Why Dine In Hell: The Reason behind the Madness

For people who missed last year's challenge, understand how it all started this by reading this preliminairy post.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DAY 5: With a little help from my friends and P90X!

It's so weird how things start out.
A couple of months ago, I felt I needed to walk Karly a bit more than 10 to 15 minutes in the mornings so he calms down a bit and rests peacefully as I work in the office. I started elongating the walks a bit more here and there. Next thing I know my buddy picks up on it and gets hyper every morning at around 7 (now at 7:15 sharp), sits in front of my bed and starts poking my shoulder with his muzzle – as in "come ooon we gotta go out on our daily walk/run". If I happened to be in a very deep sleep, after exhaustive poking, he puts his front legs on the bed then prepares himself for Operation "Lick-Michel's-face-till-he-jumps-out–of-bed" which he extremely rarely gets to put in action anymore because I've learned never to ignore his pleas – the hard way. And this includes SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS – don't forget, there's no such thing as a "week-end" for a dog.

Which brings us now to Day 5. I enjoyed the idea of touring Achrafieh with Karly, especially after the adventure we had yesterday. The flexy leash I use gives him a 5 meter leeway so he can be around me without getting stuck to me. It makes it easier to run and go crazy without both of us feeling confined.
We did Jeitawi till SNA – litterally on the other side of Achrafieh and back in around an hour. But because of the music I found myself sprinting like this Friends episode where phoebe joggs with Rachel. You want a tip from someone with half a brain? Just run like a kid. Run like these cartoon characters in Miyasaki movies. You cannot imagine how Liberating that is. Add to that singing from the top of your lungs (not to do in Sursock because of extreme negative repsonse) and running with a companion that really doesn't give a flying fuck about norm, etiquette and the human "society" as a whole and that run will just make your day, BIGTIME!

You can find a longer vid here. I now understand her I guess, it doesn't mean that that's how I run ... or is it?! ;)

Stuff I got for the training, Resistance cables and ball are Sara's.
So the day passed by, filled with work and meetings as always but I still managed to go to Nahr el Kaleb and picked up P90X from Anis Sfeir. He warned me that I had a couple of ebooks that I had to read before starting out – one on dieting and the other about the training – and that I had to get some gear before: a pull-up bar, a mat, push up handles, resistance cables. The training REALLY wasn't easy apparently. I got really excited and head out directly to Mike Sport and got most of the equipment I needed – couldn't find resistance cables. I got so excited I even got goggles and a nose blocker, just in case I decided to pay the pool another visit with Milos! It all cost around 100$, with the mat costing alone 50 (which really pissed me off: "heydé lal yoga ou mni7a lal daher" PFFF! MY ASS!! It's a stupid sfinjé!).

While heading back I got a facebook message: it was a tip on another diet book to read sent from Bruno Diab, an old SCHOOL friend of mine that I haven't seen for literally 7 to 8 years! Apparently, Bruno read about the blog on facebook and checked it out. To add his two cents he recommended  "Je ne sais pas maigrir" written by Dukan, which I directly got from Librairie Antoine for 14000 L.L. (9$).
From what I got out of it, the diet described was divided in 4 stages, and relies mostly on high Protein foods, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy; and some vegetables.

Carrot juice! Grapefruit is amazing for chopping down fat btw.

Bruno had lost apparently 4.5kgs from the first 5 days – only on stage 1 of the diet, and dropped 21kgs in 7 weeks!! Reading that book if of utmost priority, I'll update you with my findings. In the mean time, yes, I'll follow a more protein oriented diet, with fresh/steamed/grilled vegetables, dairy and fruit.

Got home – my mom's for now till next week – and checked out the Training pdf. It's not that complicated. It explains that P90X relies on confusing the muscles by changing exercises so the body doesn't adapt and keeps on getting leaner and developing endurance; it requires you to take a fit test (which I didn't do yet) and write down where your level is at in terms of for instance, how many push ups or pull ups you can do...etc; it encourages you to write down your progress to enable to see how you've developed and obviously set goals for the coming training session.

Sara joined me at that point, we were going to start our first P90X training: CHEST AND BACK!!
The pull up bar apparently (for the back training) could directly be fixed on any average rectangle door; but apparently my mom doesn't have AVERAGE doors in the house. NONE! We couldn't start with the chest/back program and switched to Shoulders/Arms.

The program consisted of following Tony Horton and his team. The exercises followed each other with barely time to take a break. Everyone was supposed to set his repetition goals and do them; and pause the DVD if we felt we needed a break.
I have to admit, I'm really NOT in shape. I barely could get till the end of the training and couldn't complete the bonus round, nor the "Ab ripper X" program which follows Shoulder/Arms.
I lay down exhausted on my mat and literally felt like I was going to faint. Sara sat down for a minute to rest and just instantly started snoring. P90X was EXTREME!

By the way, Ramzi, a friend of mine, called from the states (!) to tell me about a program that's apparently even BETTER than P90X! It's called something like Madness, Crazyness or something. I'll ask him again about it and get back to you.

I realized that I had to supplement myself if I wanted to continue the program. Don't forget I HAVE to walk Karly in the morning so it's like adding 7 extra Cardio sessions a week! I'll rely on the old Animal Pack multi-vitamins I used to use in the bodybuilding days, plus Whey protein shake to keep my nutrient level stable. I had used a product that I really swear by for giving you CRAZY energy for bodybuilding (and design overnights). It is called NO-XPLODE and is litterally like slurping down 4 Redbulls! ... I'll go without it for now. You know, there are some people å-la-Milos that swear by just relying on ONLY food and NO SUPPLEMENTS to train. I might have considered that I guess if I wasn't literally KILLING MYSELF in this training, I really don't know how they do it. I need to recuperate. As long as I'm relying on ONLY vitamins and supplements and nothing "more", my conscience is clear.

Till tomorrow guys,


Sunday, August 29, 2010

DAY 4: Call of the wild and unfortunate slip-ups!

So Day 4 was really special, both in positive and negative ways.
First of all comes the great run I had with Karly. I never was a cardio person. I really hate it still, but when I'm with Karly, my dog, my companion, my best friend and pseudo-son (I'm just saying pseudo so you don't bash me, but you know I mean son), the whole idea of going out changes.

First of all I try not to take myself very seriously when I go on walks with Karly. I still do call them walks, strolls, etc... and still wear Crocks in my feet so I don't let myself think that I'm working too hard... I'm just having fun... and we've had some crazy fun on this "walk".
First of all, I ran all the way down from Jeitawi to Mar Mikhael using the fact that there's a downhill road and putting some exciting music ("I got a feelin'" by the Black Eyed Peas) that pushes me to up the tempo. And all of the sudden, I heard aggressive barking. A pack of 6 dogs appeared in front of us. My first reaction was to try to protect Karly so I ran back trying to get him on the hood of a car. But then I figured, what the fuck should I be scared of?! I'm a 96kg boulder with a massive german shepherd dog – who granted is still a 10month puppy and is getting still acquainted to the environment but who gives a shit?! I turned back and started yelling at them and moving toward them. They were startled and actually backed away then ran. I was so proud of our pack that I started running very energetically. What the FUCK just happened?!

As we joined the highway, I got even more excited, I felt Karly smiling at me and we both bolted, running all the way to Hotel Dieu (I can't believe it either). Then we took an inside road passing through the Seryan neighborhood and to my surprise, we actually got attacked again by YET ANOTHER PACK!! They were more aggressive but I kept my reserve. The only way to not get attacked and get pass them is to face them dead on! Karly had started to back away, but I stood my ground. Then, within a split second, started running toward them and; here's where Patrick Samaha would slap himself in dis-belief: started BARKING at them from the top of my lungs!! I didn't realize what I was doing but it looked like it was working. The dogs turned back and ran. I really felt like Achrafieh's Alpha...dog. All was amazing. A new memory and adventure just got engraved in our relationship history. We then went up to Sioufi and back down to Jeitawi – an hour of fun and adventure, and hopefully some fat loss!

As the day continued, other positive things happened. I researched P90x and it felt as if I found the answer on what training I should do. The program looks like it's definitely worth trying.

Here are a couple examples of P90X that I found on youtube.

The only problem was that I needed to ship the program from the U.S. and the torrent files were humongous so there was no way to download them!
Fortunately, facebook solved the problem. All I had to do was post: "Looking for P90X if anyone has it or know where to get it here!!" and 15 minutes later, an old friend from university, Anis Sfeir,noticed my post on facebook and contacted me directly: HE HAS THEM! :D

I'm picking them up tomorrow (DAY 5) and going to finally start my workout.

Now let's talk about the negative happenings.
Guys, I ... slipped. I broke the diet.
I have a problem that should definitely solve. I problem that had developed out of working late, exhausting myself, getting angry and depressed over handing IMPOSSIBLE design dues on time. I started resorting to food as a release. I really real one, but a really SHORT LIVED ONE.
As Anis (another friend – and brilliant lawyer btw) always says: "a moment on the lips, forever on the hips"; and my hips prove what fucked up junk I gobbled down last winter!

It really wasn't even worth it. I was just pissed.
First, I ate a McDonalds plain Hamburger in the afternoon after I got into some stupid argument with someone (I can't name him/her because I promised not to! hahaha! I was like: "I can't believe you made me do this! This is soooo going in my blog!"). Not to get too pissed at myself, I didn't have fries or coke with it. I should keep a Digestive pack with me at all times... as if I have the patience to do that. I'll see.
Then I indulged in some chips and salsa AND a Strawberry Margarita short glass at night in Gemmayze. What an amazing start to a diet! In all cases, I need to come up with a tad more organized diet than just eating less carbs, not eating chocolate and stopping soft drinks all together. I'll post that soon.

Coach Josh before and after his transformation with P90X
Can't wait to start P90X tomorrow! I discovered this blog that a P90x fan (Coach Josh) is working on. It looks pretty interesting and gives good insight on P90x training, tips and articles, on one topic: the site name plain it says it: "how to get ripped". I'm definitely checking it out in detail.

Talk to you tomorrow!


DAY 3: Some self-discipline

Hey guys,

So things had been pretty calm. I kinda procrastinated by channeling my energy into working on the blog and figuring out some stupid .css stuff? .php? or whatever they call it. Turns out it's not as hard as one would imagine, just common sense I guess. Got me to design the base of the blog and work on the "THE HORROR" slide show – a collection of fat pictures of me – which would provide me with some leverage to get back to training or NOT gulp down a whole chocolate cake topped with succulent fudge when my mom tries to "help out" with the diet. Nevertheless ... the blog, the easy part, took the whole morning and the only training I did was do some cardio at 7:15 :(

I also compiled a tiny collection of inspirational pictures to reinforce my goal. Following the logic behind "THE HORROR", this slide show would push me to walle3a and build momentum.

Two good – nay, GREAT (trying to keep very positive) – things happened:
1. I stumbled upon the classic Chumbawumba tune Tubthumping ("I get knocked down blablabla") while taking my morning stroll with Karly and oua izzz (suddenly), I started gettin in the groove. Here I am running like the wind Forest Gump style. Karly picked up on the energy and went wild as well. I kept the tune looping. My pack of two was traveling in unison, across Jeitawi. We went all the way down to Mar Mikhael and back up. The whole run took 30 minutes. Karly and I were FLOORED! I feel I'm starting to get used to running, which can really help with the training. I should definitely have an inspirational music playlist to train. It's craaazy how your mood completely changes and how full of energy you become with an upbeat compilation. I should compile one ASAP (any suggestions please let me know!).

2. I unconsciously started picking up a tiny tiny part of my old diet with Doc Ricardo Yunis which helped me drop around 8kgs in a month last year. And that's where my "tiny bit of self-discipline" kicked in. The Konstrukt was supposed to project its stunning portfolio and have a live drawing/painting session in The Beirut Groove Collective Goes Wild event in Hammana Luna Park, but we didn't end up going because of how massive the crowd was! There wasn't enough space to place the table, projectors and screens! Actually that was a relief because I'm pretty sure I would've chugged a "couple" of drinks. But Fouad, Chris, Sara and I decided to get creative and place the projector in the new studio-to-be which is still empty. We ended up playing some wii (5mins) – after it took us 2hours to transport and hook up the sound system/dvd – and watch South Park. I'm drifting a bit just to paint a picture. Tell me, what type of food usually comes with that kind of chillage? Pizza? Roadsters? B2B? Well everyone ordered Chopsticks! Deep-friiiiiied, topped-with–amaaazing–sauuuce–and–loooots-o'-rice CHOPSTICKS!! ...
I didn't order ANYTHING! AND didn't "try" any of the ordered food – except for one tiny rice ball (steamed, doesn't count)!!  The next step is to again, put up a rough diet plan. Or contact Ricardo again? Now that would be REALLY Spartan since it is a crazy diet – but gets you incredible results. I'm scared and not ready for it yet! (yes! I'm not Leonidas yet and can be scared, so fuck off!)

Another thing's on my mind though. I still haven't decided on a fixed training program(!). I'm thinking of getting P90X products (and check out preview) but don't know anyone that's coming back from the States and the stupid torrent file size is 90GB (it would take me till Christmas to download with our great internet connection in Leb!!! I also have another compound training program I can go for, or follow Coach CHAOS's
program (who I gotta quote, said "P90X is for pussies!") or just hit the gym and go all FLEX magazine all over again... Can't lose more time! Gotta choose!! I just don't wanna buff up anymore. Just cut the hell out of what I got. (and ACTUALLY train).

MONDAY!! (?)


Friday, August 27, 2010

DAY 2: Milos

Today was a full string of meetings! craazy! I felt a bit tired though in the afternoon, especially that Mr.Karly, as he's been doing for the past month and a half, wakes me up every morning at 07:15(SHARP!) to go out on our daily 30min-to-an-hour-walk-stroll-or-run depending on how we feel that day (how I feel that day).

Today made me realize that dieting can be reinforced by planning what you're eating during the day and never falling in the trap of stringing meetings without eating before hand or without having a contingency plan.  The BIG, HUUUUGE mistake that happened was hither: I was sitting with the client, actively listening and conversing and I suddenly started feeling a hunger that came soooo down the pit of my tummy that I started salivating. PLUS I KNEW WHAT I WANTED: FALAFEL SAHYOUN – which conveniently was simply facing the building where the meeting was held.

Gerard Butler before and after 300...I'll post mine soon for comparison.
Now what do you think I did as an aspiring Sandwi... SPARTAN!? I off course immediately left the building and head toward my car and went straight home and drank a protein shake.
I dragged my collegue who wanted to brief me over another project TO SAHYOUN and ate NOT ONE, NOT TWO!! ... actually yes... TWO FALAFEL SANDWISHES!!! (ribb el 7ar in one of them MYYY FAVORITE, extra tomatoes and semi cold falafels so you can savor them and not burn your tongue! of course eaten along with hot pepper. Didn't drink anything though! No soft drinks, no ayran! NOTHING! HAOUUU! HAOUUU!! ;)

Ok I so call Milos and I'm already really late. Punctual as always (and quite robotic) as he is, Milos was simply waiting for me to call him (!), having told me that he was going at 5:30PM he assumed I was coming... WOW. I mean people usually call to confim no?! Not Milos! I guess he is actually living in Spartan time... In all cases, his body really gives the impression that he does.

Let's cut to the chase: we get there and Milos explains his program:
It is devised in 4 Stages:
1. 10 tours de piste/full track = 2kms
2. 4 super-sets of pull ups and push ups
3. 1 km of swimming
4. sit ups (i don't recall how much cause i simply didnt end up doing them)

STAGE 1: Jogging
I managed to jog the 2kms – thank to the 1 1/2 month training with Karly already
but I felt the falafels calling on to me and warning me not to over do it – you know what might have happened ... :D

STAGE 2: pull ups/push ups
Let s say I ... SUCKED. I realized I had no strength left, especially to lift ~96kgs. I couldn't lift myself at first then managed to complete 3 pull ups (DONT TELL ANYONE). Milos suggested at that point that I shouldn't hit the gym for a whole month and do cardio and focus on my diet instead, so I can remove the fat layer and then start over again. Haven't decided on anything yet...

STAGE 3: Swimming
I couldn't control my breathing at first and to be honest didn't really like the idea, but I went with it. Got a cramp in my left pectoral toward the end and I stopped. Milos enjoyed the whole swimming process. His body had actually changed from the last time I saw it, he doesn't look like a bodybuilder anymore, he has a more natural look and feels healthier... I still feel like he's the stiff type, it felt awkward seeing him swim but he sticks to his plans usually. I bet he'll turn into a fish eventually.

There was no STAGE 4 but something hit me while I asked Milos on how he programmed his days and what hobbies he has. "Work, then Sports" he said. Which kinda brings me back to my "one thing at a time" post. Milos is the perfect example of someone who fulfills his goals by focusing on one endeavor at a time.

The same realization came on to me once again: maybe I need to trim the fat, figuratively speaking and focus only on a couple of goals instead of:
0. spending quality time with karly & sara
1. working on the the konstrukt
2. playing guitar
3. doing sports/Dine in hell project
4. dieting
5. painting
6. working on the comic
7. the persona i'm developing (u ll know about this later in "BLEH!")
8. the voice over business
9. blogging
10. something i forgot to mention
11. ...

But the question is

ARRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHH! ^!&*(@)_$!^#%&!^#()@!_#)@()@

I know at least that DineInHell is priority for the next 2 months...

Alas, I leave you for now my friends,


Thursday, August 26, 2010

DAY 1: It starts here.

Hi everyone,

for people who don't know me, my name is Michel and am a passionate graphic designer/illustrator/musician/ex-bodybuilder/blablabla...

People who know me already understood: I like ... uhum ... LOVE 300 (yes the movie! pff!) and it has in a way been my guide in perceiving life for a while now – am not gonna dwell in the details but to be a complete NERD and put it out there once and for all, i've seen the movie over 50 times (not gonna tell you how much exactly, 50 is already geeky enough).

To cut to the chase, here's what's going down:
My normal ideal weight for my height is 84Kgs, but a bodybuilding obsession made me bulk up to a massive 104kgs. But a couple of years ago, I decided to stop bodybuilding because I found it was hindering my snowboarding performance in winter '09 – where I was actually sinking in the snow because of the ridiculous weight. However, I had developed a HUGE appetite necessary to bulk up, which lead me even after I stopped to keep eating around 6 times a day and still be famished 24/7. Worst of all, when under tremendous stress, the ONLY thing that got to calm me down and prepare me for the next bout became – you guessed it – FOOD. GREAT AMOUNTS OF FOOD... great amounts of JUNK food: looots of chocolate, potato chips, soft drinks and the very well known – in Beirut at least – ROADSTERS! Add to that, I tore my stupid ankle ligaments while snowboarding in winter '10 so brinnng onnn the bucket o' chicken and the frituuuure.

The result: I kept my 104kg muscle frame but transformed it to a 27% fatty belly-poppin lump of man!!

But the good news is that with all that annoying summer heat and completely stopping sports (which am not sure is a good thing) I lost my appetite, and managed to drop down (unconsciously) to 96.5Kgs, my actual weight now, on this 26th of August 2010.

Now I just explained to you how much I love 300. I quote it day in day out. Just don't shut up about it... So get this, my birthday was 6 days ago and my girlfriend surprised me with this amazing gift: A MIND BLOWING LIFE SIZE SPARTAN HELMET replica ;)
I automatically started wearing it and I've been parading around in it everywhere for the past 6 days (not a very wise choice she made huh?! :P). But today it hit me: I'm not worthy of the helmet. I don't amount to King Leonidas and although I aspire to follow his spartan lifestyle of relentless training and unshakable will and inspiring leadership, he's really ahead of me. I realized things had to change. I had been planning every year since 300 came out to have an amazing ripped body and dress up as His Majesty for Halloween but I was unable to – I never managed to make my abs pop that much and my costume would've sucked with painted pectorals and mid-section!

So here's the deal. I have a helmet I can't wear now. But things can change. Halloween is in 65 days: Good odds for any spartan-fanATIC to push himself and achieve a "descended from Hercules himself" body. And that's what I feel like doing! NAY! THAT'S WHAT I'M DOING STARTING NOW.

This blog will be the platform I'm going to use to document every bit of the journey.

65 days to go.

I'm going to be very cheesy. EXTREMELY CHEESY! and say:
"THIS is where we hold them,
THIS is where we FIGHT!
THIS is where THEY DIE!!" (the fat in that case? hahahahahaha)

loooool a part of me feels so ridiculous and can't even imagine what kind of comments my bit-more-serious (euphemism for aka stuck-up? or normal?) friends are gonna lay me down with...
ie: A friend of mine, let's call him PATRICK SAMAHA would send me THIS LINK for instance...
but on the other hand, well, LET'S HAVE SOME FUN AND NOT GIVE A SHIT shall we?! :D ... i need some outrageousness these days anyways and this is the best way to go IMHO.

I've just contacted a very serious sport freak and very disciplined buddy of mine; A true spartan in all angles; Let's call him
... (pause for dramatic effect) ... MILOS!!!
Milos has agreed to take on the challenge and train with me. We re meeting tomorrow to discuss the training times and diet.


HAOUUUU! (cheers)