El-Tanein Diet Week #42

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Taken by Ali Itani

I really need to blog more. Bambi has become all about the ETD and that’s a shame but quite reflective of how life becomes when juggling work, fitness, and everything else. They say you can only have two of the three when it comes to time and activities. I’m missing my Bambi the Explorer days.

Workout Tally

– 2 NRC runs
– 10K Manara Race with Elite Running Club
– 2 hatha yoga sessions

Outdoor Activity

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I made it to Horsh Beirut! Ananda Yoga Center was hosting a free yoga session in Horsh Beirut this Saturday in support of Beirut Madinati. First off, the Horsh itself was a pleasant surprise – it’s a refreshing well-kept space full of families and people enjoying the warm weather. Second, there was a great turnout and strangely contrasting with the jaded attitudes I’ve been encountering in BEY lately. Yoga itself really challenges you to disconnect and there’s nothing like doing breathing exercises in a park while people are shooting off guns from rooftops not too far off.

Nike+ App


I beat my best-5K and 10K times! Mini wins every other week or so are getting addictive. If I can get my best-5K to be my time every 5K, then I’ll really celebrate but it feels good to keep knocking off seconds.

Best Meal of the Week

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Post-Manara race, I devoured one too many nachos at Cheesecake Factory but the best meal will undoubtedly go to Babel Bay and their shrimp fatteh. Or Ajami’s shawarma plate. Let’s just say that dad’s birthday comes with a lot of family lunches.

Other Highlights

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Taken by Dany Tannous


NRC takes over Zaitunay Bay:
 
After our Tuesday fun run, we invaded the marina for some sangria and chips. The group’s not just about breaking a sweat but also about mingling with new people from all over and having fun together.

Beirut Municipality Elections this Sunday: Real people who think about what Beirut needs should win this for the sake of all those who are losing the ability to hope for change. Although it is admirable that there are people still trying to push back, the rest of the country is tired and need proof that the efforts aren’t wasted – that we’re not stuck. If I could vote in Beirut, I would vote for Beirut Madinati. Check out this comparison by Habib at Beirut Report.

Workout Track of the Week

I feel like this has been in this section before but it’s better than something new by someone who hasn’t hit puberty yet.

Cheese of the Week

Turn on the English subtitles for this.

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El-Tanein Diet Week #39, #40, and #41

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Week #39 was spent at Biel because I was on trade show duty for Wesley’s, the family biz. Although it was a successful business experience, it was horrible for ETD. Being in a hospitality industry atmosphere surrounded by food for 4 days straight does not a fit person make. Let’s skip that week and FFWD to weeks 40 & 41 where I got back on track…in terms of exercise.

Workout Tally

– (4) NRC runs
– Iron Core, 45min elliptical, 20min bike
– BodyPump, 30min elliptical
– BodyAttack, 30min elliptical
– Iron Core, 30min elliptical
– BodyPump, 30min elliptical

Totals out at 4 runs and 5 classes for 2 weeks. I’m working on an alternating schedule of classes and NRC runs with a weekend activity in between. The only downside so far is getting my food intake down now that I’m attempting to morph into a gymrat.

Outdoor Activity

Spending Nike runs all over Downtown Beirut and Mar Mikhael hasn’t been enough on the weeks when we don’t have out-of-city excursions. Sure, they count but I need more nature every week. MUST GET TO THE HORSH.

Nike+ App

I beat my best 5K, 1 mile, and 1K time in these two weeks. All records were thanks to my NRC crew’s constant encouragement. My average running pace has also been going down (-14 seconds from last month) steadily along with my average 5K time. Although you can’t tell from looking at me, it seems my body’s endurance is improving.


Best Meal of the Week(s)


A sushi burrito at Horeca and one too many Smoking Buns, a pricey lunch at é cafe in Sursock, and a BBQ extravaganza on a sunny Sunday would be my top 3 for this category. The sushi burrito, while I always love me some spicy salmon, is like eating a giant California roll. The pricey lunch was satisfying and refreshing but I wouldn’t go back unless my parents were footing the bill. Hi dad. Call me simple but I’d choose BBQ any day.

Other Highlights

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Missed out on meeting Chirine Njeim with NRC:
 Due to Horeca duty, I missed out on meeting our star athlete/Olympian, Chirine Njeim, the first Lebanese person to qualify for the Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

Discovered Fayrouz is my sedative: I haven’t really listened to Fayrouz since my high school days when our driver used to play her every morning when we were still half asleep on the way up to Ain Saade. Maybe that’s why she soothes me, it reminds me of simpler times: IB stress and sweatpants.

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From Smoking Buns to Protein Bars: After Horeca’s debauchery, I shifted to eating Pro Bars and obsessing about calories & carbs. I’ve become one of those people who’s scared of tortilla chip bags. They follow me home.

Workout Track(s) of the Week(s)

 Multiple tracks of multiple genres have been on repeat these last few weeks. These combined with Fayrouz = my taste in music makes no sense whatsoever.
Conor Maynard’s cover isn’t as good as Drake’s original when it comes to something to get your butt moving but they’re both addictive.

Cheese of the Week(s)

Click here.

 

El-Tanein Diet Week #38

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One of the tips for having consistency in your diet & exercise plans is to “set rules and stick to them.” So, in the effort to have one main rule for each, my workout rule is “I won’t go 2 consecutive days without exercise” and my diet rule is “I will eat bread only during breakfast.” And you know, drink lots of H2O. I’ll be on duty for 4 days at the Horeca trade show for week #39 so following these rules will be difficult.

Workout Tally

– (3) NRC runs
– (2) 30 min elliptical

Outdoor Activity


The NRC crew hopped on the NRC bus and went for a Sunday morning run in Domaine de Taanayel, 230 hectares of agricultural terrain managed by Arc en Ciel. It’s a beautiful spot in the Bekaa Valley and it’s open to the public. If you’re ever looking to escape the city’s drudgery, this is a gorgeous getaway.

Nike+ App

I have yet to beat my new best-5K time but my overall pace has improved from when I first started running with NRC. In 4 months, I’ve shaved off 30 seconds on average and that’s without hardcore training. I imagine, if I stick to my regular gym routine and NRC runs, I can keep the momentum going – I hope.

Best Meal of the Week

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Our morning breakfast at Khan el Maksoud, part of Arc en Ciel’s ecolodge, can take this title this week. Coffee, labneh, zeitoun, and eggs. A beautiful way to conclude our morning run around the lakes of Domaine de Taanayel.

Other Highlights

NRC gets you Nike Points: Recently, Nike decided to convert each NRC run you participate in into loyalty points. Each run gets you 20 points; 1000 points gets you $100 to spend at any Nike branch. In the end, it’s just another bonus to an already great initiative.

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Women’s Day Present from Nike: I was out of town on March 8th but I got my Nike sports bra this week. I love getting free gear, and I have to say, Nike’s marketing methods have been really impressive. The NRC and NTC training sessions make participants feel like their campaigns aren’t just advertising, they’re living up to what they’re preaching. They’re helping us adopt a healthier lifestyle which makes you want to be loyal to the brand – that is, if you weren’t already.

Animals Lebanon: I passed by Animals Leb with a friend of mine. He was looking for a new feline friend and I was looking for feline affection. So many kitties are in need of homes but there are a lot that are content in their Hamra haven. If you’re interested in adding a member to your family though, visit the shelter and get acquainted.

Workout Track of the Week

Cheese of the Week

How’s that for running?

 

 

El-Tanein Diet Week #36 and #37

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Still not in the mood to write lately but I will say that my NRC peeps give me hope for humanity. It’s inspiring to see a group of strangers get together to stay fit and eventually become buddies over a shared hobby that doesn’t involve drinking or inhaling chicken wings. And it’s even more goosebump-inducing when you see that this group wants to give back. More on that below.

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Workout Tally

– 2 power walks (Beirut Waterfront + AUB campus)
– 3 NRC runs
– 1 Gym Session

Outdoor Activity

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My friends and I finally managed to get a little activity in together. We’re starting at a beginner’s pace with power walks since we’re all at different fitness levels. The Waterfront and AUB were suitable spots to appreciate some fresh air outside office walls.

Nike+ App


The last run included 2 sets of 7 drills so soreness accompanied me into Easter weekend. I love strutting like a grandma. I’ve still got to get workouts up to at least 5x a week after Amreeka. Yalla almost there.

Best Meal(s) of the Week(s)

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I would have to go with the truffle burger at Acoté. Mmmmtruffle.

Other Highlights

Charity Miles: I mentioned this app in the last ETD post. My Nike crew decided to start a team on the app and we’re going to dedicate our weekly runs to one randomly selected charity each month. The last week of March and the full month of April is going to go to ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This way, running and donating as a group will have more of an impact.

Donating our bottles & caps: Each run ends with us finishing off at least two dozen 0.5ml water bottles. We’ve decided to recycle the bottles and donate their caps to Arc en Ciel, an NGO that converts collected plastic caps into wheelchairs.

Workout Track of the Week(s)


Cheese of the Week(s)
Somebody make these and don’t invite me over.

El-Tanein Diet Week #33, #34, and #35

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This post comprises weeks where I was in Beirut & LA. It includes more burgers than runs and workouts but I promised to report. It’ll be short post, despite being a 3-week compilation, because I’m jet lagged.


Workout Tally

– (3) 5 km runs

Outdoor Activity

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2/3 of my runs these weeks were outdoor runs around Californian suburbia. The contrast between the greenery of the residential areas in California and the outdoor runs of Beirut’s concrete jungle. The dose of green makes the time outdoors so soothing even though you’re a sweaty mess. I should give Horsh Beirut a try on a sunny Saturday soon.

Nike+ App

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Best Meal(s) of the Week(s)

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I had some great meals in Las Vegas which I’ll be posting about separately in the next few days but In-n-Out wins for ETD across the board. I consider it an achievement that I only hit it twice in 19 days.

Other Highlights

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Charity Miles: This app allows you to run miles that correspond to donations for multiple charities. I haven’t tried using it in Lebanon yet but that’ll be a test for week #36.

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The Broad Museum: Pronounced like “brode,” the Broad is a new contemporary art museum in downtown LA located between the Disney Concert Hall and the MOCA. Its entrance is free but you can pre-book tickets to skip the line. It’s currently got Yayoi’s Infinity Room as a special exhibit which I skipped. I didn’t want to wait in line for another hour to get a selfie that everyone has. Yes, I regret it.

Good Impressions of Beirut: I was networking at some work events and was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of Americans had been to Beirut (and other parts of Lebanon). I’d been so used to meeting people who didn’t know it was a capital in the Middle East so this was refreshing to see. Even with those who had had their hearts broken by Lebanese folk, there were good memories associated with our little country. The worst part was that a follow-up question to “do you like living there?” tended to be, “so how’s the garbage thing going?” Sigh.

Workout Track of the Week(s)

Tell JK that I’m still rooooollin. That beat tho.

Cheese of the Week(s)

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Brie & mushroom sourdough burger at Mimi’s Cafe was my last meal in ‘Murica. Worth it.

El-Tanein Diet Week #32

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Main in Laguna Beach, California (July 2014)

I’ll be heading to Los Angeles for a couple of weeks mid-week #33 so next week’s post will be all about In-n-Out and sunshine. And a weekend in Vegas. It’s so easy to give up your workouts when away from home but, as I learned in pedestrian-friendly Barcelona, you’ve got to think of exercise as part of your everyday routine. Wash face, brush teeth, move your butt. I’m going to be hiking and running around the neighborhood while there so that I can keep up with NRC while away. I don’t want all the progress I’ve made to dissipate because of some animal-style fries. If anything, I’ll run FOR them.

Workout Tally

– (1) 6.45 km run
– (2) 30 min treadmill

Outdoor Activity

I’ll admit that this was one of my poor weeks given the momentum I’ve had this last month. I’ll also admit that I hit a low point.

For the past few years, I’ve conditioned myself to equate my happiness with my professional productivity. The more I’m stimulating my brain, the happier I am. A self-aware workaholic, I have not only been trying to trim the fat at the gym but in all aspects of my life as well. Reassessing where my brain cells are being used is a tiring task in itself.

…and so I crashed this weekend. My mind and body gave up and I couldn’t work or work out. Instead of heading to a cardio class or running off the frustration, I curled up with a book and let myself decompress. Sometimes, you need to break away and hibernate. I’m going to accept this and push forward. This next week, I’ll be better for it.

Nike+ App

 

Best Meal of the Week


Once again, dinner at Studio Beirut.

Other Highlights

250km Green Level: I’ve reached green on the Nike+ Running app! Sure, it only took two years of intermittent running but, with NRC, I should reach the next level much quicker.

NTC every Wednesday: Nike recently launched Nike Training Club sessions at U Energy gym in Downtown Beirut. They’re every Wednesday evening at 7pm and they’re free. All you’ve gotta do is book a spot a day in advance via phone/whatsapp. I haven’t had a chance to go yet but I’ll be checking it out once I’m back in town.


Sursock Museum with Mom: I promised mom a lunch at the swanky museum after we perused the halls of the old Sursock residence. It’s beautifully renovated; the historical architecture mixes nicely with sleek, minimal accents. The cafe is a bit too posh (and overpriced) for my taste but they had burrata so I was happy.

Workout Track of the Week

The track but with Elmo’s moves. From now on, you will never be able to listen to this song and not see him shake his groove thang.

Cheese of the Week

I ran out of brie last night. What would Kanye do?

Nike+ Run Club: Byblos was our Valentine

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Taken by Ali Itani

As readers of El-Tanein Diet know, the Nike+ Run Club (NRC) runs twice a week from the Nike store in Beirut Souks every Tuesday and Thursday evening. However, what is not advertised on their flyers is the NRC-organized fun runs on weekends. I stress on the words “fun run” because the main point behind this group is to run for the sake of running, not for medals or podiums.

Leading the pack in this group of awesome folk is Mark Jibran, the NRC coach and all-around positive force of nature. Having a good coach should not be underestimated when it comes to sticking to a fitness regimen. If one’s trainer pushes too hard or doesn’t know how to motivate effectively, then they have failed as a trainer. What seems to fall through the cracks when finding a personal trainer or fitness advisor is not the reps or preferred activities used to get one in shape, but the personal approach they have while one is undergoing training.

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Mark Jibran, NRC Coach – Taken by Ali Itani

And that is where Nike hit the jackpot with Mark. He knows how to deal with people and he knows how to push without making you want to throw spiky pineapples at him so he’d back off.

For each coach, there is a pacer: Mohamad Marhamo. With M&M, the NRC is guided by two smiling and seasoned runners. We are pushed to keep running at our own best pace or, at the very least, to keep running. We are told how to stretch, how to stay hydrated, and how to exercise correctly. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you that they know what they’re doing, both are members of De-Feet Runners, a group of ultra-marathoners who run marathons back-to-back for 6 consecutive days to raise funds for charity.

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Mohamad Marhamo, NRC Pacer – Taken by Ali Itani

Running with these two on the Beirut corniche will show you that this group truly does run BEY. Be it at 6am or 6pm, fellow runners all over the path call out a happy hello to M&M because they are deep-rooted members of this athletic community that is alive in our city. While the rest of us sleep in, these guys are out there enjoying the sunrise and serene calm that you rarely associate with our chaotic capital. By being part of this group and going for runs at the crack of dawn, I got to witness this spirit and, dare I say, be part of it even if just for a few instances.

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For Valentine’s Day, we decided to take on the cultural port city of Byblos (Jbeil) for an early morning 10km run through the old souk and asphalt road to Amchit. On the bus there, while still trying to figure out how and why I was on my way to run on the morning of my 28th birthday, I was also debating how many kilometers I would actually do. The warm-up was set at 2km so that was the minimum but where would I stop? I’d done 10km in the Beirut Marathon but that question popped up, like it does before every NRC meetup, do I feel like it today?

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At every kilometer, my mind would ask, “are you ready to turn around?” But as I neared the halfway point where M&M were waiting with water, I had other NRC members making their way back and cheering me on. So I thought, “yalla, another kilometer and then you’ll stop.” And that’s how it went on until I did the entire 10. I did it thanks to their cheerleading combined with my mind not wanting my body to succumb to being closer to the age of 30. HA.

I was never a runner. Hell, I still don’t think I can call myself one. But maybe, in the future, with the help of NRC, I will be.