Be Fit With Biray

Your guide to Exercising the Web

Archive for September, 2007

Virtually Physical

September 28, 2007 By: Be Fit With Biray Category: Be Online, Be in the Game 1 Comment →

Be Online Be in the GameThe virtual world, Second Life, seems to be gaining more momentum, especially in the health and fitness arena. In fact, CNN featured an article on how Second Life is becoming an experimental platform for testing new ideas. Here’s an excerpt:

“In one YouTube clip a man is seen exercising on a treadmill in front of a large plasma screen that displays scenes from Second Life. Using the wireless controller from Nintendo’s Wii console, he appears to indicate which scenery he would like to jog “through” on the screen. If that’s a workable concept, the fitness equipment industry might like to know about it.” – Steve Mollman

Here is the YouTube clip the article references:

Similarly, Island Worlds is also exploring similar ideas of connecting fitness equipment with virtual worlds. I’ve ventured extensively in this world, as well, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure how it will translate into traditional health & fitness culture. Could this type of fitness delivery appeal to an entirely different audience than those we see coming to the commerical gyms and fitness facilities?

Healthcare Blogging & Social Media Summit – I’m back!

September 25, 2007 By: Be Fit With Biray Category: Be Fit 'Round da World, Just Be Fit 2 Comments →

Just Be Fit Be Fit Round the World
Did you know that Chicago was nicknamed the “Windy City” NOT because of their weather (although there is a lot of wind blowing), but because back when Chicago politicians campaigned, their speaches were simply thought to have been “blowing a lot of wind.”  Isn’t that hilarious?!

Anyway, my trip to Chicago was both professionally and personally refreshing.  Not only did I attend the Healthcare Blogging & Social Media Summit in downtown Chicago, but I spent some time being a tourist, as well.

First, let me tell you about the conference:
The conference was attended by healthcare and medical professionals who wanted to learn how blogging and social media tools might help to promote health and medicine.  Although my focus is slightly different from this audience, I was still able to pull relevant information to apply to the health, fitness, and wellness industry.

It’s a bit jarring when you’re at a health conference and 99% of the participants in the room are Twittering live and exchanging Facebook profiles instead of emails.  In one session which specifically addressed health-related blogs, a presenter asked if anyone was currently blogging (she meant, as in, did anyone have their own blog).  When one person raised his laptop and answered “I was, but I just lost my connection,” everyone laughed – he thought she had asked if anyone was blogging live during the session.  To say the audience was technologically-savvy would have been an understatement.

Most of us have at least heard of the term “blog.”  We either have one (whether we maintain it or not is another question) or keep hearing we should ‘get’ one.  (Why do I get the feeling that not having a blog on the web is like not having a fingerprint on your hand – you may exist, but your identity is unknown.)  The conference was less about “what is a blog and how can it be an effective tool in health” and more about discussing the deficiencies in healthcare (with regards to consumer care) and how blogging might be utilized to combat these issues.

According to Pew/Internet, 80% of Americans resort to the web for health-related information.  But what’s even more interesting, about 34% rely on user-generated content (such as a blog) to help in their decisions about health.  People are less hesitant to check a brand or company website directly.  They are more likely to rely on someone “just like them” for advice.  A popular example of this is the New2HIV blog - Dan, who was diagnosed with HIV recounts his medical experiences, shares his symptoms, and expresses his emotional side as an HIV patient.  If he were to say something bad/good about a medication, it would probably impact the consumer more heavily than the millions of marketing dollars used to promote that product.  This is one reason why healthcare and medical professions are interested in the roles social media and blogging have with consumers.  All very interesting stuff, I thought.

Social media policy was another topic discussed – in other words, what is the hospital’s or pharmaceutical company’s policy on implementing social media into their marketing?  For example, who is allowed to post on a blog and what are they limited (or unlimited) to say?  In a field where everything is heavily regulated, having some control seems necessary.  But if you have control over a blog, doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose of the blog itself?  Isn’t the goal to have a forum for honest commentary on products and services?  Or what if the policy decides to not strictly control blogs.  If people begin blogging about things that are disconcerting (i.e. side effects of certain medications, poor doctor services, etc.) will medical professionals be liable if they are aware of these concerns?  Valid questions – no clear answers, yet.  As a consumer myself, I know I’m not alone in my attitude towards healthcare.  I am certainly skeptical and unsettled by what I see (or don’t see).  And this is probably a second reason why healthcare and medical professionals want to utilize social media – it could allow for more transparency and create a human side in healthcare.

I could go on, but I’ve touch on two conceptual take-aways from the conference.  Overall, I’m glad I went.  I met some amazing people and gained a new perspective within this big, crazy world of health-something… care? war? market? commercial?

Second, a few site-seeing features:
Although I hardly spent any time in Chicago, I did get the opportunity to see several nearby attractions.  Of course, you can’t be in downtown Chicago and miss Millenium Park.  And being a lover of live music, I had to check out Buddy Guy’s Legends.  As you know, nobody leaves the city without “singin’ the blues!”

Biray at Millenium Park     Blues

Conclusion: I will definitely find a reason to come back to Chicago!

Healthcare Blogging & Social Media Summit

September 15, 2007 By: Be Fit With Biray Category: Be Fit 'Round da World No Comments →

Be Fit Round the World
This weekend I’m heading off to Chicago to attend the 3rd Annual Healthcare Blogging & Social Media Summit.  I’m looking forward to the trip because it will be my first time in the Windy City (and of course, it’s all about new media technologies)!  I will blog about my experience when I return next Wednesday!

Thanks to everyone who will be subbing my classes while I’m gone!

Netflix FITS!

September 14, 2007 By: Be Fit With Biray Category: Be Online No Comments →

Be Online

NetflixNever underestimate the power of convenience!  And no company knows that better than Netflix - an entertainment powerhouse, delivering ‘Hollywood’ to my doorsteps (I’ve moved several times since signing up) for the past 6 years.

They’ve recently upgraded their services to include the “Watch Instantly” feature.  Now, members can view movies immediately on their computers with one press of a button!  No downloading – no waiting for the mail.  Things are getting faster!  Depending on your membership, subscribers are allotted a certain amount of ‘watching time’ per month.

How can personal trainers benefit from this feature?  Well, of course Netflix has a long list of fitness-related DVDs available to watch instantly.  Netflix caters to millions of subscribers nationwide – could your client be one of them?  Recommending a client to supplement his/her workout with a fitness DVD is not anything new.  But from a clients’ POV, if they have to buy a fitness DVD or take time to rent one or find someone to borrow it from, it’s already too much work.  (You’ll probably hear “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it,” or “I’ve been meaning to rent it, but that James Bond movie looked so much better,” or my favorite, “The open-24-hours Blockbuster was closed.”)  But given Netflix’s resources, if your clients are already queuing movies and are online anyway, perhaps an instant workout might not be as big of a leap.  (Oh, and before you argue that people don’t workout in front of their computers… in today’s techno-driven culture, it might not be wise to assume that anymore).

And for group exercise instructors?  We all know that DVDs can be a great source of information and ideas for our classes.  Now that you can watch them online and instantly, no need to wait 1-2 days for the DVD to arrive.  Simply watch parts or all of it (perhaps even before class) to get your inspiration, and deliver a successful and fresh workout to your members!

Enjoy your resources!

Your Facebook is Runlicious!

September 05, 2007 By: Be Fit With Biray Category: Be Connected, Be Online No Comments →

Be Online  Be Connected
Is it just me or is Facebook one of life’s best little addictions?  I’ve been keeping my profile active, logging in at least once a day, hoping to find out if there’s more to this online social networking than making and reconnecting with new and old friends.

As most of you know, it’s running season again and I have a list of races I’d like to participate in this year (first one is this weekend).  However, I’m really having trouble staying motivated with my runs.  My running partner, Jen, opted out of training this season for personal reasons.  So I’m left to my own devices.  And let’s just say those devices are working in favor of a lazy training season.

I’ve decided to turn to Facebook for support.  Friends, strangers – if you’re out there, I need you!  I’ve loaded 3 applications on my Facebook profile that function specifically for runners to help them keep track of their regimen.

(NOTE: A Facebook application is a program embedded on your profile.  Usually it does something insignificant such as report the weather, list your favorite movies, predict your horoscope, pet your virtual animal.  They tend to have one useless function – so it’s not uncommon to load tons of different apps on your profile.  Every once in a while, you find an app that is creative and very useful.)

The following applications are designed for logging miles and running statistics on Facebook.

RunLogger keeps track of how much you run, by distance and duration. It also lets your friends know about your running through mini-feeds and stats on your profile page.
This is the app I use – so if you notice I’m not logging my miles – ‘poke me’ and tell me to get on it.
RunliciousRunlicious also logs how much you run.  However, it specifically tracks which shoes you run in.  This is totally effective for those of us who have at least 2 or 3 pairs of running shoes.  You can monitor your friends’ running, as well as, share your PR’s with the world.


Run TimeRun Time! is an extention of the features from a website called  Run Time! tracks the date, time, pace, heart rate & other details about your runs.  Cool!

I’ve gotta say — although these apps are simply adorable and fun to play with… I wonder how effective they will be in keeping me on my game.


September 02, 2007 By: Be Fit With Biray Category: Be Online 2 Comments →

Be Online

As group fitness instructors, we sometimes find ourselves needing a little inspiration to jumpstart our creativity. Fortunately, the web continues to be a great resource for our community.

In 1996, many instructors began turning to for class ideas. It was perhaps the first popular forum for instructors to post and share class designs, exercise ideas, and (of course) step choreography routines with industry peers. Other sites, such as Fit Moves and Pedal-On, have also evolved since then. And the idea of utilizing the internet as a free platform to work collaboratively among each other continues to be exciting.

The chart below shows the statistics for the number of “patterns” or choreography that have been posted on since 1996. Notice how the numbers begin decreasing significantly by 2004.

Turnstep Stats

As an instructor who often defaults to Turnstep for ideas, I started wondering why contributions had started to decline. Was there somewhere else people were getting their ideas? Or more importantly, where were instructors posting their combos?

Fortunately, thanks to YouTube, an online destination where users upload and share their videos on the web (launched in early 2005), I didn’t have to go far to find my inspiration. Instructors were not just posting their routines online – but they were coupling them with VIDEO! (I don’t know about you, but trying to interpret text-based choreography was often my biggest frustration on Turnstep – I’m such a visual learner).

Let me introduce to “Lethal Leslie” and “Step Junkie” – by far amongst the coolest, most creative steppers on YouTube. These instructors not only offer great ideas for choreography, but individually break down each combo on their blogs. Below I’ve included one of my favorites from Step Junkie.

Good job ladies!! Thanks for the ideas and keep up the awesome work!