Q&A with Firass Dirani

 1. As an actor there is a requirement to learn scripts and have the character’s dialogue locked away. Do you have a regime that helps your memory recall? Such as exercise or supplementation?

Reading, and grasping the essence of the story is a good start. Line learning gets harder with age. Repetition is helpful or just vigorously cramming it in seems to work when under pressure. Sometimes just empathising with the nature of the work is beneficial. A good nights sleep helps too. 

Such as exercise or supplementation?

Exercise is always a good idea. Blood flow, Mental clarity, mobility, flexibility and challenging the body so you can trust it will support you when you summon it. And this positively affects cognitive function. They work hand in hand.

I’ve laid off any engineered supplementation. I may take multivitamins but I don’t notice much difference, as to performance. I love eating healthy, but I am not obsessed. I love my veggies, but I also love burgers and ice cream. Too many rules kill the joy in life. 

2. I’ve seen some of your choreographed fight scenes and fight training which would require a great deal of energy, agility, strength and stamina. Have you always had an interest in fighting for fitness or was it born out of prepping for an acting role?

I’ve always loved martial arts. I remember watching Bruce Lee, and Jackie Chan as a kid. I respect the art form. The philosophy. It needs discipline, precision, balance and determination. Lee was the biggest advocate for creating your life philosophy. So taking up Tae Kwon Do & Karate as a kid was a natural evolution for me. I found it empowering. It assisted with my fitness, and movement which can be used in the film & tv world.

3. You’re a seasoned proponent of fasting – what do you find are the major benefits of fasting?

Perspective. It puts your pet grievances, insecurities in perspective. It makes you ask deep spiritual questions. When you’ve deprived yourself of food, it humbles you to such a primitive place. The societal cloak & masks which we unconsciously wear to cope, somehow are lowered during this period. Because ultimately what we eat is synonymously connected to how we think.

Also ‘autophagy’ comes into play. Comes from the Greek word ‘Self-Eating’ Which is when strong cells eat weak or dying cells. So your body goes into damage control by tending to all the inflamed areas. 

I am actually on the third day of a 3 day fast now. During fasting, you begin to produce energy through your fat cells, the energy is longer lasting & is crystal clear. No fuzzies. I love the clarity & sense of healing. Some people know extended fasting as ‘extended healing.’

4. Is there a general code or mantra that you live your life by?

Life shrinks or expands in proposition to one’s courage.

5. Have you had any major setbacks to your health/mental health and how did you overcome it?

Acting is all rejections. Which frustrates you as an artist. I find other passions, discover the world – life is so much more than agonizing about how things didn’t go your way. No one cares. Go to Africa, fast, volunteer, be proactive about not bathing in the depressive nature of life. 

6. Which do you think delivers the greatest return on investment regarding personal health – nutrition, sleep or fitness?

Good question.

I’m going out of line here, but in some worlds, if you sleep well, and attack a harrowing fitness regimen, you can eat whatever you want.

But… eating clean does make a difference. It clears the cobwebs, and assists in cognitive reaction. You consume too many bad elements in your food, it doesn’t allow you to be as mentally sharp. 

7. Are you an everything in moderation kinda guy?

I’m not a moderation guy. I have been off the drink for almost 6 months now! Arghhh!! So much time to reflect, and more time to do. I’m hoping age & wisdom will help me balance myself. 

8. What do you think has been the biggest myth about health and fitness of the last 5 years that has led folks down the garden path?

The biggest misconception or myth I believe the food industry has sold to the punters is that you need to eat 6 times a day. That’s ridiculous. And just the sheer propaganda of food. Eat! Consume! Gorge! Overconsumption has been known to lead to type 2 diabetes, and in some cases Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s. We need to step back and question our food habits because ultimately unconscious overconsumption could lead to our demise. The way I see it is, food gets you sick, and then they sell you on the idea that pharmaceuticals get you better.

And image obsession in society is catastrophic for mental health. We don’t need to visit the gym 5 times a week. Social media will have you feeling guilty for not working out. Switch off, look up at the sky, and inhale the sunshine – it will do you wonders.