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Working out in med school

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by riceman04, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. riceman04

    10+ Year Member

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    What's up guys? So I start med school in the fall and am consequently wondering how I will be able to maintain a decent workout schedule (at least 4x per week) without compromising my academic performance. I know I will not be able to engage in marathon workout sessions; however, I would like to stay fairly active. Here are my questions:

    1. How often do you work out (on average...accounting for exam weeks)?

    2. For how long do you workout?

    3. Do you break up cardio and lifting into separate days (assuming you do both)?

    Thanks guys (and ladies too)...I am really anxious to begin but I am dreading having to curtail working out. I absolutely love it!!!!

    Happy New Year
     
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  3. geekOCD

    geekOCD passionate people rock
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    Hey, I went to Rice too...and I'm pretty sure I know who you are - I miss ADVANCE =) Anyways, to your question, except for exam weeks I don't know anyone who has issues making time for the gym. I know guys who lift EVERY day, I strive for 3x/wk when I have the motivation. General workout times for myself and others I know range from 30min-1.5hrs. This is held true even for 3rd year. I personally do cardio and weight training on seperate days. I think the key is just having a conveniently located gym (that you can afford) and it HAS to have good hours...I know people who work out at like 6am before class (god bless those people, I couldn't do it) and it's usually still full around 9-11pm.
     
  4. drbetty

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    I maintained a regular workout routine throughout medical school - it can be done if you make it a priority. Also reallocating 30-90minutes of "studying" time for exercise is well worth it, and IMHO, improves your sanity/energy/etc.etc. and thus studying. Exercise becomes especially important for study breaks during final exam and USMLE time...

    I did have to speed up my workout i.e., minimal breaks between sets and do sort of a circuit instead of resting. Ideally, I do cardio everyday and weights 3-4x/wk, but during busier months, I alternate cardio and weights. During extremely busy months i.e., surgery rotation, I might only be able to make it 3x/wk, but I know people who would run everyday at 4am or 11pm when they got home (these people didn't need as much sleep as myself!). Post-call days are great for catching up on sleep as well as exercise if you can get yourself out of bed.

    It's helpful to have a nearby gym with extended hours, and also if you can, get a treadmill/bike/elliptical &/or some free weights for your apartment/house. Also, you can always take the stairs instead of the elevator!

    Now, if only I can maintain this routine throughout residency, etc.etc...
     
  5. drbetty

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    Oh and on an encouraging note, many medical students train for marathons and triathalons - it's doable! And play on basketball, volleyball, softball, flag ftball teams!! :)
     
  6. AK_MD2BE

    AK_MD2BE New Member
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    During the first two years of medical school, there is no reason that you cannot work out 5-6 days/week. My advice...don't go to class. I would study at home in the morning, work out everyday around noon, then study at school in the afternoon, go home and eat dinner and chill out with my wife. Great life.
    Third year...totally different story, all bets are off. I am now happy if I get to work out 4 days/week. Between pre-rounds, rounds, seeing new patients, writing H and P's, studying for shelfs, looking up treatment plans for your patients...its never ending (all you 3rd years out there fell my pain). So...enjoy your freedom as an MS1/MS2...it doesn't last long. :rolleyes:
     
  7. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    depending on motivation, i workout about 5-7d/w even on exam weeks. anywhere from 50-1h20m, again depending on motivation. i even go to class everyday, so don't think that you HAVE to skip class to workout. i do my cardio and lifting on the same days simply because i can't stand that much of either all at once.

    if it something you enjoy, you'll find a way to fit it in. just the same if you enjoy reading non-textbooks or cooking...you can find a way
     
  8. Long Dong

    Long Dong My middle name is Duc.
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    During the first 2 years worked out 5-6 days a week with cardio after weights on 3 of those days. Went to the gym around 9 pm after starting to get sleepy from studying, this would wake me up so I could so I could bo back home and squeeze out another 2 hours of studying. While at the gym listened to class lectures on mp3 during year 1 and goljan path lectures during year 2, didn't feel so guilty about not studying when I did this. 3rd year like others have said all bets are off to tired to go to the gym while on surgery, ob/gyn, and IM. Went from 11% body fat to about 20% from a 30 inch waist to about 34. Couldn't even button my pants anymore eating all kinds of junk, overeating when i did get a chance to eat my 2 meals a day, prior to third year was having lean meals every 3-4 hours. But 4th year was chill again. Internship did a TY some month were hell like 3rd year med school, some months were super chill. Now in residency working out with weights 6 days a week with 3 of those days having cardio after weights. Work about 50 hours a week and read 2 hours a day M-F, with a 8 hour study session on Saturdays before going out tearing up the town.
     
  9. riceman04

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    sweet!!!! Thanks guys!
     
  10. Student81

    Student81 Pre PA Girl

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    How do I make a new post?
     
  11. OddNath

    OddNath Senior Member
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    Absolutely! I ran my 1st marathon during 2nd year and doing it again this month. It's important to make working out a priority, especially when you're stressed- it'd make me feel better and more productive when I did [eventually] hit the books.
     
  12. DocLan

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    For me, 2nd year has been leading to a gradual reduction in working out since I've been replacing it with board prepping. But otherwise very doable especially early on. Like everyone else said, 3rd year is a whole nother ball game.
     
  13. dEterm1ned

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    I kept up my routine as well; lifting about 5x/week. I just had to change my mindset. Before starting school, I was usually at the gym by 3:30, but during the semester, I would get there as late as 9:00. I was ALWYAS glad I made myself. Even during exam weeks, it was so refreshing to get my body moving and it was often better than a nap to help me hit the books afterwards. It was difficult talking myself into sometimes, but I did.
    My cardio decreased, but I was eating a good bit less, so I didn't care too much.
    Good luck.
     
  14. janneyc

    janneyc Decerebrate
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    The organization of my workout schedule took a hit my first semester of medical school, but other than that I've been able to keep a rather constant workout schedule. As some of the above posters have said, I allocate at least one hour each day to working out, etc. The best thing I did was, being that there is a small gym at my medical school, I work out in the evenings after studying right before I go home. That seemed to work for me the best.

    I can say, you do feel a heck of a lot better about yourself if you work out while you're in this process. I've watched a few students in my class balloon up during the last semester.

    The most motivating factor for me is reminding myself that I can't really take care of patients if I can't take care of myself.
     
  15. VoiceofReason

    VoiceofReason all i care about is money
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    i work out every day, probably a total of 30-40 minutes. I like to run for 20 minutes mid-day, then a couple hours and 1 meal later, i'll do one of 3 things: shoulder lifts, pushups/pullups, or squats. The equipment is cheap compared to a gym membership and if the stuff is in your apartment then you save a lot of time that would be spent travelling to the gym.

    Thats pretty much it for me, i do modified navy seal training (i dont swim because i got no pool and it eats a lot of time anyway, and i also dont do rucksack marches because they take forever too). It really doesn't take much time - effort is another story - to get into and stay in great shape.
     
  16. dienekes88

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    I train 5-6 days per week between 1 and 5 hours per day. I average 12-13 hours per week.

    I'm a cyclist, so almost all of my work is done on the bike. In the fall, I was doing 2 days per week in the gym (legs and core), but I'm down to one day per week now (still just legs and core).

    You can definitely make it work.
     
  17. Dedikated2liftn

    Dedikated2liftn Bodybuilder
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    Yo, I used to be a competitive bodybuilder, and while I can't train at that level anymore, I still find time in my schedule to fit it in (and to be honest, I couldn't see myself staying sane without gettin my ass to the gym). I'm currently an M1, so finding time to train isn't a huge deal at this point.....just go to class in the morning, study in the afternoon, and bust ass in the evening. As an above poster said, I'm sure 3rd year is gonna throw a curveball into our routine; however, I'm guessing aside from the hardcore rotations (i.e. surgery), we'll be able to fit it in most of the time. Ultimately, it all boils down to how bad ya want it.
     
  18. themudphud

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    I've been going 3-4/weeks--varying at different times during med school and I'll usually put in a good hour each time. But, the workout could be done in less time if didn't talk so much.

    I think if you can swing it, the ideal, reasonable med school workout routine (for a guy--from my experience) is about 3/week for 1 hour each: 40min lifting--in the 8-12 rep range with ~1.5 min break in between sets--and 20min cardio. I wish I had the discipline to stick with that kind of routine.
     
  19. Blues003

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    I currently stopped doing it since I got a knee injury, and I cannot give you much advice considering here in Portugal the class system is way different. The classes are from 8 to 5, so study time is little, but regardless, if you REALLY want it, it is manageable. Anatomy has about 50% of its students failing at it here, and I still found a way to pass (no, no cheating ;p) it while going 3 times per week to the gym.

    It really comes down to how much you really want something.
     
  20. badasshairday

    badasshairday Vascular and Interventional Radiology
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    You can easily make time for working out. Personally, I would invest in some weights and a pull up bar and you are set to work out at your leisure at home.
     
  21. riceman04

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    yeah...I am not sure where I will be yet, but my buddies and I were considering moving into an apt (so far we have gotten into all the same schools...lol) that has a "fitness center" for those days we can't hit a local gym hard.
     
  22. beavis

    beavis Fire is cool
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    1. 7 days per week (unless my body needs a day off)
    2. 1-2 hours
    3. All running. Some days my total workout (stretching, situps/pushups exceeds 2 hours).


    I run around 70-80 miles per week...but time is more on my side since I am finishing up. This would have been difficult to do as a third year, but was not hard as a first/second year. It is all about priorities/time management. As a RULE, my grades were better the more I ran.


    ...So workout all you want, it makes you smarter (n = 1).

    BEAV
     
  23. Jolie South

    Jolie South is invoking Domo. . .
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    this is key. sometimes, i get into a study groove and don't want to stop. when i do finish, it's often past the traditional hours that the local gym is open. it's nice to have the apartment gym for that.

    recently though, i completely stopped paying for the local gym and now just run on trails close to my apartment and make due with the apt workout center. i found that it was easier to make myself go there as there were no time constraints.

    i also hate going to a busy gym as it makes me feel self conscious. most times when i work out at my complex, i'm by myself in the workout center.
     
  24. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail A magnum opus suscipio
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    I've been worried about this too...

    I swim in the morning (1 hour), and lift heavy at night =(

    I typically am in bed by 10pm and up by 5-6AM though
     
  25. troopa

    troopa Senior Member
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    As a third year it all depends on what rotation youre on. I can say that neuro and radiology rotations have been the best suited for gym workout time. I have both the energy AND time to do such things!
     
  26. MedMan25

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    I second whats already been said. At my school, most people I know who want to work out find the time for it. If you're not exercising in med school its probably for the same reasons someone wouldn't exercise who's not in med school.
     
  27. medstudent11

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    I try to run as much as possible and often as possible. However, as med school gets harder, I've slowly been changing that strategy to running whenever I'm free or just need a break. It used to a set time in the afternoon or morning but has become way more flexible now.

    I also try to a bunch of situps and pushups daily to stay in tone and that helps a lot.

    Plus, don't underestimate the old adage of walking everywhere and avoiding elevators. It actually does provide a small workout if you don't have the time that day.

    http://themedstudentexperience.blogspot.com
     
  28. SpinalSnap

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    I actually workout 5 days a week, run 2 times a week, basketball 2x a week and frisbee 1 x a week. All the while being #4 in my class....so yeah its possible!
     
  29. 167649

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    One thing that has helped me a lot is buying a membership to the gym in our hospital (which is on site). It is actually very nice, just down the hall from the medical school. I'll just bring my gym bag to school in the morning and stuff it in my anatomy locker, class/study all day, and can go work out whenever I have the time. Then I'll just shower up there and go right back to studying. I also get a nice student discount.

    It saves me a lot of time and is very flexible. I definitely wouldn't go to the gym as much if I had to get out and drive somewhere between studying. If your school has a similar situation with a nice gym, i'd look into it.

    Intramural sports is always good fun, if you got it.
     
  30. masterofmonkeys

    masterofmonkeys Angy Old Man
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    Like someone else said, how bad do you want it. I do not compete as a professional bodybuilder nor will I ever (I gave up speedos after my competitive swimming career ended). But I'm planning on doing my first powerlifting and strongman meets this spring.

    I managed at least 3 times a week (usually 5) at least 60 minutes a session (and usually closer to 2 hours) even on the toughest rotations of third year. I also managed to get considerably stronger.

    Yeah doing it during surgery and ob/gyn sucked, but its doable. Last thing you want to do after being in the hospital for 12 hours is go spend another hour or two in the gym. It's especially doable if you don't have a wife and kids. I still had plenty of free time.

    Oh, I should add that unless you are competing/training in a sport or fitness discipline or in intensive rehabilitation, almost all of you are spending more time in the gym than you need to. If you just want to look good and feel healthy, it don't take more than 30-45 minutes a day, and that's not to stay static, but to make substantial improvements in muscle mass and fat loss week after week.

    Complexes, HIIT, and compound movements are your friend.
     
  31. iwannaplaylock

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    what you mean heavy power cleans/snatches, car pushing, heavy deadlifts, atg squats, other strongman events like tire pushing/sled pushing(for conditioning) are better than seated stability ball bicep curls and bosu ball tricep kickbacks?
     
  32. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    I trained for a marathon during OB/gyn...it sucked.
     
  33. umean2tellme

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    I'm gonna start training in mixed martial arts this summer and hopefully I'll have time to continue during school. Never know when you need to put a patient in an arm bar or something.
     
  34. NJDIF

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    [​IMG]





    no kidding. if you keep with it youll be surprised with the results.
     
  35. 167649

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    Yeah seriously. Just the plain Wii can be great cardio.
     
  36. ubcredfox

    ubcredfox Member
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    Don't know if this was mentioned, but calisthenics are a great way to stay in shape. The exercise routines can be as strenous as you want to make them, and you get a solid workout out of it. Throw in a few simple free weight exercises and you've got something that takes about 40 minutes, really works your body hard, and you can do it without ever leaving your bedroom. Rock solid.
     
  37. penisclaw

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    Chalk another one up for it's totally doable.

    I lift at the gym 4x a week for about an hour and I run a 5k once a week (it's bulking season so I don't run much). I also have a girlfriend to whom I devote a decent amount of time and I am still in the top 10% of my class, so it's doable if you are willing to put in the effort.
     
  38. AggieSean

    AggieSean Coffee is for closers
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    1. How often do you work out (on average...accounting for exam weeks)? 6 days a week (I have MODY so I have to).

    2. For how long do you workout?
    An hour to an hour and a half.

    3. Do you break up cardio and lifting into separate days (assuming you do both)?
    I do lifting 4 days a week (M-W-F-Sat) and do cardio 6 days a week (45 mins on non-lifting and upper body days, 20 mins on lower body days).
     
  39. riceman04

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    Are you close to a gym? (like walking distance or very very short drive)

    Most school's I've been accepted to have a gym in close proximity (some even have some sort of workout facility on the med school campus...though usually it has a minimal collection of equipment...but enough to get something in)
     
  40. AggieSean

    AggieSean Coffee is for closers
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    The gym is literally next door. It's a whole 30 second walk from door to door. :D I love going in the middle of the day (like in about an hour) because NO ONE is there.
     
  41. Kickback

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    +1

    I use bodyweight exercises as well. They are great for time and a mix of aerobic and anaerobic. I would recommend the book "Never Gymless" by Ross Enamait to anyone wanting to create an awesome workout plan.
     
  42. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant
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    I try to work out every other day. My roommate works out 4 days per week. The gym I go to is very conveniently located (right across the street), so I can run over there and work out whenever I get a little spare time. I usually only work out for about an hour each time. On exam weeks I may only go twice per week but I'll stay a little bit longer. For example on off weeks I'll do upper body one day, lower body two days later, and then cardio two days later. On exam weeks I'll maybe only get two days of gym in and I'll do upper body and some cardio one day, then lower body and some cardio on the other day. It really depends on how efficient you are with your work and how much time you find you'll be able to spend. Some people in my class barely study at all and some people always study (and in some cases they may even get the same grades). If you're a person that doesn't need to study as much you'll be able to afford to hit the gym more often and if not you'll just have to eat less :)
     
  43. skubdubdu

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    1) 3x/wk
    2) 1hr
    3) I'm working on losing biochem/anatomy fat, so I stick mostly to cardio

    Med school will wholly consume you if you let it. If you work out 4hrs/week now and it is a high priority to maintain that, then do! Just set your timer for 5am or 5pm or whenever you want your workout, and when the bell goes off, close your book. It's that easy. You will be a happier and better adjusted individual because of it.
     
  44. xx216xx

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    That's exactly what I'm doing too, those exact classes. I started school ripped, stopped working out so I could focus on school and just got so skinny I couldn't stand it anymore, so now I'm getting back to it and working out during school is totally doable, you just have to make yourself do it.
     
  45. Brett5

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    I was working out and staying in shape until the OB-GYN rotation started and now I have no motivation for anything
     
  46. Random Anesthesiologist

    Random Anesthesiologist Random Anesthesiologist
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    You should also do some lifting if you want to lost fat.
     
  47. sprinkibrio

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    False. Med school changes things. My whole schedule and lifestyle changed. You'll just have to see if you can keep workouts going while you're in school and if you can't, force it eventually. I'm a swimmer, though, so there has never been a pool without a price, drive, and lots of time.
     
  48. kdburton

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    It may be because you're a swimmer. I lift weights and run/bike/elliptical/etc - the gym is across the street from my apartment, so it takes at most two hours out of my day between getting ready for a workout and being done showering and ready to do whatever else I have to do that day. With class being only 4 hours/day at my school for MS1-2 that leaves plenty of time to study in the afternoon evening. If you work out every day for 3 hours before med school then you might have a harder time keeping up that same program, but if you go a few times a week for 1-2 hours then most people can manage working that in. I think the point is that you must make time to work out. If you're super-duper anal type A about grades and taking 6 hours out of your total week to work out may be "disasterous" then yes med school and working out may not be something you can handle. If you're a normal person who wants to live a healthy lifestyle then you will make time to exercise.
     
  49. Jolie South

    Jolie South is invoking Domo. . .
    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    agreed. I think we have to stop using the "I'm too busy. I'll do it in residency. . .when I'm an attending. . .when I have a real life" mentality. Our lives aren't getting any easier, and taking care of yourself is important. Might as well start working on balance now, at least that's what all of my professors are telling me.
     
    #48 Jolie South, Jan 29, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  50. OrnotMajestic

    OrnotMajestic Ugly on the inside, too
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    Well, right now I'm a 4th year so I won't count my current workout schedule because it's just not fair. I pretty much have all the time in the world.

    During 1st/2nd year, I was usually able to make it to the gym M-F. Of course, as mentioned by others above, I just hardly (if ever) went to class. Even if I did, I would bring my workout clothes with me, go directly to the gym following the end of lecture day. If I went home first, I was screwed. I'd sit on the couch or find some other excuse.

    As for how long? Well, during M1/M2 years, usually an hour. During 3rd year? Well, all bets were off. If I was off by 5-6pm, I could usually go straight to the gym using my M1/M2 strategy. If I was on call...well, that day was a mulligan. So it was sporadic, which is why I ballooned to a whale during a few rotations.

    Cardio/weights? I do both every day. I could usually do 20-30 minutes on the elliptical, then lift for 30-45 minutes. As a former bodybuilder, this was hard to take at first (pre-med school I lifted 3 hours a day) but it was better than nothing! This year I manage to also throw in 3-4 spinning classes a day since they are offered at various times of the day.

    Hope that helps.
     
  51. Tritleb

    5+ Year Member

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    I break them up in different days, most times. Lift three days a week and do cardio (run about 4-5 miles) 4 days per week. Just make it part of your schedule and you'll have no problem fitting it in. The key is flexibility, you won't be able to work out at the same time everyday, that's that nature of the med school beast.
     

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