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Does anyone who already works in banking have a perspective on this? I understand that the hours are bad and that we should expect a terrible lifestyle, but is it possible?

You would think bankers would be more productive if they could stay fit and eat well...

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Comments (73)

  • GordonsGecko's picture

    yes - all the kids I know og to the gym like once a day if not twice

  • CompBanker's picture

    It's really up to you and how you want to allocate your limited free time. Some analysts are more dedicated to working out than others. If you want to, generally there is time to go to the gym during dinner for an hour or so, and depending on where you work, a gym should be very closeby. On the flip side, it's very easy to eat crap food every day given that your dinner is free. You'll be stressed out and tired frequently, so falling into a bad pattern happens to a lot of analysts. Another option is to buy free-weights and exercise at home, which is the approach I took.

    CompBanker

  • GordonsGecko's picture

    the eating healthy thing is a HUGE challenge - i try t oeat salad most of the week but that gets boring and once in a while you just need a good bacon cheeseburger with fries

    i have a pool and health club in my building so its easier to work out - some bb's have subsidized gyms so that helps too

  • BankonBanking's picture

    Yes, it is definitely possible to balance working out and the job, but of course, sacrifices will have to be made at times. You will need to find a gym close by, or a 24-hour gym so that you can get into the pattern of hitting it up for a quick workout after work (yes, it's often late, but it is a matter of getting into the routine). Usually, if your gym is close, you will be able to scoot down for an hour or so in the evening (usually around dinner time, after some seniors start to leave and before the evening tasks really become doled out, or when you pass some work up the chain for review). Bottom line: it is definitely possible to make the time for a healthy lifestyle complete with weight lifting, but it will, as everything in banking, require some sacrifices now and again. For more on this topic, check out this article:
    http://www.bankonbanking.com/2009/06/02/life-outsi...

    and
    http://www.bankonbanking.com/2009/06/23/a-banker%E...

  • Machine's picture

    I drop 20 pounds during my analyst stint... and all the analysts I was working with were pretty slim too...so I guess it is possible. The thing is to manage stress, some people eat to release it, some don't eat...

    I personally do some boxing and running just to release the pressure. On another side, nearly all the guys I know that work in IB/PE/ER are pretty much fit though...

  • PooSlinger's picture

    Goto the gym when you are not at work, and don't eat crap. Duh.

    -----------------
    Will throw some poo for silver. Just send me a PM.

  • anonymous_analyst's picture

    watch what you eat,

  • runningcitylikediddy's picture

    dont eat shit, thats the biggest mistake...

    also, be proactive, make sure no matter how tired you are, get a small 15 minute run outside or some pushups and curlups before you go to sleep, or even right after you wake up.

    I know plenty of people who wake up early before work to workout, or some even go to the bank's gym in between downtime...

  • CaptK's picture

    If you want to stay fit, you really need to try - it's going to involve sacrificing free time to head to the gym. It also gets frustrating because it's impossible to establish any sort of routine. Just when you're starting to get to the gym consistently, form a habit, and see some results, one of your deals could blow up and you won't be able to work out for 3 weeks. Frustrating, but you've got to do something to try to stay in shape anyway.

    The takeout dinners are what is really deadly. It's hard enough to get healthy takeout anyway, but after a long week of getting dumped on, not sleeping, etc - all you want is to treat yourself to a steak or a juicy cheeseburger. Ordering the salad again for the 4th time this week gets rough. Then again, I'm a stress eater - I know some guys in my class that just wasted away because they couldn't get a bite of food down when under stress.

    Bottom line - work out when you get the chance, because your unpredictable schedule and SeamlessWeb conspire against you.

    - Capt K -
    "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham

  • aceman's picture

    most of the talk has been around eating less or healthier....for me, I am a skinny person and its hard for me to gain weight. In fact I lose weight easily. I feel the most healthy when I work out + eat 5 times a day to maintain my weight.

    so is it possible to eat 5 times a day in banking? Do they care if you eat while you're at your desk? Can you even go out and get food that's not lunch/dinner time?

  • BankonBanking's picture

    Yes, you can eat multiple times a day as long as you don't make a mess all over the docs you are working with, printouts, etc - in other words, don't get an overstuffed sandwich and drop it all over the corrected pitchbook you are working on. Beyond the mess, it is fine to keep protein bars, powder, fruit, sandwiches, etc at your desk to have during the day at little down times here and there. If you want to get a snack, it's fine as well since the majority of analysts and above will take at least a few breaks throughout the day to walk it off and grab some coffee, etc - you can just grab a quick snack instead. Your not shackled to your desk, since, at the end of the day, bankers have upgraded to those nifty ankle tags (in the form of a blackberry) to keep you from going to far and to reel you right back in when need be, haha. But seriously, in general, you will be able to eat several times a day and go out to grab a quick snack/meal as well.

  • Billy Ray Valentine's picture

    You definitely can stay "in shape" and "fit" in finance, but I have personally found it difficult to be at the same level of fitness I was able to achieve in college. For a stretch in school, I was in great shape. I would play basketball for an hour or so almost every day, and then would work our (weights) for about an hour on top of that about 5 days per week. Since I was so active, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted (within reason) and not have to worry about it. I looked great, felt great and was really happy that the hard work in the gym paid off.

    Since then, I went into my upperclassman years, drank more, ate more, worked out less an definitely put on a lot of weight. I made a committment to myself recently (past 6 months) to try and get back to the way I was in school. I joined a gym, work out for about an hour 5 mornings per week (short cardio and then lift) and try and eat healthy. While I have lost some weight, and look better, it's nothing compared to how I used to be.

    What makes it difficult is the pure fact thy you are sitting at a desk all day literally not moving. My biggest form of exercise on days I don't work out is the 5 block walk to the subway in the morning and the 2 block walk to get a salad at lunch. With almost NO movement, you burn almost no calories. With that, as the above posters commented it is extremely easy to find yourself eating crap. Even of you have a salad for lunch and dinner, you inevitably find yourself snacking throughout the day, drinking coffees, etc, all of which add up.

    In order to get into great shape (at least for me) you have to eat a lot, but also work out a ton and burn a lot of calories. This is nearly impossible when all but 2 of your waking hours are spent in front of a computer. I never thought I would miss having to walk all over campus to get things done, but I do.

    Hope this helps.

  • Boutique Banking's picture

    I understand where people are coming from and saying that its easy to eat food that isn't the best for you when its paid for, but on the flip side I don't. When I'm given $30 to spend on a meal, I'm ordering Sushi, Thai, Indian, etc. When I'm by myself or its on my tab I never spend $20-30 on delivery.

    I believe that having your meal paid for allows you to eat better, not worse.

  • mango123's picture

    Thanks for all of the replies. I guess the toughest thing would be choosing between working out and sleep. How flexible are your banks with dinner orders? Wouldn't it be easy to stay healthy if you could order/buy something at whole foods?

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  • whateverittakes's picture

    Since you won't have nearly as much time to work out when such opportunities arise, I'd suggest looking into a style of training that kicks your ass. CrossFit, high-intensity interval training, and other similar training methodologies are great ways to cut your gym time in half, but still get a brutal and efficient workout. Ditch that 40 minutes of jogging 5.5 to 6 mph on a treadmill garbage.

  • useless's picture

    - eat well
    - don't smoke/drink
    - only smoke kush a few times a month
    - go to the gym
    - keep food in your cubicle
    - don't drink any starbucks (high sugar/caffeine)

  • stk123's picture

    Is it possible to stay fit? Yes, if you are very disciplined, eat healthy and work out 3-5 times per week.

    Is it possible to stay health? NO WAY!!! It is impossible to stay healthy while literally spending half of your life (84 hours per week) in front of a computer screen.

  • Marcus_Halberstram's picture

    In the interest of drive and vanity... you should definitely work out regularly. My first year I put on a good 10-15 pounds.

    My system is simple.. I work out regularly. I do this any chance I get... I'll leave at 2 in the afternoon and be back by 3:15. I'll leave at 7 at night and come back after. And I typically align my meals after I work out. You, or I at least, generally always feel like eating healthy after a workout, if I eat anything too unhealthy, I feel pretty sick. Before my workouts I'll have a light snack or protein shake. And I often do crunches, push-ups, pull ups in the morning before leaving my apartment and/or in the evening before going to bed.

    I find that its easiest to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you workout and eat right. Because when you work out, you feel healthy after and want to eat healthy. When you eat healthy, you feel like its a waste if you don't keep up with your workout. I also used to smoke and quit when I started working out, primarily for that exact reason. So it could just be my personality, but I think generally its harder to eat unhealthily when you work out regularly, and harder to skip workouts when your eating habits are disciplined.

  • Cornelius's picture

    yeah after doing the summer internship and seeing how some of the first year's were falling into a routine of subway cookies, burgers, chocolate shakes and snacks from Sherwoods (is that place still open), I realized that I needed to work out.

    So I joined a 24/7 gym, bought some dumbbells and a fitness ball. made sure to exercise every chance i got and avoided eating crap as much as i could.

    after all this, i still put on about 10 pounds in my first year and got into shape during my second year.

    u have make time for it. if all you have time for is a 10 minute jog on the treadmill, then do it. marcus, that's a nice schedule. perks for working at a MM?

    ------------
    I'm making it up as I go along.

  • Yacht_man's picture

    Patrick Bateman seems to have an excellent morning routine :)

  • creative's picture

    I found it easiest to stick to the routine if you have good workout buddies. My roomate and I would meet up in the afternoon everyday (7 days a week) during my summer stint and workout for 45-50mins. Nothing to intense but the consistency allowed me to stay fit i think.

  • SirBikealot's picture

    great thread. would you guys recommend joining a gym close to work or home?

    "Ride your bike. Drink good beer."
    - Fat Tire Amber Ale

  • In reply to SirBikealot
    Mayor Quimby's picture

    SirBikealot:
    great thread. would you guys recommend joining a gym close to work or home?

    Work. You'll spend more time at work than at home, and it's easy to either step out for an hour or go right before or after work, so logistically it makes more sense to be near your office.

  • wilkes.1768's picture

    Wow, this is an absolutely amazing question. Definitely a top concern of mine going into the career, and in terms of efficiency, going to a gym near work certainly makes the most sense.

  • moneyneversleeps2's picture

    Watch out for the free dinners. A. Oatmeal with pecans and wheatgerm for breakfast. B. If you don't live in lower Manhattan, then get off the subway a couple stops early and walk. C.I also learned to have healthier snacks in my purse so you don't get tempted by any junk food vendors. Oh and most importantly, ease up on the weekend booze if you drink

  • In reply to whateverittakes
    craigmcdermott's picture

    whateverittakes:
    Ditch that 40 minutes of jogging 5.5 to 6 mph on a treadmill garbage.

    If you can run 5 or 6 miles at around 7 minute miles than you are in great shape already. Distance running, while not always the most efficient way to lose weight, is certainly a good way to maintain fitness.

  • jimbrowngoU's picture

    20 minutes of HIIT 5x per week!

    I have a freakin' gym in my building (apartment) and work very reasonable hours (~70 per), but still haven't really gotten into the habit of going to the gym... I think I needed some time without HAVING to go to the gym (was a college athlete, so forced to lift year round for the past four years). Starting to get grossed out though, so my plan (along with every other American) is to start getting in shape AFTER the New Year...

    But seriously, it can be really difficult. It's a lot easier if you can find a buddy (or buddies) in your group who will push you to go around 9 or 10 and then come back and crank out what work you have remaining -- I've done it a few times, and it's a good way to clear the head and get an energy boost after staring at an Excel screen all day.

  • In reply to craigmcdermott
    whateverittakes's picture

    craigmcdermott:
    whateverittakes:
    Ditch that 40 minutes of jogging 5.5 to 6 mph on a treadmill garbage.

    If you can run 5 or 6 miles at around 7 minute miles than you are in great shape already. Distance running, while not always the most efficient way to lose weight, is certainly a good way to maintain fitness.


    Yeah, that's definitely a good pace.

    I'm just against distance running for various reasons, including:

    - bone mass reduction
    - bone turnover
    - necrosis
    - testosterone reduction
    - loss of explosive and maximal strength
    - rise in cortisol

    I also found myself so bored from running that finding the motivation to finish 2 miles was a struggle. Ever since switching over to HIIT, the results have come very quickly.

  • SirBikealot's picture

    lg0718:
    Oh and most importantly, ease up on the weekend booze if you drink

    ^ not happening.

    "Ride your bike. Drink good beer."
    - Fat Tire Amber Ale

  • hiit's picture

    Pretty much all those bullets were incorrect. Maybe if you're a girl and ALL you do is sissy running on a treadmill. HIIT while good for losing fat doesn't do anything for you endurance. I don't see how you can consider yourself fit if you're only doing interval sprinting without some distance work. Obviously you don't have to run marathons or even half marathons, but having the lung capacity to run several miles at a time is pretty important to your overall health. Low body fat isn't the only indicator for healthiness.

    What I don't understand though is how people get a chance to work out during work and taking a break. It seems like a pain in the ass to get a workout in, shower, and change back into your dress clothes for work. How the hell do you do it?

  • In reply to hiit
    jimbrowngoU's picture

    hiit:
    Pretty much all those bullets were incorrect. Maybe if you're a girl and ALL you do is sissy running on a treadmill. HIIT while good for losing fat doesn't do anything for you endurance. I don't see how you can consider yourself fit if you're only doing interval sprinting without some distance work. Obviously you don't have to run marathons or even half marathons, but having the lung capacity to run several miles at a time is pretty important to your overall health. Low body fat isn't the only indicator for healthiness.

    What I don't understand though is how people get a chance to work out during work and taking a break. It seems like a pain in the ass to get a workout in, shower, and change back into your dress clothes for work. How the hell do you do it?

    I respectfully disagree with this. I've never, ever been a long-distance guy -- I absolutely hate it. Before I was introduced to HIIT, I could run about 2 miles in 20 minutes (which is terrible) and that was about it. This was at about 12% body fat, so I was in pretty decent shape.

    After discovering HIIT and doing it for about 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week, for about 2 1/2 months, I ran a tad under 7 miles in under 50 minutes. I did this out on a track in about 45 degree weather. Keep in mind, during the 2 1/2 months of doing HIIT, I never ran more than 2 miles for "long distance."

    It is an absolute pain in the ass to get a workout in during work. What a bunch of guys in my group would do is wait until 9 or so, and at that point you generally know what kind of night it'll be, so if you feel like you should be out by 12 or 1, go to the gym, get a quick workout in, and come back in your gym clothes without showering. It honestly saves about 15-20 minutes and is WAY more comfortable than having to throw your work clothes back on (assuming you don't sweat like an absolute pig).

  • CompBanker's picture

    Can someone explain what HIIT is? I can see that it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Would love to hear what specifically you do though.

    Also, would love to hear everyone's thoughts on maximizing endurance. I'm a soccer player and always looking to enhance my endurance to improve my game -- any thoughts from the group? Links to websites people have found effective work as well.

    Thanks.

    CompBanker

  • hiit's picture

    I'm obviously a big fan of HIIT, but logically, sprinting for 30 seconds, recovering, and repeating doesn't prepare you very well for running over an hour at a time. Your overall health will definitely improve (because HIIT is so freakin' painful) which translates to being able to run longer, but I think it's pretty important to incorporate distance work also if you really want to improve endurance.

  • hiit's picture

    A quick synopsis of high intensity interval training: You sprint as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then you walk/jog for 60 seconds and you repeat this 5-6 times. The time/amount of cycles aren't set in stone. As you progress along, you can increase the duration of sprinting, reduce the duration of rest period, or increase the number of cycles. Generally, people do ~20 minutes or so, but it's definitely a grueling exercise. Vomiting and feeling light-headed aren't uncommon.

    It's been really popular relatively recently because it boosts the metabolic processes for hours after you exercise. Although you're only running for 20 minutes, your body continues burning calories even after the workout (as opposed to steady-state moderate intensity cardio).

    It will definitely help with soccer during those "bursts" when you have to run as fast as possible and you'll also be able to recover faster, but from my own experience, I didn't think it helped too much for running the duration of an entire soccer game.

  • creative's picture

    Psh ill just use my banker-money to get lipo + lap - band surg noooo problem! Being fat is a thing of the past

  • CoreAsset's picture

    I am a HUGE fan of HIIT. It has helped my long distance running, but not too significantly (then again, I haven't been the most consistent gym rat these days). hiit gave a good description of it. I would be careful when attempting it as first as you don't want to faint while sprinting on a treadmill...can be disastrous. Also, you really don't want to do HIIT for more than 20 minutes because it can cause muscle deterioration after a certain point.

    Let's not forget that you need to incorporate weight-lifting into any exercise program as increases in muscle will help your metabolism, keep you strong as you age, and, of course, make you look jacked.

    In terms of nutrition, New York is full of health-fanatics, organic freaks, and there are many great options on SeamlessWeb for this. I can't remember all of them but there are places like...Energy Kitchen, Pump Energy, and Subway(if you do it right) that allow you to eat VERY healthy. The food may not be the best tasting, but it is great for you and if combined with a solid work out plan will keep you healthy and fit.

  • Peter_Troob's picture

    Anyone looked into P90X?

  • SirBikealot's picture

    HIIT on a treadmill? eeehh, really? really? where would one do sprints in manhattan if so inclined?

    "Ride your bike. Drink good beer."
    - Fat Tire Amber Ale

  • In reply to CoreAsset
    whateverittakes's picture

    CoreAsset:
    I am a HUGE fan of HIIT. It has helped my long distance running, but not too significantly (then again, I haven't been the most consistent gym rat these days). hiit gave a good description of it. I would be careful when attempting it as first as you don't want to faint while sprinting on a treadmill...can be disastrous. Also, you really don't want to do HIIT for more than 20 minutes because it can cause muscle deterioration after a certain point.

    Let's not forget that you need to incorporate weight-lifting into any exercise program as increases in muscle will help your metabolism, keep you strong as you age, and, of course, make you look jacked.

    In terms of nutrition, New York is full of health-fanatics, organic freaks, and there are many great options on SeamlessWeb for this. I can't remember all of them but there are places like...Energy Kitchen, Pump Energy, and Subway(if you do it right) that allow you to eat VERY healthy. The food may not be the best tasting, but it is great for you and if combined with a solid work out plan will keep you healthy and fit.


    My idea of HIIT incorporates exercises that are performed with light resistance for high repetitions. For example, a 3-minute interval of one of my workouts is as follows:

    - 30 seconds of burpees
    - 30 seconds of jumping jacks
    - 30 seconds of split jumps
    - 30 seconds of burpees
    - 30 seconds of jumping jacks
    - 30 seconds of push-ups
    Rest for one minute. Repeat 5 more times.

    If you're going balls-out, attempting to do as many quality reps as you can in each 30-second time frame is EXTREMELY taxing. Working with sub-maximal resistance for high reps as part of an endurance program trains your body to explode even when fatigued. I've never actually run more than 3 miles at once, but my old 2-mile time was an awful 17-ish minutes. Using HIIT knocked it down to 13:40.

    Some may refer to this as circuit training, but I like to consider it part of the HIIT realm, too.

  • In reply to hiit
    whateverittakes's picture

    hiit:
    Pretty much all those bullets were incorrect. Maybe if you're a girl and ALL you do is sissy running on a treadmill. HIIT while good for losing fat doesn't do anything for you endurance. I don't see how you can consider yourself fit if you're only doing interval sprinting without some distance work. Obviously you don't have to run marathons or even half marathons, but having the lung capacity to run several miles at a time is pretty important to your overall health. Low body fat isn't the only indicator for healthiness.

    What I don't understand though is how people get a chance to work out during work and taking a break. It seems like a pain in the ass to get a workout in, shower, and change back into your dress clothes for work. How the hell do you do it?


    I respectfully disagree. You look at all those fighters who are told by their trainers to do "road work" and you'll see how quickly their gas tanks run out on fight night. Said fighters are often lean and can probably run 5 miles at a decent clip, but they can't go two MMA rounds without heaving.

    Low-intensity training for longer durations does not give you the endurance needed to survive 15 to 25 minutes of pummeling and hugging another dude.

  • In reply to whateverittakes
    SirBikealot's picture

    whateverittakes:

    - 30 seconds of burpees
    - 30 seconds of jumping jacks
    - 30 seconds of split jumps
    - 30 seconds of burpees
    - 30 seconds of jumping jacks
    - 30 seconds of push-ups
    Rest for one minute. Repeat 5 more times.

    WTF is a burpee? is that similar to a kegel?

    "Ride your bike. Drink good beer."
    - Fat Tire Amber Ale

  • In reply to whateverittakes
    jneil's picture

    First off, HIIT does improve endurance, in a few months as soon as your body adapts to HIIT, HIIT would have a more significant impact on your endurance compared to muscle building or fat burning.

    Secondly, (off topic discussion) why do people always wanna compare everything to MMA?
    Personally, i think MMA isn't that great.
    "MMA is for white people who cannot box! " - Floyd Mayweather

  • In reply to hiit
    veritas14's picture

    hiit:
    Pretty much all those bullets were incorrect. Maybe if you're a girl and ALL you do is sissy running on a treadmill. HIIT while good for losing fat doesn't do anything for you endurance. I don't see how you can consider yourself fit if you're only doing interval sprinting without some distance work. Obviously you don't have to run marathons or even half marathons, but having the lung capacity to run several miles at a time is pretty important to your overall health. Low body fat isn't the only indicator for healthiness.

    What I don't understand though is how people get a chance to work out during work and taking a break. It seems like a pain in the ass to get a workout in, shower, and change back into your dress clothes for work. How the hell do you do it?

    Tool.

    Get a clue.

    Sprinting/High Intensity is infinitely better.

    Sprint will improve your endurance and speed.
    Distance will improve your edurance and SLOW you down.

    Heart rate and breath rate are all that matters. Endurance running is wildly inefficient.

    *********************************
    “The American father is never seen in London. He passes his life entirely in Wall Street and communicates with his family once a month by means of a telegram in cipher.” - Oscar Wilde

  • In reply to whateverittakes
    veritas14's picture

    whateverittakes:
    hiit:
    Pretty much all those bullets were incorrect. Maybe if you're a girl and ALL you do is sissy running on a treadmill. HIIT while good for losing fat doesn't do anything for you endurance. I don't see how you can consider yourself fit if you're only doing interval sprinting without some distance work. Obviously you don't have to run marathons or even half marathons, but having the lung capacity to run several miles at a time is pretty important to your overall health. Low body fat isn't the only indicator for healthiness.

    What I don't understand though is how people get a chance to work out during work and taking a break. It seems like a pain in the ass to get a workout in, shower, and change back into your dress clothes for work. How the hell do you do it?


    I respectfully disagree. You look at all those fighters who are told by their trainers to do "road work" and you'll see how quickly their gas tanks run out on fight night. Said fighters are often lean and can probably run 5 miles at a decent clip, but they can't go two MMA rounds without heaving.

    Low-intensity training for longer durations does not give you the endurance needed to survive 15 to 25 minutes of pummeling and hugging another dude.

    Solid idea. Join a boxing gym. Great combo of cardio/functional strength. Plus you can kick ass after a few months.

    *********************************
    “The American father is never seen in London. He passes his life entirely in Wall Street and communicates with his family once a month by means of a telegram in cipher.” - Oscar Wilde

  • In reply to jneil
    whateverittakes's picture

    jneil:
    First off, HIIT does improve endurance, in a few months as soon as your body adapts to HIIT, HIIT would have a more significant impact on your endurance compared to muscle building or fat burning.

    Secondly, (off topic discussion) why do people always wanna compare everything to MMA?
    Personally, i think MMA isn't that great.
    "MMA is for white people who cannot box! " - Floyd Mayweather


    I referenced MMA b/c grappling and wrestling are far more draining than pure striking. When grappling/wrestling, you have to contend with constant resistance from someone who weighs just as much as you. If you weigh 180 lbs., having to push against 180 lbs. constantly pushing back at you is draining.

    When striking, although you have to remain explosive, throwing a punch, side stepping, slipping, and defending are just not as demanding b/c there is no resistance involved.

    I love Money Mayweather and would love to see the Pacquiao fight take place

  • runningcitylikediddy's picture

    First of all, staying fit and staying healthy are different things, like working out and staying fit while drinking a crap ton all the time doesn't mean you are still healthy....

    and I would recommend P90X to everyone

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