Category Archives: Exercise


bone health, appetite, sitting too much, health, research

New research suggests cells in your bones are to blame.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.

Researchers might have found an explanation for why sitting is tied to weight gain and poor health. A new study on mice led to the hypothesis that it has to do with gravity sensors in the bones of our legs, called osteocytes, which act as a bodyweight scale.

Osteocytes are a type of cell that sense outside force on bone and adapt accordingly, explains study author Jan-Åke Gustafsson, MD, Ph.D., founding director of the Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling at the University of Houston. These cells help regulate bone mass but the study results suggest they also do so for fat mass—at least in mice, he says.

Since sitting removes the force of our body weight from our bones, osteocytes in our legs mistakenly think we weigh less and try to get us back to homeostasis by sending signals that increase our appetite, Gustafsson explains.

Gustaffsson and his team still need to test the theory in humans, but the discovery in mice is an exciting prospect that could help explain how our body regulates weight gain. Until then, move more throughout the day to remind your bones what your natural weight feels like.
For full article by Rachael Schultz please visit
sleep, sperm, sex, conception, birth, pregnancy, science, research


And why stress levels matter

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.

In a new study in the Journal of Sleep Research, men who slept fewer than six hours or more than nine were more likely to have an elevated high DNA stainability (HDS), an index that reflects sperm quality.
“Higher HDS indicates immaturity of the sperm production process (spermatogenesis), which means they may not perform well to reach the egg and achieve pregnancy,” explains study author Jia Cao, Ph.D., director of the toxicology institute at Third Military Medical University in China. It’s possible poor sleep behavior negatively interferes with your circadian clock (which controls spermatogenesis) and oxidative stress levels (how well your body can fight free radicals). “Although these results are interesting, and perhaps a springboard to stimulate further research, we don’t know if there is a causal relationship between sleep duration and sperm DNA integrity, and more importantly, if this translates to infertility,” adds Joseph Clark, M.D., program director of Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s urology residency program.
Aiming to get between seven and seven and a half hours of sleep per night if you’re a guy trying to conceive is probably not going to hurt your odds, Clark says. Also important is keeping stress levels in check, another key factor in male fertility. If you still can’t conceive after a year, Clark advises heading to a specialist.
For full article by Rachael Schultz please visit

The Most Underrated Core Strengthener, Revealed

The Most Underrated Core Strengthener, Revealed

You’ve tried every core exercise imaginable: crunches, planks, pikes, ab-wheels, you name it. But it turns out the most important core-strengthener isn’t actually a “core” exercise at all. It’s every other exercise you do in the gym. Performed correctly, those exercises improve the strength, stability and functionality of your core better than any traditional “core” exercise.

“A person can have the strongest core in the world without ever touching the abs with a crunch or plank,” says Erik Marthaler, CPT, co-owner of Lateral Fitness in Chicago. It stands to reason: In one Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study, when researchers had exercisers perform heavy squats and deadlifts, they activated a far greater percentage — and a greater degree — of their core than when they performed dedicated core-stability exercises including the side-plank and superman.

After all, the core is quite literally the foundation for your entire body, comprising not just your six-pack muscles (aka your rectus abdominis) or your deep-lying transverse abdominis, but also your spinal stabilizers, lats, traps, heck, even your pecs.

“To effectively train the core, we need to stop looking at the body as a hacked-together grouping of various body parts, and instead look at how the body functions overall,” says Mike T. Nelson, PhD, a Minnesota-based strength coach and exercise physiologist. As the core is the main connection between the upper and lower body, training it that way is the key to a stronger, more functional total body.


When it comes to strengthening the foundation of your body, some of the best movements include squats, deadlifts, step-ups, lunges and large push and pull movements such as the bench press, standing cable row and all-powerful pullup. Other great options include the farmer’s carry, where you stand tall, hold a weight (or two) and walk across the gym floor.

While these exercises are generally added to workout programs to strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, quads, pecs or lats, it’s important to remember that proper execution of any of them requires and builds a strong, stable core. “Your body almost automatically tightens up to make a sturdier base when doing these exercises,” Marthaler says.

However, you can increase the core contraction by coordinating deep diaphragmatic breathing in your movements, he says. During the eccentric — or easy part of an exercise (i.e., lowering into a squat or lowering down in a pushup) — inhale slowly through your nose inflating your abdomen. Then, as soon as you begin the concentric — or hard part of an exercise (i.e., raising out of a squat or pushing away from the floor in a pushup) — forcefully push the air out through your mouth, tightening your abs like you’re about to get punched in the gut.


Your core-centric planks, deadbugs and Pallofs can still be part of your exercise routine — and they should be especially if your core is weaker than the rest of your body, Nelson says.

How do you know if your core is relatively weak? During every exercise, pay attention to how your body feels. If you regularly feel your core shaking when performing standing shoulder presses or your core gives out before your chest and shoulders do during pushups, your core needs strengthening. Similarly, if you can squat or deadlift considerably more weight when you wear a weight belt, it’s a sign your core could use a little extra love.

For full article by Aleisha Fetters go to

Your Holiday Survival Guide: The Fitness and Nutrition Edition  6 proven ways to stick to your plan during the busy party season.

Holiday preparations, family visits, and epic meals… end-of-the-year festivities can make it feel impossible to avoid skipping workouts, gaining weight, and landing on January 1st with a momentous hangover.

That’s why I put together this Holiday Survival Guide.

It’s packed with the tips and tricks we use to help Precision Nutrition Coaching clients prioritize health, fitness, and nutrition no matter what life — including the holidays — throws at them.

Life can be calm and collected.

Or it can be frenetic and crazy.

The holidays, of course, offer a healthy dose of the latter.

Indeed, my wife and I have four little children — although it sometimes sounds like 97 of them — plus big extended families who like to visit for the festivities.

Oh, you should see our house.

Minions and princesses everywhere, bits of craft projects stuck to every surface, groceries to be put away, meals to be cooked and eaten, towels to be washed, and so many kids to be bathed and tucked in for sleep.

It’s really fun and it challenges our preferred eating and exercise schedules.

Yet, over the years, we’ve gotten really good at eating and exercising how we want, even during the holidays.

(There are some modifications, of course. And — don’t worry — lots of Christmas cookies.)

I’ve passed these strategies along to our Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them get the most health and fitness — along with fun and joy — out of their own holiday seasons.

And, today, I get to share this “Holiday Survival Guide” with you.

At Precision Nutrition we often say that your food and fitness strategies should be designed for your most hectic days — not just the easy, or perfect, ones.

So use these five, free, downloadable infographics (plus one short article) to eat and move more intentionally during the holiday season. I promise you’ll be feeling strong, confident, and in control no matter how frantic your days.

Holiday Survival Tool #1
Article: Eat slowly and to “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”

The most effective (and sanity-preserving) tool for holiday eating may also be the simplest one: Eat slowly. (And stop at “satisfied”, instead of “stuffed”).

This strategy helps you avoid overeating for two main reasons:

  • Physiological
    It takes 15-20 min for your digestive system to let your brain know that you’re satisfied. Slowing down a meal allows that to happen before you overeat.
  • Psychological
    When you slow down, “sense into”, and savor your food, you feel content with much less. This means you’ll eat less but enjoy what you’ve eaten more.

Indeed, when eating slowly (and stopping at “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”) you can try all the delicious foods on Grandma’s buffet without guilt or needing to “work it off later”.

For tips on how (and why) to eat slowly during holiday food fests, check out our full article on the topic, All about eating slowly.

Holiday Survival Tool #2
Infographic: How to stay in shape when you’re busy

It’s one of the most common patterns we see among incoming Precision Nutrition Coaching clients: Folks who want to get (and/or stay) fit will exercise diligently for months, only to get derailed by the holidays and “fall off the wagon” for the entire year.

That’s why we came up with this simple workout, which you can do no matter where the holidays take you.

This plan takes only a few minutes a day, it requires minimal or no equipment, and it focuses on compound exercise (big muscles, big movements) which makes it very effective when you want a good movement session but have limited time.

To sneak in quick, effective workouts this holiday season, check out How to stay in shape when you’re busy [Infographic].

Holiday Survival Tool #3
Infographic: Eating well on the go.

The end of the year has most people bouncing from supermarket to mall to party to recital — not to mention the planes, trains, and automobiles routine if you’re traveling.

When you’re on the go, it can feel like navigating a nutritional minefield: Hunger signals overpowering, junk food everywhere, little time to sit down and eat your veggies.

Challenging, of course, but not impossible. With smart strategies you can eat well on the go no matter where life takes you.

To learn how to maintain your nutrition habits even while running around this holiday season, check out 25 ways to eat well on the go [Infographic].

Holiday Survival Tool #4
Infographic: How (and why) to make the perfect Super Shake

What’s a Super Shake? It’s a nutrient-packed, delicious, liquid meal that you can whip up and drink while you help a 4-year-old glue googly eyes on felt reindeers.

You see, letting yourself get too hungry is one of the best ways to end up over-drinking and overeating. And during the holidays, you don’t always have the time to prep a nice, balanced plate of protein, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats.

Since Precision Nutrition Super Shakes include all four, they’re satisfying + nourishing. And they’re really easy to make.

For quick, healthy, filling, multitasking-friendly liquid meals, check out How (and why) to make the perfect Super Shake [Infographic].

Holiday Survival Tool #5
Infographic: The best calorie control guide

Want to get through the holidays without losing strength? Without gaining extra weight and body fat? That’s all possible.

Sure, it’ll feel difficult with all that calorie-dense food in front of you. But your health can survive another year of Mom’s mostly-butter mashed potatoes and Aunt Marie’s pumpkin bourbon cheesecake if you just eat slowly and pay attention to portions.

No, no… not calorie counting. That’s often annoying, impractical, and inaccurate, especially at Christmas dinner. So try our “hand measure” system instead.

To learn how to use your hands to measure the best portions for you, check out The best calorie control guide [Infographic].

Holiday Survival Tool #6
Infographic: 3 steps for prepping (and loving) your veggies

Another effective strategy to avoid gaining weight and body fat during the holidays? Eat lots and lots of veggies. They’re water-dense, calorie-sparse, and full of the nutrients you need to keep your energy and mood up for holiday party #17.

The only problem? Many folks don’t love the taste of veggies, especially compared to ultra-palatable holiday food.

That’s why we recruited our top food magicians to create a simple 3-step formula for prepping healthy veggies in a way that’s delicious enough for a banquet table. Trust me, these have converted even the most hardcore veggie-phobes.

For full article by John Berardi, visit

How to stay in shape when you’re busy.  All you need is 10 minutes and virtually no equipment.

You exercise regularly for months… then get derailed by a vacation, business trip, or just the general insanity of life. Sound familiar? Here’s how to stay in shape when you’re busy — it’s faster and easier than you think.

It’s one of the most common patterns I see as a fitness and nutrition coach: People trying to get (and stay) in shape work out diligently for months — then get derailed by the holidays or a big deadline at work.

Many then “fall off the wagon” for the rest of the year.

It’s a seesaw that plays out physiologically too. Exercise regularly and you get a training effect — adaptations in the brain, circulatory system, respiratory system, metabolism, muscles, and bones that optimize health and function.

Stop exercising and your body starts adapting to that — doing nothing — so you start to lose all these benefits you worked so hard for.

That’s why we came up with this simple, do-anywhere workout. It takes only a few minutes a day, it requires minimal or no equipment, and it focuses on compound exercise (big muscles, big movements) so it’s certain to be effective.

It’s also adaptable: You can shuffle exercises around or skip a few of them, come up with different ways to add resistance, or modify the total number of reps and rounds according to how much time you have and your preferences.

The important thing is to get some full-body movement each day.

Use this plan when you just can’t make your regular workout happen. It’ll help you maintain muscle, keep your metabolism humming, stave off fat gain, and more.

Download the infographic for your printer or tablet and bring it with you everywhere so you never get derailed again.


To make sure you have your stay-in-shape plan available next time life gets hectic, download the infographic and print a copy (or save it to your tablet).

And, if you’re a health or fitness coach, share the infographic with clients to offer support even in times when they can’t pull off their regular routine.


For full article by Craig Weller, go to

This is Your Brain on Exercise

This is Your Brain on Exercise

Getting fit is often seen as a way to get body-wide benefits inside and out — from a leaner and stronger physique to better cardiovascular health. But another organ surprisingly also sees plenty of advantages when you work up a sweat: your brain.

“Your brain is wired to respond positively to exercise,” says Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, author of “Habits of a Happy Brain.” “When you exercise consistently, your brain gets even more efficient at making and releasing the natural chemicals that keep you upbeat, like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.”

That means by working out, you’re basically creating your own anti-depressant. But that’s just the start. Here’s a look at some of the ways exercise can literally change your brain, plus the benefits you might see as a result.


Cardiovascular exercise has been associated with better cognitive function and studies note that when people do high-intensity activity, they tend to increase brain volume. With more volume comes a better ability to complete complex tasks, according to Matthew Capolongo, a NASM performance enhancement specialist and a coach at New York-based Professional Athletic Performance Center. He notes that this can include problem solving, information processing and multitasking.

Consider taking a HIIT class before your next big, multitask project at work — it could make your brain operate better as a result.


According to a recent study, it only takes about six weeks of aerobic exercise to increase the size of your hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s largely responsible for memory formation and learning activity.

In addition to increasing the size of the hippocampus, exercising can also change what’s happening in this area. The hippocampus has the unique capacity to generate new neurons every day — up to 700 of them, according to neurologist Majid Fotuhi, MD, chairman of Memosyn Neurology Institute. Unfortunately, most of these neurons don’t survive unless they have support from the body to grow.

Exercising not only increases the production of neurons, Dr. Fotuhi notes, but also helps those young neurons thrive. That can be a significant boost for memory. In fact, he adds that somestudies have suggested that walking just a mile a day might lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by nearly 40 percent.


Like the body, the brain ages and can show signs of deterioration along the way. But exercise can slow the process, according to a recent study.

Researchers asked 1,228 men and women about their exercise habits, then tested their cognitive abilities, including reasoning, thinking speed, memory and organization. They followed up five years later with the same tests on about half the study group.

They found those who did more physical activity during the five-year period scored higher on the cognitive ability tests than those who were more sedentary. One possible link, the researchers suggested, is exercise can lower risk factors that impair blood flow to the brain, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Not only does staying physically active lower the chances you’ll deal with those other chronic issues, but it also confers brain benefits along the way.


The advantages of exercise in terms of brain health may be helpful to keep in mind — no pun intended — if you’re struggling to stay on track with your goals or hitting a plateau. Remember that even if you’re not seeing physical results right now, your brain could be bulking up in the background and making huge improvements that will serve you well into the future.

For full article by Elizabeth Millard, visit

The power of sleep. Why sleep is so important, and how to get more of it.

If your eating and exercise are on point, but you still don’t feel or look the way you want, poor sleep may be to blame. Here’s how to tap into the power of sleep and make rest a daily priority.

Struggling with your weight? Feeling bummed out? Sluggish during workouts? Or just sluggish in general? These are common complaints from new Precision Nutrition Coaching clients. And poor diet isn’t always to blame.

Everything from lucid thinking, to good decision making, to proper digestion, to high performance is heavily dependent on getting good quality sleep.

Unfortunately, more than a third of adults get fewer than 7 hours of sleep each night, the minimum needed to keep your risk of health problems in check.

And that’s not counting the millions of folks who likely over-estimate how much sleep they’re getting, or whose sleep quality is poor because of other, seemingly unrelated lifestyle factors.

In this infographic, we unpack early indicators that you’re not getting enough rest. Then we share exactly how to prep for the best night sleep, starting with when you wake up.

Download the infographic for your tablet, or to print out, and keep it as a handy reminder to prioritize high-quality sleep every day.

(Note to fitness pros: This is also a great resource to share with your clients).

precision-nutrition-hacking sleep-IMAGE

There you have it: Why sleep is so important, how to tell if you’re not getting enough, and how to engineer the perfect day for a great night’s rest.


For full article by Brian St.Pierre go to


treadmill, exercises, full body, workout, fitness,

For all you treadmill junkies…..

Sometimes, mileage simply doesn’t matter.

There’s a reason it’s nicknamed the ‘dreadmill’: The cardio machine, though reliable, can seem to some to be a bit dull, a bit one-dimensional. But according to group fitness instructor and full-time treadmill coach David Siik, this machine is what you make of it, and a little creativity is all that it takes to take your treadmill session from boring to body-changing. Watch the video to see him demonstrate these moves during a late-night rooftop session, and then follow the tips below to integrate them into your own repertoire.

(1) Side Shuffles: “I recommend people keep their speed between 2.5-4.0. Going too slow actually makes it more difficult for a lot of people. Starting out in a fast walk, grab onto the front of the treadmill with your left hand and turn clockwise into the shuffle. Hold on until you feel comfortable and eventually you’ll be able to use no hands, which is better for your form. Just keep your shoulders up pushing off with the leg on the back of the treadmill. It also important to do both sides the same amount of time as the push-off leg does more of the work.”

(2) Plank With Push-Offs: “On a Woodway treadmill, get into DYNAMIC MODE. Push the ON button and before doing anything hold down the + and the – speed buttons simultaneously until the treadmill flashes and beeps (you will feel the belt disengage). You are then ready to start. With your feet on the floor behind the treadmill, get into a plank with your elbows on treadmill, or get into a straight-arm plank with hands on treadmill (this will be a slight incline plank). Then get up onto your hands if not already (into a push-up position with feet still on floor) and begin pushing the treadmill forward, like a bear crawl. Be sure to keep the length of push very small and compact. This is a very advanced exercise and requires good shoulder strength and stability. An easier way to do this is to drop to your knees, put one hand on side of treadmill and simply push the treadmill forward 5 times with one hand, then switch and push off with other hand 5 times. First-timers should try it this way. You can alternate between a short set of push-off crawls and stationary incline plank.”

(3) Mountain Climbers: “Set the treadmill to Dynamic Mode. This is the reverse position from the plank set above: Your feet are set about in the middle of the treadmill with your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are straight down underneath your shoulders. Gripping the belt with your toes, begin mountain climbing, pushing the treadmill away from you.”

(4) Pike: “Set the treadmill to Dynamic Mode. Again, this is the reverse position from the plank set above: Your feet are set about in the middle of the treadmill with your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are straight down underneath your shoulders. Gripping with your toes, simply pull the treadmill backwards as your hips raise, eventually rising to top and into pike position. If you have good stability and strength you can hold at the top for a few seconds and gently return to first position (pushing the treadmill forward as your body straightens back out). This is also a great opportunity to do a few decline pushups after you return to straight arm plank.”

(5) Self-Propelled Sprints: “Get into Dynamic Mode again. Add a little incline of 3-8%, grip the handles in the middle of the treadmill and begin running while pushing/holding onto the treadmill with the hands. Be sure to keep your shoulders up and your body closer to front of treadmill (instead of extending your arms and compromising your back). I recommend a person does only 30 seconds or less of sprinting, then walk it out, then repeat as desired. They are very difficult and simulate pushing a sled, as you must push you own body weight! An important thing to remember is that the more incline you keep, the easier you actually make it (gravity helps you move the treadmill). The most difficult way to do this is on a 0% incline.”

For full article by Sheila Monaghan please visit


deep-water running

The fittest bodies don’t resist this unsung hero of training.

What do dancers, ball players, pregnant women and runners all have in common? They utilize the pool. Specifically, they take advantage of the cardio and cross-training benefits of deep water running. “Ballerinas, basketball players—I’ve had them all in my pool,” says deep water running coach and founder of Blue Ocean Swimming, Robert Valentin. 

Unlike shallow water running, where athletes run across the bottom of the pool, deep water running offers no impact whatsoever. In fact, you don’t even want to move from your initial starting spot. “With deep water running, the goal is to stay stationary,” explains Valentin. “Instead of mimicking land running motions in the water, in deep water running you run with a straight leg. You want your body to be really tall; your core should be tight, shoulders in line with your hips, knees relaxed and toes pointed like a ballerina,” says Valentin. “People naturally close their fists, but you want to keep them open. This allows you to get the most resistance possible.” 

A typical deep water running session consists of four gaits: a four-foot stride “power walk,” three-foot stride “run” (which simulates running on flat ground), a two-foot wide “uphill” and a one-foot wide “downhill” (quick flutter kicks). Think of your hip as the centerline: You’re trying to move your arms and feet past the centerline, forward and backward, depending on the stride length. Meaning, a two-foot stride would require moving your arms and legs two feet back and forth past your hip. 

Constantly fighting against the water’s resistance while trying to stay tall and increase your cadence during each gait is anything but easy. “Deep water running quickly reveals imbalances,” says Valentin. “Any weakness in your core, glutes, hamstrings or hips will translate to the pool. You’ll find yourself drifting forward, backward or from side to side.” To combat this, it’s essential to wear a flotation device, which helps keep you afloat, making it easier to maintain proper form. 


For runners in particular, “not only can you get your heart rate up just as much as on land, but the cooling effect of the water also helps you recover faster,” says Valentin. Fighting to keep good posture in the pool will also carry over to the concrete. “You’re fighting the resistance of the water, just imagine how that would benefit you when you’re up against air.” 

Below, Valentin shares a sample workout:

Warm Up:

1 minute power walk (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

45 seconds flat run (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

30 seconds uphill (count and increase the same cadence every 15 seconds)

15 seconds downhill (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

Set #1:

Uphill 45 seconds x 15 seconds rest, repeated four times (increase each set’s cadence number by 2)

Repeat above set going downhill (1-foot strides, hands sideways, slicing past the hips)

Set #2:

1 minute flat run x 30 seconds uphill x 30 seconds downhill, repeated twice (hold a steady cadence on the 1-minute runs and get faster every 10 seconds on the 30-second run)

1 minute power walk recovery

Set #3:

50 seconds uphill (getting faster every 10 seconds) x 10 seconds rest, repeated three times

Cool Down:

Easy power walk

For full article by Brianna Wippman please visit


grip strength

It’s one of the strongest predictors of good health.

For years, there were a half dozen or so strong predictors of how likely someone might be to develop cardiovascular disease, including whether he or she carried weight in the midsection versus in the legs, if there was a family history, if he or she smoked, and the list, they say, goes on.

But relatively new-ish research suggests there’s one more pretty significant predictor that we shouldn’t overlook: grip strength. In a study published in the Lancet, researchers found that grip strength is a simple and powerful way to predict one’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease. (The study also showed that grip strength is an even stronger predictor of death than systemic blood pressure.) Physicians and researchers reason that if one’s grip strength is weak, it’s very likely other areas of the body—read: your heart—are weak, as well.

Which is not good news for most people including Millennials, who, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Hand Therapy, have significantly weaker hand grips than their 1985 counterparts. (Participants for the study were under 30 years of age for men and between the ages of 20-24 for women.)

Like many conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, weak grip strength can be improved through simple and consistent exercise. “Grip strength goes beyond simply being able to hold a dumbbell for a longer set of reps,” explains Matt Delaney, a Tier X coach at Equinox’s Columbus Circle location. “Improving your grip strength can serious change your overall health for the better.”

Beefing up your grip strength is relatively easy, says Delaney. “You can easily incorporate strengthening exercises into your regular gym routine.” For example, Delaney recommends Farmer’s Walks or walking lunges with dumbbells or kettlebell swings to increase grip strength while exercising. Or, he adds, work it into everyday tasks. “The same tools you use in the gym, you can also mimic in real life. Carrying grocery bags to your car as opposed to using a shopping cart is similar to carrying dumbbells. Or, something as simple as carrying a laundry basket up and down the stairs can help bump up grip strength over time.”

Increasing grip strength can also significantly improve your workout intensity, adds Delaney. “When you have a stronger grip, you can hold onto a pull-up bar longer, which means you can crank out more pull-ups.” It also equates to being able to hold heavier weights during exercises like walking and static lunges or squats as well as Farmer’s Walks. “Grip strength is one of those small but often overlooked things that you can improve that can affect your health in major ways.”

For full article by Blake Miller please visit
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