Every day there’s a new “40 Under 40” list touting the rising stars in the “under 40” set. Is that to say that post-40 it’s all down hill? We think not! That’s why we scouted out the nation’s best in the over-40 fitness category. Behold, we bring you the Top 40 Over 40 Fitness Pros, who share their secrets to staying fit and maintaining optimal health at the big 4-0 and beyond!
Director, YOGADHARMA, Bucks County, Pa.
Introduced to yoga as a child by her mother, Amy has been teaching yoga as a spiritual discipline since 2000. Amy has her MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is recognized by the Yoga Alliance at the highest level (E-RYT-500). As a staff teacher for the Yoga Studies Institute, Amy travels around the world to lead workshops and teacher trainings. Amy lives in Bucks County, Pa., with her husband and four children. She helps students integrate yoga, meditation and wisdom teachings into their day-to-day lives though online courses and in-person trainings.
Creator of the Stretching for Seniors DVD series and Group Fitness Instructor, Alexandria, Va.
She may be in her mid-80s, but Ann Smith moves like a graceful 20-something on the dance floor. Following in the footsteps of her mother, an interpretive dancer during the Isadora Duncan period, Ann has been teaching dance for more than 50 years, working in cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and New York. For the past 10 years, Ann has traveled the country teaching guest classes as an ambassador for the 50-Plus Fitness organization of Palo Alto, Calif., which aims to get people over 50 moving. She has released a number of fitness DVDs over the years, including “Stretching for Seniors” and “Music, Movement & Longevity,” which was produced in honor of Ann’s 80th birthday. Ann has three children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She jokes, “This grandmother is in better shape than you are!”
Creator and President, YogaFit Training Systems, Los Angeles, Calif.
Beth is the creator and president of YogaFit training systems, the world’s largest yoga school, with over 200,000 instructors trained on six continents. Beth’s popular YogaFit style combines ancient Hatha yoga postures and familiar fitness moves into a user-friendly, mainstream yoga practice that is suited for individuals of all fitness levels. A passionate animal welfare advocate, Beth helped Los Angeles pass a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance that set an example for the entire nation.
Fitness, Yoga and Dance Expert, Los Angeles, Calif.
With 18 years of experience in the health and wellness industry, Desi Bartlett is a dynamic motivator and widely sought after international presenter. Desi holds advanced certifications in yoga, personal training, pre- and post-natal fitness and group fitness. Desi's inspiring and unique classes have been featured on networks such as NBC, ABC, FOX, Univision and Lifetime. In 2005, Desi was named ambassador for Lululemon Athletica, and she helped open Equinox Fitness in Santa Monica as their group fitness manager. Designer of the first round yoga mat on the market, the 360 mat, Desi has appeared in multiple DVDs, including 3 in1 Total Body Fitness, Yoga for Beginners, Dance and Be Fit: Latin Groove.
Yoga Instructor, Yoga Del Mar, Del Mar, Calif.
Desiree began her yoga career amid tragedy: In 2003, Desiree’s 20-year-old-son, Brandon, and his 19-year-old girlfriend, Lisa, were shot to death while camping overnight in Phoenix, Ariz. Desiree found healing through dedicating her life to helping others through yoga. After more than 20 years of practice, Desirée continues to live her passion for yoga every day. She holds teaching certifications in both Iyengar yoga and Anusara yoga and has released three DVDs, Yoga to the Rescue from Head to Toe, For Back Pain, and For the Neck and Shoulders.
Creator and Instructor, The MELT Method, New York City
Sue Hitzman is a nationally recognized somatic-movement educator and manual therapist. Drawing on her decades of practice, research and study of anatomical science and alternative therapies, Sue created the MELT Method® (MELT), the first self-treatment method that offers relief from chronic pain and injury. Sue got her start in the fitness industry as a group exercise instructor in 1988 before beginning her manual therapy practice in 1996. Over the past two decades, she has taught in some of the top clubs in New York City, including Reebok Sports Club/NY, Equinox, Crunch, and the JCC in Manhattan. Her 1999 video Boot Camp Training has sold more than half a million copies worldwide and remains one of the best-selling fitness videos today.
Co-Founder and Instructor, VIRAYOGA, New York City
Elena is the co-founder of VIRAYOGA, a New York-based studio that is an international hub for yoga and wellness. Elena, who has over 16 years’ experience teaching yoga, also co-authored Art of Attention, a book about discovering an inspired and mindful yoga practice. After graduating from Cornell University in 1992 with a design degree, Elena studied with master yoga teachers for over 10 years, learning several traditions including alignment-based Hatha and Kundalini yoga. Elena has been featured in the New York Times, Yoga Journal, Element Yoga for Beginners DVDs, ABC News and NBC News.
Instructor and Co-Creator of Core Fusion, Exhale Spa, New York City
Elisabeth is the vice president of mind/body programming at Exhale Spa, a renowned New York-based health and wellness spa with locations around the United States. Along with her husband, Fred Devito, Elisabeth co-created Exhale’s signature Core Fusion program, an innovative barre-based working fusing yoga, dance, and Pilates into a total-body workout. Elisabeth has worked in tandem with husband, Fred, to choreograph and develop 10 award-winning Core Fusion DVDs, including 2012’s Exhale: Core Fusion 30 Day Sculpt.
Personal Trainer and Owner, Bring It Studios, Chanhassen, Minn.
Erin O'Brien has been working as a personal trainer and group exercise specialist for 25 years in elite fitness clubs in New York City and Los Angeles. Most recently, she has returned to Minnesota and opened her own fitness facility, Bring It Studios. Erin is certified through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (for group exercise and pre/postnatal fitness), the Fitness Institute of Training (as a personal trainer), Polestar (for Pilates mat and reformer training), and the Esquerre Fitness Group (pre/postnatal, post-rehab, and flexibility training). Erin has also created her own line of bestselling exercise DVDs focusing on strength training and pregnancy fitness.
Owner and Creator, POWERSTRIKE, INC., New York City
Italian-born Ilaria Montagnani is a karate black belt and internationally acclaimed fitness expert with almost 20 years of experience teaching in the industry. Ilari is the owner and creator of the fitness company POWERSTRIKE Inc., a revolutionary approach to group fitness that combines martial arts with contemporary choreography. In addition to POWERSTRIKE, she has created FORZA Samurai Sword Training, IMPACT, and her most recent workout, ATLETICA. When she's not teaching to packed studios in New York City, Ilaria travels the world sharing POWERSTRIKE’s inspirational workouts. POWERSTRIKE has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart Show, The Dr. Oz Show, The Tyra Show, and CBS and ABC Evening News, among many others. She’s now a spokesperson for AVIA.
Founder and Co-owner, The Bar Method™, Inc.
Burr is the founder and creator of The Bar Method, a full-body workout that utilizes a ballet bar technique. A former journalist, Burr and her husband, Carl Diehl, opened up the flagship Bar Method studio in San Francisco in 2001. Since then, The Bar Method has grown into a franchise operation with over 50 locations in the United States and Canada. Burr also operates a media company selling exercise DVDs and accessories.
President and Instructor, Jazzercise
Over four decades ago, Shanna watched her mother, Judi Sheppard Missett, build Jazzercise into the world’s leading dance fitness program. Today, Shanna has followed in her mother’s footsteps, carrying on the torch as president of Jazzercise and continuing to uphold Jazzercise’s reputation as one of the nation’s leading fitness brands. When she’s not overseeing the company, Shanna is teaching multiple Jazzercise classes per week and travelling the world as a featured presenter at Jazzercise conventions and instructor meetings. In addition, she has appeared on the QVC Home Shopping Network and in numerous top-selling Jazzercise Home DVD workouts including “Burlesque by Jazzercise” and “Dancin’ Abs by Jazzercise.”
Fitness Expert and Motivational Speaker, Petra Kolber Inc., New Hope, Pa.
Petra is a fitness expert and motivational speaker with years of experience in the health and wellness industry. Over the past 20 years, she has choreographed and starred in over 40 DVDs and VHS tapes and has presented in over 40 countries. Passionate about helping women create strong bodies that are full of vitality so they can live the life of their dreams, Petra is a Reebok Global Fitness Ambassador, a SENSA WellFit Expert, and an instructor on FitnessGlo.Com. She is also a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1999. Now cancer-free, Petra uses this experience to motivate others who may be dealing with adversity.
Instructor and Creator, intenSati, New York City
For over 20 years, Patricia Moreno has been training, mentoring and educating people all over the world. Patricia is the creator of The intenSati Method, a life-transforming workout combining martial arts, dance and yoga with meditation and mantras. Patricia teaches eight classes a day in addition to running her own business, Sati Life. She has starred in over 10 workout videos and has been featured on Dr. Oz, The Today show, various news segments as well as numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Vogue, Fitness Magazine and Self Magazine.
Creator, The Method, and Pilates pioneer
Jennifer Kries is an internationally renowned Pilates educator and owner of the Hot Body Cool Mind studio in Philadelphia. Her award-winning videos, The Method Series, Jennifer Kries DVDs, and Fit TV's The Method Show, sparked a renewed enthusiasm for Pilates and brought the discipline to the masses. A dance expert, she has trained, performed and cheoreographed for numerous dance companies worldwide including New York City Ballet, Hubbard Street Chicago, Opus I Contemporary, Balletto di Toscana, the Bat Sheva Dance Company, Philadanco, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and Lar Lubovitch.
Instructor and Owner, Go Figure Studio, Potomac, Md.
Julie Wender is the owner of Go Figure-Potomac, a barre-based studio that incorporates elements of yoga, Pilates and ballet to give a total body workout. Julie’s love of fitness stems from her early years as a competitive gymnast and later as a synchronized swimmer. Julie boasts years of experience as a barre instructor in New York and Connecticut, most recently at the six Go Figure locations, where she trained under the direction of original Lotte Berk instructors, including Go Figure founder and developer, Cindy Sites. Julie is also certified by ACE (American Council on Exercise) as a group fitness instructor.
Owner and Fitness Director, The SeattleGYM, Seattle, Wash .
Kari Anderson, 56 and mother of three, continues to be a prominent expert in the fitness industry. Since 1981, she has worked as the co-owner of The SeattleGYM. She has produced and starred in over 25 award-winning exercise videos/DVDs and has graced the cover of Shape Magazine. In addition to over 25 years’ experience teaching fitness, Kari has an extensive background in dance and athletics. She was a Jr. National Gold Medalist in synchronized swimming and a scholarship student with The Joffrey Ballet in New York. She has received numerous awards over the years, including the IDEA Fitness Businessperson of the Year in 1993, the IDEA Instructor of the Year in 1994, and the ACE Fitness Director of the Year Award in 2003.
Trainer and Instructor, Equinox Fitness, Pasadena, Calif.
Keli Roberts is a world-renowned fitness educator, trainer and the recipient of the 2003 IDEA International Instructor of the Year. After moving from Australia to the United States in 1989 to pursue a career in fitness, Keli quickly became one of the most in-demand private trainers in Los Angeles, garnering a huge celebrity clientele that included Cher, Kirstie Alley, Russell Crowe and Faye Dunaway. In 1991, Keli choreographed and appeared in the award winning video, Cher Fitness, A New Attitude, which brought her worldwide recognition as a fitness expert. Since then, Keli has designed, choreographed and starred in over 40 videos. Currently, Keli is a Tier 3 Trainer at Equinox in Pasadena where she teaches group classes and trains clients. She also competes in mountain bike races, road races and more.
Pilates Instructor and Director, The Mercury Method, Chicago, Ill.
Lara Hudson is the creator of The Mercury Method, an innovative workout combining yoga, Pilates, strength training and endurance conditioning. Over the years, Lara has starred in eight award-winning, bestselling workout DVDs, including The 10-Minute Solution: Pilates for Beginners. With over 15 years of teaching experience, Lara is a Pilates Method Alliance Gold Certified Instructor. She was recently rated Best Pilates Instructor in San Francisco’s 7×7 Magazine, and her Northern California studio, the Mercury Fitness Pilates Center, was voted Best Pilates Facility in the Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine.
Pilates and GYROTONIC® Instructor, Rhythm Pilates™, Southern California
Lisa is the creator and founder of Rhythm Pilates™, an innovative total-body workout that fuses Pilates, yoga and dance elements. She has been featured in a number of award-winning DVDs and has been featured on the cover of Pilates Style Magazine twice. With over 15 years of experience in the business, Lisa is recognized as one of the industry’s most accomplished Pilates experts. Lisa owns Rhythm Pilates™, a private Pilates studio in Southern California, where she teaches Pilates, GYROTONIC® and yoga to a diverse clientele including all ages and ability levels.
Instructor and Creator, Aero*Boga™, Los Angeles, Calif.
After undergoing a cancer-related hysterectomy, Lynn Anderson—who holds a Ph.D in natural health and a doctorate of naturopathy—created a unique practice called Aero*boga™, an innovative workout combining yoga and dance that emphasizes core strength, balance, flexibility and calorie-burning moves. Lynn teaches Aero*boga™ classes in Los Angeles and has released an Aero*boga™ DVD. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each DVD goes to cancer research and prevention. Lynn has also developed her own weekly radio talk shows about anti-aging and alternative medicine.
Creator and Instructor, Yogalosophy, Los Angeles, Calif.
Meet Mandy Ingber is the fitness and wellness expert who has sculpted some of Hollywood’s best bodies, including Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Beckinsale, and Helen Hunt. For 16 years, Mandy has been motivating people with her light-hearted approach and accessible teaching style. Mandy is the creator of Yogalosophy, a cutting-edge form of yoga that blends traditional vinyasa yoga with toning elements. Mandy Ingber has released a number of best-selling yoga-hybrid DVDs, and her new book, entitled YOGALOSOPHY: 28-days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover is due out in May 2013. Her fitness philosophy is, “Having the body you want begins with loving the body you have.”
Instructor and Co-Owner, Breakthru Fitness, Pasadena, Calif.
Michelle Dozois is an internationally recognized fitness expert, award-winning athlete, and creator of multiple best-selling fitness DVDs. Along with her husband, Phil, Michelle co-owns Breakthru Fitness in Pasadena, Calif., where she has been helping people lose weight, get fit, and lead healthier lives for years. Michelle is the creator of the Peak Fit System, an eight-week transformation program that is scientifically designed to change the body’s metabolic blueprint. She has also starred in over 20 home-workout DVDs, most notably the “Peak Fit System,” a home version of her popular Peak 10 program.
Co-creator, STOTT Pilates
In 1988, Moira opened the first STOTT Pilates Studio in Toronto along with her business partner and husband Lindsay Merrithew. Since then, Moira has spent more than a decade refining the STOTT Pilates method, combining contemporary principles of exercise and spinal rehabilitation with the original method of J.H. Pilates. Moira is a faculty member of the American Council on Exercise and the author of numerous technical manuals and published articles. She has appeared in the popular STOTT PILATES video series, the most comprehensive instructional video collection of its kind.
Fitness Trainer, Barry’s Bootcamp, New York City, NY
While she may be best known for starring alongside Pamela Anderson in the syndicated TV series “V.I.P.”, Natalie Raitano has recently swapped acting for aerobics. Natalie currently works as an instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York and is also the co-host of Barry’s "Hollywood Code Red" workout DVD.
Fitness specialist and group fitness instructor, Tampa Metro YMCA, Tampa, Fla.
For Carrie Bell, personal training isn’t just a job—it’s a passion. This year, Carrie was recognized for her outstanding work by being named the Tampa Metro YMCA Association’s 2012 Top Trainer, an award that honors the trainer with the highest number of clients and sales. Passionate about philanthropy, Carrie raised funds for the Westchase Charitable Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports families in the Tampa Bay area who are touched by serious illness.
Competitive body builder; owner, Fit 28 Studio, Wesborough, Mass.
Cindy Evangelous, a trainer with more than 24 years’ experience, has dedicated her life to fitness and empowering women over 40 attain their fitness goals. Cindy’s group exercise classes emphasize a combination of ballet and Pilates moves to build lean muscle mass in clients in their 40s, 50s, and beyond. Cindy has held many national certifications over the years, including AFAA, AAI, Reebok, Les Mills, Balanced Body and more since 1988. Cindy holds a gold medal in competitive aerobics and placed First Runner Up in the Mrs. Massachusetts Pageant.
Zumba Education Specialist; co-creator, Zumba Gold
A powerful force in the fitness industry for over 40 years, Joy Prouty is one of the leading Zumba® Education Specialists for Zumba Fitness and is responsible for co-developing Zumba Gold®, a specialty program targeting the active older adult. She has trained thousands of instructors all over the world and helped to build Zumba Fitness’ strong global community of 12 million supporters in over 110,000 locations. The former Radio City Music Hall Rockette worked as a Master Trainer for Reebok University’s Development team prior to joining the Zumba Fitness team. Prouty has co-authored several books and choreographed and starred in over 25 videos and DVDs. She is the mother of three and grandmother of seven.
Founder and creator of Yamuna
For more than 30 years, Yamuna has educated thousands of people to achieve healthy bodies and minds. She is the founder of Yamuna, a company dedicated to educating people about their body structure in order to promote optimal function. Based in its flagship studio in Greenwich Village, the company provides classes, individual treatments, professional trainings, and self-therapy products. She has authored two books on YBR (Yamuna® Body Rolling): The Ultimate Body Rolling Workout: The Revolutionary Way to Tone, Lengthen, and Realign Your Body (Broadway Books, 2004) and Body Rolling: An Experiential Approach to Complete Muscle Release (Healing Arts Press, 1997). She also created the Yamuna® Body Rolling Library and Yamuna Save Your Body Part series of DVDs.
Co-Founder, Flywheel Sports
For 25 years, entrepreneur, leading fitness instructor and mother Ruth Zukerman has changed the minds and bodies of thousands of fitness enthusiasts along the East Coast, and now nationwide. In 2006, Ruth co-founded the first exclusive indoor cycling studio in New York City, and is widely credited as the driving force behind the surge in indoor cycling's popularity in New York and beyond. In 2010, Ruth joined forces with Jay Galluzzo (Flywheel Co-Founder and CEO) to introduce Flywheel Sports, which has quickly expanded from New York into several markets including South Florida, Atlanta, Chicago and Charlotte, as well as an international studio in Dubai.
Group Fitness Instructor, Equinox, New York City
Darbi Worley is a New York-based voiceover artist, actress, TV personality and fitness guru. When she’s not starring in commercials or making appearances on TV shows, Darbi is pursuing her lifelong passion for fitness as a group fitness instructor at the 19th Street Equinox in New York City, where she teaches the intenSati method, 30/60/90 and her signature THE DARBI DOUBLE CLASS.
Co-founder and Owner, Physicalmind Studio
Lauren has been involved in fitness her entire life. After her own successful career as a competitive figure skater, she began training Olympic National Skaters. She developed off-ice fitness programs and on-ice choreography. She was given the opportunity to train Amy Poelher and Will Arnett for the movie, Blades of Glory, and was choreographer for Rock Center's "Ballet on Ice." Physicalmind Studio is built from over 30 years of experience in the fitness industry and out of Lauren's love and dedication to Pilates.
Creator, The A.R.T. Method, New York, N.Y.
Terri Walsh is a celebrity fitness trainer, author, multi-media spokesperson and visionary entrepreneur who developed the revolutionary A.R.T. METHOD®--which stands for “active resistance training.” Previously, Terri worked for Crunch Fitness as its first ever Creative Director of Programming to formulate all the clubs’ programs and supervise the group fitness instructors. She later founded Revolution Studio, which was singled out by New York Magazine as having the Best Spin Class in town. With two decades of professional experience, Terri has always blended a reliable knowledge of fitness with an innovative flair and a personal understanding of the modern woman’s lifestyle. She continues to inspire an ever-growing following via her A.R.T. Method and its DVD, App and immensely popular bootcamp classes.
Instructor, Yoga Haven and Equinox, Scarsdale, N.Y.
Thirty years ago, Diane started teaching fitness classes in a church basement, with little more than a few hand weights and an old-fashioned record player. Today, Diane is still inspiring individuals of all ages and fitness abilities to be fit—and have fun while doing it. In the 1980s, Diane worked as an aerobics instructor and trained a variety of celebrity clientele, including Madonna. First introduced to yoga at the age of 14, Diane enrolled in the Teacher Training Program at Yoga Haven in 2001, where she continues to study and teach.
Yoga Instructor, Jivamukti Yoga School, New York City
Ruth Lauer-Manenti imparts the teachings of yoga to many students around the world, most often to overflowing classes in New York City at the Jivamukti Yoga School. An Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher and Yoga Sutra expert, she has been teaching Jivamukti Yoga for more than 25 years. Her personal interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita, Master Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika are insightful, understandable, and poignant. She is the author of two books, An Offering of Leaves and Sweeping The Dust.
Group Fitness Manager, Equinox, New York City
Loi Jordon is a 29-year fitness veteran who has been featured in lead segments on The Today Show and in articles in the New York Times and Marie Claire magazine. She is NASM, ACE, AFAA, Spinning, YogaFit, and Pre- and Post-Natal certified. Loi believes in keeping the energy level in her classes super high, the workouts intense and giving 100 percent all the time.
Senior National Creative Program Manager of Group Fitness for Equinox; owner, Wheels in Motion Productions, New York City
Lisa Wheeler is a fitness and dance consultant who has co-created many of Equinox’s signature programs, including Animal Flow X, ViPR™, Barre Burn™, Whipped, Tabata 2010 and Parkour Power Play. Prior to Equinox, she was Education Manager and Global Master Trainer for Reebok University as well as Program Developer for Crunch and Club Med. Lisa has created and starred in over 25 fitness DVDs and has appeared on numerous TV shows including Good Morning America and the Today show. Behind the camera, she has worked as a program design consultant, choreographer and camera coach for over 300 programs for major distributers and companies including Livestrong.com, Beachbody, Gaiam and Lionsgate.
Personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Baierl Family YMCA, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Wendy West Hickey holds 10 fitness certifications, including a Mind Body Healing certification through the Academy of Holistic Fitness, a Pilates Reformer certification through CORE Yoga and Pilates, and an Advanced Mindfulness certification through the CMI Education Institute. Wendy, who works with clients of all ages and abilities, adopts a balanced, holistic approach to working out. “My commitment to training is based on helping people to achieve health and fitness, not necessarily to achieve a certain physical ideal or body type,” Wendy says.
Sue Elkind has been practicing yoga since 1990 and teaching since 1996. She is currently the co-founder of DIG YOGA, in Lambertville, New Jersey with her husband Naime Jezzeny, and a partner with her long-time student and friend Mariel Freeman in DIG YOGA’s second location in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sue is the author of DIG PREGNANCY BIRTH & BABY: A Conscious & Empowered Approach to Practicing Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga (2013) and A Time to Align (2010). She has been featured on the Crunch fitness prenatal yoga video Yoga Mama (2000), Sportskool’s cable network for prenatal yoga, as well as in Fit Pregnancy, W Magazine, and Spa magazine. Sue also helped produce the Zen Mama with Rainbeau Mars: Prenatal Yoga Workout video and has been a contributing writer for Fit Pregnancy.
Co-owner, Reebok CrossFit LAB
Internationally-renowned fitness expert Yumi Lee has been active in the fitness industry for over 15 years. She has sculpted the bodies of Hollywood’s elite, including Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Richie, and Demi Moore, among others. Currently, Yumi is a consultant with Reebok International and their new partner, Cirque de Soleil. She was featured on the last three seasons of VH-1’s fitness reality show, From Fit to Flab, and her workouts have appeared in several top magazines such as Shape, Self, Glamour, and US Magazine. In 2005 and 2006, Men’s Journal Magazine selected Yumi as one of America’s top personal trainers.
Every day there’s a new “40 Under 40” list touting the rising stars in the “under 40” set. Is that to say that post-40 it’s all down hill? We think not! That’s why we scouted out the nation’s best in the over-40 fitness category. Behold, we bring you the Hottest Fitness Pros Over 40, who share their secrets to staying fit and maintaining their fabulous bodies at the big 4-0 and beyond!
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