The Right Start: Running Tips For Beginners

Running is an enjoyable, low-maintenance sport that it is no surprise many are enticed to get into it. Many beginning runners, however, initially find running somewhat injurious and exhausting and so give up. Truth is, it can be, especially if the novice runners have not been properly educated.

To get the most out of running, it is important that every beginning runner knows everything about the sport and is prepared enough for it. Following are some running tips for beginners that will make an otherwise rigorous sport into a pleasurable activity.

running

  1. Consult with your physician. Remember that running is an intense physical activity and requires a great deal of your strength. Therefore, it is wise to ask your doctor if your body is up for the challenge. Your physician will consider your age, weight, fitness level, and special conditions (breathing or heart problems) to derive a sound decision. Having accurate information on your body will also help you in choosing a running program.

  2. Set attainable goals. Do you want to lose weight? Or lower your cholesterol level? Or join a marathon perhaps? Whatever your goals are, make sure to see them through. To keep you motivated, it is helpful to have a timeframe. If the goal, however, is not met at the appointed time, it’s okay. Don’t fret, but continue to try working on it. The key here is to avoid stressing yourself over a goal your body is not ready for.

  3. Have a running program. Three things you need to consider in selecting a running program: age, fitness level, and goals. These three will determine the distance you can handle. You have to realize, however, that as a beginning runner, you are not expected to run a mile. In fact, you won’t do much running at first. Especially if you are untrained, running a distance may make you an easy target for injuries. Run/walk program, which includes alternate walking and running for a particular time, is ideal for starters. As you progress week by week, you can increase the time for running and decrease the time for walking.

  4. Make a running log. Detailing all the basic information on your run, a running log will serve as a record of your progress. You can write the type of workout for the day, time, and distance. For instance, Day 1, you did a tempo run for 20 minutes, 3 kilometers. Day 2, you had long run for 45 minutes, 8 kilometers. If you want your log to be more detailed, you can also record your weight and pulse rate.

  5. Check your pace. This is perhaps the most important among the running tips for beginners. This is because many beginning runners injure themselves by breaking into fast running too soon. As a beginning runner, your goal is not speed, but increasing your running time. Maintain your running at a pace that enables you to keep a conversation; anything more than that is not advisable. When you go for slow, easy running, you are actually building your stamina, which will eventually enable you to run faster and longer distances.

 

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What are the Pros and Cons of a Gluten-free Diet?

There are two sides to every coin and nothing is perfect for everybody. The same applies for the gluten-free diet. It is extremely beneficial for those who are gluten intolerant. However, there are downsides to it too.

This article will examine both the pros and cons of a gluten-free diet. It goes without saying that if you are gluten intolerant, you really have no choice but to avoid gluten. The weighing of positives and negatives are for the fence sitters who usually tend to think about going on a gluten-free diet for health benefits.

gluten-free diet

You’re probably able to handle gluten and you’re wondering if you should make the switch to a gluten-free lifestyle. If that is the case, do read on.

It may seem that going gluten-free seems to be all the rage these days just like how the paleo diet’s popularity has skyrocketed. However, the gluten-free diet is the result of Celiac disease. This autoimmune disorder affects millions and has serious health implications. Sufferers really need to avoid gluten foods just to stay healthy.

It’s not a trend but an essential lifestyle change to cope with the negative effects of gluten intolerance.

So, what is gluten?

Basically, it’s a protein found in wheat. This protein is made up of glutenin and gliadin. Most flours contain glutenin and this is one reason it is so difficult to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle. Most commercially sold foods such as breads, pastries, sauces, etc. contain gluten or wheat based additives.

When a gluten intolerant person consumes gluten foods, the villi, which line the small intestine gets destroyed. This hampers and impedes the body from absorbing nutrients into the blood stream via the small intestines. The end result is a sick person who is nutrient deficient.

So the big question is, should you adopt a gluten-free diet?

If you’re gluten sensitive, the answer in a categorical YES!

If you’re not gluten sensitive, then the answer is no. You do not need to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle. It is unnecessary hassle and serves no health benefits. You would be better off with the paleo or Mediterranean diets which are far superior.

The pros of the gluten-free diet only apply to those who are sensitive or intolerant to gluten. They will be able to reduce or make most of their negative health symptoms disappear. Inflammation, headaches, lethargy, etc. all fade and disappear once they go on a gluten-free diet.

The downside to the diet is that it requires immense preparation and you need to be well-informed. You’ll need to find gluten-free substitutes for the usual foods you eat. Gluten also tends to creep in through cross-contamination or it is hidden in certain foods such as sauces, etc.

You will constantly need to be alert and investigate how the food is manufactured. This is really too much work for someone who is not gluten sensitive. Gluten-free foods are not necessarily healthier. They contain fats and calories too. You can gain weight and be unhealthy on a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free foods also tend to be more costly.

The gluten-free lifestyle is a solution for sufferers. It is not a health trend that should be adopted if you’re not affected by gluten. You can be healthy by eating wholesome foods in moderation and incorporating an effective exercise regimen in your life. It’ll be easier and way more fun.

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Muscle vs. Fat and Your Energy Level

Right now, the greatest results in raising our metabolism come from exercise and building our muscle mass, while reducing our body fat. Adding more muscle to the body, in turn causes us to burn more calories, and this helps to elevate our metabolic rate.

What determines our metabolic rate, as far as our genetics? Generally, we tend to inherit the same tendencies for metabolic rates, body frames, and other related body functions from our parents.
All of this metabolic process is related to our calorie intake, our vitamin and nutrition needs, our thyroid and endocrine production, and how well all of these processes come together.

muscle

The body’s metabolism is a unique process for each individual person. No two people metabolize food at the same rate therefore no two people have the metabolism. We all use our calories at different rates, with different results. Our metabolism, like our fingerprints is unique to each of us. But the need to understand and accommodate this metabolism is an issue that we all face. I said all of that, to say this, our metabolism affects our energy levels, and our muscle mass and body fat also affect our energy levels. When you bring the two together, you have the opportunity to create lots of energy, raise a person’s self-esteem, and give them a new lease on life. But all of this isn’t easy to attain.

Some people have really high rates of metabolism. In other words, when they consume food, their bodies burn it up almost as fast as then consume it. Then there are those of use who use our food intake so slowly, as to not even notice that we’re burning calories. These people who burn quickly are often slim and trim, the people who burn more slowly are the people with a tendency toward obesity. The people with really high metabolic rates are generally the people who feel better and have the most energy. Their body is using the food intake to its maximum, and the body feels alive and full of vitality. The sluggish metabolism on the other hand, can have almost the opposite situation; low energy levels, with very little motivation to make lifestyle changes.

The only recourse we have in trying to control our body weight, metabolic burn and health is through our thorough understanding of the role food plays in our calorie consumption versus our calorie need, and control how much of the calories we take in.

Our metabolism functions also depend on how well we have taken care of our nutritional needs. The process of burning calories and creating energy is a delicate one, and one which must be carefully tended, or it can become imbalanced. It is often through these natural imbalances that we tend to “inherit’ our metabolic rate, our body weight, and the lower energy levels.

I believe through careful analysis, and attention to each person’s unique needs, we could bring about a more natural balance of the metabolic burn vs. the calorie intake. To a level where optimal health and weight control are in equilibrium.

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Mixed Martial Arts is Growing

Mixed martial arts is growing in popularity ever since rules were implemented for the safety of those in the ring and you can now watch it on television. It captures an audience both young and old since what happens either in the cage or ring is not scripted unlike wrestling.

There are two main styles of MMA. These are sport and street. In sport, two unarmed competitors fight it out using the same or different martial art discipline. Here, you can’t bite, insert fingers to any bodily crevices, attack the groin and eye gouging. In street, you are allowed to use a weapon of your choice but the first is more popular that the other.

mixed martial arts

Just to prove how popular mixed martial arts is, various organizations have been formed since the Ultimate Fighting Championships was established in 1993. There is PRIDE, International Fighting Championships and Elite XC.

You can watch UFC fights on pay per view which is featured in Spike TV. Elite XC airs their events after striking a deal with CBS entitled “Saturday Night Fights.”

Aside from its popularity on television, there is an increase in the sale of mixed martial arts merchandise especially in the form of videos which fans can take home. There are also websites which feature upcoming competitions, blogs, forums and everything else related to this sport.

Some fans who have become engrossed in this sport have signed up in gyms that offer this in their classes. This can be done just to work up a sweat instead of lifting weights or running on the treadmill. Those who are serious train hard so they will be able to join a competition and win.

But did this craze really start 15 years ago? The answer is no because mixed martial arts was known by a different name more than 2,000 years ago when this was first introduced by the Greeks during their Olympic Games and that time, this was known as Pankration.

There is no doubt that mixed martial arts as a sport is growing. You can see this in the number of fans who watch it, the sales revenue which happens to be much higher than that of boxing and wrestling, the establishment of academies and gyms as well as the founding of organizations both local and abroad.

There was even a move to make this an Olympic sport in 2004 when the games were held in Greece but this was not added since there were concerns that this venue will not be able to host a list of other new sports.

Four years later, the recently concluded Beijing Olympics did not also have mixed martial arts as one of the new sports. Despite that, there are still fighters willing to make a name for themselves using the other organizations since these events are shown all over the world with millions watching even if the International Olympic Committee has not yet approved it.

Senator McCain once referred to mixed martial arts as “human cockfighting” because according to him, this was too violent. That may be the case but with no fatalities yet compared to boxing which averages 11 a year, this will continue to be part of American society today and it is not going to go away anytime in the foreseeable future.

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Metabolism and Eating Habits

The body’s metabolism is a unique process for each individual person. No two people metabolize food at the same rate therefore no two people have the metabolism. We all use our calories at different rates, with different results. Our metabolism, like our fingerprints is unique to each of us. But the need to understand and accommodate this metabolism is an issue that we all face.

The dictionary defines metabolism as the sum of all biochemical processes involved in life, or the sustaining of life. In application concerning our health, metabolism is related to the intake and use of food. In reference to the case in point it is our ability to utilize our food to the fullest extent.

metabolism

Some people have really high rates of metabolism. In other words, when they consume food, their bodies burn it up almost as fast as then consume it. Then there are those of use who use our food intake so slowly, as to not even notice that we’re burning calories. These people who burn quickly are often slim and trim, the people who burn more slowly are the people with a tendency toward obesity.

Right now, the greatest results in raising our metabolism come from exercise and building our muscle mass, while reducing our body fat. Adding more muscle to the body, in turn causes us to burn more calories, and this helps to elevate our metabolic rate.

What determines our metabolic rate, as far as our genetics? Generally, we tend to inherit the same tendencies for metabolic rates, body frames, and other related body functions from our parents.
All of this metabolic process is related to our calorie intake, our vitamin and nutrition needs, our thyroid and endocrine production, and how well all of these processes come together. For years, people have sought ways to raise the metabolic rate. If you can raise someone’s metabolic rate, you are then better able to control the burn of calories, especially for overweight or obese people. This would make the goal of better or improved health a much easier reality for those people. Efforts to date have produced very little results. There are foods that we can consume that naturally raise our metabolic rate, but not to a great extent. What we need is a way to directly alter the rate. We need to be able to raise our metabolism to a point where we can actually see a benefit.

The only recourse we have in trying to control our body weight, metabolic burn and health is through our thorough understanding of the role food plays in our calorie consumption versus our calorie need, and control how much of the calories we take in.

Our metabolism functions also depend on how well we have taken care of our nutritional needs. The process of burning calories and creating energy is a delicate one, and one which must be carefully tended, or it can become imbalanced. It is often through these natural imbalances that we tend to “inherit’ our metabolic rate.

I believe through careful analysis, and attention to each person’s unique needs, we could bring about a more natural balance of the metabolic burn vs. the calorie intake. To a level where optimal health and weight control are in equilibrium.

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The Various Disciplines of Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed martial arts is a combination of various disciplines and the only weapon you have in this sport is your body. Do you have to be an expert in all of them? No but it will be useful to know what these are so when you are facing an opponent, you more or less have a strategy to counterattack his moves. Let’s talk about some of these.

Kick boxing otherwise known as muay thai is a martial arts technique that uses both kicking and punching. It is a standing sport and the fight ends when the opponent hits the ground. This is a full contact sport. Some of the best known mixed martial artists who use this include Pedeo Rizzo and Bass Rutten.

martial arts

Unlike kick boxing which was only introduced in the 1960’s, boxing has been around since 688 B.C. Here, you are only allowed to use your hands to knock out your opponent. Although this fighting technique is not that effective on its own especially when you are fighting someone else using another discipline, this is still essential especially when you are fighting in close quarters with your opponent inside the octagon.

Another close quarter mixed martial art discipline is judo. Instead of punching or kicking your opponent, you have to grab and throw them into the ground. If this is not possible, you can also immobilize your opponent using a grappling maneuver.

Similar to judo is wrestling because learning winning depends on your ability to clinch, hold, lock and have leverage over your opponent.

Next is jujitsu which also focuses on grappling and ground fighting by using chokeholds and joint locks to force an opponent to submission.

There are other martial arts techniques aside from those mentioned. If you want to learn any of these disciplines, you have to join a gym so that a trainer will teach you the correct technique. In most beginner classes, no sparring is involved. It is only when you take advanced classes that you get to engage another student.

Do you get your money’s worth when you sign up in a gym? This depends because there are some who don’t teach that well compared to others. This is why you should ask around first and read some reviews. Better yet, you can visit the gym and avail of their free workout session so you get the feel of what it is like to exercise there.

While we often see people in mixed martial arts competitions use the various martial arts disciplines for offensive purposes, all of them were designed to do one thing and that is to protect yourself from situations that require you to stand up and defend yourself. You also get a good workout each time since you work up a sweat that will help you lose weight if you happen to carry a few extra pounds.

Just in case you didn’t notice, most of the competitors in mixed martial arts competitions are physically fit. You can probably achieve this with the proper training and diet not so you can compete but so you can live a healthier lifestyle. If you choose to compete, you might big the next Ultimate Fighting Championship winner but only time will tell if you have what it takes.

 

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Calcium and Eating Healthy

Did you understand the importance of calcium in your diet before the widespread news of the effects of too little calcium was published? Probably not. Chances are you still don’t fully understand the effect of calcium on your digestive processes and the functioning of your heart.

Calcium is one of the essential elements that must be present during the metabolism of our food, and during the beating of your heart. Calcium deficiencies in these two areas are what helps lead to heart disease and osteoporosis. When you don’t take enough calcium in through your daily intake of food and vitamins, your body will draw on the calcium reserves in your bones in order to have enough to maintain body processes. This is why women, who are older, often develop osteoporosis, and don’t even begin to realize they are at risk. When the amount of calcium in your blood drops to a low level, the body will draw calcium out of the bones. This causes your bones to become more porous and brittle. This explains the rise in broken hips in older people, especially women.

calcium

In order to absorb calcium into our bones, we need the presence of estrogen and exercise. Both of these are in short supply during our later years, chiefly because your body doesn’t produce estrogen after menopause, and as we age, we lose the ability to exercise. Vitamin D is a backup to the estrogen and exercise problem, however, because Vitamin D does continue to help our body absorb Calcium. Hence, we have the addition of Calcium to milk, naturally high in Vitamin D.

If you have determined that you need supplemental Calcium, there are certain forms of calcium that are more easily digested. The best absorbed form of calcium comes in a pill in the form of calcium salt like carbonate or phosphate.

There is a further warning to some forms of calcium that are available on the market today Both the bone meal calcium and dolomite calcium have been found to contain toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium. One additional piece of advice, if you’ve heard that antacids contain calcium that you can use as a supplement instead of vitamins, the information is correct. However, you’d have to take a handful of antacids and quite often they contain substances that disrupt the digestive process. The best advice to date is to purchase a good calcium carbonate or phosphate as a vitamin supplement and establish a regular habit of taking them first thing in the morning with breakfast.

If you have heart, kidney, liver disease, or high blood pressure, you should consult a physician before taking calcium supplements as the medicine you’re already taking may contain a built in supplement, or may cause a reaction when combined with calcium.

The recommended daily dosage for children is 800 milligrams of calcium each day. This level is fairly accurate for women until they reach the post-menopausal age and the level of estrogen production is reduced or eliminated. At that point, calcium intake should reach a level of 1500 milligrams per day; almost double that of pre-menopausal women.

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Dieting for Success Making it Happen

Dieting is far too often approached from the mindset of impending failure. Too many people have tried and failed so many diets in their past that they try the next new diet with the absolute knowledge that they will fail in this attempt as well. Guess what? They will.

Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or think you can’t you will always be right.” If you think you are going to fail at this diet you are dooming yourself to failure before you even deprive yourself of the first bite. Think about that before you begin because only a true masochist could find pleasure in perpetuating this vicious cycle without ever stopping to wonder why none of the other diets have worked for you. Henry Ford also said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”. In case you were wondering I would say his words are quite profound. Seriously though, if you do not examine the reasons for your failures you are certainly dooming yourself to repeat them and if you are already planning to fail why on earth would you even try?

diet

You are the only person who can take control of your need to eat. You are the only one who can pay attention and notice when you are eating for emotional fulfillment and when you are eating from necessity. You and you alone can get yourself out of your chair and on your feet. You are the only one that can take the responsibility for the condition in which you find yourself. There are medical exceptions but even in these situations if you are trying diet after diet and failing over and over again then you must at some point in time realize that it is quite likely not the diets that aren’t working.

We must all be accountable for our successes and failures in life. It is no different when it comes to dieting. There are few better feelings in the world than for someone to notice and compliment your efforts. If you are very obese unfortunately, it may take a little more time for people to actually notice the weight you’ve lost. Too many men and women give up simply because no one noticed and that is an incredible shame. Give your dieting practices an opportunity to work before you decide they are a failure and you just might surprise yourself with a roaring success.

The truth is far too few people hold themselves accountable to their dieting and weight loss goals. This means that far too many people are giving up without really ever bothering to give it an effort. If you have an issue holding yourself accountable to your dieting plans, perhaps you would do well to diet with a partner. This helps you not only set goals but also to meet and exceed challenges along the way. A partner can also benefit from the partnership as he or she will be challenged and feel the need to perform better than if he or she were dieting alone.

You must hold yourself accountable to your stated dieting and weight loss goals in order to achieve any lasting results. If you have not had dieting success in the past, then perhaps it is time to bring some degree of accountability into the picture and make it happen.

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Dieting Without Sacrifice

So many people view dieting as some sort of cosmic punishment or sacrifice for not having the perfect body. They believe that enjoying food is somehow bad for them, which couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to be completely honest with yourself, when it comes to dieting, it isn’t about giving up food or flavor; it’s about discovering new foods and flavors. At least that is what it is for those who truly love food as well as adventure.

There are many spices out there that can make even the blandest of foods a little exciting. Fish and chicken are popular diet foods because they are lean meats. However, adding a little blackening seasoning is a great way to put a little punch in your meal that will make it taste great without packing on the calories of dressing marinades or soaking in butter before broiling. You do not have to stop there. Italian seasoning can also add a little flavor to your kitchen without adding the extra calories that you are working so hard to avoid.

There are all kinds of seasonings that will work well in this instance. Many great seasonings for chicken also make great additions to chicken that will be included in salads for healthier lunches or salad wraps. Grains are good for you when you concentrate on whole grains. They are quite often the primary source of fiber in a diet and you need fiber almost as much as you need water. At any rate, simple things that spice up the same old lunch can have a huge impact on your enjoyment of food.

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You can even enjoy the occasional treat when dieting as long as you do so sparingly. The key when dieting is to learn about proper portions and moderate indulgence. You can find all kinds of low sugar or low carb desserts on the market that you can enjoy sparingly. You can even find sugar free or low calorie candy in some cases though you should keep in mind that calories, particularly when it comes to candy you eat unconsciously add up quickly and you must pay close attention to those things you put into your mouth.

My point in all this though is that you do not have to sacrifice flavor in order to diet. You can live without butter; there are many substitutions on the market that are quite remarkable. But seasonings are a great way to add a lot of flavor for a tiny bit of effort on your part. Desserts are also great and you can find many dips and sauces that can be made with fat free or low fat mayonnaise or sour cream in order to cut a few more calories during your dieting process.

These dips and sauces can often make a great substitution, when paired with vegetables, for those chips and dips we love so much and often miss when dieting. Cucumbers, green, red, and yellow peppers, broccoli, and carrot sticks all have a nice little crunch to them that when combined with a good low fat dip can help cure the crave beast for greasy chips that often rears its head when dieting.

If you watch your calories carefully during meals you should be delighted to know that there are many little snack treats that are prepackaged in 100 calorie packs for your enjoyment. This means that you can indulge on occasion in those treats that you love most without sacrificing all your dieting efforts in the process. These snack packs have become one of the best marketing ploys since the invention of diet colas. We all want the benefits of losing weight and will readily admit that if it were a simple process we’d all be thin. However, having something like these hundred calorie snack packs to carry you through the worst of your cravings can mean the difference between dieting success and failure. They are definitely the difference in the old way of dieting and the new way of dieting without sacrificing flavor.

 

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Dieting and Fitness

 

When it comes to living a long and healthy life, there are two necessary ingredients: diet and fitness. While some believe that they are one thing all together, nothing could be further from the truth. It is quite possible to have a perfectly healthy diet with deplorable fitness habits. It is equally possible to be very physically fit with less than savory eating habits.

There’s a clever little line in the Jimmy Buffet song “Fruitcakes” when his ‘lady’ is lamenting:
“I treat my body like a temple
You treat yours like a tent”

I can’t help but think of this line whenever I think about all the people around the world who are going on these garbage in, garbage out diet plans hoping to achieve the weight loss success of those who are endorsing these products.

To be completely honest, it is possible to shed pounds through diet alone. It is difficult but possible. It is also possible to be physically fit and have a few extra pounds hanging around. To a large degree we are what we eat. If we consume a high fat low substance diet our bodies are going to lack the fuel required to burn the fat. At the same time if we aren’t providing our bodies with the tools it needs to build muscle it doesn’t matter how many weights we lift.

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When it comes to diet and fitness, the best results are achieved when they work together rather than separately. Use your fitness routine to burn excess calories and use your diet in order to properly provide your body the nutrients and fuel it needs to build muscle. I’ve heard many times in my life that a pound of muscle weighs less than a pound of fat. While this is not true at all, a pound is a pound regardless; a pound of muscle occupies less space on the body than a pound of fat. Pound for pound, I would much rather mine be composed of muscle than fat. Dieting alone does not build muscle and that is something you will do well to remember in your efforts.

You should also realize that as you are building muscle you may be shedding inches while not showing a great deal of progress on the scale. It is very important that you keep this in mind throughout the weight loss process. Do not measure your progress by the scales alone or you will achieve misleading results. The problem is that far too many people do just this and get frustrated and give up when they are actually making progress. Do not allow yourself to be a victim of the scales. Look in the mirror, try on your tight pants, and measure your waistline. Measure your success by how you feel after climbing a flight of stairs not by how many pounds fell of the scale this week.

By incorporating fitness into your diet routine you are also enabling your body to burn off any extra calories you may have consumed during the day. This means that if you want to have a small ‘cheat’ during your day, you can make up for it by burning a few more calories than normal in the evening. This isn’t something that should happen often but an occasional occurrence isn’t going to make or break your diet.

You should also look at dieting and fitness as a ball and glove type of relationship. While you can play ball without the glove, it seems to work so much better if you have both. Diet and fitness when combined can create fantastic weight loss results for those who take them both seriously. The thing to remember is that neither works as well alone and neither will work unless you are willing to do the work. You must make this a priority in your life in order to achieve the best possible results.

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