balls, and the bouncing ability definitely calms some of my fidgeting. But I’ve been having visions lately of inventing some sort of writer’s easel — except an easel that would allow me to wander around the room! Sounds crazy, but it’s not too many steps past Jonathan Fields’ ingenious treadmill desk. […]

  117. Sotos says:

    I had the same Idea about this, but I didnt try it out. I have a 24″ monitor on a 5 ft stand, but no treadmil. I have a bike though!

  118. shonofear says:

    hey there,
    i currently dont have the treadmill setup but have got a mini exercise bike under my custom put together desk (still require 24+ screen) and pedal my days away whilst doing constant computer work and with a wacom tablet.
    its called the and doesn’t make any noise what so ever.
    heres a a few pics of me setup,
    i still want to get the treadmill desk in action cause nothing beats standing up/walking for the legs. but at least the mini bike is portable especially for my kind of work 😛

  119. Lisa says:

    In answer to your question about TV for your wife. If you go to a site called they have both previously aired tv shows and movies.

  120. Very innovative idea. I think the successful businessman in 2009 is all about multi tasking, getting many different things done effectively by being creative.

  121. Raaj says:

    I have always believed in doing physical exercises every day. After all, you just have one body and you got to keep it fit to keep it going….It would be good for you!
    Your having tread mill beside a working desk is a good idea too…

  122. Great idea. While I think it might take a bit to get used to walking and working, (like chewing gum and walking I suppose, ;), I think it’s a great idea for those of us who currently sit at a desk. I’d like to look into actually building something that powers my system as well to save on energy too.

  123. I’ve rigged something up on my exercise bike that allows me to blog as well.
    Its fantastic because you are killing two birds with one stone so to speak.

  124. Jeremy Colon says:

    I think the toughest thing about what you do Jonathon is staying committed to the task.

    Very unique idea, but it takes willpower and a will to want to get in shape (something I wish I had more of!)

  125. Batman says:

    You know, the machine is not smart at calculating the calories burned.

    I think it will calculate the calories burned based on assuming you are jogging. Walking slowly should burn less than what it estimates, so I guess you are burning less than you think.

    But anyway, beats sitting down…

  126. Lori says:

    I have a set up something the same. Or I use to till someone used my piece of wood after our move. 🙂

    But I will get it back in action and get back in motion.

    I had and will have again my set up of.

    My laptop, cordless phone, portable DVD player, Wii and Xbox wireless controllers as well as all the extra remotes for the TV etc.

    Is is a brilliant idea and I always wished they would come out with a model that had shelves and side tables. (I use folding chairs.

    My set up will be in the living room this time as my office in the new house is QUITE CROWDED. 🙂

    Enjoy and thanks for sharing.

  127. This is a pretty awesome idea!! I was just reading a Squidoo lens on this – I honestly love this idea, and will probably give it a shot (could do with losing the extra calories after christmas hehe)

    I also think it deserves an article on my website – great post 😀

  128. Very creative. I can’t believe anyone would really do that though. On one hand many people need to get in the zone to workout, but on the other a fully loaded desk would completely take their minds off the torture.

  129. […] How I burn 600 calories a day blogging | Jonathan Fields […]

  130. […] How I burn 600 calories a day blogging | Jonathan Fields (tags: exercise walking health lifehacks office) […]

  131. Jonas says:

    cool blog
    that treadmill rocks

  132. Romoel Cano says:

    OMG…that treadmill rocks indeed.
    Do your legs even tire of walking?

  133. […] How I Burn 600 Calories a Day Blogging […]

  134. Nathan says:

    I still really like this idea and am thinking about doing it, but my wife just pointed out something interesting. When treadmills report the number of calories burned, they estimate your body’s *total* burn, not just what is burned through the exercise. It turns out when walking that slowly, the vast majority of the burn is through standard metabolic processes. See this chart:

    Calories burned per hour –
    sitting – writing, desk work, typing: 137
    walking, less than 2.0 mph, very slow: 152

    So you burn 600 calories in 4 hours of slow walking… but you burn 540 calories if you spent the same 4 hours sitting at your desk! Makes it somewhat less impressive unfortunately.

  135. I’ve never actually heard of any ideas like this at all… That’s a pretty sweet idea, I’m surprised that you don’t get tired at all, I guess one MPH is pretty slow though and I’ve found my legs get more tired just standing then when I’m walking, anyways great idea.

  136. Anthonyws says:

    I would like to do the same thing but with a stationary bike. Anyone got ideas? Cycling involves a more stationary torso and upper section which makes it easier to type.

    • Anthonyws, I will certainly be interested in your experience but you would be surprised to to see that it is easier to type while walking than cycling.The human body and sensory system is adapted to walking–not so to cycling. As a result, you will find yourself constantly having to remind yourself to keep pedaling because you will be stopping every time you type.

  137. Anthonyws says:

    this is a duplicate comment to indicate email updates for comments / responses… sorry…

  138. Great setup, it had me LOL because I have no idea how you can type a legible blog post while exercising. I prefer to use a DVD player and I watch a movie for 90 minutes and burn 1500 calories rather than watch it from the couch and burn 30.

  139. This is a great idea. I’ve seen other setups before but your post made it sound like something I can do in my office. I like the idea of watching movies too. Guess it’s time to get off my butt and start walking!

    As you stated, the direct calorie burn is a much smaller number, but remember, your metabolism is stimulated for hours after you stop walking, so there really is a significant additional calorie burn.

  140. This is very intuitive. I like it. Great idea, Jonathan. I’ll have to add this to my pre-summer workouts. Keep up the good work.

  141. This is really interesting since I really love walking.

  142. jeff says:

    Nice post Jonathan. You made a really nice treadmill desk there. I had an idea of making a treadmill desk out of manual treadmills I just don’t know if it would work. Well, anyway like you I also work for long hours in front of the computer for some years and I must say that I am losing the time to burn my calories plus I have enough of social night outs, my belly goes bigger every month. I need to do something and I think making myself a treadmill desk is worth a try. Thank you for this informative post.

  143. That’s a killer set up! I have seen that done at a few offices around the country on TV. It’s a shame that’s not an option in more offices and more homes. Cheers to you for being so creative!

  144. Zak Foster says:

    Silly little things to burn calories and lose weight can all add up over time, things likt jogging having a brisk walk with the dog, or even not having that second packet of crisps can help.

  145. I would love something like this. Sitting at the computer all day is not good with my back problems. Sometimes my legs and feet go numb and I have to get up and move around.

    I always think how nice it would be to have a desk that I could stand up and work on, but this is even better since you get can burn some calories as well. Amazing…going to have to get me one.

  146. Alex Abreu says:


    Very brilliant! I need this, as I spend way too much time on the computer.

  147. Heather says:

    Excellent idea, I am definetly investing in a new treadmill as the one I have will need some adjustment and fitting. good stuff

  148. David says:

    Absolutly brilliant. Unfortunatly i sold my treadmill two years ago. Maybe ist time to buy a new one 🙂

  149. Brock says:

    This is really coo! My friend was just telling me how she started standing up at work (with a laptop stand) and how this makes her more productive and less tired. You’ve taken it one step further (no pun intended)!

  150. Vincent says:

    Man, this is an older post, but still relevant. I love the idea of a treadmill as a desk. You should make sure the safety device is hooked up if it is up against the wall though especially if kids are around.

  151. Patrick says:

    Jon, I think it is so great you get a workout while blogging. Seems like such a simple concept but never thought of it myself. Keep up with your workouts and stick to the blogging, seems to be working for you. Now I just need to get myself a treadmill.

  152. Steve says:


    Love the idea but I still love to get out and suck in that fresh air while I am jogging.

    Although I must admit sitting in my wobbly ole chair until 4:00pm doesn’t do my back any good and so walking on a treadmill would benefit my back… Now you have me thinking…

  153. Steve says:

    Not the same Steve as directly above. Way to make your idea happen man. I wish I had the ability to make these sorts of things happen as I feel like I always have great ideas like this but then disregard it, thinking of I have no way to make it happen. Exercise check. Blogging/Maybe socializing/making money too while exercising check.

    Sorry man – not to totally bring you down but 1 mph is a quarter of the speed of the average walker. Wait, they are not typing though nor trying not to spill coffee. So who knows. I’d not be able to walk 4 mph carrying a laptop and mug.


  154. Brian Ball says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Cool that you did this post many years ago. When you think about all the ADD symptoms caused by lots of multi-tasking, too much caffeine and the like, this movement system makes a lot of sense. I wish I had found it when you did.

    Keep up the great work. My copy of Uncertainty is arriving today.

  155. Shawn McAfee says:

    Wow, very cool concept. I think that is an absolutely great idea to just keep walking at 1mph. I wonder if there is a way to set that up on a spin bicycle…

  156. Just throwing out another +1 for the treadmill desk four years later. I rigged up a simple little desktop out of plywood and mounted an LCD to the wall and love it as well. Been using it a few times a week for nine months now, though I haven’t committed to all day walking yet! Between this and standing desks at work and home I feel dramatically better and have lost almost 40lbs in that time.

    As it got easier I now generally walk with 8lb ankle weights and an incline at about 2mph. I didn’t quite realize the effect until last month I went on a deep woods photo hike in the SC mountains and was taken aback at how not-tired I was.

  157. Hey Jonathan,

    I know you have undoubtedly answered this question somewhere in the comments, but my eyes are straining from reading them. Can you tell me how much the treadmill desk has impacted your electricity bill? Does the low setting cost much extra if you use it all the time?

    I’ve already installed one of my own, but I’m renting my friend’s place. I don’t want them to freak out about the electricity usage (even thought I’ll happily pay the bill -this is awesome).

    -Ted Bendixson

  158. Mike says:

    I don’t think I would get used to moving while working, it just doesn’t seem natural for me. I think I’d rather reserve distinct hours for my physical exercises and work sessions. Although the treadmill technique seems to be very time efficient. Thanks for the article Jonathan.

  159. […] just for kicks and giggles, this link from Jonathan Fields, Awake @the […]

  160. […] on how to make work less static – from the clever (like a WorkRave) to the eccentric (like a Treadputer – also covered by the NYT here). Lots of novel ideas but I needed something effective and […]