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  1. What is Tae-Bo? Tae-Bo, a unique and challenging fitness system, is a martial arts/aerobics hybrid created by Billy Blanks in 1975. Tae-Bo combines Tae Kwon Do, boxing and dance disciplines and puts them together in a challenging program set to hip-hop music. A typical one-hour class consists of a series of jabs, punches, kicks and steps, choreographed in a series of eight-count combinations. The name, Tae-Bo, is a combination of other words. "Tae" means "leg" and it relates to the kicks and lower body part of the workout. "Bo" comes from boxing and the upper body punches that are an integral part of the workout. Set to the upbeat music, Tae-Bo can be a very satisfying workout because it engages the entire body. Who can participate? Tae-Bo is for anyone who wants a complete workout. But more than just calorie and fat-burning exercise Tae-Bo offers a workout for the entire body. As with any new exercise program, you should consult your health care provider first before embarking on it. Tae-Bo can be done at your own rate. As you build strength, you can do more and you can increase your level of physical fitness, Tae-Bo officials say. Many women are attracted to the program as a form of strength building. Since Tae-Bo is set to music, it's a lot of fun. You build strength while enjoying yourself. In addition, while Tae-Bo shouldn't be considered a self-defense course, you can learn defensive moves through it because the program uses imaginary opponents as targets. How soon can you see results? According to Billy Blanks Enterprises research, some people report feeling a change in their body the very first time they do Tae-Bo and they begin to see results in as little as three Tae-Bo sessions. Others report change over several weeks. Everybody is a little different and individual results vary. How often should I do Tae-Bo? First, as with any fitness program, check with your physician to make sure you can start an intense workout program. Tae-Bo can be done everyday or a couple of times a week. For maximum benefit, like any other cardiovascular program, you should consider doing the Tae-Bo at least three times a week, according to Billy Blanks' Enterprises. Beginners are advised to start slow and build up their endurance. Tae-Bo is challenging and requires use of your entire body. Don't get discouraged if you get tired quickly in the beginning. The entire idea of Tae-Bo is to maximize the benefits by incorporating the entire body into the workout. Where can you practice Tae-Bo? Tae-Bo is a trademark of Billy Blanks Enterprises. The routines and music mixes have been designed by Blanks. The Billy Blanks World Training Center in Sherman Oaks, CA. is the original setting for Tae-Bo classes. But, if you don't happen to live near the studio, you can get started on your Tae-Bo workout in two ways: Find an instructor who has completed the Billy Blanks Tae-Bo training course. The training program has graduated many instructors from all over the U.S. Beware of copy-cat programs, however. There are many "sound-alike" programs that promise the complete workout, but the Billy Blanks organization says there is no substitute for the original program. Buy a videotape. To buy "The Tae-Bo Way," check out www.taebo.com or watch for the popular infomercial. By watching the tape and following the Tae-Bo routine, you can get the benefits of the whole-body workout in the privacy of your own home. Article by: Billy Blanks Enterprises
  2. Kids are more unfit than any other time in our history! There are so many distractions for kids NOT to exercise - From video games to computers, and the fattening of America taking place at an ever increasing pace. In major studies during the last ten years, children from the ages of six to 17 scored extremely low in areas of strength, flexibility, and cardio respiratory endurance. Television watching, electronic games, and inactive parents were implicated as major sources of the lack of exercise. Children, teenagers, and adults need to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. However, it's estimated that only one in three American children participate in daily physical activity. And about one-fourth of all adults and young people from the ages of 12 to 21 are getting no vigorous exercise at all. Kids need to learn at a young age that fitness can be fun! Children have a short attention span (20 minutes) when it comes to fitness, yet an unlimited capacity to watch the monitor or TV. Kids fatigue in a shorter time, and become both over-heated and dehydrated in a shorter time than adults. Fitness has to be fun and diverse to peak a child's interest and turn physical activity into a "looked forward to" time of the day. One of the best ways to increase the overall fitness of a family is by exercising together. Variety of activity is the key to keeping all family members enjoying exercise. The older the children, the more important it becomes for exercise to be "fun". Motivation must come from Mom and Dad through example, creative activities, and persistence. Physical activity sessions do not need to last longer than 30-45 minutes but should be scheduled on a regular basis. Everyone should enjoy the sessions, and they should not be rigid or competitive in nature, especially where young children are involved. Family physical activity time results in family bonding. As each family member enjoys the activities, it should become easier to schedule the sessions. One of the most important results is the teaching of good health habits that can continue for a lifetime. We have two children (8-10) who have been involved in fitness with us since they were 3-4. How? Going for walks, playing at the park, beach. Learning how to ride bikes, swimming (year round-indoor or outdoor). We purchased a mini-tramp then a larger one for the kids to bounce on, and would jump with them. Taking the kids to the gym so they could watch us exercise for short periods and then letting them use light weights at home. Rolling balls across the floor and chasing them on all fours. Now as the kids are older, they are involved in team sports (soccer and softball). We still take the dogs for walks together, and choose to take small vacations that always include swimming, biking and some walking. For kids to get excited about exercising, parents have to be excited. Get out and be active with your kids. Children live what they learn. Article By Mark Occhipinti Mark J. Occhipinti is the President of AFPA Fitness. Be sure to visit their site for more easy-to-follow fitness articles, tips, and recipes at AFPA Fitness
  3. The word has been tossed around quite a bit lately. Pilates (pronounced Pi-lah-teez), used primarily by dancers for deep body conditioning and injury rehabilitation. It's is a 70-year-old exercise technique first developed by German immigrant, Joseph Pilates. Only recently has it migrated from its long-held position at the fringes of traditional fitness methods such as aerobics and weight training. Hollywood has been a key factor in turning the spotlight on Pilates, as numerous models and actresses pay homage to Pilates for their beautifully toned, fit bodies. Focusing on the Core The abdominal and back muscles are often collectively referred to as the body's core. Pilates exercises are designed to strengthen this core by developing pelvic stability and abdominal control. In addition, the exercises improve flexibility and joint mobility, and build strength. How can one exercise technique claim to do so much? The Reformer, a wooden contraption with various cables, pulleys, springs and sliding boards attached, lies at the foundation of Pilates. Primarily using one's own body weight as resistance, participants are put through a series of progressive, range-of-motion exercises. Despite the appearance of this, and several other equally unusual-looking devices, Pilates exercises are very low impact. Instructors, who typically work one-on-one or with two to three participants, offer reminders to engage the abdominal muscles, the back, the upper leg and buttocks to stabilize the body's core. Exercise sessions are designed according to individual flexibility and strength limitations. Pilates exercises are not limited to specialized machines, however. In fact, many gyms across the country now offer Pilates floor-work classes. These exercises also stress the stabilization and strengthening of the back and abdominal muscles. Connecting with Pilates The mind/body connection associated with yoga and meditation also plays an integral part in Pilates. Unlike exercise techniques that emphasize numerous repetitions in a single direction, Pilates exercises are performed with very few, but extremely precise, repetitions in several planes of motion. So, what will all this focus and stabilization get you? Well, according to its adherents, Pilates can help you develop long, strong muscles, a flat stomach and a strong back, and improve posture. Of course, these changes are dependent upon other lifestyle factors, such as a well-balanced diet and regular, aerobic exercise. (Though some may claim that Pilates is all you need to develop stamina and endurance as well, an additional cardiovascular component may be advisable.) Pilates From the Start An initial Pilates session typically includes a body assessment, which allows the instructor to pinpoint strength and flexibility weak spots. This is the time to become familiar with Pilates' unique breathing patterns, which don't always follow the exhale-on-the-exertion pattern of traditional exercise. Sessions typically run 60 minutes, at a cost of $30 to $50 for private sessions, and $8 to $25 for group sessions. If you're more comfortable exercising at home, there are several Pilates and Pilates-type videos available, including the Fit & Flexible series, and The Method Precision series. Several home versions of the Reformer also are currently available on the market. Whether you work out at a studio or on your living room floor, Pilates is an excellent way to challenge your muscles, improve flexibility and incorporate the mind/ body element into one effective exercise session. Article prescribed by: The American Council on Exercise The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world.
  4. Tired of paved roads? Want to go where there aren't any speed limits? If you answered yes, then your vehicle of choice could very well be a mountain bike. Ever since a group of friends took a fast-paced ride down a steep incline in Northern California, mountain biking has been an exciting challenge to off-road riders. Its inclusion as an event in the 1996 Olympics confirmed what riders already know: Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, both in popularity and participation. Many riders say it's the freedom. After all, destinations are unlimited on these machines built for rough terrain. If you've never been on a mountain bike you might wonder what all the fuss is about. Many riders say it's the freedom. After all, destinations are unlimited on these The Right Equipment Mountain bikes are sturdier than your average 10-speed or hybrid bicycle so they can withstand rough roads. They have wide tires that grip the trail, and cantilever brakes, similar to those found on a motorcycle. When purchasing a mountain bike, be sure that it isn't too large. You should always be able to put a foot on the ground to steady yourself. A helmet is a must, and knee and elbow pads are sure-fire scar preventers. Your Body On A Bike Riding a bike is one of the best cardiovascular exercises around. Not only does it provide an aerobic workout, but it strengthens the large muscles of the lower body, including the thighs, hips and buttocks, without putting a lot of stress on the joints. The upper body and arms come into play when climbing hills. Always warm up before you begin your ride. Pedal in a low gear over flat terrain until you begin to sweat or feel warm. This usually takes about five to 10 minutes. And don't neglect to cool down when you come to the end of your ride. Gradually lowering your heart rate can help prevent the pooling of lactic acid in the muscles. Again, pedal slowly in a low gear. On The Trail Practice makes perfect isn't a cliché when it comes to handling a mountain bike. Once you start heading up hills and mountains and over rocks and steep falls, you'll need to rely on your instincts, which, if they don't come naturally, develop through practice. One of the first things to do is to get a feel for how the brakes work. The front brake on a mountain bike usually has more power than the back, and pulling it alone may send you flying over the handlebars. Practice quick stops before you hit the trail so you can feel how your weight may affect how you stop. Cantilever brakes are stronger than those on other bikes, allowing riders to control factors such as their rate of decline. When descending a hill, lightly squeeze and release the brakes - a technique called feathering - to prevent the wheels from locking. Change gears as it becomes necessary in order to keep a steady cadence. Use a low gear when you need power, and a high gear when you want speed. Climbing requires a shift in your weight that will control the tires' grip on the ground. Short, steep hills may require out-of-the-seat pedaling to garner more power. If you try this on a long climb, however, you'll likely tire before you reach the top. Shift your weight forward, off the seat if necessary, to gain the power you need. Get Pedaling You can obtain information about trails in your area from your local library or mountain-biking group. The sooner you start pedaling, the sooner you can test your limits - those set by both your body and your mind. Article prescribed by: The American Council on Exercise The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world.
  5. A complete fitness program must include aerobic exercise, muscular strength and endurance conditioning, and flexibility exercise. Aerobic exercise does good things for your cardiovascular system and is an important part of weight management. Muscular conditioning can improve strength and posture, reduce the risk of lower back injury, and is also an important component of a weight management program. Flexibility exercise is needed to maintain joint range of motion and reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness. Aerobic exercise can be as simple as walking. Walking is a weight-bearing aerobic exercise. So are jogging, rope skipping and dance-exercise. Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups in a continuous, rhythmic fashion for sustained periods of time. There are also non-weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as bicycling, stationary cycling, swimming and rowing. Keep the pace comfortable. A very important aspect of your exercise program is the intensity. You should exercise at a comfortable pace. You can measure your exercise heart rate to check the intensity of your exercising, or you can take the 'talk test.' To measure your heart rate, take your pulse as soon as you stop exercising. Count your heartbeat for 10 seconds, then multiply that by six to convert it to a one-minute heart rate. If you keep your exercise heart rate within a range of 55 percent to 80 percent of an estimated maximum heart rate (220 minus your age), you're doing well. The talk test is easier to accomplish. Just exercise at a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation while you're exercising. How often should you exercise? Three to four days of aerobic activity is fine for general health maintenance. If you're trying to lose weight, aim for four or more days a week, being sure you take off at least one day a week. How long should you exercise? Work up to 20 or more minutes per session for general health maintenance. For weight loss, gradually work up to 45 minutes or longer at low to moderate intensities in a low- or no-impact activity. Strength conditioning gives you a choice. Pick calisthenics, free weights or machines. Just be sure that your strength training includes exercises for every major muscle group, including the muscles of the arms, chest, back, stomach, hips and legs. Start with a weight that's comfortable to handle and keep it up for eight repetitions. Gradually add more repetitions until you can complete 12 repetitions. For greater strength conditioning, add more weight and/or more repetitions, in sets of eight to 12, when the exercise becomes easy. Stretch for flexibility Proper stretching involves holding a mild stretch of 10 to 30 seconds while you breathe normally. Always warm up before you stretch. Like strength conditioning, flexibility exercises should include stretching for all the major muscle groups. One last thing to remember . . . Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, especially if you're over 40, or have cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or a family history of heart disease. Article prescribed by: The American Council on Exercise The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world.
  6. Have you ever heard the expression "use it or lose it"? It's true! If you don't use your body, you will surely lose it. If you don't exercise, your muscles will become flabby and weak. Your heart and lungs won't function efficiently. And your joints will be stiff and easily injured. Inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking! Helps Prevent Diseases Our bodies were meant to move -- they actually crave exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process. Improves Stamina When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep going. Aerobic exercise involves continuous and rhythmic physical motion, such as walking and bicycling. It improves your stamina by training your body to become more efficient and use less energy for the same amount of work. As your conditioning level improves, your heart rate and breathing rate return to resting levels much sooner from strenuous activity. Strengthens and Tones Exercising with weights and other forms of resistance training develops your muscles, bones and ligaments for increased strength and endurance. Your posture can be improved, and your muscles become more firm and toned. You not only feel better, but you look better, too! Enhances Flexibility Stretching exercises are also important for good posture. They keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach and twist. Improving your flexibility through exercise reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination. If you have stiff, tense areas, such as the upper back or neck, performing specific stretches can help "loosen" those muscles, helping you feel more relaxed. Controls Weight Exercise is also a key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight. It's as simple as that. Improves Quality of Life Once you begin to exercise regularly, you will discover many more reasons why exercise is so important to improving the quality of your life. Exercise reduces stress, lifts moods, and helps you sleep better. It can keep you looking and feeling younger throughout your entire life. How Often Should You Exercise? The benefits of any exercise program will diminish if it's disrupted too frequently. A "stop-start" routine is not only ineffective, but can cause injuries. Being consistent with exercise, therefore, is probably the most important factor in achieving desired results. People often assume that more is better. Wrong! Doing too much too soon or performing intense exercises on a daily basis will have deleterious effects, such as muscle/tendon strains, loss of lean tissue, and fitness-level plateaus. Cardio If you are a beginner, start off slower than you think you should. Three days per week is realistic, safe and effective. If you are experienced, do cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises such as walking, jogging and bicycling for no more than 200 minutes per week with no more than 60 minutes per session. Lifting Weights Weight training should be done no more than three times per week targeting the same muscle groups. Exercise the same muscle groups on non-consecutive days because muscles need adequate time to recover and cannot be effectively trained if they are tired or sore. Stretching Many people forget to stretch or make the excuse that they don't have the time. Flexibility is important, so make the time! Stretching can be done every day, but stick to a minimum of three times per week in order to reap the benefits. When the body is warmed up, such as after a workout session, perform five to 10 stretches that target the major muscle groups. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds. Article by: Armand Tecco, M.Ed. Armand Tecco is certified as a health/fitness instructor by the American College of Sports Medicine and as a strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength & Conditioning Association. With more than 18 years of experience in the fitness industry, Armand Tecco has personally trained and prescribed exercise programs for thousands of people, from professional athletes and corporate executives to stay-at-home moms and older adults. Armand has a Bachelor of Science degree in fitness management and a Master's in Education degree in exercise physiology. In addition, Armand is the inventor of AB-Weights, a patented abdominal training product endorsed by Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan and fitness celebrity Denise Austin. Armand serves as fitness director and co-owner of HealthEase, Inc., a fitness consulting firm based in suburban Philadelphia, PA. Founded in 1986, HealthEase has expanded rapidly into a leading regional force in the health and fitness field. Services range from the design and management of a full-scale fitness facility to an analysis of the health/fitness needs of employees, health fairs, seminars, aerobic exercise classes and personal fitness training.
  7. Most people start off strong with an exercise program, and then within a few weeks they've got an excuse for not being there. The majority of people will stop participating in a new workout program within the first 90 days which is why health clubs that are packed in January can seem virtually empty by March. What's your excuse for not making it to the gym on a consistent basis? Locker room too smelly? Eye candy not sweet enough? Music volume making your ears bleed? Feeling intimidated by buff bodies crowding the free-weight area? Don't let your gym membership go to waste! If you're starting a new exercise program, you're probably very excited about it, which is great. But that excitement is going to wear off, at which point you'll begin to notice how much time and effort a workout plan really requires. And that's the point where you may be tempted to start pulling back, or even to quit entirely. But we're not about to let that happen. Follow these steps from the very beginning, and you'll be one of those dedicated gym members who really get their moneys worth. 1. Make workouts a key part of your schedule. Many people see exercise merely as recreation, not a necessity, which means it's the first thing to go when daily schedules get crunched. YOU NEED TO DECIDE that working out is as important as ANYTHING in your life, even as important as LIFE ITSELF. If you don't, as soon as the initial excitement of a new program is over, everything else will get in the way; business appointments, family obligations, TV, sitting on your duff. Write your workout times into your calendar and stick to them just as you would a vital business meeting. 2. Keep it mellow. You're a lot more likely to keep your program for the long term if you avoid letting going to the gym become a hassle. Choose a gym you can get to in a reasonable amount of time at the time of day you're going to train. If you're fighting gym traffic, you'll be a lot less motivated. Find a place where you won't have to line up to use the equipment you want. And unless you'll be going at the end of the day and can wash up at home, make sure it has clean showers and a comfortable changing environment. 3. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Many people often start out too aggressively, going to a level that's higher than they're capable of. As a result, they injure their muscle fibers, so for 48 hours they're walking around like a mummy. Then they stop going to the gym because they find themselves dreading the pain. Many people don't realize that long, drawn out workouts is NOT better. You're not giving your body enough time to recover between workouts. 60 minutes TOPS (if you're doing a strength and aerobic workout), or about 30 minutes of a strength OR aerobic workout. Make those minutes COUNT! You can still workout daily as long as you keep your workouts short. 4. Set achievable goals. It's inevitable that as you start a new program, you picture yourself looking like the models on TV or in the magazines. But if you set your sights too high, you may find yourself discounting the gains you are making. When you're starting out, go over your long-term goals with a trainer or coach, and decide what you can achieve based on your workout schedule. Then, instead of looking far into the future, give yourself intermediate weekly and monthly goals, such as doing an extra rep or lifting 10 more pounds. If you always have new goals to shoot for, it stays interesting. REMEMBER: You're not exercising to lose weight. You're exercising because of HOW YOU'LL FEEL as a RESULT of exercising regularly. You WILL get leaner, you WILL have more energy, you WILL have a higher self-esteem. If you don't achieve the goals in the time you first set, it's not the goal that's wrong. It's the time frame that was wrong. Keep focused on your goals. 5. Chart your progress. Gains from one workout to the next can be subtle, and the only way to know how well you're really doing is to write everything down. Keep a journal of your workouts, as well as what you eat. Even people who are diligent don't remember exactly how well things went if they keep everything in their head. When you write it down, you can compare results, see what is and isn't working, and see that as time goes on YOU'RE REALLY MAKING PROGRESS. 6. Mix it up. Doing the same workout over and over again gets old fast, and your results won't be as good as if you try a variety of exercises. Instead of doing 40 minutes daily on the treadmill, try every darn aerobic machine in the gym and go on hiking, in-line skating and bicycling adventures whenever you get a chance. Change your weight training routine regularly to keep things interesting and to help break through plateaus. A lack of variety leads to staleness. A good rule of thumb is to change your sets, reps, weight, and rest periods every 3-4 weeks. You'll have more fun if you learn new tools and keep doing different things. 7. Go one on one. One reason working out can seem less enjoyable than playing sports is that it lacks interplay with others. But there are lots of ways to have some spirited competition in the gym, whether it's racing >> on treadmills or competing (safely) with your weightlifting buddy. When two guys are on the same regimen, they can make things more fun by having "mini-contests." Try going as many reps as you can on a certain weight. Or see who can lift the most weight for 4-5 reps. Just make sure the contest rules specify doing the exercise right, since sacrificing form to lift more weight can be dangerous. 8. Work with a trainer or coach. Workouts seem easier and are more effective with a professional prodding you on; plus, you're more likely to feel obligated to show up (especially if he's going to charge you anyway). When there's someone watching you and keeping an eye on your progress, there's incentive to keep going. If you can't afford to hire a trainer for every workout, just do it every couple of weeks or once a month and have him/her help you set goals for you to reach in between. Also, consider getting a training partner - just make sure it's somebody who will show up every time, is dedicated as you are... in other words, a clone of you. 9. Force yourself to hang in there religiously for the first three months. Nothing sustains motivation better than results. However, whether you're a beginner or a competitive bodybuilder, your muscles must be given enough time to adapt to the growth and recovery periods that strength training requires. Though you may see some results, like increases in strength, early on, noticeable changes in your physique CAN take up to three months. (NOTE: This DOESN'T mean that everyone will take this long to see results. I've had clients see results in the first couple of weeks; some waited a few months before things fell into place.) It also takes that long to establish a rhythm and discipline to your training schedule, but after three months of dedication, you'll be a lot less likely to fall off the training wagon. 10. As soon as you miss a workout, re-motivate yourself. This is the danger zone, the time when most people start giving up. You've missed one workout, so what's the big deal about skipping another, or all of them? Before you know it, your whole program could go down the tubes. If you miss a workout, you miss a workout. It's over. You can't bring it back. So it makes NO sense to beat yourself up about it. Article by: Garrett Braunreiter
  8. Hello! I thought I'd jump in and introduce myself. My name is Mimi and I love in Los Angeles with my hubby of 2 years and our parrot who is the baby of the house. I turned 30 in January, so I just made it into this board! LOL I'm a wahw (work-at-home-wife) helping out my hubby and doing some graphic design. I'm re-starting WW on Monday but I figured I could introduce myself as a way of forcing myself to actually start and also to stay OP. I'm doing WW at home mainly because I'mm TTC and I don't want to spend the start-up fee and then have to put my membership on hold until (God willing!) I have a baby. Can't wait to get to know all of you better!
  9. Just in case anyone wants a new exercise option! My Exerstriders I intend to add a picture of me using them, but that's not as easy as it sounds... LOL. I'll keep trying! .
  10. inkdork

    Routines

    For those of you that have a regular workout routine, what is it? I do an hour of water aeroboics (2x's a week), 80 minutes of hatha yoga (2x's a week) and swim for a minimum of 40 minutes (2x's a week). That's Monday through Thursday. I also try to get in a little extra the other days and have just started doing a 35 minute Pilates routine with my Wii. I'm thinking about switching the Pilates up with an hour of DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) Friday - Sunday to mix things up and keep them fresh.
  11. I have lost 22lbs since January 1st on WW and riding. Unfortunately, I have hit a plateau on my weight loss during the last 3 weeks. My riding stamina has increased dramatically since the weather has improved, but now I find myself eating a LOT of calories during the evening after a long ride. For example, today I craved PIZZA after a 30+ mile country road ride. Anyone have any suggestions on non-fattening foods that will satisfy my hunger, but not crush me in the points column? I know carbs are good for athletes. I just tend to eat too much after exercise. Regards!
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