Ignite is an intense, addicting and inspired format of sharing ideas in a very short time. The tagline for any Ignite event is: “Inspire us, but be quick about it!”

I was honored to have my proposal selected for the first annual IgniteRailsConf event this year. I wanted to share with my fellow nerds that physical fitness is important, is not out of reach for anyone, and to help inspire them toward their own fitness goals.

I’ve written about my path to fitness before, but this time I wanted to share why I think fitness is so important.


The feedback from this presentation has already been great. I had a great time talking with several people afterwards about their own weightloss, or their own path to fitness. To help answer some of the questions I got after my talk, here are some resources that might help.

Robb Wolf

Formerly a research biochemist, Robb is a nutrition expert and strength and condition coach. His blog, seminars and weekly Q&A podcasts are incredible. When Robb says jump, I ask how high.

The Paleo Diet

Paleo eating follows the idea that humans are just not evolutionarily fit to eat garbage. Sugar, in all its forms, is garbage. Grains and dairy are nothing but sugar. As I noted in my presentation, eat real food: meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. Body composition changes come directly from nutrition. If you want to lose weight, eat right. Yes, it is actually that simple.


While I’ve been Crossfitting for two years now, I still find it hard to describe in a sentence. Check out that link and get addicted!

TJ’s Gym

In July 2008 I got the idea that I was sadly out of shape and needed a big change. That big change came from eating well and being intensely active. TJ’s Gym is where it happens.

Getting ready for an Ignite Talk

Speaking at an event like Ignite really requires some practice. Distilling an idea into 20 slides, each with exactly 15 seconds of content and making the whole thing cohesive is quite a task. I’ve been geeked out on the ideas of presenting for a while now, so here are some resources that have helped.

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

A simple, direct and inspiring book on presentation design and concept

Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Burkun

Great stories and techniques on the mechanics of presenting

The Story Factor by Annette Simmons

How humans relate to information via story, and how to tell better stories. I learned in this book that telling stories with lots of seemingly extraneous details actually makes your stories more relatable. In my presentation I included lots of tidbits about my experience and my children, to make my story feel more relatable to the audience.

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

Great book on the neuroscience of talent and learning. I used various “deep practice” techniques from this book to rehearse my presentation.

Tweetable Quotes

In the age of social media, we have even more reason to consider nailing a distilled essence of our presentation concept in short, memorable phrases. Ideally you want to deliver a core idea that’s short enough to remember and short enough to tweet. This is exactly what I was after, thanks Chad!

“real food doesn’t have an ingredient list. Real food IS an ingredient.” – @briandoll #igniterailsconfSun Jun 06 23:31:25 via Twitter for iPhone

Discussion, links, and tweets

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© 2007-2015 Brian Doll