If you want to lose weight and inches, you should feel like you’re working out.  Meaning, if you are reading a book or magazine while you’re on a bike or stairmaster at the gym you’re not maximizing your results.  I say workout “smart”.  By this I mean, in order to get results in a shorter amount of time you should feel your muscles working, and your heart rate increasing.  If you are focused then it would be uncomfortable to workout while reading.  By staying focused on your workout, and working out “smart” you’ll get better results in a shorter amount of time.