Weightlifting’s Reassurance

Weightlifting representatives: CrossFit’s popularity behind growth and understanding of Olympic sport.

Of the 14 women who train as full-time weightlifters at Waxman’s Gym outside Los Angeles, 10 of them began as CrossFit athletes.

“That tells you everything you need to know as far as CrossFit and weightlifting,” said Sean Waxman, owner and head coach of the California facility.

His gym reflects CrossFit’s effects on Olympic weightlifting as a whole. The training methodology’s popularity has helped drive growth and dispel misconceptions in the 125-year-old sport, said weightlifting representatives in Australia, Canada and the U.S.

“It’s a very symbiotic relationship, even at this stage where there’s no mixing of the organizations,” Waxman explained.

He continued: “It’s breathed life into my business, so I’m very happy for it and grateful for everything.”

More Athletes, More Talent

Over the course of four years, USA Weightlifting’s growth has been exponential.

Its Youth group, ages 13 to 17, now comprises 2,322 athletes—an increase of 140 percent from September 2012 to September 2016, according to USA Weightlifting (USAW). The Juniors group, ages 15 to 20, has grown to 1,183 athletes—an increase of 104 percent. But the largest gain has been among Masters, those 35 and older. That age group ballooned from 1,187 athletes to 3,344—nearly 182 percent.

“That’s where we’ve seen it—in the number of weightlifters,” said USAW CEO and General Secretary Phil Andrews. “We’ve seen a lot of impact from the world of CrossFit, and I think it’s been a part of—a big part of—the reassurance of the sport of weightlifting.

Andrews, who had been serving as interim CEO since January, became the organization’s CEO in April. He had previously served as USAW’s director of events and programs for nearly three years.

CFJ_Weightlifting2016_Cecil-1.jpg It’s now common to see top CrossFit athletes holding their own on the platform.

“CrossFit as a whole has been welcoming to the weightlifting community,” Andrews said. “We are two different sports, but there’s a large enough crossover that it has affected us, and we’re delighted. The more athletes, the better. And the more coaches, the better.”

But, Andrews noted, it’s not just the sheer number of lifters—it’s also the talent pool that CrossFit has fostered.

He named several competitive weightlifters with CrossFit backgrounds: Maddy Myers and Morghan King. Myers competed as an individual in the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games and has since set American junior records. In August, King broke a 16-year-old American record in the snatch as a 48-kg lifter at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“We want more talent. We need more talent,” Andrews said excitedly. “We won a medal in Rio. We want more. … We need to have people pick up a barbell, and a lot of people are doing that through CrossFit.”

Myers and King are among multiple elite-level female athletes who have competed in CrossFit as well as national-level weightlifting competitions in the U.S. Others include 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games champion Sam Briggs, Cassidy Duffield and multi-year Games competitor Lauren Fisher.

CrossFit, Andrews said, has made it “a social norm for a female to pick up a barbell. And I think that’s huge for us.”

CFJ_Weightlifting2016_Cecil-2.jpg Maddy Myers competed in the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games and has since set American junior weightlifting records.

In Australia, too, participation in weightlifting has increased.

“We’re seeing steady growth year on year the past five or six years,” said Bowen Stuart, communications manager at the Australian Weightlifting Federation (AWF).

The country always has had “pretty good” participation across both genders, he noted.

“The other thing, too, is CrossFit has broken down some of the misconceptions about weightlifting and weightlifting exercises,” Stuart said. “I suppose it’s the thing when little Johnny wants to go do weightlifting and mom and dad say, ‘Yeah, I’m part of the CrossFit community … it’s not going to have a negative effect on my child.’”

The more lifters, the better, he added.

“Just the fact that people are getting involved in sport is the real winner,” Stuart said.

Over the course of roughly four years, Damon Kelly has seen people’s interest in the snatch and clean and jerk grow. Kelly is owner of Zenith Weightlifting in Queensland, Australia, and a two-time Olympian in weightlifting (2008 and 2012).

“It’s good to have a lot more people appreciate it, a lot more information out there.”

Exposure and Understanding

Like Waxman, Kelly has found more opportunities as a weightlifting coach since CrossFit’s emergence. He coaches 10-12 hours per week at CrossFit Torian, home to the Brisbane Barbell Club.

CrossFit and weightlifting, he said, can complement each other.

“It doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can do both.”

CFJ_Weightlifting2016_Cecil-4.jpg Rachel Siemens found weightlifting through CrossFit and is now a national champion.

In British Columbia, Canada, 70 percent of competitive weightlifters also train CrossFit, said Rachel Siemens, owner of Siemens Weightlifting and the 2016 Canadian national champion in the 69-kg weight class.

In 2011 and 2012, she was a member of CrossFit Taranis’ team that competed at the CrossFit Games. Siemens hadn’t even heard of Olympic weightlifting until she started CrossFit in 2010 at the age of 22.

“(CrossFit has) brought a lot of awareness that it’s a sport,” she said. “People don’t assume I’m a bodybuilder now.”

Siemens added with a laugh: “They still think I’m a powerlifter.”

Lacey Rhodes’ experience has been similar.

“Still when I tell people I do Olympic weightlifting they say, ‘No, you don’t. You can’t,’” said Rhodes, who competed at the 2015 IWF World Championships and is a head coach at CrossFit Outlaw North in Ontario, Canada.

Many think weightlifting means bodybuilding.

“They just don’t have an understanding of it,” Rhodes explained. “CrossFit definitely, definitely helped with the understanding of the actual sport.”

And while Siemens echoed Waxman’s statement that the two sports can have a symbiotic relationship with many athletes successfully competing in both CrossFit and weightlifting, she said there are limits.

“I don’t think CrossFitters could set a new world record (in weightlifting),” she said. “Prove me wrong—I think that would be awesome. But I think it takes a lot to set a world record.”

CFJ_Weightlifting2016_Cecil-3.jpg Tia-Clair Toomey finished second at the CrossFit Games in July and competed in the Olympics in Rio in August.

Tia-Clair Toomey, who this year placed second at the CrossFit Games for the second consecutive year, also competed on Australia’s Olympic team as a weightlifter in Rio.

The 23-year-old was criticized for her performance because she didn’t set any records and was not solely focused on weightlifting.

Those critics, Waxman said, are “making a big deal about nothin’.”

“Look, if she was Chinese … she wouldn’t have made the team because they have a lot of great weightlifters in China. They don’t have a lot of great weightlifters in Australia. She didn’t bend any rules. The AWF had rules and she met the requirements.”

Of course, if he was Toomey’s personal weightlifting coach, Waxman said he would have a problem with her splitting her time between competing in CrossFit and competing in weightlifting.

But at the end of the day, Toomey’s participation in both sports provides even more exposure for weightlifting, he continued.

“It’s another avenue for people who might not have seen weightlifting,” Waxman explained.

He added: “I think it’s a good ‘fuck you’ to people in weightlifting who have a stick up their ass about CrossFit.”

For his part, Andrews said he’d like to see USAW and CrossFit work more closely.

“In terms of athlete recruitment we certainly can be helped by CrossFit,” he said. “You almost can’t demerge CrossFit and weightlifting at this point. They’re so intertwined.”

About the Author: Andréa Maria Cecil is assistant man- aging editor and head writer of the CrossFit Journal.

Photo credits (in order): Shaun Cleary, Ellen Miller, Cheryl Boatman/CrossFit Journal, Courtesy of Oceania Weightlifting Federation.

This Guy Squatted 700 lbs. at 181 lbs. Bodyweight w/ EliteFTS Athlete Christian Anto – Episode 231

Little did we know a top 10 in the world powerlifter was right here living and training in our hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

This week on Barbell Shrugged, learn how Christian Anto went from soccer player to one of world’s strongest powerlifters in the 181-lb. weight class and EliteFTS athlete.

This dude squatted 700 lbs. in just knee wraps and a belt at 181 lbs. That’s nearly 4 times his body weight (3.87 to be more exact) . Marinate on that a little bit.

@ant_toe squatting 700lbs at 181. @nbs_fitness

A video posted by BarbellShrugged.com (@barbellshruggedpodcast) on Sep 17, 2016 at 10:53am PDT



We’ll also discuss training principles he incorporates, where and who he’s learned from, what his training looks like away from competition vs. close to competition and how mentally and physically prepares for rigors of powerlifting competitions where he routinely lifts above 600+ lbs in the deadlift and squat and nearly 400 lbs. in the bench.

Christian is also an accomplished accordionist. Just kidding.

No but he’s really good at teaching the proper technique to lift the heaviest weights you can. After the episode, go check out the bench press session we had with Christian where he showed us how to set up to bench really heavy weight.

Bench Set Up | Barbell Shrugged

We learned so much from Christian and it was a real pleasure having him on the show to talk training. Whether you’re a powerlifting enthusiast, a beginner looking to get into the sport, or just interested in training to strong and lift the absolute heaviest weights you can, you’ll want to listen to Christian on Episode 231.


Audio only:


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How to Setup the Bench Press to Lift The Most Weight w/ EliteFTS Athlete Christian Anto

If you want to lift maximal weight on the bench press, you’re going to need to learn how to properly set up on the bench.

The goal of the bench press setup is to get into a position on the bench so you can put maximal force INTO the bench. Yes that’s right INTO the bench. Force directed into the bench is what is transferred to the bar. It’s simple physics folks.

A good set up will allow you to effectively use your ENTIRE BODY to produce force. Just like the squat, the bench press is FULL BODY movement. If you want to lift the most weight in the bench, you’re going to need to learn how to use your entire body.

In this video, top 10 ranked powerlifter in the 181 class and Elite FTS athlete, Christian Anto (@ant_toe) and his training partner Ryan Klepko teach us how the points of performance nand to use a full body bench press technique to lift the most weight.

Take some notes and try to apply what Christian shows us the next time you go to bench. If you haven’t been benching like this, this should be a huge wake-up call.

Also if you’re interested in watching more training footage from our session with Christian, here’s the longer version. Think of this longer video as something to throw on at the end of the night or while your eating lunch… like you would do a Netflix show.

And be sure to check out Episode 231 where we discuss competing and training in powerlifting with Christian.


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For the Ages

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” —Mark Twain

For the last two years, masters and teens have performed the same workouts at the CrossFit Games, and the schedule puts the two groups in close contact throughout the competition. Our photographers were able to watch competitors from 14 to 64 perform the same movements back to back, and their images are a testament to the power of functional movement.

CrossFit allows its youngest athletes to set themselves up for a lifetime of fitness, and it allows its oldest athletes to maintain function and even high performance into their later years. While CrossFit is tied to data, these images make it clear that fitness is also a lifestyle and an attitude, not just a number.

When to Fire Your Fitness Magazine

Spotted barbell biceps curls and white A-shirts, with just a hint of oil in place of sweat?

Men’s Journal might have rethought the opening image for “When to Fire Your Personal Trainer: 4 Red Flags.”

Nothing wrong with barbell curls, of course, but if you’re writing an article on identifying quality personal trainers, leading with an oiled-up bro-session curl shot does little to set the table and create an atmosphere of professionalism.

Then again, the image will indeed alert careful readers that the article is full of nonsense. Take, for example, this completely unfounded statement: “Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) is the best certification.”

One wonders how author David Reavy came to that conclusion after it’s been shown that the company offering the CSCS credential—the National Strength and Conditioning Association—has no problem publishing false claims about competitors and can’t accurately instruct movement.

In the same section, the article suggests a trainer who provides nutrition advice isn’t helping the client but doing something shady: “If your trainer tries to give you nutritional or medical advice without the credentials, steer clear.”

Trainers who don’t give general nutrition advice are doing a disservice to their clients. Providing general nutrition advice is critical to client success, and good personal trainers have both the skills and the right to supply it. We’d suggest they also have a moral obligation to do so if they actually want to help their clients.

Trainers may not diagnose and treat medical conditions, and they may not offer prescriptions. But they’re poor trainers if they have not acquired the basic skills needed to give apparently healthy clients general nutrition advice so they can create healthy food habits that support their goals.

Any trainer who doesn’t won’t get real results, and any magazine that suggests trainers should avoid conversations about nutrition is a rag.

Without further ado, we’ll offer four red flags that suggest the magazine you’re reading isn’t worth your time:

1. Ridiculous Movement Instruction

Here’s a real workout: Have a scroll through “The Real Weight-Loss Workout,” also courtesy of Men’s Journal, and do 15 burpees every time you see an error in movement instruction or the accompanying pictures.

While you’re at it, keep in mind that this “weight-loss workout” contains little discussion of structure and has no precision whatsoever. Aside from “begin with sets of eight,” it’s just a list of exercises that are supposedly great for weight loss. It’s good to know the bench press can “elicit a decent calorie burn” in some way, but it’s clearly up to the reader to unravel the mystery.

Here are a few instructional gems:

—The dumbbell “snatch” that’s described is actually a hang snatch. Bonus: Leaving the ground by “a couple of inches”—inefficient in the snatch or clean—is apparently OK.

—The description of the push press is unintelligible, and the video demo actually shows the author doing push jerks by accident.

— The pictures of the deadlift set-up and second pull of the hang power clean contain significant errors any Level 1 CrossFit trainer could pick up instantly.

—Push-ups are considered “healthier than bench pressing,” though bench pressing is also recommended for its calorie-burning properties.

2. Shortcuts and Superstars

From Men’s Fitnesss: “Grow like a monster but train like a genius for more gains with less work.”

Any magazine that suggests an easy way to get “huge,” “shredded” or “ripped” should come with a package of magic beans that are 100 percent guaranteed to work 15 percent of the time.

Similarly, magazines glorifying unbelievable celebrity body transformations in short periods of time fail to mention that you will never be able to get the same results in the same time frame. Whether stars achieve their physiques with chemical shortcuts or a miraculous 24-hour-a-day commitment to a perfect training plan and diet, you will not look like a Marvel superhero in just a few months of training.

You can accomplish a lot in three months, by you can’t become Wolverine.

3. Placement

If you can pick up the magazine with one hand and a chocolate bar with the other, it’s likely you are reaching for the wrong fitness publication.

The magazines you’ll find in the impulse-buy section of any supermarket are generally rife with exaggerated claims (see above), get-fit-quick schemes, Photoshopped models and the kinds of inane, fatuous headlines you should consider insults to your intelligence: “How to Work out With Your Cat, as Explained by This Hot Male Model.”

You’re better off reaching for the comic to the right.

4. Gimmicks

Magazines full of “new and improved” fitness products should be called catalogs. If an amazing new product—usually in teal, purple, pink or orange—can supposedly revolutionize your workout, it’s time to put the magazine down and lunge your way to the nearest barbell.

The Shake Weight is perhaps the most well-known ridiculous fitness product, but successors to the ThighMaster pop up with alarming regularity in publications that aren’t worth your time. Most magazines will accept ads from anyone, but when you see an editorial piece featuring one of these novelty items, you know you’re in trouble. If the article suggests you’ll get amazing results simply by using the product, you’re heading toward Ab Glider territory.

What Else?

You’ve seen the magazines? What makes you fire a fitness magazine back on the rack? Post the offenses to comments.

Gymnastic Ring Pushups For Stability And Good Health

Gymnastic ring pushups are indeed, one of the most challenging bodyweight exercises that demands a lot of strength to muster, but when you are able to adapt it gives you a lot of health benefits.

Gymnastic ring pushups to help you gain strength and muscles

There are several gymnast ring routines that you can do to boost your strength and endurance. They are developed to help you get a total body workout without the need for complicated and cumbersome gym equipment.

Ring Push- ups

Make sure to engage the glutes and brace the ab muscles to ensure balanced strength distribution and maintain full body tension at all times.

Avoid sagging the hips and make sure to always own the eccentric part of the pushup movements by controlling your strength every time you lower down.

Weighted Ring Push-ups

Add more resistance by wearing a weighted vest and doing the same movement as the basic ring push-up.

All the same, make sure you engage the glutes when you do this and ensure that tension is always applied on the hands, shoulder, back and the core muscles.

You can start with a few pounds added onto the vest and increase the weight progressively day after day.

Wide ring push-up

Follow the same starting position as the ring push-up, then as you descend turn both palms until they face both feet and slowly spread the arms out on both sides.

Ring Flye

This is technically not a push-up but is definitely one of the most challenging gymnast ring exercises around. The starting position is the wide push-up position.

Start pushing the rings out to the sides with the palms facing each other. Continue the practice this move day by day until you can hold both arms straight to your sides without dropping to the ground.

Ring archer push up

Straighten both arms in front of you for the starting position, with both plams facing each other. Extend your left arm to the side until it stretches and .your right arm bending downward until it touches your side then move slowly back up. Follow it with the other arm.

The stretched position resembles an archer aiming with his bow and arrow.

Ring push up negative

Start with a full body tension and engage all muscles in the arms, legs and core. Start with a slow negative while all the required muscles are endorsed.  Make sure to lower down slowly as possible to avoid slamming your body on the ground.

Of course, it pays to gain more advantage by training your arms for gymnastics, as it would help gain you the physical edge in any game.

You can also get your edge in maintaining a good grip by using a revolutionary grip solution called Liquid Grip. It is a specially formulated grip enhancing solution that is made from natural ingredients and provides surface and grip adhesion for athletes and gymnastic fanatics.

Liquid Grip is easy to apply, dries quickly and leaves no messy after-feel. It is also easily washable with water.

The post Gymnastic Ring Pushups For Stability And Good Health appeared first on – Best Liquid Chalk Online!

Eating for Strength & Performance: How Alex Got His Ab Grooves Back – Episode 230

This week on Barbell Shrugged we discuss how Alex Got His Groove Back.

Unlucky-in-love grad student Alex (Alex Maclin) jets to Jamaica with his gal pal Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg) for some fun in the sun. There, the 26-year-old working man has an island fling with a new diet experiment involving measuring and weighing his food (180g Carbs, 30g Fat, 150g Protein per day).

When it’s time to return to Memphis, Maclin realizes that he’s unleashed a new metabolism and his physique is a spitting image of it’s efficacy. But, just like any long term diet that involves weighing and measuring, does this chase for six pack abs stand a chance against everyday temptations? Or even worse, will he lose his gainz as a result?

In this show we talk about Alex’s journey in the kitchen and discuss what he’s learned that’s worked for him in the past when it comes to eating to gain strength and keep the pounds off. Stories are shared, failures are admitted, secrets are unraveled in this epic tale of one man’s journey to find his groove (in his abs).



For more: 

Be sure to check out and download our FREE video: How to Eat for Strength & Performance to learn how to structure your nutrition to get stronger and perform at your best.

Eating for Strength | Barbell Shrugged

You’ll get the Eating for Strength video and downloadable audio, recipes, videos of us showing you how to make these recipes, and a quick summary e-book of the How to Eat for Strength & Performance.

And did we mention it’s free? Download it here.

The post Eating for Strength & Performance: How Alex Got His Ab Grooves Back – Episode 230 appeared first on Barbell Shrugged.

Lose Your Crutches

What’s holding you back, and why do you let it?

The legless man in the wheelchair made a very strong point without saying anything.

On the way to the gym for a workout, I was bemoaning my situation and wishing I didn’t have to do a 5-kilometer run. My inner monologue alternated between bitching about my tight left hip and outlining the reasons I prefer power to endurance.

You know the drill. I longed for workouts involving movements in my wheelhouse, I pre-made excuses for a poor performance, and I thought about skipping the run in hopes of snatches the next day.

Then the guy in the wheelchair rolled by with a bunch of empty grocery bags as I was stopped at a light. No markets can be found in the area, so he was clearly buckling down for a long haul to his destination.

No bitching. Just getting it done.

After feeling like an asshole for a moment, I drove the final block to the gym with a much clearer head.

Of course the workout turned out to be exactly what I needed. What I suspected would be a lengthy period of suffering was actually a 5-kilometer cruise on a sunny day while surrounded—and lapped—by friends. I did my best, owned my time and got fitter. And I felt grateful that I was able to run.

As I soaked a sweat angel into the asphalt, I found it interesting that a man in a wheelchair had helped me lose my crutches.

What can you accomplish today?

In CrossFit—or life, for that matter—crutches are those things you use to make excuses for poor performance, absence, lack of effort, a bad attitude and so on. Crutches are your outs when your goats appear, when your rival beats your ass, when you just don’t want to try very hard but still want a good score.

Sometimes it’s a sore body part. Other times it’s stress from the kids or the pets. Or a bad sleep. Or a lack of rest days. Or age. Or the autumnal equinox. Or what the hell ever.

Crutches, in general, are whatever you lean on when you should just write your time on the board and high-five your classmates.

Crutch: “I could have gone harder but it’s my fourth day in a row.”

Crutch: “I won’t PR because I was up all night.”

Crutch: “I crashed in the third round because I haven’t eaten all day.”

CFJ_Crutch_Warkentin-2.jpg The exact attitude you need when you’re dealing with an injury, fatigue, a bad day at work or back-to-back night shifts.

Even legitimate injuries and conditions can be crutches, though truly inspriring adaptive athletes have proven that absolutely anything is possible when you refuse to give up.

I’m not suggesting you should ignore stabbing pain due to a torn knee ligament to do a squat workout.

But I am suggesting you should quit complaining and hit the bench press like you’re training with Ronnie Coleman. Remember that someone has a worse deal and a bigger smile than you do. Move some weight and celebrate with your best “Yeah, buddy!”

More than that, I’m suggesting you should get rid of all your crutches completely. Don’t let whatever ails you derail you. Simply modify the workout as needed, then put your nose to the stone. Cancel the pity party and be happy. Think only about what you can do, push as hard as you can, and earn a score you can be proud of.

CFJ_Crutch_Warkentin-3.jpg Adaptive athletes are proof that limitations are self-imposed only.

Here’s a secret: No one is 100 percent.

We all have stress, soreness, bills, jobs, family commitments, flat tires, plugged drains and a pile of dirty laundry on the bedroom floor. That’s life. You can choose to use all that shit to justify a lack of effort or you can do up your chinstrap and give everything you have that day. I’d suggest the latter, and I bet taking that honorable approach will significantly improve your mood and your outlook on the next workout.

If you’re moping for any reason, lose your crutches by clicking here or entering “adaptive CrossFit athlete” in a browser.

Then head to the gym with a smile and a renewed sense of determination.

About the Author: Mike Warkentin is the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal and the founder of CrossFit 204.

Photo credits (in order): Dave Re/CrossFit Journal, Alex Tubbs, Linette Kielinski

“I Want to Be Your Trainer”

CrossFit coaches talk about building relationships that result in new clients.

Like all high-level CrossFit athletes, Jamie Hagiya has an impressive physique. The epitome of health and fitness, she’s the perfect poster girl to attract new clients to the gym, right?

Not so fast, said 31-year-old Hagiya, who finished 18th at the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games. The owner of Torrance CrossFit in California said she goes out of her way to avoid using her fitness resume as a sales pitch.

“That’s not what will get new people into the gym,” she said.

According to Dan Uyemura, Hagiya’s business partner, her humble approach works and she has a gift for bringing in new clients.

“People approach her in the world all the time,” Uyemura said. And when they do, Hagiya is the coach who can walk into a coffee shop and leave with five clients, he added.

“That actually just happened the other day,” Hagiya said. “I went to the dermatologist and the woman at the front desk asked me where I work out. She said she had been wanting to try CrossFit for a while.”

After the receptionist expressed interest, Hagiya turned the tables and immediately started asking the woman questions.

“When I meet someone who’s interested in coming into the gym, I actually don’t talk about myself at all,” Hagiya said. “Sales is more about listening than anything. Asking questions and genuinely listening to their answers, that’s how you build trust.”

After Hagiya built rapport with the receptionist at her doctor’s office, the two exchanged phone numbers, and the following week the woman showed up at Torrance CrossFit for an introductory session with six of her friends. Hagiya earned herself 7 new clients that day.

To read the entire article, click here.

Click here for CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman’s thoughts on explaining CrossFit to clients.

How To Train With Knee Pain – N&P w/ Zach Greenwald

Knee pain, especially while squatting, has to rank as one of the most prevalent complaints we see from athletes.

On this episode of Nuggets & Pearls, Zach Greenwald of Strength Ratio answers how to train and squat around painful knees. He gives advice on how to adjust your training to accommodate for painful knees and shares some exercises to perform to bring up weaknesses and reduce imbalances in strength that may be causing your knee pain in the first place.

And if you have a question for Zach, be sure to leave a comment.

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