Be Fit With Biray

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Archive for the ‘Just Be Fit’

IDEA World Fitness Convention – 2009

August 11, 2009 By: Biray Category: Be Connected, Be Fit 'Round da World, Be in the Game, Just Be Fit 2 Comments →

One of the reasons I return to IDEA conferences year after year is because their vision really resonates with me: “To Inspire the World To Fitness!” Every time I go, I am motivated by the energy of my fellow attendees, challenged by the new perspectives of my colleagues, and lured into buying stuff at the expo (though I’ll try not to spend any money this year – LOL).

Although I will be attending as presenter this year, I am looking forward to being educated, as well. So often we are wrapped up in our own field that we neglect to follow-up on research in other areas. Since exergaming and fitness technology are the main focus points of this blog, I often enjoy going to sessions that complement my knowledge – such as, lectures on stress & nutrition, workshops on creating successful boot camps, and cycling workouts that make me sweat.

This year I will be presenting the following sessions:

#105 and #185: R-KAIDE: The Newest Way To Score Points (Workout) (co-presenter Fred Hoffman)
#405: From R-KAIDE to the Aerobics Room: Video Games Get Active (Workshop) (co-presenter Fred Hoffman)

#248: Blogging Basics (Lecture)
#278: Marketing Your Blog in All the Right Places (Lecture)

#474: Managing a Multi-Generational Staff (Panel with Amanda Vogel and Fred Hoffman)

Over the next few days, I will be blogging my adventures here. Feel free to join me there!

Be Fit At SXSW

March 08, 2009 By: Biray Category: Be Connected, Be Online, Just Be Fit 1 Comment →

I am looking forward to my second year attending SXSW interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Although I am only able to stay for one day (Friday), this year I will be moderating a “Core Conversation” with co-facilitator David Eckoff.

Our session is entitled “Reduce MySpace between My Waist & Thighs so Wiki Live Longer” – the description is as follows: Is being too ‘plugged in’ 24/7 destroying your health? There’s good news: web 2.0 technologies can help you optimize your fitness! Come learn and discuss. Our session is Friday, March 13th at 5pm.

During our conversation, we hope to engage attendees in a discussion about the health consequences of living in a techno-driven world. Obviously, we all depend on technologies for many of our daily conveniences. And some would even argue this has enabled us in making our lives more sedentary. However, I think there could be more positive sides to our technological influences and believe people can actually use web 2.0 tools to improve their health and fitness, not take away from it.

I look forward to sharing some of these tools during our conversation and learning from David’s experiences, as well as, my fellow colleagues and SXSW participants at this year’s interactive.

Get ready to ‘rawk’

Another Opportunity for Fitness to Tech-Off!

September 03, 2008 By: Biray Category: Be Online, Just Be Fit No Comments →

In February of 2008 I posted my interview with Krista Leopold, blogger and creator of “Unleash the Power of Group Fitness. I had wanted to showcase her blog because I felt she provided a great example of using blogs to target group fitness instructors (which no one was doing effectively, at the time). Since our interview together, not only have I had the privilege to guest post on her blog, but had the pleasure of developing a professional relationship with a fellow group fitness colleague.

A few weeks ago Krista decided to interview me! I was rather surprised to be asked, actually. I’d never expected to entertain an interview about my own blog (since I was the one doing most of the interviews). But after answering her questions, I realized they challenged me to evaluate my own professional efforts and helped clarify my technological focus to another online audience.

Read the full interview as I share how my journey went from simply exercising to ‘exercising the web’!

Why Are Students Taking Health Ed in College?

September 01, 2008 By: Biray Category: Just Be Fit 1 Comment →

Just Be Fit
As an adjunct faculty at a community college in the Exercise Science / P.E. department, I often wonder why students decide to enroll in a basic-level, 101 health class (of all things) at the college level. I understand its significance in elementary school (I still remember the day the nurse came to my 5th-grade class for the big ’sex talk’). Even in junior high and high school, health education is justified. (How many remember attending a multi-media production of a ‘Don’t Do Drugs’ campaign in their school auditorium?). But a basic health class in college? I’m not suggesting that a refresher course is unnecessary (we can always learn a few more facts & details). But aren’t there other interesting classes on campus that students can take from our department – like exercise science, strength & conditioning, nutrition, stress management, sports psychology – or better yet, a more active classes like yoga, dance or indoor cycling? (Last year we offered Dance Dance Revolution for college credit!)

At the beginning of every semester, I always ask my students why they’ve signed up for my class. This is not an ego thing nor a first-day ditch effort to break the ice. I ask because I truly want to know, Why are you taking this class?”

Some students tell me they need an easy credit (these are the ones who usually drop my class when they find out I actually require participation). Most of them tell me they want to learn to be healthier, for instance, they wish to eat better. To that, I say, “Drink a lot of water, eat 5 fruits and veggies a day, and stay away from McDonald’s.” There you have it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t most college students know the differences between healthy behaviors and unhealthy ones. Sure, they may not spew out current stats and facts on every issue. But most know good from bad. Smoking = bad. Unprotected sex = bad. Fast food = bad. So why are they taking this entry-level class? They already know the basics.

Every semester I try and choose topics that seem relevant to the students to promote discussion about those issues. But often times I find myself learning more from (and about) my students than they seem to be learning from me. For instance, I’m surprised at the number of students who are dealing with a close relative who has had surgery for heart disease, or those who’ve lost parents and siblings to cancer. One student last semester lost her dad to cancer and was also taking her mother to chemo appointments. Another one this semester is preparing for gastric bypass. What can these students take away from my class they don’t already know?

Some students openly allude to having done drugs or drinking. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of those who directly lost a friend to drunk driving. Yet some still come hungover to class even after I’ve lectured on the unit about the effects of alcohol use. These are the students who have lived through Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings. And, those who are sexually active, risk 1 in 4 chance of contracting an STD. Times have changed. These kids know their risks. This isn’t high school anymore. So what do these students want to learn that they don’t already know?

Apparently, spewing facts and statistics about health-related topics is no longer effective anymore. If I tell them 3 out of 4 report insufficient physical activity, will they begin to be more active? If I tell them that 80% of all lung cancers are due to tobacco use – would they stop smoking? These students either come with knowledge (or know where to get it) or first-hand experiences with these health-related topics. If you were an 18 to 22 year-old student, why would you take a health class in college?

So, here I am again – first week of classes. Wondering. What is the purpose of my classes? And what can I do to make it more meaningful for those in attendance?

SXSW: Bringing Fitness to the Techies

August 18, 2008 By: Biray Category: Be Online, Just Be Fit No Comments →

One of the reasons why I started this blog over a year ago was to have a place to explore my thoughts on how new media technologies and video games were effecting health and fitness in all aspects (both in those who seek healthier lifestyles and professionals who help guide others to pursue one). And although there’s still plenty more to learn, I’ve discovered many interesting applications along the way that enhance our health and fitness initiatives – especially living in this techno-driven generation.

I went to SXSW-interactive last year and was underwhelmed by the health and fitness-related sessions. Granted, it’s a tech conference, but there were a few health/fitness themes. (For one, they had yoga classes in the mornings!) Anyway, of the few sessions that discussed health and fitness, none were too tech-intensive.

This year I said “NO MORE!”

I joined forces with media and technology executive, David Eckoff, and together we submitted a proposal! Here was a tech-guy (whom I had met on Twitter, btw) who was also interested in fitness! Perfect. After a few gmails back-and-forth, cross-continental skype sessions, and several google doc revisions – we finally came up with the following idea:

Reduce MySpace Between Waist & Thighs So Wiki Live Longer

Let’s face it, most of us in the Web 2.0 community lead a non-stop lifestyle, with jobs that keep us plugged in 24/7, online, time-starved and sedentary. And that could be killing us. Literally.

When Internet famous blogger Om Malik suffered a heart attack December 28, it was a wake up call that he needed to change his non-stop unhealthy lifestyle. “Living a healthier life isn’t just one of my New Year’s resolutions,” Malik wrote. “It’s doctor’s orders.” We know we should be taking better care of ourselves. We might even know a few things we could be doing. But how to get started? And how to keep it going with all the demands on our time? In this highly participatory session, discover how Web 2.0 platforms and technologies can help us achieve our health and fitness goals!

There are over 1200 sessions submitted to SXSW interactive this year. And popular vote definitely has some pull. We would love to have the opportunity to showcase innovative ways people are moving towards healthy behaviors by doing simple things online… can you say ‘Twittercise’? (No joke, this exists.)

Please click on the link above.
Create your SXSW account (it takes a few seconds).
Your VOTE is appreciated!

Cardio Coach in Person

July 28, 2008 By: Biray Category: Be Connected, Be in Tune, Just Be Fit No Comments →

San Diego - Biray and Sean OMalleyAbout 3 months ago, I wrote an extensive review of the fitness podcast Cardio Coach Vol. 1 workout, created by Sean O’Malley, founder and voice of Cardio Coach. I had been so impressed with his workouts that I’ve since included his other volumes as part of my personal fitness routine. A week ago I was on a business trip in southern California (Cardio Coach is based out of San Diego) where I met up with Sean for lunch to talk more about health, exercise, fitness and technology. Who was this man behind the science/technology of podcasting cardio?

“I teach a cycle class at 9:15 on Sunday mornings, too” he said on the phone prior to my making the flight arrangements for my trip. “You’re more than welcome to attend.” Cool, I thought. I can get an informal interview AND a great workout in one day! So, I booked a 6am flight out of Phoenix so I could make it in time to Sean’s class. After a physically challenging workout, I was definitely ready for some oceanside cuisine and good conversation.

I always find it fascinating when fitness professionals adopt current forms of technology and use it creatively to deliver exercise to their clients. Over 6 years ago, Sean started delivering his programs via audio to his dad to get him to exercise more. Once the idea gained momentum, he realized his efforts could turn into a business. Cardio Coach now has clients downloading workouts from around the world!

If you can’t tell by listening to him during the workouts, when you meet him you’ll know just how passionate Sean is about fitness. He’s always going beyond the ‘gym doors’ (if you will) by making sure his members and clients are enjoying each workout and meeting their fitness potential. During our conversation I discovered that Sean is just as genuine and ‘real’ in person as he is on his CDs/mp3s. He shared several inspiring stories of those clients whose lives have changed from listening to his workouts – something that he felt both humbled and inspired him throughout these years.

With so much creative potential and grounded spirit, I sense we will continue seeing Sean’s efforts cut across other arenas – not just in fitness. But in the meantime, I will continue to keep him in my playlist this training season.

Thank you, Sean, for taking time out of your Sunday to let me pick your fitness brain! Although I got a little too much San Diego sun, it was definitely worth it!

National Wellness Conference

July 25, 2008 By: Biray Category: Be Fit 'Round da World, Just Be Fit 3 Comments →

National Wellness InstituteThe National Wellness Conference (held every year at Stevens Point, Wisconsin) is perhaps the most inviting conference within the wellness industry. People always seem to come away having made deep new friendships and feeling professionally rejuvinated. At least, that has been my experience.

This year I was invited as a presenter to speak on various web 2.0 technologies and how they related to wellness. My first presentation “Stop, Blog, and Roll” discussed how health and wellness professionals could utilize blogs to enhance their professional efforts. I was happy that many who attended had heard about blogs (and/or blogging), but surprised that a few knew about the steps in creating one and the benefits/limitations to its implementation. I hope, now, we’ll see more professionals in our field embracing blogs as a way to connect to more people.

My second presentation “It’s URLife, Make It a Healthy WWWone!” was about health behavior change (HBC), specifically referencing the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change. People go through various stages of change when it comes to adopting new behaviors. I wanted to explore the effects of web 2.0 technologies with HBC, wondering if ’stage-matching’ various web-based tools might be more effective in creating change in a digital audience.

I also led an activity session on exergaming, since video games are more frequently being used to promote and increase physical activity levels. I did a demo with Dance Dance Revolution and shared a few techniques on how a worksite wellness program could be cost-effective and exciting with a little ‘game-time’!

My goal was simply to get more conversation about web 2.0 and exergaming within the health and wellness communities. Overall, all presentations seemed to have done just that… get people talking… :)

A Vegetarian in Turkiye

May 20, 2008 By: Biray Category: Be Fit 'Round da World, Just Be Fit No Comments →


I am leaving today and taking 2 months off to live and play in Istanbul, Turkiye! I am dedicating a separate ‘Be Fit In Turkiye‘ blog to journal my travels. Please feel free to stop in on my adventures and drop me a comment there!

I will still maintain this blog and continue posting on my Second Life blog. I will periodically guest blog for Unleash the Power of Group Fitness, as well.

Although my text-messaging service and cell phone will be temporarily frozen, I still plan on providing Flickr updates and Twitter rants (just not as regularly). Anyone needing to contact me can do so via email (befitwithbiray [at] gmail [dot] com) or Skype (name: befitt).

Have a safe and pleasant summer to everyone – I hope to see most of you in Las Vegas at the IDEA World Fitness Conference or the National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, Wisconsin when I return in July!

Earth Day 5K 2008

April 23, 2008 By: Biray Category: Just Be Fit No Comments →

Just Be Fit

Earth day 5K 2008, Tempe, AZ.

“Life” by Heather RusselI couldn’t have asked for a more crystal moment of clarity during the race: Watching the Arizona sun set behind the mountains. My heart beating out of my chest, as I tried to complete the race under 30 minutes. And listening the Beatles cover band echoing the chorus of “Imagine” as I crossed the finish line (3 seconds shy of my goal time).

I don’t know what came over me – if it was complete exhaustion or pure exhilaration, but I couldn’t help lying on the grass, gazing up at the sky, teary-eyed.

I hope Earth Day rejuvenated everyone’s spirits in dedicating their efforts to sustainable living. It certainly did for me…

[Photo Credit: H.E.A.T.H.E.R.]

Run, FatBoy, Run!

April 07, 2008 By: Biray Category: Just Be Fit No Comments →

Just Be Fit

I haven’t had much luck with my choices of running movies, lately. The last marathon flick I reviewed (Spirit of the Marathon) was too long, uninspired, and nauseating to watch – kinda like a healthier version of The Blair Witch Project, had they been looking for a finish line instead of a witch.

But the recent release of the movie Run, FatBoy, Run has lifted my spirits once again! I now believe, with great certainty, that any movie title starting and ending with the word ‘run’ is fantastic! Okay, so I’ve based this theory on another all-time great, Run Lola Run. But I stand to be corrected.

I won’t give away any spoilers (there’s nudity) nor recount any actors’ performances (Simon Pegg blisters on screen). But I will leave you with these parting words:

Minds of runners are insane:
Tear a liga, run thru pain
Keep yo figa and attain
The fitness of the highly trained
Simply survive, and do again.

Movie-goers minds enthrall:
Attempting not the runner’s call
Across the 26 mile haul
Seems silly when they just recall
An awesome flick to ’splain it all.

(Popcorn not included.)