June 4th, 2010

How to Get a Body Like a Movie Star This Summer

Summer is here in the New Jersey / New York City Metro area. It has been a hot one so far, since Memorial Day through this first week of June – beautiful sunny skies and temps from 80 to the low 90’s. That of course, means a lot less clothes… People are baring their bodies everywhere here, at least most people. Some folks didn’t quite achieve that “summer bod” in time for summer… but it’s never too late. In fact, our Burn the Fat summer body transformation challenge just kicked off last week with thousands of people vying for the Burn the Fat champion title, and a movie star / fitness model body before the end of the summer…

I’ve been enjoying the nice weather myself today. At the moment, I’m typing this from Muscle Maker Grill in Edgewater, sitting outside on the deck, at the water’s edge on the Hudson River, with an incredible view of the New York City skyline.

Another day at the office…

The food here is amazing… healthy stir fry with rice, carrots, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, sesame seeds and Teriyaki sauce! Mmmmmmm. If you think fat loss or bodybuidling nutrition had to taste bland, it might be time to re-think that.

Burn the Fat Friendly Teriyaki Stir Fry!

Anyway, I digress. About getting that movie star body this summer…

With the Burn the Fat Challenge having kicked off last week, the Burn The Fat Forums have been insanely busy – there have been 22,884 posts just since the challenge started. (if you missed this one, go ahead and smack yourself, and then simply mark on your calendar the next burn the fat challenge which starts in November at the www.BurnTheFatInnerCircle.com

As you can imagine, I’ve been super busy reading and responding to hundreds of posts every day.

One of them really caught my attention today. One of our members posted a video of Jake Gyllenhall in the movie Prince of Persia in our motivation forum. In case you haven’t seen the flick yet, Jake got super ripped AND put on a lot of muscle for his latest role.

In our celebrity culture today, millions of people have a deep fascination with movie star physiques. Every time a star shows up on screen with a buffed bod, gossip and chat can be heard everywhwere… “How did he get so ripped?

To this day, I still hear people ask “How do I get abs like Brad Pitt in Fight Club?” or even, “Arms like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.”

You don’t have to go searching for the answer to those questions – I’m going to reveal it to you right now:

They busted their asses!

Most people desperately want to believe there “something else”… some other secret… a secret celebrity workout program… a magic fat burning pill… a super muscle-boosting protein shake… there’s just GOT to be some secret

But the one thing most people refuse to believe, (or perhaps, don’t want to believe), is that hard work and discipline is “the secret.”

In an article published on the Hollywood gossip site Popeater, the title reads, “Jake Gyllenhall’s abs didn’t come easy, says trainer.”

Jake himself was quoted as saying, “it was easy, I got paid for getting in shape.”

Well which is it – was it hard or easy.? Well, when you mean that it’s “easy” to work your ass off when you’re getting paid millions to work your ass off, then the “easy” part makes sense. But the getting of those abs was NOT easy at all in terms of physical effort, time invested and nutritional discipline.

Gyllenhalls’s trainer Simon Waterson is a former Royal Marine who also helped Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig for the ‘Bond’ films. Waterson said turning Gyllenhall into a beefed up warrior in just four months took a lot of mental and physical stamina; Waterson says the average person would have to be “extremely dedicated” to achieve the same results.

According to the popeater site,

“In the early morning, Gyllenhaal would put on a 20-pound flak jacket and run around a park and in the sand — simulating scenes he would be filming in Morocco for ‘Persia.’ He’d then head off to script readings and sword fight training before returning in the evening to start his second round of exercise, resistance training. The actor would eat six times a day — three meals and three snacks, each of which contained a lot of protein, electrolytes and carbohydrates.”

“He had the luxury of having me around 24/7 for almost a year and even while he was filming,” Waterson says. “I made sure he trained when he need to train. He was fed when he needed to be fed. And rested when he needed to rest. You have to bear in mind, this was an intensive four months of training. He was living an athlete’s life.”

Here’s the workout if you’re interested…

Prince of Persia Workout Routine

Morning Workout
* 1 ½ hours of cardio while wearing a 20lb weighted vest
* 10 minutes of uphill sprint interval training with ab exercises; he repeated
* this sequence 5 times and then performed a 10 minute jog and stretching

Evening Workout
* 1 hour of resistance training including cables, pull-ups, press-ups, andweighted ab exercises

In addition to his scheduled workout routines, Jake had to train for the movie aswell. He had to learn martial arts, sword fighting, horseback riding, and parkour.

Most of those people I mentioned who are interested in celebrity fitness were looking at Jake’s workout routine – the exercises, sets, reps, sequence, schedule, and so on.

I find that interesting myself, But what leaped out at me the most had nothing to do with the actual workout routine itself – I’ve seen people acheive spectacular physiques with all kinds of different workouts, from traditional bodybuilding to circuit training…

What stood out to me was the amount of time he put into his training – the sheer number of hours – and the effort that went into every hour spent.

I didn’t write this post suggesting you try to duplicate Jake’s workout routine… only to make this point…

The secret to a movie star body is the same secret to a bodybuilder, figure competitor or fitness model body… the same “secret” used by the winners of our Burn the Fat challenge… HARD WORK… and that includes putting in both the effort AND the time.

Movie star bodies aren’t built with “just minutes a day… a few days a week… despite what some internet and infomercial fitness gurus want you to believe.

With almost no exceptions, the best physiques in the world are built with long hours of training and hard, hard, hard work.

When all else seems to have failed, try THIS secret: Get in there, put in the hours and WORK at it. Work your butt off. Work harder than you ever have before… and maybe THIS will be the summer you finally achieve that body you’ve been dreaming of.

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto
Author, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

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44 Responses to “How to Get a Body Like a Movie Star This Summer”

  • Amor Kisling

    Tom this is so true. If you don’t put in the effort or dare I say invest a whole lot of time in yourself, more than you would like to admit, your dream body is only a dream. And I know this from first hand experience. Unfortunately if you work full time and have other commitments, you will have to find time outside those hours. Which would mean very good planning to make sure you get enough rest too. For me the hardest part has always been to maintain it. I achieve it, then loose it, because I go on these extreme grueling workouts and diets that unless you are paid millions are just not maintainable. But what I love about your workouts and eating plans are that they are maintainable, and if you plan ahead, they are family friendly even for a single mother, working shifts as a nurse. Thank you for all the effort you put into getting information to all of us, and your honesty. God Bless.

  • Marc B

    Well dangit. After reading that I definitely can’t not workout tonight. Tom you’re writing is like the little winged mini-me with the halo whispering in my ear to be good. Keep it up.

  • lori b

    MMM! I want to have lunch with you at the Muscle Maker Grill in Edgewater and enjoy the view of the Hudson River and the yummy cuisine and the warm sunshine. Here in the Northwest it’s been raining a lot & cool for this time of year.So, now I have a gauge or standard to measure up to. I keep wondering if I’m doing enough with an hour a day and now I realize I should do more. I just don’t know where “over-training” factors in. But based on Jake’s regime, it must take a lot of exertion to hit the “over-training” mark. I was once told “if you don’t feel like you are going to throw up at the of a workout, you didn’t work hard enough” Would you agree? What are your thought on “over-training”?Thanks for the motivation. It really does help A LOT to get daily inspiration to fill your head & keep one focused.I’ve never been to New Jersey, once I reach my goal I might have to reward myself with lunch at the grill. :-)Lori B

  • HI lori. thanks for your post. my post wasnt intended as a recommendation for everyone to train hours and hours a day and definitely NOT to train until you thow up. beating yourself up for the sake of beating yourself up is not the idea. The idea is that to get extraordinary results takes extraordinary effort and you have to dial up that effort and time invested to achieve certain types of lofty goals; movie star looks, physique competition, photo shoots etc.you have to train smart,not just hard and long. over training can and does factor in at some point…. but… the majority of people are no where near that point because they think they should be able to look like a fitness model or movie star hero with “just three short workouts a week, just minutes a day” etc etcmost people just dont train hard, and they expect results not in proportion to the effort they’re putting inyou can only take out what you put in

  • Hey Tom!This is way cool, thanks for the re-inforcement and support!!!!!Peace, Marianne

  • I love how actor’s get fit so quickly for movies then change for another role. Who also comes to mind is Hugh Jackman, Robert Downey Jr and Taylor Lautner!How they do it amazes me. Yes it has to be WORK THE BUTT OFF stuff.But also very time efficient & productive Routine?I’m sure spending hours on a treadmill ain’t gonna cut it.How they go about it, we could use some of their ideas into our own system.

  • Raymond wrote:How they do it amazes me. Yes it has to be WORK THE BUTT OFF stuff.But also very time efficient & productive Routine?NO DOUBT about it!effective routines, efficient routines, hard work AND nutritional discipline creates what looks like miracle transformations in the physique.and actors dont have any more time to waste than anyone else. theyve got LONG hours on the set, script reading, etc etc. the workouts MUST be efficient. i doubt theyre doing much in the way of low intensity walks on the treadmill either. they are bustin their butts with some serious intensityThats exactly my point; we cant look at the end results and forget about the intensity of effort and hard work that went into producing that physique, sometimes in short time periods. .. or all the effort that goes into the NUTRITIONAL discipline!

  • phoebe

    I died just doing P90X in the afternoon and a high intensity 55 minute cardio every morning while eating 1800 clean calories – how do these bodies survive on such intense routine spanning hours? Gawd !! I gave up my morning cardio routine because my face went numb and I experienced pins and needles sensation on half my face from my brows to half my lips! I was told it was stress related and I had to take it easy!! Awesome results though!

  • how do these bodies survive on such intense routine spanning hours? Gawd ! a 7 figure payday probably provides some motivation!

    • I know that would definitely give me a reason to work out so hard.

      Also knowing that its not a lifestyle to carry on forever- just until the next Prince of Persia movie :-p

  • Michelle Anne Richmond

    WOW, Jake Gyllenhall looks amazing! Obviously his workout routine and nutrition worked wonders. I can imagine that 1.5 hours of cardio with a vest would do a lot for him already, not to mention the resistance training and nutrition! I’ve been doing 1-1.5 hours on my road bike attached to a bike trainer and thought it might be a bit much, but it’s something I enjoy and burns about 400-500 calories an hour (basically spinning). I sweat buckets! I thought maybe it was too much but this article changed my mind. Now I think it’s just right for me.Anyway, I wonder how many people signed up for the challenge this summer. Is that number confidential? ;)~ Michelle

  • michelle – the unofficial count is between 2,000 and 2,100 people entered the burn the fat summer challenge.

  • Debbie Z

    “He had the luxury of having me around 24/7 for almost a year and even while he was filming,” Waterson says. “I made sure he trained when he need to train. He was fed when he needed to be fed. And rested when he needed to rest. You have to bear in mind, this was an intensive four months of training. He was living an athlete’s life.”A luxury indeed! If only we all had someone keeping us in line 24/7. That would make everything in life so much easier. Sort of like having a good Mom around always reminding you to do the right thing. Sorry if I don’t do my own promo….I personally haven’t missed a workout since I started in Oct ’08, but if only there was someone standing behind me swatting all those bad food decisions out of my hand maintenance would be a snap. And the pay scale wouldn’t hurt either. LOL

  • Brian Nordberg

    Tom – I don’t know. He looks kinda smooth to me. Just kidding. I noticed his eating schedule too. Sounds like 6 small well balanced meals to me.

  • James Scott Murphy

    Love the the river side view Tom. Thanks for another great post. It definately helps me to be reminded that what we are working towards does take hard work and dedication.Summer challenge is going great! Ripped up is just around the corner.thanks againScott aka James

  • tracey kendall

    Good Article Tom!I gained weight years ago and thought it would come off naturally… it didn’t. After a couple years I finally became sick of myself and started working out and eating right. I lost the weight and looked good, however the one thing I remember about the process was that I had to bust my a**. It was gruelling workouts and strict discipline with regard to food.Unfortunately I am back to an unacceptable weight again and trying to muster that same discipline and consistency… there is no quick and easy fix.

  • kim fereda

    I will be checking out this place this weekend… Is all the food burn the fat friendly? Thanks TomPS. I didn’t miss the point of the post.. Hard work is the only way to a lean fit body..

  • Dave

    I’m 48 and in the best shape of my life but don’t work has hard as I used to I do find however that I never miss a work out and haven’t done for the last 18 months because I have found the right ballance, You’re absolutly right though, You have to work hard to get results and the harder you work the faster the results and if you get the right ballance you will keep the results you have worked so hard to get.

  • Hailey

    Kinda off topic but I just got one wisdom tooth out today and doctor said 4-5 days if rest before working out again. I’ve been working hard and consistantly for a year now and am afraid of falling off the wagon bc of this. Any suggestions of how to approach this or is it okay to do light workouts after more like 2-3 days?

  • Rosa Yazmin

    Tom… You rock! I haven’t read your FEED THE MUSCLE e-book yet. But, follow your advice and love your perspective and honesty. No quick fix for Benuto! 🙂 You have to get there and work hard. Actors get paid to get fit. We don’t. We get fit for ourselves. That’s powerful, man. When that light goes on in your head, you would do whatever it takes. Thanks always!!Rosa Y. (NYC)

  • Rick

    Hey Tom: Very interesting read. The fact is, that in order to look so jacked and stacked, it requires a momentous effort–more than most stories recommend. I’m into my 3rd competative bodybuilding season, and I’m really driven to make this my best yet–I’ll be 60 in August–a late starter. I just started 1/2 of HIIT and finding some incredible results already. I’m in the gym just about every day–rest about 2 days a week–resistance/weight training in the morning and cardio in the afternoon. All the best!

  • simon

    as always a fantastic read and great inspiration, thank you Tom.Even though I had my weekly ‘bad’ day yesterday, and I type this from my bed on my mobile with a sore beer head, you again have challenged me to get up have a large glass of water and do some exercise.

  • Hailey wrote:Kinda off topic but I just got one wisdom tooth out today and doctor said 4-5 days if rest before working out again. I’ve been working hard and consistantly for a year now and am afraid of falling off the wagon bc of this. Any suggestions of how to approach this or is it okay to do light workouts after more like 2-3 days?First, Training against doctors orders or through “bad pain” or in spite of common sense, is NOT smart training.Second, Part of the game is knowing when to train hard and intense and when to rest. A 4-5 day rest is sometimes the best thing you can do, even if it was for unexpected/unplanned reasons.as Gyllenhall’s trainer said, “I made sure he trained when he need to train. He was fed when he needed to be fed. And rested when he needed to rest.”thats what “periodization” is all about, when to push hard and heavy and when to back off and train lighter, and when to rest completely.

  • Sylvia T

    OK, this is a bit too much. Hard work and dedication are a must, I get it, but this guy, it seems to me, has been overdoing it a little. Or he had been in a very poor shape beforehand.Anyway, Tom, you are so right that most of the people look up to movie stars and think it is easy for them to have the body (with all the money for personal trainers, equipment, and even surgery).I watched ‘Striptease’ last week and was impressed with Demi Moore’s physique (though not as impressed as the first time I saw it). I was curious to see what body fat percentage Moore had then so I googled it and found this interesting site listing a lot of female movie stars’ body fat:http://www.bodyfatguide.com/CelebrityBodyFat.htmlI am a bit suspicious as to whether these numbers are any close to being correct but if they are, then movie stars DO overdo it on a daily basis!

  • Sylvia wrote:OK, this is a bit too much. Hard work and dedication are a must, I get it, but this guy, it seems to me, has been overdoing it a little. Or he had been in a very poor shape beforehand…. movie stars DO overdo it on a daily basis!I don’t think movie stars overdo it on a daily basis, I think they do what it takes to look their best when it counts.They TURN UP THE HEAT and train like crazy for a period of time (4 months in this case) before an important event – a filming… just like physique athletes diet and train harder before a contest, or athletes step up their training before a match or event. They dont train like this all the time.The point is, we look at these incredible physiques of movie stars filmed for that one movie, or the bodybuider or figure competitor for that ONE day on stage, or the fitness model for that one day of the photo shoot, and most people dont realize that is a peak condition that is not maintained all year round…and to achieve that kind of stunning look takes a lot more work than most people give these actors and athletes credit for. They work their butts off to look their best when it counts.the rest of the year, most of them scale back and stay fit, but they are not in peak condition, and they dont have to train hours a day just to stay fit and lean and healthy. ‘But you see there is “good shape” and then there is “extraordinary shape.” And extraordinary results take extraordinary effort

    • I suppose tehers always room for improvement even when your already in great shape. My fitness plan is going good. I do mostly cardio classes and some body sculpting/conditioning classes. It would be nice to have as much strength as you have. It takes alot of work. Do you work out every day? I would like to, but I usually end up working out at the gym every other day.

  • samantha

    I agree with everything you’ve said Tom. Hard work + perseverance= success. If you want a preternatural body, you have to be willing to put forth extraordinary effort to achieve it. Like the inimitable fitness model Greg Plitt has said, and I’m paraphrasing, we live in a reciprocal universe. You get out of it what you put in. Easy come, easy go. There are no shortcuts.I think Greg Plitt has the best body I’ve ever seen. I got a picture take with him a few months back, and nobody has the blend of muscularity and leaness that that guy has. Jake Gyllenhall, whose physique is impressive, pales in comparison to Mr. Plitt. Apples to oranges.Greg got his body through an incredible work ethic, and insane dedication. That’s what it takes to truly stand out among other physiques.Keep preaching the truth Tom. Your nuggets of wisdom have helped change the bodies and lives of countless people.

  • Sylvia T

    Thank you for your reply, Tom!What about that proposed body fat percentage at the website I had pasted?My first thought was: wtf? some of these women have almost reached Tom Venuto’s body fat percent??? And we all know how hard it is for women to get down to a single digit… 🙂

  • Sylvia wrote:Thank you for your reply, Tom! What about that proposed body fat percentage at the website I had pasted? My first thought was: wtf? some of these women have almost reached Tom Venuto’s body fat percent??? And we all know how hard it is for women to get down to a single digit… 🙂Didnt look at that site – but its the same thing i said above- extremes of low body fat are temporary peak condition for films, photo shoots, competitions; rarely if ever maintained at extreme low levels, although some fitness models do stay very very lean all year round because its their job – and that takes a lot of year round discipline

  • Caligirl

    Another superb blog post, Tom, and the comments/replies above equally interesting.Personally, I think you should do an entire blog article or PR campaign about what you spoke of above – the cyclical/periodization nature of this type of training, so that people REALLY GET that movie stars, bodybuilders, & fitness athletes/models only train in extreme ways for limited periods to reach a specific peak goal. I think that key point is often overlooked.As an owner of both your books & member of your Burn the Fat Inner Circle site, I’ve seen this concept presented in various ways. But it can never be drilled home enough, especially on a free public forum like this.Thank you for all you do to promote the “reality” of fitness. There are no short cuts.

  • Shannon

    So true!!! I got into running 2 years ago and just finished my first marathon (3:43:18). It takes a lot of work to get your pace down and your endurance up…and I love every second of it! I found a running group to keep me motivated and we’ve all become close friends.With that time, you can imagine I’ll be working my but off this summer/fall to get under 3:40 and qualify for Boston.As a benefit from all the training, I get numerous comments from co-workers and friends on how toned/thin I’ve gotten. Once you work off all the fat, all that’s left are abs!Happy training,Shannon

  • Hi Tom. Great article. My first time here, so hello to everyone.In terms of Gyllenhalls’s resistance and weight training program, would you happen to have any more details such as split routine, rest between body parts, rep and set ranges? I am such a glutton for training secrets. When I read the 7 days a week I cant help but think of over training? or is that the couch potato in me calling out?

  • Great post Tom!Kyle BattisWww.burnthefatinnercircle.com

  • Reka

    I agree that overtraining comes so much later than people would think. One can do a hell of a lot of work for months, really pushing againts one’s limits, and not get any negative effects. People shouldn’t be this terrified of overtraining.Also, news like this are so motivating. I love it when actors and actresses get into tremendous shape for a movie. Like 300, Blade, Spartacus, the new Twilight and so on. And nothing is more pathetic than a movie “hero” with a wimpy body and not even a little muscle tone… and there are so many such examples… they make the movie so inauthentic.

  • Vincent Martin

    From a blind, retired Paralympian in Track and Field (Pentathlon) I can safely say that it just takes a hell of al lot of hard work to get ripped and also a lot of good nutrition! I was a 210 lb safety size pentathlete and my coach wanted me to be a 6′ 2 ” Dan O’brien size decathlete. In twelve weeks I went from 210 and 11 percent bodyfat to 185 and three percent bodyfat! I also ate 8,500 calories a day! I lifted over three million pounds of weights that summer, ran over five hundred hard miles and many of them were hard sprint intervals in over 95 degree heat and high humidity in Atlanta.Eight years later, eating about five thousand calories a day, , I was a 220 lb record throwing discus thrower, but training just as hard but totally differently. I am now a retired, research scientist that is working on a Ph. D and still training around ten to fifteen hours a week and running at about 10 percent bodyfat. It can be done with hard work, discipline, and consistency. Oh, by the way, I have also had seven surgeries on my knees, ankles, calves, shoulders, and lower back!

  • Great post. I was kind of skeptical on the posted workout. To me, it just didn’t make sense that he could do so much daily work, eat so little, and still gain a lot of muscle. I don’t doubt the time involved, and I always think its cool when celbs or their trainers are honest about the sheer effort they go to, but I doubt anyone at home who copied the workout/diet would get similar results.

  • liz

    It has always amused me when you hear someone say – just park a block further away, use the stairs etc etc, as if that is ever going to help burn off the 600cal sandwich they’ve just eaten!!! Dont they realise that 600cals = over 1hr real intensive cardio at the gym?Rather than cals/carbs/sugar/fat labling perhaps we should switch to “hours down the gym”, “inches round the bum” labling, maybe then people would understand about nutrition better? !!lol

  • Hi Tom, Great blog.Thank you for all the effort you put into getting information to all of us, and your honesty.

  • Deborah Sass

    No Pain no Gain….I know its cheesy but one of the most refreshing things about your site is how ‘REAL’ it is!!!I wanted to loose 10lbs in 12 weeks – very doable everyone said but let me tell you…I worked my butt of (literally) and achieved it!!!!!When people said, wow you look so good..I would very happily reply, I should do….I worked really hard to achieve it!It was the most rewarding feeling I have had in years.Now I am on another goal to be fit enough to run a marathon and loose another 28 pounds in the next 4 months…..Off to the gym for my first training session of the day!!!

  • Deborah

    Great article, Tom! More motivation to keep on charging forward in the challenge!!Debby

  • Maria

    I’m no where near Jake’s regime, but I’m also not yet expecting his level of results. I’d like to get in a healthy BMI for my 5’2″ height which means losing at least 10 pounds. I exercise at least 4 hours/week (often 5) mixing cardio and strength. I don’t just go through the motions when exercising, I always try to push myself.I’ve been tracking what I eat online and staying around 1300-1500 calories 5 days/week, except for one or 2 days a week when I am closer to 1800. I weighed 150 pounds when i started in Jan. and by May I had only lost a pitiful 2 pounds. I felt defeated and frustrated and pretty much gave up counting calories but stuck to my exercising. I got back in the swing of counting calories in June and I’m hoping to lose weight this time.I know my regimen is not extreme, but it was challenging to make the changes I made and I don’t think I can do much more. Can you suggest any not-so-extreme changes that might yield better results. I know it’s not all about BMI, but I’d like to get in a healthy range. Also my body fat percentage measurements have been very inconsistent so I don’t rely on those measurements for tracking.

  • karina

    Maria,sounds to me like you are doing a great job. Do not be discouraged by slow results.Keep in mind that your real focus should be on making this a “LIFE LONG” Change.”DON”T GIVE UP…”DANCE”! (; You can do this Maria (; “DON”T GIVE UP”.-from a friend who loves you

  • Walking on a treadmill doesn’t have to be a low-intensity thing. I started out that way — I weighed over 300 pounds when I started working out. But now I burn more calories in 30 minutes on the treadmill than I did in the hour I used to do.It might be worth pointing out that someone walking in the door of the gym isn’t going to work out like Jake did or you or anyone who’s been giving it effort for an extended period of time.And it also might be worth mentioning that not everyone wants to be a fitness/fashion model when they’re done either. My goals are simple. Lose fat, build muscle, increase endurance and improve my overall health. I have to believe that while I won’t be on the cover of Vogue when I’m done, I will be happier and healthier and will improve my overall quality of life. And that’s fine with me!

  • David

    Yes, but what if one has something for nothing disease, and really really wants awesome results without the work? Who do we blame for not being able to achieve our dreams? I want answers, Tom! And don’t start throwing the truth at me. I can’t handle the truth.

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