Be fit and eat fat!

25 | Male |  
Science graduate and physiotherapy student. I exercise without a gym, and I eat a lot of fatty foods.

Fat tastes good, fat keeps me feeling full and fat gives me the energy for my fit and healthy life!

Apr 27
Best gif I’ve seen all week.

Best gif I’ve seen all week.

(via theathleticnerd)


Apr 19

This is how I feel about pretty much all peri-workout nutrition. It’s great motivation, but also super awkward and looks funny. And makes me feel a little sick sometimes.


Apr 12
The glutes and the hamstrings are the primary hip extensors. But the hamstrings also act as knee flexors. This means if you’re extending your hips while you have your knees flexed, as in the above photo, your hamstrings will be struggling to shorten to their shortest possible length while your glutes will still be within their normal range. In technical terms, the hamstrings are actively insufficient, allowing you to really target the glutes specifically.
As a further cue to try to reduce the activity in your hamstrings during this exercise, try to think about sliding your foot forward and straightening the knee. Don’t actually do it, obviously, or you’ll go sliding backwards along the ground. Which brings up another point, try to do this exercise on a mat or on carpet, rather than on smooth ground. On a smooth surface you’ll be activating your hamstrings more to prevent yourself from sliding.

The glutes and the hamstrings are the primary hip extensors. But the hamstrings also act as knee flexors. This means if you’re extending your hips while you have your knees flexed, as in the above photo, your hamstrings will be struggling to shorten to their shortest possible length while your glutes will still be within their normal range. In technical terms, the hamstrings are actively insufficient, allowing you to really target the glutes specifically.

As a further cue to try to reduce the activity in your hamstrings during this exercise, try to think about sliding your foot forward and straightening the knee. Don’t actually do it, obviously, or you’ll go sliding backwards along the ground. Which brings up another point, try to do this exercise on a mat or on carpet, rather than on smooth ground. On a smooth surface you’ll be activating your hamstrings more to prevent yourself from sliding.


Apr 8
What if I said there was an exercise that’s probably just as important as your workout, but isn’t done in the gym? What if it also only took a few minutes each day and required equipment that is cheaper than any gym membership? And you can do it at home, and much of this exercise you do using your phone or computer? I bet you’re thinking this sounds amazing, and you’d certainly do this exercise.
But if you tell somebody to weigh their food and count calories and macronutrients, I suspect they’d think this is far too much effort. Maybe they eat away from home a lot, consuming unknown quantities of food. Or maybe they’re scared of the judgment, scared that the scale will tell them they’re eating the wrong way.
Don’t be scared. And don’t be lazy. The ramifications of screwing up your diet can be that your hard work at the gym goes to waste if you don’t end up losing fat or gaining muscle. And as I said, it’s actually not that much effort. You don’t need to do it every day, just every now and then to get an idea of the energy content of foods and your energy requirements. It’s an exercise, and you’ll be building a sense of how much of what foods to eat. For the time it takes, that’s totally worth it.

What if I said there was an exercise that’s probably just as important as your workout, but isn’t done in the gym? What if it also only took a few minutes each day and required equipment that is cheaper than any gym membership? And you can do it at home, and much of this exercise you do using your phone or computer? I bet you’re thinking this sounds amazing, and you’d certainly do this exercise.

But if you tell somebody to weigh their food and count calories and macronutrients, I suspect they’d think this is far too much effort. Maybe they eat away from home a lot, consuming unknown quantities of food. Or maybe they’re scared of the judgment, scared that the scale will tell them they’re eating the wrong way.

Don’t be scared. And don’t be lazy. The ramifications of screwing up your diet can be that your hard work at the gym goes to waste if you don’t end up losing fat or gaining muscle. And as I said, it’s actually not that much effort. You don’t need to do it every day, just every now and then to get an idea of the energy content of foods and your energy requirements. It’s an exercise, and you’ll be building a sense of how much of what foods to eat. For the time it takes, that’s totally worth it.


Mar 16

The least worse way to get drunk

This post started out as a short list of things that you should do if you’re going to drink alcohol, to do the least amount of harm to yourself. However, as I researched this topic further (by reading actual research, not by drinking. I feel I should also say that I’m a teetotaler), I realized that this is a lot more complicated than it seems and there is in fact no ‘good’ way to drink. So I’m going to tell you about the least bad way.

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Alcohol and the hangover
People generally report feeling stimulated, euphoric and energised as they’re getting drunker, but then feel sedated, slow and sluggish when they start to sober up [1]. In general it is the stimulant effects that people crave [2], and but this requires ever increasing levels of alcohol to keep the blood alcohol on the rise and indeed people who experience greater stimulant effects from alcohol generally tend to be heavier drinkers [3].

Aside from the reduced motor and cognitive abilities caused by alcohol consumption, the day after drinking when blood alcohol returns to zero often produces the symptoms of a hangover. Hangovers usually involve the symptoms of nausea, drowsiness, thirst, tension headache and reduced cognitive ability [4]. Most of these symptoms are most likely caused by an inflammatory reaction or immune system disturbance in response to alcohol, but may also be due to a build-up of the alcohol breakdown product acetaldehyde and other toxic components in alcohol [5].

The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug Clotan (tolfenamic acid) has been shown to reduce hangovers when taken before drinking and before going to be after drinking [6], due to its anti-inflammatory effects. It’s possible, therefore, that fish oils may also have some benefit, but this hasn’t been studied. Some alcohols, like bourbon, scotch, wine and beer, contain toxic components known as congeners, such as methanol [7]. Avoid these alcohols and instead drink low congener alcohols like vodka (vodka has a very low congener content for a very high alcohol content) [8]. There’s not much you can do about the acetaldehyde, especially if you’re one of those people (usually Asian) who produce acetaldehyde faster and break it down slower, so experience alcohol flush reactions [9].

Some of the symptoms can be explained in other ways. Thirst is likely caused by dehydration, and the drowsiness is partly caused by the effect alcohol (and staying out late to drink said alcohol) has on sleep [10]. Alcohol suppresses melatonin and alters sleep quality [11]. Thus, these symptoms can be minimized by drinking lots of water along with alcoholic beverages, and by not staying up too late on a night when you’ve been drinking (and sleeping in a darkened room).

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Alcohol and fat gain

Alcohol has 7kcal of energy per gram, which puts it partway between fat (9kcal/g) and carbohydrate (4kcal/g) in terms of energy density. In Australia and New Zealand, a standard drink contains 10g of alcohol (same as one ‘unit’ of alcohol in the UK, but the US standard drink contains 40% more). Thus, a standard drink contains 70kcal of energy from alcohol alone, and a sugary alcohol beverage like a fruit cider or an Alcopop may contain even more from sugar. For a 55kg woman to drink enough to be legally to drunk to drive in Australia, and stay that way for 3 hours, a quick calculation with the Widmark equation reveals she’d need to drink 56g of alcohol (5.5 standard drinks in Australia) over those 3 hours, which would be a minimum of 390kcal if she was drinking shots of pure vodka or 900kcal if she’s consuming sugary alcoholic sodas. Considering a sedentary 55kg woman would only need about 1300kcal per day, that’s a lot of empty calories.

The calories consumed in the form of alcohol behave like those consumed from sugary drinks [12, 13], in that even though you’ve just consumed a lot of energy you don’t eat less at later meals [14]. There is even some evidence that alcohol, compared to sugary liquids like fruit juice, actually stimulate appetite rather than reduce it [15], and certainly you’re not going to have your usual dietary control when you’re inebriated. So, unless our hypothetical woman is basically dancing non-stop for those 3 hours she’s out, she’s like to have consumed far more energy that day than she’s burned, and will thus gain weight (primarily in the abdominal region, for some reason).

Obviously the easiest, and by far the most effective, way to avoid this fat gain is to just drink fewer drinks, or drink less often. If you don’t try to get as drunk, or stay that way for as long, or do it as often, you’ll dramatically reduce the number of empty calories you’re consuming.

The only alternative is to eat fewer calories, from more nutrient rich foods, earlier in the day, before alcohol starts to affect your control. After you drink, your body switches to burn alcohol for energy instead of fat [16, 17]. This suggests that on a day you are consuming that you alcohol you should maintain a low fat diet. Further reinforcing this, alcohol consumption inhibits gluconeogenesis [18], and this may reduce blood sugar levels, which is not good for people following a low carbohydrate diet. Further, consuming alcohol with a lot of quickly digested carbohydrates can produce the “sugar low” or reactive hypoglycemia [19, 20]. Thus, alcohol should be consumed after an energy-reduced low-fat carbohydrate rich diet, but consisting of slow-digesting low GI carbohydrate rather than sugar or refined carbs.

So, I hope you enjoyed reading about how science can make you more functional alcoholic, and kill yourself more slowly with alcohol. I’ll stick to the water myself. Bottoms up!

Reference below (click read more)

Read More


Mar 14
Research suggests that overweight and obese Americans are more likely to consume diet beverages (Bleich et al 2014). Furthermore, the research suggests that while drinking diet beverages results in a decrease calorie consumption in normal weight individuals, overweight and obese people consume more calories from food if they’re drinking diet beverages compared to if they’re drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.
This suggests that overweight and obese people switch to diet beverages to lose weight, but end up eating more food to compensate and so remain overweight or obese.

Research suggests that overweight and obese Americans are more likely to consume diet beverages (Bleich et al 2014). Furthermore, the research suggests that while drinking diet beverages results in a decrease calorie consumption in normal weight individuals, overweight and obese people consume more calories from food if they’re drinking diet beverages compared to if they’re drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.

This suggests that overweight and obese people switch to diet beverages to lose weight, but end up eating more food to compensate and so remain overweight or obese.


Mar 12
Graph time! This is from Parr et al 2014, looking at the effect of alcohol (ALC) has, when consumed with carbohydrate (CHO) and protein (PRO), on the synthesis of new muscle fibres after a workout (FSR = fractional synthetic rate).
As the graph shows, doing a workout and eating protein doubles the average synthesis of new muscle fibres in the 8 hours after the workout, when compared to resting (i.e. not doing a workout at all). Consuming alcohol and carbs instead, however results in only one third the increase in muscle protein synthesis.
Most interesting of all is that this reduction in protein synthesis isn’t seemingly only due to the lack of protein. When subjects consumed their required protein as well as drinking alcohol, they still only got half the increase in muscle protein synthesis as they would with protein alone. This suggests that alcohol ingestion is actively impairing muscle protein synthesis.
I should add, however, that these subjects were consuming 1.5g of alcohol per kg bodyweight, so with the average subject weighing 80kg that means they consumed 12 standard drinks (in Australia) or  8.5 standard drinks (in the US). You might not see as much of an effect if you just have one drink, but this study indicates that even if you have your protein shake before you go get drunk after gym you’re only making half the gains you would if you opted for water instead.

Graph time! This is from Parr et al 2014, looking at the effect of alcohol (ALC) has, when consumed with carbohydrate (CHO) and protein (PRO), on the synthesis of new muscle fibres after a workout (FSR = fractional synthetic rate).

As the graph shows, doing a workout and eating protein doubles the average synthesis of new muscle fibres in the 8 hours after the workout, when compared to resting (i.e. not doing a workout at all). Consuming alcohol and carbs instead, however results in only one third the increase in muscle protein synthesis.

Most interesting of all is that this reduction in protein synthesis isn’t seemingly only due to the lack of protein. When subjects consumed their required protein as well as drinking alcohol, they still only got half the increase in muscle protein synthesis as they would with protein alone. This suggests that alcohol ingestion is actively impairing muscle protein synthesis.

I should add, however, that these subjects were consuming 1.5g of alcohol per kg bodyweight, so with the average subject weighing 80kg that means they consumed 12 standard drinks (in Australia) or  8.5 standard drinks (in the US). You might not see as much of an effect if you just have one drink, but this study indicates that even if you have your protein shake before you go get drunk after gym you’re only making half the gains you would if you opted for water instead.


Mar 10
Somebody has done theoretical calculations on incline pushups, in an article titled How Much Weight Do You Actually Push Up During a Pushup. The results of the calculations are that a pushup is about 56% of bodyweight, which is less than the experimentally derived number of 64% (Ebben et al 2011).
For hand elevated incline pushups, the calculated values for a 18 inch (45cm) elevation and a 32 (81cm) inch elevation are 42% and 36% respectively. The same experimental paper I linked above measured 61cm elevation at 41% and 30.5cm elevation at 55% (Ebben et al 2011).
If you know how many repetitions (the rep max, or RM) it takes to fatigue with one level of resistance, it’s possible to predict the resistance it will take to fatigue after just one rep (Mayhew et al 2008). I’m going to use the O’Conner equation for this one, because that paper I just linked showed it was pretty accurate for bench press in women (which is as good as I can get for pushups).
 If a 55kg woman can do 15 pushups on a 61cm elevated surface (thus a 15RM of 22.55), we’d predict a 1RM of 31kg, which is 56% of her bodyweight and thus about a 30.5cm elevated pushup.
Using these same equations, if that same woman wants to be able to do at least one floor pushup (1RM of 35kg), then she needs to be able to do 30.5cm pushups (30.25kg) for at least 6 reps.
Isn’t mathematics fun?

Somebody has done theoretical calculations on incline pushups, in an article titled How Much Weight Do You Actually Push Up During a Pushup. The results of the calculations are that a pushup is about 56% of bodyweight, which is less than the experimentally derived number of 64% (Ebben et al 2011).

For hand elevated incline pushups, the calculated values for a 18 inch (45cm) elevation and a 32 (81cm) inch elevation are 42% and 36% respectively. The same experimental paper I linked above measured 61cm elevation at 41% and 30.5cm elevation at 55% (Ebben et al 2011).

If you know how many repetitions (the rep max, or RM) it takes to fatigue with one level of resistance, it’s possible to predict the resistance it will take to fatigue after just one rep (Mayhew et al 2008). I’m going to use the O’Conner equation for this one, because that paper I just linked showed it was pretty accurate for bench press in women (which is as good as I can get for pushups).

If a 55kg woman can do 15 pushups on a 61cm elevated surface (thus a 15RM of 22.55), we’d predict a 1RM of 31kg, which is 56% of her bodyweight and thus about a 30.5cm elevated pushup.

Using these same equations, if that same woman wants to be able to do at least one floor pushup (1RM of 35kg), then she needs to be able to do 30.5cm pushups (30.25kg) for at least 6 reps.

Isn’t mathematics fun?


Mar 3
Working a muscle in a stretched position results in greater strength and hypertrophy (McMahon et al 2014). Participants did knee extensions within the end half of the exercise (between 0-50°), where the quads are shortest, or the latter half of the exercise (45-90°), where the quads are longer, for 8 weeks. Training in this longer zone resulted in faster gains.
This matches evidence that squatting to a knee flexion of 120° results in greater quadriceps strength and size than squatting to 60° (Bloomquist et al 2013). But what this new study adds is that maybe it’s not so much the increased range of motion that’s responsible for this, but rather the effect of training a muscle in a stretched position. Further research will have to say for sure, but for now, seems squatting deep is better (at least in this respect).

Working a muscle in a stretched position results in greater strength and hypertrophy (McMahon et al 2014). Participants did knee extensions within the end half of the exercise (between 0-50°), where the quads are shortest, or the latter half of the exercise (45-90°), where the quads are longer, for 8 weeks. Training in this longer zone resulted in faster gains.

This matches evidence that squatting to a knee flexion of 120° results in greater quadriceps strength and size than squatting to 60° (Bloomquist et al 2013). But what this new study adds is that maybe it’s not so much the increased range of motion that’s responsible for this, but rather the effect of training a muscle in a stretched position. Further research will have to say for sure, but for now, seems squatting deep is better (at least in this respect).

(via building-an-unstoppable-fist)


Feb 26
Tuna oatcakes
Tinned tuna is a very quick and easy protein source to have on hand, but it can get a little tedious. Add some extra flare to your tuna by making them into tuna oatcakes.
Ingredients
1 can (~100g) of your favourite tuna flavour
1/4 cup (22g) dry rolled oats
1 large egg (55g)
1/4 cup natural yoghurt (optional)
1/2 tsp chopped parsley (optional)
Oil, for frying
Method
Mix everything together in a bowl, except for oil
Put oil into a non-stick frypan, over medium heat
Divide into two balls, then smash your balls into flat cakes
Put cakes in hot fry pan for 2 minutes, until brown on the bottom
Flip and repeat
It’s not really any more effort than it would be if you fried up some eggs to eat, but it’s far more interesting, I think.

Tuna oatcakes

Tinned tuna is a very quick and easy protein source to have on hand, but it can get a little tedious. Add some extra flare to your tuna by making them into tuna oatcakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (~100g) of your favourite tuna flavour
  • 1/4 cup (22g) dry rolled oats
  • 1 large egg (55g)
  • 1/4 cup natural yoghurt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp chopped parsley (optional)
  • Oil, for frying

Method

  1. Mix everything together in a bowl, except for oil
  2. Put oil into a non-stick frypan, over medium heat
  3. Divide into two balls, then smash your balls into flat cakes
  4. Put cakes in hot fry pan for 2 minutes, until brown on the bottom
  5. Flip and repeat

It’s not really any more effort than it would be if you fried up some eggs to eat, but it’s far more interesting, I think.


Feb 25
How to stay fit with a leg injury
I have injured my hamstring, so while I rehab my leg I’ve been thinking of ways to keep up my fitness. Fortunately my upper limb strength and core work isn’t inhibited, but most of my cardio involved my legs. This is what I’ve come up with.
Try upper limb cardio - Things like boxing, arm ergometers, sledgehammers, rowing machines all demand more of the upper body than the lower body. That said, they often still require some leg strength, so be careful.
Do supersets or circuits - By rotating between strength exercises instead of resting, you’re giving your heart and lungs more of a workout while still allowing each muscle enough time to rest. It’s a proven fact (Pedro et al 2008).
Walk your usual running route - Walking is far easier on the legs, and still burns almost as many calories as running. This will keep your daily energy expenditure similar to what it was when you could run, thus preventing weight gain.
It’s also a good idea to aim for maintaining your weight during an injury recovery period, as you won’t be able to exercise enough to add muscle as easily but the added stress of losing weight could slow down the healing process.
Get well soon (I’m speaking to my hamstrings, and anyone else with hurty legs).

How to stay fit with a leg injury

I have injured my hamstring, so while I rehab my leg I’ve been thinking of ways to keep up my fitness. Fortunately my upper limb strength and core work isn’t inhibited, but most of my cardio involved my legs. This is what I’ve come up with.

  • Try upper limb cardio - Things like boxing, arm ergometers, sledgehammers, rowing machines all demand more of the upper body than the lower body. That said, they often still require some leg strength, so be careful.
  • Do supersets or circuits - By rotating between strength exercises instead of resting, you’re giving your heart and lungs more of a workout while still allowing each muscle enough time to rest. It’s a proven fact (Pedro et al 2008).
  • Walk your usual running route - Walking is far easier on the legs, and still burns almost as many calories as running. This will keep your daily energy expenditure similar to what it was when you could run, thus preventing weight gain.

It’s also a good idea to aim for maintaining your weight during an injury recovery period, as you won’t be able to exercise enough to add muscle as easily but the added stress of losing weight could slow down the healing process.

Get well soon (I’m speaking to my hamstrings, and anyone else with hurty legs).


Feb 23

Nice little cartoon poking fun at processed fast foods.


Feb 15
This article on BuiltLean comes with the above picture, plus descriptions of what should and wouldn’t be visible at each state of body fat. For instance:

Body Fat Percentage Women 20-22%
This is body fat percentage is usually in the “fit” category of most body fat charts and is typical of many female athletes. Some definition in the abs is apparent, there is body fat on the arms and legs, but it’s not too pronounced. There is minimal, but some separation between muscles.

I remember seeing more detailed descriptors of each body fat percentage on some forums a while ago, but the above one has both male and female and doesn’t just cover various fit/bodybuilding percentages.

This article on BuiltLean comes with the above picture, plus descriptions of what should and wouldn’t be visible at each state of body fat. For instance:

Body Fat Percentage Women 20-22%

This is body fat percentage is usually in the “fit” category of most body fat charts and is typical of many female athletes. Some definition in the abs is apparent, there is body fat on the arms and legs, but it’s not too pronounced. There is minimal, but some separation between muscles.

I remember seeing more detailed descriptors of each body fat percentage on some forums a while ago, but the above one has both male and female and doesn’t just cover various fit/bodybuilding percentages.


Feb 14

Progress photos: Lessons from bodybuilding posing

The progress photo is one of the most relevant outcome measures for people whose aims consist largely (or entirely) of looking good naked. But to get as much detail from progress photos as you can, there are a few points to know. Bodybuilders basically make their living off looking good in minimal clothing, so there’s a few things I’ve learned from them.

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Clothing

Bodybuilding competitions generally require relatively skimpy posing trunks for the men and bikinis for the women, with precisely 1/3 of the buttocks covered. This is necessary to expose as much musculature as possible, without exposing too much to be unsuitable for a public show.

Therefore, your progress photos should not be taken with you wearing a baggy t-shirt and jeans, because you’ll never be able to see minute differences. Less clothing is always better, but if you don’t need that much detail you may find a simple crop top (to expose the abs) to be sufficient. However, progress photos don’t have to be viewed by judges like bodybuilders do, so you may find taking your progress photos totally naked to be the best option (it does give you the most information about your glutes, lower abs and breasts).

I should also point out that in many female competitions, it’s standard to wear 4-5 inch high heels. But seeing as you’re competing against your past self rather than other girls, it’s up to you what you wear on your feet (if anything). 

Lighting

Stage lighting is generally pretty bright, so that no area of the body is hidden in darkness. Cameras, especially phone cameras, require fairly bright lighting to take detailed photos, so you will need to take your progress photos in a brightly-lit room. Natural lighting (sunlight) is considered ideal but is also hard to control.

However, shadows can also add definition, something bodybuilders can’t rely on. Lighting coming from above, slightly in front and slightly to one side adds shadows to the body that help show muscles. For this reason, it’s also wise to avoid a flash when taking progress photos. But whatever you do, keep it consistent between photos, because lighting does make a huge difference.

Bodybuilders also prepare for a competition by getting a tan (natural or fake), which helps preserve definition in the bright stage lighting. But seeing as you have control of lighting and, like I said above, are only competing against your past self, you can be as pale or tanned as you like for your progress photos. Just keep in mind that a tan will slightly change your definition, if you’re comparing progress photos before and after that beach trip you went on. (The same thing applies if you decide to oil yourself up for your progress photos!).

Poses

In competitions it’s mandatory to pose in several ways, to allow the judges to see you from the front, back and side. Poses vary between competitions.

For men, there are 7-8 compulsory poses that show off key muscles like biceps, triceps, lats, chest, thighs and abs. Similar poses are used in women’s physique and figure except for some reason they keep their hands open. Women’s bikini competitions allow even more variation in poses, such as allowing weight to be mostly one one hip or the torso to be turned during a pose. Whether a certain muscle is flexed during a pose or not depends on the competition and the look that is desired.

In a progress photo, adopting just a couple of these poses could be very useful to get a good view of certain muscle groups of interest. If the main muscles you’re interested in are glutes and abs, for instance, then a relaxed front view, an abs-tensed front view and some side or rear view pose may be the most useful to you. If you’re more interested in back, chest, biceps and shoulders, a double biceps front and double biceps back may be the most suitable for you. Just try to keep it consistent.

Summary

Good progress photos are all about being able to see the changes you’re looking for. You need the right clothes, lighting and poses to see those changes, and you need to do the exact same thing next time you take your photo so that you can be sure the difference is due to your hard work in the gym and dedication in the kitchen.


Feb 13
Befiteatfat is two years old today! This tumblr was started mostly on a whim to help a close friend, for me to have somewhere to put all my health and fitness thoughts, to encourage myself further and to alleviate the boredom of spending several months at home by giving myself things to research so that I felt productive.
I think I’ve achieved many of those aims. I’ve achieved many of my fitness goals, it did get me through a very boring patch of my life and I’ve learned a lot by doing this. And you should see the hot body my friend has achieved in the past two and a bit years!

Befiteatfat is two years old today! This tumblr was started mostly on a whim to help a close friend, for me to have somewhere to put all my health and fitness thoughts, to encourage myself further and to alleviate the boredom of spending several months at home by giving myself things to research so that I felt productive.

I think I’ve achieved many of those aims. I’ve achieved many of my fitness goals, it did get me through a very boring patch of my life and I’ve learned a lot by doing this. And you should see the hot body my friend has achieved in the past two and a bit years!


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