Monthly Archives: April 2019

Mobility Master

Being able to move unimpeded and pain free is something a lot of people want.

All it would take is one quick google search and you’d find all the information you need to put a plan together, alas many of us are too lazy for that, thus we will just let our body slowly stiffen and lose its ability to move well.

When I’m away teaching there are a few key drills I will put in to warm ups to see how well people move, it’s also easy to spot just by looking at people who that is.

Total body coordination is something we’d really do well not to lose.

It’s it quite surprising how many people will watch the other people in the groups I teach that move what I’d consider ‘normally’ and are like “OMG, wow, that’s amazing.”.

Ummm not it’s not, that’s something we everyone should ideally be abel to do, so in truth the people that can more are not amazing, you’re just really really broken in a moment sense.

Don’ts get me wrong, I’m not talking about people moving like Ido Portal from day one.

More along the lines of having basic coordination skills and not making yourself look like your 80 because of how crap your movement skill is.

These are the three main movement I will get people doing (they give me all the knowledge I need).

1 – Inch worms (a lunge step to upper thoracic rotation is also added in)
2 – Spiderman/Lizard Crawls – ideally hey get their chest as low to the floor as possible
3 – Duck Walks & Sit Through

If the facility has one then I’d also like to see a rope climb as well, beginner level is using feet, I’m ideally after people to climb and descend using arms only.

The reason for these is simple, the first tests mobility/flexibility/stability.

The second looks at mobility, stability and strength.

The third is mobility, balance and movement coordination.

If we have a rope then that tests strength because I’ve found that while some people more well they are very weak.

When time is short and I need one simple test to assess everything in one go it will be the TGU (turkish get up), I will proceed to see how heavy they can go with the gold standard being 1/2 their bodyweight per hand, if someone can do that then good things happen.

Give the above a try, you can hope on YouTube and find them all easily if you’re not sure what they are.

You’ll also find adding these to your assessment methods will highly who need what and in what dose.

Try them yourself because while you don’t need to be perfect at everything you do, you need to be competent in demonstrating it well, otherwise you may look a tad foolish.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 2 – The Mentor

As with any good hero’s journey they have to meet their mentor, yet this is only after they get a little bit of a pasting from the villain.

It is as this stage they realise that while they have gifts and they’ve trained somewhat hard it just wasn’t enough when faced with someone who didn’t have their genetic advantage and gained a plethora of skill from planned training.

Once humbled and left questioning just how good they really are the wise old mentor appears and take them under their wing, such famous ones include Phil (Hercules), Obi-Wan (StarWars), Mary Poppins (a total bad ass really), Hippolyta (WonderWoman), Athena (God of War) and Wade Garrett (RoadHouse).

All of the above added in some minimum standards to be met and also a path to follow.

While the young hero knows a thing or two, and may even take a swing at their new found friend, they find that even though many years their senior they’re still rather spry and knock them on their ass easily.

Time to get some structure in to that training and really make some progress.

6 Weeks of training –

Day 1 – Week 1&2

W/U – Barbell Complex – 3×4-8 reps (Clean, FS, Press, BS, Good Morning, Row, RDL)
A1 – FS x7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Barbell Row x3-5
B1 – BB Clean & Press x7-5-3-7-5-3
B2 – Bear Hug Carry (bodyweight +) x20m
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

Day 2 – Week 1&2

W/U – Kettlebell Snatch x5min – AMRAP
Kettlebell Pentathlon: 6min of work followed by 5min rest

  • Cleans 120 reps (20 RPM – reps per minute, once hit go up in load)
  • Long cycle press 60 reps (10 RPM
  • Jerks 120 reps (20 RPM)
  • Half snatch 108 reps (18 RPM)
  • Push press 120 reps (20 RPM)

C/D – Stretching/Correctives x5min

Day 3 – Week 1&2

W/U – Sled Push 20m, Sled Drag 20m x400m total
A1 – Weighted Chin 7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Trap Bar DL 7-5-3-7-5-3
B1 – Dumbbell Row (chest supported) 6×6-8
B2 – Barbell Curl 6×8-10
B3 – Reverse Fly x6x10-12
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

Day 4 – Week 1&2

W/U – Kettlebell Long Cycle (2bells) x10min AMRAP
A1 – Weighted Dip x7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Farmers Walk x20m
B1 – Incline Press  x7-5-3-7-5-3
B2 – Suitcase Carry x20m (left arm our, right arm back)
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

This structure starts to give our would-be hero some targets to aim for.

In week one there are two waves (7-5-3) in week two those will have two progression options

1 – Increase by 1 wave , so 7-5-3-7-5-3-7-5-3, a nice hefty chunk up in volume
2 – Increase overall load wheel keeping the waves at 2

The accessory work is auto-regulated meaning each set is done by feel, remember this is to enhance the training day, not to smash one in to the ground.

Soon though things will get much tougher for our rising start.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 1 – Before The Call

So you want to look like a superhero.

Who doesn’t right?

They are everything we wish we could be and more, always doing the right thing and never having to sacrifice anything, they always find a way to save everyone.

While in this life we might not be able to achieve such heroism we can more than give it a good go. Failing that at least their aesthetic is something achievable for us.

Yep, the majority of people can look like a true hero with the right training.

*Please note this is a guide and there will of course be specific needs to each individual, however this will help get you started on the right path.

When we first meet our hero in any story they have a decent base.

Keeping this in mind we must ourselves create a solid foundation from which we can build something truly awe-inspiring. To do this we shall carve out the pre-mentored hero in 4 weeks of training at least 3 days per week that while effect, is unguided.

Day 1 –

W/U – Farmers Walk x10min
A1 – Squats 20reps, as many sets as possible in 20min
B1 – Clean & Press x10, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – Stretching x10min

Day 2 –

W/U – Rowing, as far as possible in 20min
A1 – Presses 10reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
B1 – Bent Over Row 10 reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
C/D – Stretching x10min

Day 3 –

W/U – Hill Running x10min
A1 – Romanian Deadlift x10reps, as many sets a possible in 20min
B1 – Bear Crawling for 10-20m, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – C/D – Stretching x10min

Our would-be hero has no real reason behind what they do, they just do it because it’s all the know.

The above will be a great place to start building your base of strength, conditioning, movement skill and mental toughness.

Soon enough though this base will be put to the test.

Enjoy,
Ross

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That Superhero Look

Look at any hero and most have an iconic stature.

The men have wide shoulders, a thick back, tapered waist, well developed legs and powerful looking arms.

The ladies are equally as proportionate with the coveted hour glass figure, a lean muscular structure that showcases their strength while still remaining what many consider feminine.

A lot of people desire such a look, and either is one that isn’t too far out of reach for many, so long as you know how to train for it.

I’ve always preferred the villains or anti-heroes myself.

The training required goes a little bit beyond 4-6×4-6 on front squats, wide grip pull ups, presses and deadlifts, however those 4 things would be a great start for anyone looking to work towards such a goal.

Since we’re coming up to the summer I might put together something surrounding this style of goal.

I’m thinking anywhere from 6-12 weeks worth will be enough of a starting point for most people to make a bit of a dent in this goal.

Is there any hero you’d like to look like in particular?

Leave your comments below.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Curious Clients – One for PT’s

What are some people really asking?

Good Morning All,

I’ve heard a lot of different questions over my years in this industry I cherish, yet there is often one commonality.

While not true for all it does apply to the large majority.

In regards to asking said questions you’ll find that a lot of people are not actually looking for an answer, or at least not an objective one.

To some they are not asking for an answer, merely for agreement in their current through process.

Confirmation bias you might call it.

I’ve spoken about this before, even did a whole section in a webinar on it, alas I feel my explanation wasn’t good enough.

As such I have three key words or sentence additives that you can listen out for to gain a quick insight in to knowing if you’ve got someone who wants to learn or not.

1 – “Okay, cool. But….”

More the word but, did you know it’s a deleting word where anything that precedes it is now considered invalid by said person who put in the ominous – ‘but’.

2 – “Right, so what if….”

While this might seem trivial it’s quite eye opening, the next time you have a conversation listen to what people are saying, truly listen and you’ll be amazed what you hear people say and realise what they actually mean.

Time for one that relates to our online world now, I have this one happen often in a group I run, same on Instagram in the comments section.

3 – No reply.

Yep, in the online world a lack of reply often means the answer you gave wasn’t the one they wanted to the question they asked, so they’ll post the same one somewhere else until they get the answer they are after.

You might be wondering what gives me such insight.

Well my friends I will tell you.

I’ve used all of the above many times in my formative years, well, the first two anyway, not so much the third one due to a teenage life without the internet.

When you begin working with clients you’ll try your best to answer their questions.

You may even find your clients as the same ones in different ways, now this can either be because you didn’t explain the answer well enough or because you’ve not given them the answer they desire.

This will be frustrating, don’t worry though.

Just keep the above in mind when working with the public.

Of course this doesn’t make them bad people or anything.

It just means they need a little more time, understanding and empathy.

Enjoy,
Ross

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“We’ll let the dice decide.”

I actually heard this while watching someone play D&D.

The little imp had quite the maniacal grin on his face, clearly he was a rather brutal dungeon master.

You might be asking how this applied to making gains.

Especially as people who tend to play D&D are not the most physically active of people.

Well it is if you just don’t want to delve in to the depths of fitness to learn how to effectively program your own training.

Same goes if you don’t want to hire a coach/trainer.

I have something for you that is endless in its possibilities and easy to apply, like right now.

You will pick one movement from this list:

– Push (includes crawling)
– Pull (includes climbing)
– Squat (includes all lunge/single leg patterns)
– Hinge (Includes all sling leg varieties)

You will also do a stint of loaded carries, if doesn’t matter what variation you do, it will last for up to 20min (or perhaps more) depending how much time you have left after the deice have decided your rep/set fat.

Now go grab a pair of dice.

Roll them, whatever they land on will be your reps per set for the day (2-12).

Roll them again, this time you get how many sets you’re doing for the day (2-12).

Set a training timer for 45min, that is how long you have to finish your sets/reps, once you get them all done you will fill the rest of your time with loaded carries and perhaps the optional plank.

You can train 2-7 days per week with this method.

Simply alternate the lifts you do and use a different movement base each session, or don’t, that’s your call after all, who am I to stop you skipping leg day, again.

Here is what something might look like:

Day 1:
A1 – Squat 12×12 – you poor bastard
B2 – Famers walks, if you have time that is.

Day 2:
A1 – Press 2×2 – DO NOT roll again! Worship the die and their judgement, clearly they know you’re done too much bench in your time and skipped too many leg days.
B2 – Sandbag Carry because you’ve got plenty of time.

Day 3 –
A1 – Weight Chin Up 9×5 – I’m okay with this.
B1 – Sled Drag for the remainder

Day 4 –
A1 – Snatch Grip DL – 7×3 – Huh, neat.
B2 – Prowler Push until your time is up

Day 5 – Off

Repeat the above with different movements and carry options.

Respect the die, they will give you all the set/rep variety you need.

In regards to loading you can either us the same loads each set or change them, dealers choice.

No go, enjoy.
Ross

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5×5, just not as you know it.

A great little protocol that will be good for fat loss, hypertrophy, strength endurance and fun.
 
I had this little training program come to me while walking last night.
 
This it by no means anything groundbreaking.
 
Keeping that in mind, I reckon it will humble a fair few if the proper effort level is given.
 
The basic set up –
 
– Pick 1-5 movements
– 5 sets total
– Each set is a 5min time block
– No Sloppy Reps
– Rest 3-5min between each set
– Train 2-3 days per week
– Enjoy for 6-12 weeks
 
A 5min block of time where you simply perform only one lift, sounds easy on paper, not so much in reality, especially if you don’t put down whatever it is you’re lifting.
 
Keeping a hold of a bar or piece of kit for 5min is quite the challenge both physically and mentally.
 
Of course in some instances it won’t be possible.
 
This is where the beauty of he above comes in to play and helps you regulate the intensity.
 
You don’t have to keep a hold of whatever kit you’re using or keep moving if it’s a bodyweight exercise you’ve chosen, you can stop an rest.
 
The main focus is on training density & work capacity.
 
You simply not what weight you used, how many reps you got an aim to beat that next session, simple.
 
I’d personally stay with the same movements for 3 week blocks, you can either repeat the same session for each of your 2-3 days or change the lifts each time, that’s up to you, just keep that the same for the suggested block.
 
Example 3 days –
 
*The warm up of the rest will be int he first 5min set, doesn’t have to be, it just saves time.
 
Day 1:
Set 1 – Kettlebell Snatch (don’t put down)
Set 2 – Farmers Walk
Set 3 – Kettlebell Push Press (don’t put down)
Set 4 – Pull Up – any variation
Set 5 – Kettlebell Double Racked Squat (don’t put down)
 
Day 2:
Set 1 – Sandbag Clean & Carry
Set 2 – Thruster BB (don’t put down)
Set 3 – BB Row
Set 4 – Kettlebell Single Arm Swing (don’t put down)
Set 5 – Press Up – any variation
 
Day 3:
Set 1 – The Bear Complex
Set 2 – Squat – any variation (don’t put down)
Set 3 – Power Snatch
Set 4 – Ring Dip
Set 5 – Power Clean
 
*Warm down with a good old stretch and marvel in all the good effort you put in.
 
^^ One thing to keep in mind with the above is there needs to be a focus on quality reps.
 
(Now imagine trying to do this with just one movement for all 5 sets of 5min….. Brutal)
 
Even though in the example I’ve said in some cases not to put the kit down, if your form is going to pot then don’t be a hero, put it down, grab some rest and try for a few more reps.
 
There will always be next session to try and make the full time.
 
Feel free to add in smaller movements as well, thing such as face pulls, reverse flies, bicep curls, skull crushers and so on.
 
The idea behind this little protocol is to get you focusing on achieving a decent amount of quality work.
 
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Upgrade your 3G to 4G

We’re not talking about phones here.

If you happen to still have 3g then you might be due an update, just like me.

There are the 3G’s of fitness that if you put some focus on training will change everything.

Strength will increase with ease.

Plus you’ll also be privy to some much appreciated endurance/cardio vascular benefit and perhaps even some fat loss too 🤗

Here are the three things you need to work on more:

– Grip
– Glutes
– Guts (cores)

In doing so you’ll upgrade and attain the 4th G:

– Gains

There are a whole host of movements you can do to train the above, let us look at their impact and on what tier they’d be.

I won’t list them all, just the good ones.

Tier 1 – All 3G hit

– Any Deadlift variation (no straps)
– Loaded Carries
– Climbing/Pull Ups (if done correctly)
– Snatches
– Heavy Presses (most variations)
– Kettlebell Swings (most variations)

Tier 2 – Hit 2 out of the 3G’s

– Heavy Barbell Curls (yes, you read that right)
– Rowing variations
– Isometrics (planks etc)
– Squatting variations
– Sled Pushing/Pulling
– Plyo work (jumping, throwing etc)

Tiet 3 – Hit 1 out of the 3G’s

– Any specific isolated movement for Grip, Glutes, Gut

Sorting you’re movements in to a 3 tier system will allow you to pick and choose those that offer the most bang for their buck and also program support/isolation work where needed in a logical way.

If you are looking to put together a training session here is how it may look:

A1 – Tier 1 movement
B1 – Tier 2 movement
B2 – Tier 2 movement
C1 – Tier 3 movement

With exercises added for 3 days training:

Day 1 –
A1 – DL: Snatch Grip-Clean Grip-Mix Grip: 2-4x 2-2-2
B1 – Barbell Row 4-6×4-6
B2 – Barbell Curl 4-6x-4-6
C1 – *Roman Chair Leg Raise 8x 2-4

Day 2 –
A1 – Awkward Object Clean & Press x1 + Carry x400m
B1 – Incline Press 7×3-5
B2 – Sled Push 7×20-40m
C1 – CoC Gripped 3-5 sets of 10-30sec hold per hand

Day 3 –
A1 – Trap Bar DL 8×2-3
B1 – Sled Push 7×20-40m
B2 – Sled Pull 7×20-40m
C1 – Front Squat 6×2-4

*If you do a hanging leg raise you can find that move up a couple of tiers due to the increased difficulty.

By hitting movements that place a heavy demand on one or all three of these areas you’ll find you start to gain in strength, CV, LBM and generally spice up your training as well.

Enjoy,
Ross

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***Reflections on a Friday***

Taking the time to sit and look back can reveal some rather interesting things about oneself.
 
It would be great if you could share four things with me:
 
– Something old (that you’ve learned this week)
– Something new (that you wish to learn next week)
– Something borrowed (that you’re thankful for)
– Something revolutionary (that which changed a paradigm)
 
Time to share with you a lesson I learned on self sabotage.
 
How people do it, what makes them do it and more importantly why they do it.
 
Did you know that as a species we humans rather dislike surprises.
 
Such things back in our earlier days of evolution often meant one thing – “Well poop, I’m in trouble”.
 
As such we’d create mechanisms in our mind to protect us if something created pain, distress or danger before so that we could avoid it or anything that was potentially the same/similar ending the same way.
 
What you might call a self-fulfilling prophecy.
 
^^ Hold in to that thought, we’ll come back to it.
 
Let us first take a modern look through fitness at how this is still very much a part of us and our minds/brain.
 
“Squats hurt my knees.”
 
We now have a situation where we expect pain, our perception of squats is this: squats = pain.
 
This can eventually evolve in to any movement that involves knee flexion hurting, as such we start to create a downward spiral mentally, often an unconscious one.
 
It slowly starts to become a part of who you are.
 
You begin to align your sense of self with squatting and pain, first to be right in your perception of the world and secondly to not get a surprise.
 
^^ You’d be amazed how many repeat the same mistakes, even if epically stupid because they are familiar and allow the person to preserve their sense of self and that quint essential quote of – “I knew this was going to happen.”.
 
Back to fitness.
 
Let us say you go for a leg session with a trainer, already you’re in your paradigm of how it’s going to go, you even told said trainer what was going to happen.
 
You approach their suggested movement, resigned to your perceived fate.
 
Then something happens….
 
You get a surprise, there is no pain.
 
There should be elation, relief that there is no pain, a ray of hope that you can now perfect those pipes you’ve always wanted, alas quite the opposite occurs.
 
You get worried because there is no pain.
 
You’ve become so familiar with it that you now love it, you embrace it and the thought of it being gone frightens you.
 
There is also the element that perhaps you were wrong, maybe squats and other movements didn’t hurt your knees and perhaps it was what you were doing all along….
 
No, this can’t be, my inner-self tells me I’m right and this will too hurt as did everything else.
 
*Self sabotage steps in – “Oh hey 👋👋👋
 
Unknowing to you there will be the slightest of adjustments in your form on a subconscious level, all aimed at causing you that pain you’re so familiar with.
 
Eventually you feel it, that pain you’ve been longing for.
 
‘A-ha’ – You think, I knew it was too good to be true, I was right, I am in pain.
 
Triumphantly you exclaim this finding to your new trainer, thus fulfilling that which you knew to be true, anything squat related hurts your knees.
 
Leg day is now successfully skipped once again.
 
All satire aside, many people get stuck int his rut because of the following reasons:
 
– What they expect
– How they link that to their sense of self (identity)
– Why they are justified in their choices
 
Humans sabotage themselves all the time because they end up linking certain feelings/emotions to specific situations and these end up as a part of their internal view of themselves.
 
You can see when people do this because they will be very quick to react.
 
The key word being ‘react’.
 
If you, or a situation end up hitting a nerve that questions someones sense of self or their own perception of who they are, they will do everything in their power to find the thought of “I knew that was going to happen, I am right.”.
 
People need consistency in how they feel, be it good or bad and as such they will seek out things to fulfil that need.
 
Common phrases that are little red flags:
 
– Well it works for me
– Everyone is different
– Yea, but…. (a word that always causes alarm bells)
 
We all do it, I certainly have over the years and it’s only in those times of deep refection that we can begin to understand this.
 
Self preservation is only natural, however understanding how it works and how people will use it to sabotage what they are doing simply to fit a perception/bias can help you help a great many avoid the vicious cycle.
 
Can you do something for me please?
 
Take 5-10min and think back to a time where you have done this to yourself.
 
A time you expected one thing, got a mild surprise where things didn’t go the way you though they would, until they did.
 
What ended up happening?
 
What things did you being doing that lead to the outcome you expected – this will take some brutal honesty to yourself.
 
Once you’ve done this, please share the story down below.
 
Doing so would really help me in understanding you a little more as a person too 🤗
 
I look forwards to reading your comments.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Training Days Per Week

How many days per week should you train?

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, all of them?

Honestly it doesn’t really matter too much so long as your consistent.

You know there are people who hit the gym only twice a week and make more progress than those who frequent it 6 days and train twice per day.

It comes down to the premise of quality or quantity.

Technically you need both.

I know, it’s quite irritating.

The more quality you can put out the better progress you will make, that’s just how it goes, however no one starts off being able to do that, despite what fitness guy’s and influencers tell you.

Back in the day my philosophy for my own training was very much about all or nothing, luckily this didn’t extend to my clients and was purely pushed on myself.

Ironically many clients made great progress on 2-3 days of training per week.

Then there was me, slogging it away with multiple gym sessions, essentially every day and being honest there was very little to show for it.

When you keep digging in to your training tanks your body stops adapting and overcoming the stimulus, it merely learns to survive at any cost.

You will also find your body becomes more efficient.

Yep, it’s clever like that, so it ends up using less energy, especially when you place more demand on it.

Less resources become available for growth, progress and overall health and eventually the wheels fall of the wagon and you get hurt.

Then comes the mental anguish.

Along with the realisation that you’d become quite addicted to the gym, and despite all your ‘hard work’ you’ve very little to show for it.

I speak from experience on this one.

Even though personally I;ve always been lean and looked in shape (by the standards of an average person), I was causing a lot of internal damage and just not making the progress I felt I deserved or should have been.

Even knowing everything I knew, hubris got in the way.

Training should enhance our lives, not detract or dictate it.

If you find yourself binning off social events, or actually living because you MUST get to the gym less you miss your training then you’ve got a problem.

Seriously, it’s quite a big problem as well.

Addiction, regardless of the form is still addiction and at some point it goes pas the point of being helpful or even good for you and becomes toxic.

How does the old saying go – The poisons in the dose.

Or is it – The dose makes the poison.

Either way, I’m sure you get it.

I understand though, why you end up in this place.

We live in a very shallow and superficial world.

Both women & men are only as valuable as what they have to offer in regards to the majorities perception of them.

Better looking people get more opportunities in life, many may disagree, however it’s called the ‘Halo Affect’, a very real thing.

I spoke to a friend recently about this and they got rather put out by it and reacted emotionally as they don’t want people to think they only did well because of their looks, yet that is the exact reason they got offered as many opportunities as they did.

All of this brings us back to how many days we should train per week.

2 or 7, multiple times a day or just once.

My advice, 2-4 times per week is plenty for everyone.

These days I’d urge people to look at doing 2 gym sessions a week.

If you feel the need to doing something daily and move, that’s not a bad thing as you can pick something to practice, be that 20min of yoga, kettlebell work, bodyweight skill or something else entirely.

There are many many options available to us and in all honesty you can do which ever you enjoy the most.

Just beware the little gym monster of addiction.

It sits on your shoulder and tells you that you’ll never be good enough, lean enough, big enough, strong enough, or worthy.

When you start having these thoughts it’s time to step back from the gym and reduce training frequency before it gets worse.

Just something to remember.

Enjoy,
Ross

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