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  • Shawn Myszka 7:27 pm on December 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    2017 Play of the Week – Week 14 

    Game: Colts at Bills

    Play: The real Shady shows slippery moves to stand out in the snow

    Shady pic 1

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    The thing that makes this blog wonderful for me is within each week I get to analyze players attempting to solve lots of various movement problems under diverse, constantly-changing environmental conditions. This unpredictability is one of the coolest aspects of NFL football sport movement behavior. Why? Well, to me, this is unlike many other professional sports where, though the task constraints may differ highly, the environmental constraints often stay relatively similar. In NBA basketball, the court is always close to the same type of stickiness. In the NHL, ice is ice (for the most part) and they don’t change temperatures of the arena from game to game. In MLB, if it rains, the game gets delayed. Note: I am not dumb to the fact that there are still plenty of other environmental constraints entering the mix besides the surface and weather conditions that could change the interaction between the problem and the solution.

    As we will expand upon later, one of the truest tests of an individual’s movement skill is to place it under various conditions and see if the individual can still adequately come up with an effective solution. Arguably, there hasn’t been a better test taker in this regards than current Buffalo Bill RB LeSean “Shady” McCoy. Shady was our very first Mover of the Year way back in 2013 while being a member of the Philadelphia Eagles when it was very apparent that his movement was built off of a highly diverse movement toolbox.

    https://footballbeyondthestats.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/2013-bts-mover-of-the-year-lesean-mccoy/

    In week 14 of that very same season, McCoy and his Eagles found themselves in a snowy contest versus the Detroit Lions where I marveled at his ability to adapt his movement behaviors to the ever-changing weather conditions.

    https://footballbeyondthestats.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/play-of-the-week-week-14/

    Ironically enough, here we are again, another snowy week 14 in an NFL season, now four seasons later, and Shady is out there still doing the exact same thing!

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    During our breakdowns here for most weeks, we normally analyze a singular play or even one local piece of the athlete’s solution puzzle where a player’s movement characteristics shined bright in comparison to their peers. This week, the entire body of work that our first-ever Mover of the Year put together across Sunday’s snowy afternoon in Buffalo was worthy of this type of lens being turned onto it.

    My hero in the movement behavior field, the late and great Nikolai Bernstein, once stated (1967): “Dexterity, that is, the capacity to solve a motor problem – correctly, quickly, rationally, and resourcefully. Dexterity is finding a motor solution for any situation and in any condition.” With this being the case, I believe that dexterity is the hallmark of movement skill that could be deemed worthy of being associated with the word, masterful.

    If you have followed this blog for any period of time, you have probably routinely and repeatedly heard me utter words like attunement, adaptation, perception-action coupling, and affordances for action. Well, when you throw a snowstorm into the mix, for even the highest level of qualification of movers (i.e. those that reside in the NFL), the exact application of those concepts (attunement, etc) gets changed considerably. Meaning, the way that the individual’s human movement system coordinates and controls his respective movement skills is going to be constrained (or possibly invited) based on what the environment gives him. The sensory feeling at the foot obviously changes and thus so does one’s connection to the ground (the foot-surface interaction) and foot plant-ability (base of support position, etc), among many other factors (e.g. force development, speed characteristics). Because of this, certain patterns and moves in one’s movement skill toolbox become more or less available depending on the individual’s ability to co-adapt based on what he perceives.

    This issue is what makes the perception-action coupling and the constant problem solving that the most masterful movers perform as the environment changes so damn important. And of course, Shady puts this highly attuned and adaptable skill on display for us today from his performance in week 14. Go take a peek at this video to see the awesome, expert-filled Shady performance.

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-game-highlights%2F0ap3000000890724%2FTop-5-LeSean-McCoy-snow-runs-Week-14

    Now, while watching, a few things jump off the screen to me as it pertains to both where Shady had advantages and disadvantages based on the conditions at-hand. These advantages/disadvantages then contribute to the specific affordances for action that he would experience as he attempts to solve the problems present on each play.

    Advantages

    1. He knows where he is going!

    When the conditions significantly change like this especially at the surface (inches upon inches of snow constitutes as significant), the advantage almost always goes to the offensive player. This is the case because the offensive player has an idea on where he wants to go and the defensive player is just trying to react according to this and sometimes is essentially just along for the ride. Thus, movement solution freedom (where he can go and how he can go that way that he selects) is enhanced for Shady. He is the one in the problem-solution connection who is in most control of speed and timing and because of that, he owns the spatial demands!

    Shady pic 3

    1. Novelty!

    The NFL’s most elite, masterful movers typically have more movement solutions in their toolbox even if they are behaviors and patterns that aren’t as stable or solidified as other patterns that they may possess. In ‘Ecological Dynamics’ terms they display a high amount of degeneracy. This is the fancy way of saying that they have numerous potential ways to solve typical movement problems. This ‘way’, may not always be optimal, but it’s a potential option and when other guys are just out there just don’t have as many to match, you get a significant advantage. This is why we see Shady on the video out there rather casually hurdling guys and breaking down in more subtle ways (as opposed to the normal more rapid, violent fashions on a harder surface) while displaying more balance while others on the opposite side of this relationship have to try to correspond with what they already know (faster decelerations with wider base and sharper angles) that no longer match the needs of the environment (so we see them falling or being out of control).

    Shady pic 2

    Disadvantages

    1. The Colts are wearing all white while the Bills are wearing all red!

    Some may scoff at this, but while you watch the video just try to pick out each of the Colt defenders as they rapidly move through space. Pattern recognition is much more difficult when the patterns of each of the defenders will already be changing based on the weather conditions; pattern recognition is much, MUCH more difficult when that opponent is basically wearing camouflage and it’s hard to even see them!

    Shady pic 4

    1. Shady has to go away from what often times is considered “more optimal” agility technique! (Okay, usually this is determined during ‘change-of-direction’ tasks rather than agility tasks)

    Because of the conditions, Shady can’t get into his normal positions and execute through his normal patterns (and combinations of those patterns). Meaning, we don’t see his usual base of support variability and/or sharp eccentric loading on this past Sunday. Yes; obviously everyone has to operate under the same field conditions here. So, why is this actually a disadvantage for Shady? Well, as part of his movement arsenal, he possesses solidified options which require him to get lower, wider, and more coiled than most of his defensive peers. Though Shady’s movement patterns aren’t Barry Sanders-esqe in the form that he gets as wide and slicing (a topic that I have explicitly addressed on this blog before when people over the years have tried to compare the two), those are still more preferred states for him than they are for most of his defensive counterparts.

     


     
  • Shawn Myszka 7:27 pm on December 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    2017 Play of the Week – Week 14 

    Game: Colts at Bills

    Play: The real Shady shows slippery moves to stand out in the snow

    Shady pic 1

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    The thing that makes this blog wonderful for me is within each week I get to analyze players attempting to solve lots of various movement problems under diverse, constantly-changing environmental conditions. This unpredictability is one of the coolest aspects of NFL football sport movement behavior. Why? Well, to me, this is unlike many other professional sports where, though the task constraints may differ highly, the environmental constraints often stay relatively similar. In NBA basketball, the court is always close to the same type of stickiness. In the NHL, ice is ice (for the most part) and they don’t change temperatures of the arena from game to game. In MLB, if it rains, the game gets delayed. Note: I am not dumb to the fact that there are still plenty of other environmental constraints entering the mix besides the surface and weather conditions that could change the interaction between the problem and the solution.

    As we will expand upon later, one of the truest tests of an individual’s movement skill is to place it under various conditions and see if the individual can still adequately come up with an effective solution. Arguably, there hasn’t been a better test taker in this regards than current Buffalo Bill RB LeSean “Shady” McCoy. Shady was our very first Mover of the Year way back in 2013 while being a member of the Philadelphia Eagles when it was very apparent that his movement was built off of a highly diverse movement toolbox.

    https://footballbeyondthestats.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/2013-bts-mover-of-the-year-lesean-mccoy/

    In week 14 of that very same season, McCoy and his Eagles found themselves in a snowy contest versus the Detroit Lions where I marveled at his ability to adapt his movement behaviors to the ever-changing weather conditions.

    https://footballbeyondthestats.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/play-of-the-week-week-14/

    Ironically enough, here we are again, another snowy week 14 in an NFL season, now four seasons later, and Shady is out there still doing the exact same thing!

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    During our breakdowns here for most weeks, we normally analyze a singular play or even one local piece of the athlete’s solution puzzle where a player’s movement characteristics shined bright in comparison to their peers. This week, the entire body of work that our first-ever Mover of the Year put together across Sunday’s snowy afternoon in Buffalo was worthy of this type of lens being turned onto it.

    My hero in the movement behavior field, the late and great Nikolai Bernstein, once stated (1967): “Dexterity, that is, the capacity to solve a motor problem – correctly, quickly, rationally, and resourcefully. Dexterity is finding a motor solution for any situation and in any condition.” With this being the case, I believe that dexterity is the hallmark of movement skill that could be deemed worthy of being associated with the word, masterful.

    If you have followed this blog for any period of time, you have probably routinely and repeatedly heard me utter words like attunement, adaptation, perception-action coupling, and affordances for action. Well, when you throw a snowstorm into the mix, for even the highest level of qualification of movers (i.e. those that reside in the NFL), the exact application of those concepts (attunement, etc) gets changed considerably. Meaning, the way that the individual’s human movement system coordinates and controls his respective movement skills is going to be constrained (or possibly invited) based on what the environment gives him. The sensory feeling at the foot obviously changes and thus so does one’s connection to the ground (the foot-surface interaction) and foot plant-ability (base of support position, etc), among many other factors (e.g. force development, speed characteristics). Because of this, certain patterns and moves in one’s movement skill toolbox become more or less available depending on the individual’s ability to co-adapt based on what he perceives.

    This issue is what makes the perception-action coupling and the constant problem solving that the most masterful movers perform as the environment changes so damn important. And of course, Shady puts this highly attuned and adaptable skill on display for us today from his performance in week 14. Go take a peek at this video to see the awesome, expert-filled Shady performance.

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-game-highlights%2F0ap3000000890724%2FTop-5-LeSean-McCoy-snow-runs-Week-14

    Now, while watching, a few things jump off the screen to me as it pertains to both where Shady had advantages and disadvantages based on the conditions at-hand. These advantages/disadvantages then contribute to the specific affordances for action that he would experience as he attempts to solve the problems present on each play.

    Advantages

    1. He knows where he is going!

    When the conditions significantly change like this especially at the surface (inches upon inches of snow constitutes as significant), the advantage almost always goes to the offensive player. This is the case because the offensive player has an idea on where he wants to go and the defensive player is just trying to react according to this and sometimes is essentially just along for the ride. Thus, movement solution freedom (where he can go and how he can go that way that he selects) is enhanced for Shady. He is the one in the problem-solution connection who is in most control of speed and timing and because of that, he owns the spatial demands!

    Shady pic 3

    1. Novelty!

    The NFL’s most elite, masterful movers typically have more movement solutions in their toolbox even if they are behaviors and patterns that aren’t as stable or solidified as other patterns that they may possess. In ‘Ecological Dynamics’ terms they display a high amount of degeneracy. This is the fancy way of saying that they have numerous potential ways to solve typical movement problems. This ‘way’, may not always be optimal, but it’s a potential option and when other guys are just out there just don’t have as many to match, you get a significant advantage. This is why we see Shady on the video out there rather casually hurdling guys and breaking down in more subtle ways (as opposed to the normal more rapid, violent fashions on a harder surface) while displaying more balance while others on the opposite side of this relationship have to try to correspond with what they already know (faster decelerations with wider base and sharper angles) that no longer match the needs of the environment (so we see them falling or being out of control).

    Shady pic 2

    Disadvantages

    1. The Colts are wearing all white while the Bills are wearing all red!

    Some may scoff at this, but while you watch the video just try to pick out each of the Colt defenders as they rapidly move through space. Pattern recognition is much more difficult when the patterns of each of the defenders will already be changing based on the weather conditions; pattern recognition is much, MUCH more difficult when that opponent is basically wearing camouflage and it’s hard to even see them!

    Shady pic 4

    1. Shady has to go away from what often times is considered “more optimal” agility technique! (Okay, usually this is determined during ‘change-of-direction’ tasks rather than agility tasks)

    Because of the conditions, Shady can’t get into his normal positions and execute through his normal patterns (and combinations of those patterns). Meaning, we don’t see his usual base of support variability and/or sharp eccentric loading on this past Sunday. Yes; obviously everyone has to operate under the same field conditions here. So, why is this actually a disadvantage for Shady? Well, as part of his movement arsenal, he possesses solidified options which require him to get lower, wider, and more coiled than most of his defensive peers. Though Shady’s movement patterns aren’t Barry Sanders-esqe in the form that he gets as wide and slicing (a topic that I have explicitly addressed on this blog before when people over the years have tried to compare the two), those are still more preferred states for him than they are for most of his defensive counterparts.

     


     
  • Shawn Myszka 3:09 am on December 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    2017 Play of the Week – Week 13 

    Game: 49ers at Bears

    Play: The Human Joystick playing his own video game once again

    Cohen pic 3.jpg

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    After the past two weeks, believe it or not, week 13’s top movement performance did NOT come at the hands, feet, and kinesthetic sense of Antonio Brown or Julio Jones. Really, it’s true; it didn’t! With AB84 just going about his business executing his normal routine performance (if you go watch at the highlights of him playing the Bengals on Monday night please note my sarcasm with that comment) and Julio getting shut down by the Vikings defense, it was time for someone else to step up.

    Beyond Brown’s movement execution, week 13 also saw individuals like Alvin Kamara shine once again as well as Russell Wilson perform his unique magic that it seems as though only he is capable of. When all the smoke cleared on the week’s games though, one play stood out above all others due to its creativity and instinct displayed during the entire movement problem solving activity. Tarik Cohen, aka the Human Joystick, upped the ante on his week 1 top movement performance when he tracked his path backwards way too far for his coaches’ liking and did a dynamic deed that few others in the game would be gutsy enough to execute.

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    In Cohen’s week 1 performance, I took the time to give many who are unfamiliar with the Bears rookie a synopsis of the special sauce that the small school superstar had to offer to the movement problems present on an NFL football field. Honestly, besides Cohen’s standout performance versus the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons in week 1, as well as a more than respectable outing a few weeks later against the Steelers, Cohen has struggled pretty mightily running the football when lined up as a RB in a really inconsistent Bears offense. When they have found some other ways to get the ball in his hands and let him hit a few buttons on his agility controller in space, he’s had some success and has shown that he can flash unique skill-set. That manufacturing is exactly what we see on display here today.

    On a 4th down in the 2nd quarter of a close outing between the visiting 49ers and Cohen’s Bears, the young playmaker finds himself, feet planted on the 39/40 yard line, with a 49er punt booming in the sky. Like many higher level of mastery punt returners, while the ball is on its descent, we actually see his visual scanning saccade from ball to opponent pursuit and back to the ball again to make a quick and accurate decision regarding if he should field the punt in fair catching style or attempt to make a return out of it. Well, this is almost formality when you have a guy like Cohen back there and I can speak for at least one football movement coach who sits on the edge of his (I mean, my) seat at these moments praying that I don’t see his hand wave in the air. Fortunately for all of us, it didn’t and Cohen catches the ball, with his feet on the 39 and his balance slightly veering backwards.

    He uses this momentum to drift back slightly another yard to a yard and a half as he takes a step back with his right foot to regain his balance and reorient his movement solution mechanism back at the task at hand. As he perceives his surroundings and the 49er special team unit coming in hot, he sees one immediate defender seven yards away from him straddling the 45 yard line. There’s another pursuing defender offset to Cohen’s right angled at about 10 degrees from him and at a healthy 12 yards away.

    Cohen immediately starts off to his right with a few transition steps as he allows things to more dynamically unfold in front of him (and quickly!). With more 49ers now entering our sideline camera view, he offers a slight stutter to get them hesitating slightly. Honestly, this movement action, though I am sure was driven really subconsciously, did very little to deceive any 49ers and they each closed distance in their relationship to him. Because of this, it sends Cohen literally retreating backwards away from three 49ers and to the right away from this cutting action spot.

    Cohen pic 2.jpg

    Due to his quickness, as well as executing with maximum intent being implicitly driven because he’s being chased by several really large opponents who also have more buddies quickly coming, he gets going in a hurry even though he is going both lateral to his right and backwards still all while perceiving what’s in front of him as he runs in this direction. He passes the hashes, now a good eight to nine yards behind the yardage marker he caught the ball at, when reality may finally have hit that he has to now make a whole lot of something out of what appears to be a whole lot of nothing!

    It’s here that he likely has every Bears coach wondering where the heck he is going, it’s also at times like that that I believe you never put the handcuffs on the creativity of a real, high-level playmaker. Luckily, Cohen feels no shame yet for potential lost-yardage on a play so on the 30 yard line, with six 49er players now in our frame (the closest of which is running relatively off-balanced and the others sprinting hard towards the sideline in anticipation that this direction is Cohen’s only option), the Human Joystick shows us where the nickname stems from when he rolls over his right foot in a crossover followed by further back-tracking to change direction in a swooping action culminating in another left to right crossover action at the 25 yard line.

    Cohen pic 5

    As he comes out of this final change of direction action, we now see eight 49ers following Cohen’s curvilinear arched path. The great thing about having gone backwards so much here is that, as the punt returning player, you’ve gotten all of your opponents all disoriented in their chase and that if you can now just get past that wave of individuals, there won’t be much more wannabe tacklers ahead of you and the problems to solve that come with them. Cohen’s perceptual-cognitive skill is finely attuned for this affordance for action as well…so much so that as he’s running laterally parallel down the 25 yard line to the field’s left this time, he’s looking for the perfect opportunity to finally go north and south again. This opportunity presents itself when he’s between the hashes and when he does see it he wastes little time hitting his acceleration gas pedal all-out.

    We see him now, in his acceleration mechanics, visibly attacking the ground in furious fashion; almost horizontally bounding with each step. The next 15 yards go by in a jiffy and we can see what world class acceleration burst looks like in its authentic technical form. Those short distance acceleration mechanics turn into mid-range and top end linear technique as he is deterred very little from here with his blockers now up and running with him as a convoy so much that he gets to coast into the end zone with ease and after covering so much ground before getting to that open field.

    Coaches usually see this type of movement skill being executed this dynamically under this type of chaotic problem and they automatically believe that these types of instinctual movement behaviors are innate. However, I disagree; instead, I believe that we must give players the opportunity to acquire this attunement (to other individuals in the environment) and opportunities to go adapt their movement in an ever-changing task-dynamic. We can do this by allowing an athlete to more frequently inhabit activities ranging from simple tag games to cat & mouse drills to small-sided games (like 1v3+, etc).

    Click here to watch this dazzling player hitting his video game moves again:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-cant-miss-plays%2F0ap3000000886596%2FCan-t-Miss-Play-Cohen-uses-whole-field-burns-49ers-on-61-yard-TD-return

     

     


     
  • Shawn Myszka 4:27 am on November 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    2017 Play of the Week – Week 12 

    Game: Packers at Steelers AND Buccaneers at Falcons

    Play: Déjà vu!

    AB84 pic 1

    Julio pic 4.jpg

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    We have been featuring the top play, from a movement standpoint, every week of each NFL season since the beginning of 2013. Each week I scan the games that occurred, leaving no stone unturned (I have my lack of social life to prove it); to ensure that I give credit where credit is due and feature the player who I strongly feel was deserving of the nod.

    Through all of those players, over the span of nearly five full NFL seasons we have never had what we are about to in week 12 of this 2017 season: a player being awarded our top movement play of the week on consecutive weeks. Coincidentally enough, it wasn’t just one player! If you will recall, in week 11, we featured both Antonio Brown and Julio Jones as our top dogs. Well, welcome to Groundhog’s Day because the same is the case here this week. It may seem as though I am taking the easy way out here, but I can assure you that you won’t find better movement performances across the league than that which is displayed on these two plays by these two extraordinary players.

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    As ironic as it is by itself to have the top performers be the same ones on back to back weeks…it’s even crazier how the plays were carried out in comparison to last week’s and the movement qualities which underpinned the processes which led to their success. Well, like clockwork, en route to days leading to 10 catches for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns (Brown) and 12 catches for 253 and 2 touchdowns (Jones), the top two wide receivers in the game brought us a déjà vu moment in every regard when they once again shined bright through the use of what I referred to as the sixth sense of movement…kinesthetic sense & awareness. Last week, we also discussed what I feel what we can do, as football movement specialists and performance coaches, to develop this quality in our players.

    AB84 pic 2

    APTOPIX Buccaneers Falcons Football

    As you will see when you watch the plays, these Houdini-like movement solutions, with the sixth sense as their drivers, bring together perception and action, information and movement, like no other play you are likely to see in an annual NFL year. Both of these individuals, Brown with his cool, calm, and collected snag and toe-drag, and Jones with his opposite shoulder, fluid contortion with his body, hands, and feet, show us what it’s like to be still amidst chaos and make even the most challenging and novel of movement problems no match for skill and mastery. Of course, I could ramble on and on as I so often do when discussing exceptional, adaptive movement behavior but instead I am going to shut up (don’t get used to it) and let these two guys, who are playing at otherworldly levels right now, do the talking for me.

    Here is our former Mover of the Year (2015) working his typical magic:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-cant-miss-plays%2F0ap3000000883788%2FCan-t-Miss-Play-Antonio-Brown-makes-toe-tap-catch-of-the-year

    Finally, here is Brown’s equal, Julio, showing that he won’t be outdone:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-game-highlights%2F0ap3000000882738%2FJulio-Jones-shows-body-control-to-make-20-yard-catch

     

     


     
  • Anthony Mychal 5:51 pm on November 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    the 2 things (and only 2 things) a skinny-fat dude needs to do in order to build a better body… (NUMBER TWO WON’T GO DOWN EASYLLOLOLL) 

    You're here because there's a spark in your brain that bursts when you see the words “skinny” and “fat” sexed together as one. “Skinny-fat.” But, really, what is skinny-fat syndrome? What does it mean to be skinny-fat?

    I could get specific, citing my own feelings: I had cheerio sized wrists, chunky love handles, string bean arms, a sunken upper chest, and, uhhh, oh, yeah, them there moob thingies.

    (By the way, I still have cheerio wrists. I can wrap my hand around my wrist and touch pinky finger to thumb. I also like to take pictures of myself during awkward hair phases, terrible tan lines included.)

    skinny fat thin wrists anthony mychal

    I felt like a combination so unique that only Emeril Lagasse could have cooked up such a magnificent blend of lanky and muffin top.

    But there's no need to continually gouge my ego with an ice pick in order to describe skinny-fat syndrome. Skinny-fat syndrome is a product of two things. And if you tame these two things, you win.

    Skinny-fat syndrome is a byproduct of these two things

    If you set aside all the superfluous shit — genetics, body type, somatotypes, waffles, gords — skinny-fat syndrome is simple. It's a tug-of-war between two physical entities: muscle mass and body fat.

    If you don't want to be skinny-fat anymore, you need to do two things.

    • Lose fat
    • Build muscle (in the right places)

    Most skinny-fat dudes own up to needing to lose fat. But I know some of you are thinking, “I don't think I need to build muscle. I just need to be a little more toned and defined. I don't want to be a bodybuilder or anything.”

    If that's a thought ricocheting in your cranium, here's what you need to do: throw any idea of “muscle tone” or “muscle definition” you have into the toilet and flush.

    Don't be afraid to let your ego join the ride, because you can't train for muscle tone or definition. I wrote about this before here.

    Why skinny-fat dudes need to build muscle 

    Perhaps you're not sold. Good. Because I'm selling. Pretend — relative to your current state, assuming no other changes — you suddenly have 5% body fat. What do you look like?

    You might think you look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club. But you don't. You look more like Christian Bale in The Machinist.

    skinny fat lose fat no muscle

    Not bad if you want a Halloween costume that delivers shock value. But something tells me the whole I MIGHT DIE TOMORROW look look isn't exactly kitsch otherwise. (I just used the word “kitsch” in a sentence. You know I mean business, now.)

    Skinny-fat Dudes estimating his muscularity (and fat)

    Skinny-fat dudes tend to overestimate how much muscle mass they have. And, on the flip side, they underestimate how much fat they have. I see it all the time.

    Skinny-Fat Dude weighs 180 pounds. Skinny-Fat Dude thinks that, at 160 pounds, he'll be ripped and jacked. He loses weight. Gets down to 160 pounds. Still has a little stomach pudge. Gets self-conscious. Doesn't want to lose more weight because he'll then weigh as much as a prepubescent boy.

    To make matters worse, every family member tells him he looks ghastly enough to drop dead any second — a sentiment that is reinforced by Skinny-Fat Dude feeling as shapely as a dry towel on a clothes line.

    Skinny-fat dudes afraid of losing weight

    Skinny-Fat Dude feels like he'll turn into a pile of sawdust if he loses any more weight, so he concludes that he must have been losing muscle instead of fat. While that's possible, the odds are that Skinny-Fat Dude never had much muscle to begin with.

    As the great Scotty Smalls once said, “I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?”

    sandlot-smalls

    Skinny-Fat Dude is simply revealing the truth of his body, which is: a bunch of bones that were formerly covered in body fat. Now, with the body fat gone, he's just a bunch of bones.

    His ego made him think he was more muscular at his previous weight, but he confused Taking up more space with Being more muscular. Or, even worse, he confused Weighing a certain amount with Looking good naked.

    Building muscle in the right places

    Alright. I'm done selling. Muscle is important. But I'll concede… slightly. Because I'm not talking about becoming a bodybuilder or anything. Ten to twenty pounds of muscle goes a long way, especially if it's built in the right places.

    For instance, I look at a guy like Noah Kagan and think, Wow. Great transformation. You did good. But you fucked up, too. You should have done more pull-ups or something because you upper-body is still shaped like a pyramid.

    noah kagan skinny fat

    But I'm no one to judge Mr. Kagan. Maybe he loves his ‘△' framed upper-body. Not everyone shares my penchant for an x-physique and its inherent ‘▽' framed upper-body.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll write about this x-physique thing (and how to create an illusion with your physique) later. Don't wanna let the horse assfuck the cart, or something.

    Back to the two things

    We've ended up back where we started. I has to take the detour above to weed out those that are going to fail anyways don't jive with what I have to say.

    Tug-of-war. Muscle and fat. If you're skinny-fat, then fat is winning the tug-of-war. No bueno. If you want to shift the power dynamic, you need to keep reading.

    Coming soon…

    This is the end of Part 1. Part 2 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup


    P.S.

    My love for building muscle extends beyond aesthetics. It's also the reason (probably) I'm able to drink more craft beer than any person touting “fitness” probably should. But this'll unravel in time…

    The post the 2 things (and only 2 things) a skinny-fat dude needs to do in order to build a better body… (NUMBER TWO WON’T GO DOWN EASYLLOLOLL) appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 10:23 pm on November 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    if you’re trying to “Lose Weight” then you’re going to wreck yourself before you check yourself 

    you know a lot less than you think you do when it comes to energy, intake, energy output, deficits, surpluses, and all of the thermodynamic shit related to weight gain and weight loss.

    don't worry. i'm just as dumb as you are. to light this bouquet of roses ablaze, read Part 2. if Part 2 doesn't make sense, then read Part 1. i'm not feeling clever enough for a more spunky introduction. this is Part 3 and thus a fetus of the first two Parts. eat the placenta.

    this here Part 3 starts with an argument of semantics that makes me want to scoop the corneas out of my eyeballs with a gardening spade.

    a lot of people say they want to lose weight.

    fuggggg.

    why “weight” is bogus

    “i want to lose weight.”

    using the word “weight” allows persnickety punks like me to crawl outta' our caverns, slowly slide sun shades up our septums, click our tongues, and then (intelligently) declare:

    No, sire. You do not want to loseth weight. if that was alleth you wur concerned aboot, simply chop off thine arm. now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to get my butt hole waxed. thanketh.

    alas, i know what the phrase “lose weight” means. when someone says they want to ‘lose weight', they want to lose fat. duh. it is known.

    so persnickety punks like myself are out here majoring in the minutiae… or so it would seem. but, well, sometimes words matter. actually, most times, words matter.

    otherwise, language would be retarded.

    (C WAT I DID THUR?)

    you don't want to lose weight

    perhaps the biggest point persnickety punks like me try to make when qualifying this “weight” thing isn't about chopping off limbs, but, rather, clarifying the fate of muscle mass.

    cue stage right, to the Instagram chick with a before and after picture to showcase the bat shit world of “weight” in relation to body composition.

    • the before picture, 150 pounds and fat.
    • the after picture, 150 pounds and ripped.

    the difference? in the before picture, the weight was fat. in the after picture, the weight was muscle.

    (true story: in order to bolster my Instagram chick claim, I Google searched ‘Instagram muscle versus fat‘ and, no surprise, most of the search results were chick pictures.)

    “weight” can be muscle or fat. if your sole focus is on scale weight, you won't be able to tell which biological mush you're losing. as the Instagram chick clan can tell you, this is certainly no bueno.

    smaller problems with weight loss

    this phenomenon, your body being able to melt muscle instead of burn fat, shouldn't make much sense.

    we have to return to the car analogy i created oh so long ago in Part 1, because the car analogy tells us how surpluses and deficits are handled.

    intake more than your immediate tank can store? fuel goes inside of the red canisters in the trunk, our backup fuel cells. need 2000 calories, eat 3000 calories, then 1000 calories go into storage.

    output more than what your immediate tank has? the red canisters feed the fuel lineneed 3000 calories, eat 2000 calories, then 1000 calories get taken outta' storage.

    hihihihi

    you've probably took the intellectual leap (long ago) and paralleled the red canisters to body fat, even though I never made the connection. in fact, i went out of my way to avoid that connection, which is why, in Part 1, i only mention “weight” and not body fat.

    although body fat is like fuel inside of red fuel canisters, so are other bits of your bytes. muscle, too, can also be fuel inside of the red canisters. and, while we're at it, why not mention bone and organs?

    although the red canisters do represent body fat, they, in total, represent all of your “body stores” — tissues available for breakdown in times of need.

    hihihihi

    the initial logic unlocked by the car analogy was very… homeostatic. meaning, there was one variable regulating the system.

    TEMPERATURE DROPS, THERMOSTAT FEELS, HEAT KICKS ON; ENERGY DROPS, BODY FEELS, FAT IS UNLOCKED.

    this makes things nice and easy to understand, but, well… nah bruh. things don't work that way. your body is much more allostatic. meaning, there's a host of variables that can be manipulated to deal with the situation at hand.

    the heat doesn't have to turn on if you're cold. you can change into warmer clothes. you can throw a blanket over yourself. do a shot of tequila. drink hot chocolate.

    there's rarely one option.

    and, truth be told, this whole “body stores” thing is just the tip of the smirnoffberg.

    hihihihi

    i'm going press pause on current train of thought because it leads down a dark alley i'm not sure you're ready for. just kidding, i'm not ready for it. because it'll take us off the topic at hand, which is the downsides of focusing on “weight.”

    and i'm not done with that. here are some other things to think about…

    A. People have weight goals, but don't have weight ambitions.

    People want to lose weight and gain weight. That's what they decide to focus on, as a goal. Lose ten pounds, or whatever. But no one looks at the number 140 and says, “I want to look like that number.” They look at people and say, “I want to look like that.”

    cc: BradPitt@FightClub.com

    People want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club because of the way he looked, not because of how much he weighed. I know this because 99% of the people that say, “I want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club,” will not know how much Pitt weighed when filming the movie.

    well…

    do you?

    so there's a disconnect. you want to look a certain way, but your metric for success isn't looks. it's a number.

    B. People aren't equipped with the right numerical expectations.

    Just about anyone that wants to lose ten pounds probably really actually just about needs to lose thirty pounds… of fat, of course.

    unless you've dieted down to a low body fat before, there's a good chance you're underestimating how much weight you really need to lose in order to be lean. this fucks with expectations. and expectations are everything.

    if you think you only need to lose ten pounds to get shredded, and, after losing ten pounds, you aren't shredded, maybe five of those pounds were from muscle..?!?1?!?1?1?!1 WHAT ILLUMINATI IS IN CONTROL OF MY BAWDI?

    or maybe they weren't. maybe you were just fatter than you thought you were. don't be upset. happens to all of us.

    C. People attach an irrational emotional connection to certain weights.

    I see this all the time. People say, “I'm losing fat, but I'm afraid to keep going because I don't want to drop below 150 pounds.” (Or whatever weight.)

    why?

    you're holding two conflicting ideas. on one hand, you want to be lean. on the other hand, you don't want to weigh less. it doesn't make sense.

    if you're afraid of dropping below a certain weight, its likely because you feel like you're too thi,n (read: non-muscular). and you're probably non-muscular because you're focusing on WEIGHT LOSS as opposed to… well, just keep reading!

    i exclaimed that last sentence. did you see that? exclaim. i never exclaim. John Romaniello would be so upset.

    zee Mathematization of Humanity!

    weight is a number. usually measured by a bathroom scale caked in one too many pubic hairs. don't worry, the inch of dust expertly preserved atop the scale garners more attention.

    you are a human. not a number. yet many people choose to see themselves as a number, for body composition purposes. I get the sentiment. but this is a Mathematization of Humanity. it seems innocent, but it's not.

    combine the three things above and your body becomes mayhem and mystery. people want to look a certain way, but use numbers as their sole success metric. it just doesn't make sense.

    why care about how much you weigh when you don't have a fucking clue how much the people you want to look like weigh?

    now, to clarify…

    i'm not anti-weight checking. weight is a powerful metric to use, a great source of fast feedback. but it shouldn't be the SOLE success metric. it should be one of many.

    unum e pluribus

    okay, so that's round one

    the Mathematization of Humanity causes some problems. and here's where we can link back to the BIG issue I started this on: “weight” versus body stores.

    I said that when regulating, body has options. fat isn't an absolute guarantee. and, to make matters worse, this goes much deeper than body stores.

    suppose now is the time to cut the umbilical cord and let a new life begin.


    This is the end of Part 3. Part 4 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup

    The post if you’re trying to “Lose Weight” then you’re going to wreck yourself before you check yourself appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • glennpendlay 10:25 pm on November 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Go for it. 

    Glenn.jpg

    You should never make 100% of your lifts in any session.    If you do it tells you one thing, you are training too LIGHT!!!  Many people talk endlessly about the evils of too many missed, and there is no doubt lots and lots of misses are a bad thing.  But making all of your lifts is probably even worse.  That means that you haven’t even had the guts put the weight on the bar.

    Putting 100 kg on the bar is the absolutely necessary first step in snatching 100 kg.  Have the courage to load the weight.  Of weights that you do load on the bar, my belief is that you should make about 85% of those lifts.  I have put this number between 70% and 95% at various different times, when I was in various different moods.  But 85% is a good middle ground.  If you usually make too many more than this, you may be training too light.  If you make too many less than this you may be training too heavy and not developing good motor patterns as quickly as you could be. This applies mostly to singles and doubles, but when using an RM of 3 or 5 reps, when do you call it quits?  I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule.  BUT, if you are doing a 5RM and rep number 5 is picture perfect and your name is not Caleb Ward, you are training too light.  Form breaks down with heavy weight.  And for a normal humans it is impossible to be moving picture perfect on the last rep of a 5RM.  Period.  On the other hand, if rep number 1 is dangerously bad, take weight off the bar.  Most 5RM’s will break down between rep 2 and 4 to some extent.

    But every weightlifter should remember that the whole point of weightlifting is to lift the most weight.  So if you are going to err, err on the side of GOING FOR IT!  Don’t fail for lack of trying.


     
  • glennpendlay 6:49 pm on November 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Weightlifting Diet addendum III 

    Glenn.jpg

    My last blog on the weightlifting diet focused on eating the right carbs.  In a nutshell, ditch the bread, pasta, rice, and white potatoes in favor of more nutrient dense and high fiber foods.  Sweet potatoes, squash, zucchinis, carrots and other vegetables like these are much healthier because they contain way more nutrients, are more filling because they contain more fiber.  They also don’t lead to overeating like the “lazy” carbs do.   It is hard to get fat on zucchinis and carrots. It is easy to get fat on bread and pasta.

    The weightlifting diet also needs to contain protein.  Just like the carbohydrate choices, your protein choices should be  nutrient dense.  Eggs are a great protein source.   Better if you eat the whole egg including the yoke, even better if  it comes from a free range chicken and not one that lives in a cage and eats only chicken feed.   Chickens that get plenty of exercise and eat a natural diet have a higher percentage of a omega 3 fat versus omega 6 and this helps a hard-traning lifter fight inflammation.

    Other nutrient dense protein sources are organ meat and wild game.   Organ meats like liver have some of the densest nutrition of any food and I recommend eating liver  at least every couple of weeks. We had liver once a week the whole time I was growing up, it’s not my favorite but it certainly didn’t kill me to eat it.   Any wild game is usually more nutritious than what you buy at the supermarket.  It is almost always lower fat and the fat it does have will contain a healthier ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats.  Venison, pheasant, quail, and rabbit are all healthy and tasty.

    The protein sources that are probably the least healthy are the ones most of us like the best, higher fat cuts of beef and convenient sliced lunch meats.   A good corn fed ribeye steak is probably the tastiest piece of meat you can eat. It is also one of the least healthy. Not only does it have more fat than it should, the ratio of a omega three to omega six is not the greatest.  It’s probably better for you than highly processed meats like most sandwich meats, but is being healthier than salami and pepperoni really enough to recommend it?

    Protein is important for the hard training lifter, and should include a variety of protein sources. But cutting down on the lunch meats like pepperoni and salami and eating more wild game and organ meats instead will make you a healthier person and a better weightlifter.

     


     
  • Anthony Mychal 3:29 am on November 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    How to “slim down” your holiday dinner to avoid unwanted fat gain 

    You don't wanna be mistaken for one of the floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the days following holiday festivities. You want to know holiday season diet secrets like:

    Serve steamed green beans instead of green bean casserole, ohhhh!

    Serve butternut squash instead of pasta, aaaahhhhhhhh!

    Serve smashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, woooaaaahhhh!

    Your corneas are already overflowing with cheat codes! But I'm just getting started. Ready for the real secret?

    The best way to slim down holiday dinners

    The real secret — the absolute best way to slim down your holiday dinner, eat guilt free, and prevent unwanted fat gain, is as follows:

    Don't fuck up what you eat the other 300 days of the year so that you can eat thirty sticks of butter (or whatever the hell else you want) during your holiday feasts without consequence. 

    Because here's the deal:

    One day (even an entire weekend) of feasting won't make you fat. It just won't. If you want a lackluster explanation as to why, click here. What'll make you fat is treating every weekend (weekday?) as if it were a holiday.

    So I have an idea for you. But before I tell you this idea, lemme drive my point home a little further.

    The low down on holiday feasting

    Obsessing over the healthiness of your holiday dinner doesn't make sense because…

    If you eat like you're supposed to most days of the year, you can eat whatever you want for the 1-3 day long holiday stretch without consequence. Won't affect your fat loss or muscle building ambitions.

    If you accept this, then…

    The only reason to care about what you eat during the holidays hinges on not eating like you're supposed to eat most days of the year.

    And if you're not eating like you're supposed to eat most days of the year, then…

    You're already fucked.

    Therefore…

    You should eat whatever the fuck you want during the 1-3 day holiday stretch.

     

    Here's an idea

    Given that the only way your holiday behaviors will matter is if you're fucking up most other days of the year (and fucking up most other days of the year means your holiday behaviors won't matter anyways), here's my idea.

    Instead of looking for ways to slim down your holiday dinner, do this instead:

    Capture the vigor with which you're finding ways to slim down your holiday dinner. Use it, instead, to find out how to “slim down” the 300 other mundane days of the year so that you can apologetically drink, eat, and be merry when its time to drink, eat, and be merry.

    Because if you're slimming down your holiday feasts, your shit is backwards. Your “diet” and your mindset are broken.

    holiday dinner anthony mychal

    The post How to “slim down” your holiday dinner to avoid unwanted fat gain appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 4:54 pm on November 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    What you need to know about “overnight” (short-term) changes in body composition 

    i used to be afraid of getting too muscular. i didn't want to be a lump of bodybuilding sludge, unable to scratch my back.

    i always wanted to be sleeker. probably because, as a skinny-fat nerd turd, i always felt like the Cartman of the group.

    so when my friends (all four of them) and i played multiplayer video games, i always wanted to be the small quick dude. GAUNTLET. the elf. i was never the slow clunky barbarian.

    gauntlet nes

    funny. the dude that always was the clunky barbarian is huge now (muscularly). pretty sure he does steroids, too.

    people share similar thoughts, only they take them one step further.

    i don't want to get too muscular… OVERNIGHT.

    the same “overnight” concept bleeds into muscle loss and fat gain, too.

    I didn't train — oh no! — I don't want to lose all all my muscle overnight!

    I need to slim down my holiday dinner, I don't want to get fat overnight! 

    common thoughts.

    that need smeared with shit.

    brushing up on energy balance

    in order to put these short-term body composition changes into perspective, let's talk about energy. specifically, energy balance.

    if you haven't read my collection of farticles on energy balance, click here. the TL;DR being: your body uses energy every second of every day, and you eat energy every day to stay alive.

    the amount of energy you eat is measured via calories. The standard example, the reference point, always seems to be 2000 calories. in other words, you need to eat 2000 calories every day to maintain your current weight.

    the 2000 calorie thing is 100% not accurate for 99.9% of humans, but, for the sake of this conversation, and to avoid more percentages, and commas, let's assume that it is. you need 2000 calories every day. if you eat this amount, you stay the same weight.

    Mediocristan and Extremistan

    this 2000 calories, the energy you need in order to maintain yourself, exists within a Mediocristan domain. perhaps the best way to understand a Mediocristan domain is to first understand an Extremistan domain.

    (FYI, I'm stealing the concepts of Mediocristan and Extremistan from Nassim Taleb. Consider this a paralagiarismphrase of ideas that appear in The Black Swan.)

    EXTREMISTAN

    in an Extremistan domain, one instance or output can greatly unbalance the average. so imagine lining up 1000 middle class people and finding their average income.

    chances are, the largest deviation from the average won't be HUGE. and, if you added another middle class person into the lineup, the average wouldn't change much.

    but now imagine throwing Bill Gates into the lineup. suddenly, with Gates, the largest income deviation from the average IS huge. and thus, the average changes immensely.

    this is Extremistan in a nutshell.

    MEDIOCRISTAN

    in a Mediocristan domain, one instance or output can't greatly unbalance the average. so imagine lining up 1000 people and finding their average body weight.

    just as before, the largest deviation from the average won't be huge. and, if you added another person into the lineup, the average wouldn't change much.

    but here's the difference…

    even if you now add the largest living human into the lineup, the new adjusted average still won't change that much… even if s/he weighs three or four times the initial average.

    this is Mediocristan in a nutshell.

    what WON'T happen overnight

    as mentioned, your energy intake exists largely in a Mediocristan domain, meaning one single input (day) won't have a devastating consequences on the extended average.

    meaning none of these things

    • losing a meaningful amount of fat
    • building a meaningful amount of fat
    • building a meaningful amount of muscle
    • losing a meaningful amount of muscle

    will happen overnight, even if you use the most EXTREME measures possible. you can play this out with numbers.

    you can't lose fat overnight

    assuming you need 2000 calories every day to maintain your weight, that means you'd eat 60,000 calories in one month.

    even if you starved yourself and ate nothing in one day, you're not greatly affecting the overall monthly average intake.

    • all days @ 2000 = 2000 daily average
    • one day @ 0 = 1933 daily average

    to put these numbers into some perspective, the rule of thumb is that one pound of body fat “contains” 3500 calories. in other words, even if you did the most extreme thing possible (starved yourself for the day), you wouldn't lose one pound of fat.

    you can't get fat overnight

    likewise, even if you ate as much as you could in one day, you (probably) wouldn't greatly affect the monthly average calorie intake.

    “probably” is in parenthesis because there's greater deviation potential when it comes to overeating.

    when you starve yourself, there's a bottleneck: zero calories. when you gorge, the bottleneck is your stomach's capacity to hold food.

    in today's age, food is hyper palatable, flavor enhanced, and calorie dense — designed to hack your satiety circuitry. you might be able to eat, say, 10000 calories in one day.

    • all days @ 2000 = 2000 daily average
    • one day @ 10000 = 2266 daily average

    this has a bigger affect on the monthly average calorie intake. given a pound of fat “contains” 3500 calories, it would seem as if you gained two pounds of fat overnight.

    but the body isn't a nematode.

    the meat sweats

    if you slurped up 10000 calories in one day when, usually, you only eat 2000 calories, it seems as if you've consumed +8000 calories. but the body isn't static and linear. the numbers wouldn't shake out like that.

    ever have the meat sweats? you eat so much food, your body temperature jacks through the roof? when you eat more food, your body burns more calories.

    in other words, you wouldn't really be +8000. granted, you'd still end up with a calorie surplus. but it wouldn't be as severe as +8000.

    numbers dawg

    you might still be wondering… “Well, even if it is +5000, I've still gained a pound of fat though, right?” meh. maybe. probably not though.

    this world of numbers we've created in regards to how our body functions is nice and all, but there are a lot of things we have no quantifiable frame of reference for.

    for instance, your daily metabolic rate is tied to your bodyweight. so if you did gain a pound of fat, you also have to assume your metabolic rate changed ever so slightly which BUTTERFLY EFFECTS OMFG I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TGALKINGB BOUt

    feelings, undereating and overeating

    screw the numbers. what about feelings? if you chucked back 10000 calories in one day, you'd certainly wake up the next day feeling fatter, right?

    absolutely. but the feeling wouldn't actually be a byproduct of gaining body fat. most short-term feasts make you feel fat because:

    1. You have a bunch of food sitting in your stomach, which makes you feel bloated.
    2. Your feasts also contain high sodium foods, which means you're retaining more water than you normally do.

    Both of these make you feel (and look) softer and puffier. typically, a day of two of “regular” eating will autocorrect this feeling.

    similarly, when most people don't train for a day (or a week) and feel less muscular, they aren't really losing muscle. the feeling is a byproduct of short-term adaptations, like your body carrying less muscle glycogen — something that will also autocorrect after one or two training sessions.

    conclusion

    in the end, your body won't make meaningful metabolic adaptions in 24-hours. it just so happens that both body fat and muscle mass fall under the “meaningful metabolic adaptations” umbrella.

    if you want to lose fat, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND STARVE YOURSELF; if you're afraid of gaining fat, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND GORGE YOURSELF.

    if you want to gain muscle, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND STRENGTH TRAIN NON-STOP; if you're afraid of losing muscle, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DON'T MOVE A SINGLE JOINT. 

    your body composition is a product of trends, not fads.

    your body isn't Yikes pencil, is what i'm saying.

    The post What you need to know about “overnight” (short-term) changes in body composition appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
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