Photograph via snooOG

A place for for those who believe that proper diet and intense training are all you need to build an amazing physique.

Discuss NANBF/IPE, INBF/WNBF, OCB, ABA, INBA/PNBA, and IFPA bodybuilding, noncompetitive bodybuilding, diets for the natural lifters, exercise routines and more!

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A place for for those who believe that proper diet and intense training are all you need to build an amazing physique.

Discuss NANBF, INBF/WNBF, ABA, INBA, and IFPA bodybuilding, noncompetitive bodybuilding, diets for the natural lifters, exercise routines and more!


If you have a question please find an appropriate discussion thread instead of making a separate post.

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2x Weekly Activation or Hard Focus 1x per Week?

I'm getting hard back into lifting after a long cut following a lazy/ineffective bulk and I want to get the most bang for my buck. I have limited time in the gym, I can only do about 40 minutes + warmup 4 days per week. I'm currently doing UL split. I originally planned to do my upper days split into a horizonal push/pull day and a vertical push/pull day. I would focus hard on the main groups, then superset the other groups.

For example a horizontal focus P/P day would be:

Reverse pyramid 6 sets of barbell bench

Reverse pyramid 6 sets of barbell row

Superset lateral raises and close-grip lat pulls for 3 sets of 8-10

The vertical day would be basically the opposite. I typically mix in different exercises every once in a while, but I wanted to get activation twice per week for each group.

On leg days, I would go hard on one compound exercise, usually squats one day and deadlifts the other. I'm talking about reverse pyramid for 6-8 sets, then doing several sets of 5-6 reps, dropping weight each time, until total fatigue. It usually ended up being around 10-12 sets total.

It got me thinking if I would be better off treating my upper days the same as lower days. Would it be better to do something like 10 sets of bench followed by 10 sets of row, instead of doing less sets of each but getting activation on all muscle groups twice per week?

01:08 UTC


Want a 3 plate bench

I'm advance, I hope I'm in the right sub for this question...I'm a traditional tall (6'5") lifter and have always loved deadlifts, bent over rows, etc but decided to make a winter goal of hitting 3 plates on bench. I don't know if the program is liked around here (personally I liked it and it's the only time ive ever paid for programming that wasn't coaching) but I just wrapped up my second round of MAPS Anabolic. I can lift about 5 days a week. My current chest routine is 3-4 sets at 245 for 5 reps and then some incline, weighted dips and flyes. My sticking point seems to be at my chest. Any advice to see me finally hit my 3 plate bench? At this point my only plan is to make sure to hit bench 3x a week and vary the rep scheme each session. Appreciate any guidance!

23:51 UTC


People told me l’m doing junk volume. I’ve never seen such fast gains though

About 2 months ago, I started a new workout routine. I'm 20 and have been lifting ever since I was 16. I've pretty much just used a basic 9 sets a muscle group (2 groups a day, 5x a week), heavy as possible 3x10's routine. I was 6'1" 173lbs 2 months ago, with low body fat.

Now I'm 182lbs, all muscle gains. Same diet too. My new routine is a 3 day routine. On my pull day, for example, l'II do 36 sets of biceps and 24 sets of back (I’ll follow the same structure with triceps/chest and shoulders/legs). A mixture of light and heavy weights with varying rep counts and supersets included, and I don't do any super heavy sets anymore.

Arms is where I've specifically blown up like a balloon, and that's where I was told my junk volume is mostly at.

I still haven't plateaued and I'm rewardingly still sore after my pull workout yesterday, just like the soreness the first time doing the workout. I just feel like if you're struggling with a plateau, don't be scared to do what others would consider junk volume. Everyone's body responds differently and you might be able to unlock something like I have.

20:23 UTC


Why I don't recommend HIT for beginners anymore

I used to be a big believer in HIT workout - not so much anymore.

And I will give you the reasons, based on my experience, why my opinion has changed about this training style.

I have 1 year of HIT training behind me now, plus a few short lived phases during my life, never more than a few months in which I trained HIT style as well, I went from beginner to novice (as I would define these terms). I gained 5 kg (11lbs) of lean mass during that time, went from 56kg to 61kg, whether that counts as good progress or not I do not know, it depends whom you ask, I suppose.

Here is why I think HIT should not be the preferred training style for beginners:

-Only 1 set per week per lift, does not give much opportunity in practicing the lifts, big drawback especially for beginners who need to learn good form.

-Only 1 set is less forgiving of training mistakes, if you mess up you have to wait till next week for your next chance, if you are feeling off you might have to skip the workout because there is no half effort work in HIT.

-High Intensity, leaves the muscles you trained pretty exhausted for the rest of the day, and can lead to longer soreness than a more standard training style.

-High Intensity has more likelihood of injury, even though it can be done safely, it's still more risky than a conventional workout if you push yourself to extremes. This is especially true for beginners.

-High Intensity, because it's so exhausting you are limited to just a few exercises per muscle group, you won't be able to do a full body workout (in which you hit all the muscles). This also makes it less conducive to experimenting with different lifts when you always train to failure.

-Enjoyment, I find it less enjoyable if I have to perform every set in HIT style, it can be psychologically more stressful, and I prefer to choose my intensity depending on what I feel like or think is best.

-Short workouts, this can be either a plus or minus, I personally enjoy working out and HIT training means short and few workouts. And if you don't follow a strict HIT program you can still decide to do a more HIT style training if you are short on time or feel like going all out.

-Strength and muscle gains, can't comment on this due to my lack of experience with other training styles.

20:23 UTC


upper lower or other 4 day splits

im just curious for recommendations after switching from powerlifting im just left confused any program tips are helpful thanks

19:32 UTC


Risk of loose skin?

So i (m22) went on a delusional dreamer bulk over the course of about 4 years. From 74 kg @~9% bf all the way upp to 105 kg. I gained a fair bit of muscle and strength there but, obviously, a lot of fat as well.(for reference I'm 6 feet).

Now this last year has been a great year of consisted dieting and weight loss, and I'm now at around 83 kg looking and feeling great. I would guesstimate my bf% to be around 16-17%. I definitely feel sharp and on point with my diet, and don't see why I couldn't keep losing another 10 kg if I needed to.

However, I'm worried about getting loose skin. I don't have any right now. Maybe the skin around my arm, neck and thighs feels a little loose, but it doesnt look anything out of the ordinary. I'm really afraid of getting lose skin. It would be such a shame to to end up looking way older than I am because of lose skin around my face. Am I at any risk for this?

18:49 UTC


Does HIT training work for naturals?

I am really interested in trying the HIT method popularised by Mike Mentzer, etc. But every time i try to research the topic, i get endless things that apparantly 'debunk' the method. Also it seems difficult to find any actual consistent routines - everywhere i look they change the advice. I just want some advice from people that have actually used the HIT method or similar methods mainly on these two questions i have;
Is HIT training effective for naturals?
What would a typical split and session look like, including rest days between workouts, etc?
It is just the basics so i can give this method a try for myself and learn what i should and should not do.
Every time i ask more experienced lifters they tell me it is bs and that i should just stick to the more standard amount of volume and intensity. I see a bunch of people trying to shit on the method yet they do not give me solid evidence that it doesn't work....i just want to get some straight answers on the subject. I looked on YT and went through the scientific fitness guys (Mike Isreatel, Jeff Nippard, etc) who all seem to say it doesn't work - but then i read other things which seem to be able to counter such arguments.
I just want some conclusive opinions on this topic because it is just confusing me at this point.

16:26 UTC


How to build calves pls

Heavy weights, high frequency, high volume or everything combined?

15:15 UTC


Bicep tendinitis

I injured my bicep tendons last week doing dumbbell incline press. Gutted as was overdue a deload and knew I should have run it that week. Thought initially it was a rotator cuff tear but the pain was diagnosed by my doc at the front of the delt. Did a lot of research and I think my rotator cuffs were weak as hell leading to shoulder instability. So rehab will involve strengthening those + lower traps. I took 10 days off upper body and yesterday tried the following: light face pulls, y-raises 1.25kg, slow 3kg curls on a preacher, tricep extension and side lying external rotations 1.25kg so all super light. But today I think even that was too much especially the y raises, any shoulder flexion currently feels awful. Does anyone have any rehab advice? I’ve accepted I’l be out of proper training except legs for a while. Pressing is out, except maybe floor presses, not sure if tricep work is going to be possible? Cable laterals? Neutral grip lat pull? Cable rows? light trap bar dead’s? Any advice on how to proceed to maximize recovery time would be appreciated!

14:32 UTC


Natural bodybuilding online classes.

Pursuing muscle hypertrophy and a beautiful body without using drugs. So I’m studying natural bodybuilding. programming. exercise posture. To learn all this, which do you think is better for me: 3dmj or rp strength? Or other organizations or groups are also good. I am not looking for who is superior. I am looking for an organization that teaches good natural bodybuilding. Online coaching is difficult because of the cost and language, and what I need are online lectures and templates that I can do on my own. I am always eager to learn.

I am not from an English-speaking country, so please understand that I am not good at English. It is difficult to obtain information about specific institutions in my given environment, and it is difficult to study without online lectures. So I'm asking for your opinion.

14:10 UTC


Need help with dialing in my deficit for a sustainable fat loss.

Hey everyone i need some help to find a proper deficit to make my fat loss sustainable, my BMR comes up to 1900 (rounded down from 1945) now I'm a full time student so my life is sedentary BUT i go to the gym 6 days a week, I start with resistance training (40 - 60 mins including the rest time) and i do cardio (don't get off until i clock 30 mins in elliptical burning around 300 kcal).
Now, when i go to find my TDEE and my activity level what do i enter here? My life is sedentary but I consistently go to the gym. Please help me with my dilemma, Thanks in advance!

13:01 UTC


Daily Discussion Thread (September 27, 2023) - Beginner and Simple/Quick Questions Go Here

Thread for discussing quick/simple topics not needing an entire posts or beginner questions.

Please do not post asking:

  • Should I bulk or cut?
  • Can you estimate my body fat from this picture?

For other posts make sure to included relevant information such as years of experience, what goal you are working towards, approximate age, weight, etc.

Please feel free to give the mods feedback on ways this could be improved.

1 Comment
11:01 UTC


Am I overtraining/Split feedback

I currently run PPL 6x a week and I feel like my workouts contain more exercises than most programs I see around the internet and within my friend group. I have a lot of isolation exercises. I get sore but recover by the time I work out that area again. I also want to make sure I don't miss out on any areas.

Do i do too much? If so what should I remove and/or change? Which areas have too much volume? Are there any areas I'm neglecting?

Just looking for general feedback and help

Here's my split: Push 1: 3x + warmup Bench press
3x Shoulder press machine 3x Lying tricep extensions 3x Incline dumbbell bench 3x One arm cable lateral raise 3x Rope tricep pushdown 3x seated cable flys 2x seated lateral raise 3x assisted dip (tricep focused)

Pull 1: 2x pull up 1x assisted pull up 3x seated chest supported row 3x single arm lat pulldown 3x dumbbell shrug 4x cable reverse fly 3x Incline curl 3x hammer curl 2x wrist curl

Legs 1: 3x Bulgarian split squat 3x RDLs 3x + dropset leg extensions 3x lying leg curl 4x calf press on leg press machine 3x weighted crunch 3x cable crunch

Push 2: (shoulder focused) 3x standing barbell overhead press 3x single arm cable lateral raise 3x chest press 3x rope tricep pushdown 3x front raise 2x seated lateral raise 3x seated cable fly 3x overhead dumbbell tricep extension 2x underhand wrist curl 2x overhand wrist curl

Pull 2: 3x Barbell rows 3x single arm lat pulldown 3x seated chest supported machine row 3x lat pulldown underhand 3x shrug 4x cable reverse fly 3x ez bar bicep curl 3x hammer curl 2x overhand wrist curl

Legs 2: 3x + warmup barbell squat 3x RDLs 3x leg press 3x lying leg curls 4x calf press on leg press machine 3x weighted crunch 3x cable crunch

That's it, thanks for any help and feedback!

08:46 UTC


How many sets of ISOLATION rear delt work is needed?

Like reverse fly’s? I do 3 sets of iso work a week, and I do pull-downs, wide rows, RDLs. Should I get more?

03:55 UTC


I have stretch marks on both biceps, did I undergo extreme bicep growth or something?

They are sprawled bruh. And no, I did not get fat. Did I just gain muscle very quick? I’m not in my noob gains stage anymore so it doesn’t make sense.

03:54 UTC


Dumbbell squats down by the side or holding on the shoulder?

I'm sick of my skinny legs and so every other day I am performing 50 squats with fairly heavy dumbbells for a month just to see what kind of result I get.

This is almost an experiment to see if it actually builds my skinny legs, and whilst I can feel them working, I just wondered if my goal is to simply build my legs and keep my core activated, does it make a different to where I hold the dumbbells? I've read that holding them on the shoulder activates some of the upper body but as they are literally resting and I'm not engaging those muscles I imagine any targeting to the shoulders is very minimal anyway.

If just for building legs, is there a benefit to doing one form over the other?

03:11 UTC


how are you guys doing any more than 3-4 exercises per session?

I get exhausted after 2-3 exercises, and usually can't hit PRs on my second one. I usually do 5-7 sets of a compound exercise first and am able to kill it... the rest lag behind.

Like.. I can't go hard on bench and then expect to hit new PR's on OHP or incline bench..

I do more sets, more volume, and fewer exercises, but I'm a bit of a minimalist. I like to focus on compound movements, and then add accessories to fill in gaps as needed.

Is this a bad approach? am I doing it wrong?

00:42 UTC


80 lb dumbbells vs chest press machine

Hello experts,

I have been using 80 lb dumbbells for incline, flat bench at home.

I’ve been able to get up to doing 15-18 reps for 3 sets for incline. 12-15 reps for 3 sets for flat.

My complex has a chest press machine a stack of about 200 lbs.

Is it best to keep using the dumbbells? Or switch to the chest machine?

There are no gyms anywhere near by so unfortunately that’s not an option and buying 100 lb weights is pretty expensive. Thoughts?

23:43 UTC


80 lb dumbbells vs chest press machine

Hello experts,

I have been using 80 lb dumbbells for incline, flat bench at home.

I’ve been able to get up to doing 15-18 reps for 3 sets for incline. 12-15 reps for 3 sets for flat.

My complex has a chest press machine a stack of about 200 lbs.

Is it best to keep using the dumbbells? Or switch to the chest machine?

There are no gyms anywhere near by so unfortunately that’s not an option and buying 100 lb weights is pretty expensive. Thoughts?

23:41 UTC


Has the emphasis on straight sets and strict reps gone too far?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the emphasis on full range of motion, crisp technique, fully controlling the weight and reps, etc. that’s preached by guys like Mike Israetel and many others on social media.

But at the same time, I’ve never seen a single jacked person in the gym training like that. Almost always there’s plenty of swinging or chest reps, partial range of motion, lots of intensity techniques like drop sets or rest pause sets.

I’ve made the best progress of my life training with complete control and as big a ROM as possible training 0-2 RIR, but can’t help but wonder if I’m leaving something on the table without a little more of the extra stuff, especially with smaller muscle groups like arms and delts.

21:12 UTC


Is regular deloading on PPL necessary on the main lifts?

Is regular deloading on PPL necessary on the main lifts?


I’ve been an on and off lifter for a number of years. By that I mean I’ll follow a program religiously for 4-6 months, a year etc and then stop for a while.

I’ve been doing strength training across 12 years, but that’s probably 4-5 years of consistent strength-focused training, a lot with the heavy influence of the early teens SS/SL doctrine.

I’m finding on PPL that I’m making good progression in all accessory lifts (double progression - both weight and reps). The main lifts - dead, squat, bench, OHP - are going up, just slowly.

I’m finding a relatively regular (c. once a month) need to either deload or drop reps for progression. Eg doing 4 x 5, then 4 x 4. Is now a good time to play around with higher rep ranges for the big lifts? Current following Coolcicada’s PPL template with dead’s added in. Good progress generally with the exception of slower progress in bench and squat.

It’s to be expected a bit on bench in particular, as I went to health club style gyms for quite a while with limited bench / rack options - meaning I was often doing it fatigued etc. So I’m particularly focused on prioritising bench and variants (incline BB/DB) to bring my chest up a bit.

I’m not sure if with squats in particular there’s also a bit of a mental barrier to be overcome?


  • 5’11 (180cm)
  • 93kg


  • OHP: 72.5kg
  • Bench: 85kg
  • Squat: 140kg
  • Deadlift: 180kg
20:42 UTC


I want to know the difference between natural and enhanced training

Obiviously I know that steroids do increase strenght but how about recovery?

How frequently do you train as a natural compared to unnatural bodybuilder? Also, do you copy programs from enhanced lifters? If yes, do they work for you?

I'm interested in ones recovery ability and I think I will learn through your experiences. There is such a diversity in bodies and especially in how people recover. I can't find the truth because every fitness influencer speaks different stuff.

20:29 UTC


What do you do for conditioning or cardio when bodybuilding?

I've been working out for a while now, with good progress. I'm quite proud of how it's going. At the same time, I'm out of breath when I walk a few flights of stairs or spontaneously run 50m playing with my dog.

I know there's a bit of controversy around the subject of mixing bodybuilding and cardio/conditioning. I am on neither side of this controversy but I'm interested in what you do for your heart's health next to lifting weights - and how often.


19:40 UTC


How would you set up a leg emphasis split as an experienced lifter (10+yrs)?

My legs aren't terrible but I have a good upper body and theyve just never been at the same level in terms of size or strength. Effort level and exercise selection are in check. Id say theyre a genetic weakpoint as well.

Over the years Ive done many (balanced) variations of PPL or ULPPL training most muscle groups twice every 7-9 days.

In recent times Ive done one of 2 things (side note I also want a dedicated delt/arm sesh):

1) Train legs more frequently like twice every 6 days. Heres a generic example 2 on 1 off style with upper hit twice every 9: Lower/Upper/off/Lower/ChestBack/off/Lower/DeltArm/off.

2) Split one of my leg days into separate anterior and posterior days. This way the legs are spread out more and I can START more sessions with them, priority principle. A generic example: Posterior/Anterior/off/DeltArm/Legs/ChestBack/off/off or repeat.

Currently doing a combination of both:


Seeing if theres things I didnt think of

19:27 UTC


Kid does everything “wrong” and makes progress

There’s this kid at my gym who’s probably 19 and weighs 160 lbs. every time he comes in the gym he benches and does chest and triceps or shoulders and biceps. I’ve never seen him do legs. Every time he benches, he maxes out. He literally does everything your not supposed to do. He’s definitely on gear due to his acne and capped delts. It’s just so frustrating because I follow the science and good programs and have never bench over 265. He comes in today and benches 275x10 then did 335x1. It doesn’t even make sense . Makes me want to quit lifting . Sorry for the rant.

18:52 UTC


How many direct sets for triceps are enough during push/upper days?

On my push day, in terms of sets when the triceps is not the primary mover but is still involved are 4 sets of OHP and 4 sets of Incline press. Other than that i do 3 sets of heavy skull crushers followed by 2 sets of lighter rope pushdowns with a dropset on the last set. So 5 direct triceps sets in total, do you guys think thats enough?

18:39 UTC


High fat content diet affecting muscle gain and T Levels?

I’m getting back into men’s physique after a 5 year hiatus so I’m a little rusty. So I’ll start by saying I have a degree in Bio. I’m no schlump when it comes to understanding certain factors of nutrition science but what I can’t figure out is how high fat diets contribute or take away from muscle building. I’m a hard gainer with low body fat, so I figured that my diet content of roughly 50 percent fat, 25% of protein and carbs each, would be conducive to adding weight on, considering I have like 8% body fat, and it’s all healthy fats, but my friends who compete all say that I’m consuming way too much fat and not enough carbs. To give a closer look it’s usually somewhere around 200g fat 170g protein and 270g carbs. So I’m concerned that the fat even tho it’s all animal fat and olive oil is hindering my T levels and muscle gain. Anybody have concrete answers on this? I can’t seem to find much directly addressing this on the internet….

17:54 UTC


Does the dysmorphia ever disappear?

I've been consistent with my routine for just shy of a year.

At my heaviest I was 298lbs. I used to rock the sweaters and flannels all year round, to hide my body. I'm now sitting at 220lbs, and most days I still feel the same. I feel the need to wear baggy clothes and sweaters when I'm out in public. It's gotten to the point t where I've removed the mirror from my bathroom because I found I was standing there staring at myself critiquing everything I've seen.

And yes, I've tried therapy for years. It hasn't helped.

Any advice on how to overcome the dysmorphia?

14:35 UTC


Do I just accept that weight loss isn't linear before I yeet the scale out the window?

Hey guys,

Disclaimer; I know I am on quite a harsh deficit and am fully aware of it but since it is supervised by an advanced natural bodybuilder who knows his stuff I'm not worried, I just need insight on the weight issue. Weight loss isn't ever exceeding 1.5% of my total body weight and I'm just pointing this out in-before people comment saying this is bad for me.

So I (29M 180cm/5'10") started losing weight & hitting the gym since December 2021 (gym more consistently towards the end of 2022), starting off at 118.3kg (260lbs) I got all the way down to 89kg (196lbs) and about a month ago I decided I would just power through to get to my target goal of around 12% BF. Long story short I'm on a rather harsh deficit (that I am able to sustain and isn't actually bothering me at all) of around 1550 calories average and I would estimate my maintenance to be somewhere around 3300 (16k steps a day, 5x Gym & 3x MMA).

Now the first 2 weeks were going amazing and I dropped 1.3kg/2.85lbs a week then 1.4kg/3lbs the week after only for things to slow down by almost 50% for the following 2 weeks, having lost 0.7kg/1.55lbs and then 0.8kg/1.75lbs for weeks 3 & 4.

I'm slightly surprised and somewhat disappointed comparing weeks 3 & 4 to the first two weeks and now I'm not entirely sure if perhaps the first two weeks just had a lot of water weight or if perhaps I am just forgetting that during a cut weight loss isn't linear and that sometimes it's more staggered and I'm just slightly on edge because the numbers aren't budging as well as they were in the first two weeks.

Any advice, support & insight would be appreciated.

Edit: This is based on comparing weekly averages of daily weighings. Also this diet phase comes after a long 2 month diet break being upon maintenance!

13:22 UTC


Help me figure out the best Shoulder routine for cannonball delts as as coping mechanism

As I recover from golfer’s elbow, for discussion’s sake I’m trying to figure out the BEST delt exercises for when I get back in the gym. This is obviously a very important muscle group, and there’s been tons of discussions around it; personally I’ve made a lot of mistakes; help me cope with my bad elbows by comparing and contrasting here.

Here’s my personal take on the best:

OHP with warmed up lateral delts

I was super-setting my OHP with lateral raises (lat raises first, then OHP). This led to stellar gains (I now use the lateral raise machine prior instead due to elbow pain, which isn’t as good as no superset, but still good).

I emphasize the ‘move the bar back’ portion of the movement, and do NOT do them seated (I almost imagine I’m doing a y-raise when doing the movement). This helps activate the lateral delta more. On occasion I’ve been able to get a lateral delt pump without even the pre-exhaust.

Hypertrophy coach lateral raises

I got this from watching hypertrophy coach on Youtube. These are amazing - they have a larger range of motion, add resistance at every part of the movement (not just the top), and avoid triggering the traps which other exercises do. They also cover both arms at once. Unfortunately, (very unfortunately) they’ve blown up my golfer's elbow, so I've stopped doing them.

I got cuffs that wrap around entirely and clip in, however, they’re too small for my above elbow area. Anyone know where I can get cuffs that wrap above the elbow, so anyone can do these inspite of elbow injury? I heard it actually might be better for the deli as well

Ryan Humiston Lateral Raises (are these safe?)

Saw this video the other day - seems quite compelling biomechanically (does HC's lateral raises accomplish the same thing?). However, it also seems extremely unsafe, and will grind away your shoulders and leave them impinged.

This was a recent video so I'd love everyone's thoughts on the science behind this. When he’s talking about the muscle insertion point, is that legit? What can you do to really emphasize the lateral head of the delt? Should you be focused on building your front or rear delt instead? I didn’t really get it.

Lateral Raise Machine (help needed)

Any thoughts on the lateral raise machine? I can't get into the scapular plane so I find them a bit hard to active my delts with (and they trigger traps, which HC's avoids). However, they have zero set up, totally avoid tendonitis, so there has to be a way to make them better to use. Would REALLY love some advice here.

Rear Delts

Jury's still out on rear delts. Mine are super under developed and I find it difficult to activate them, so would love some advice. These are obviously very important for aesthetics; it seems from Ryan's video they make up the majority of the delt. Is that accurate?

13:07 UTC

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