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For most of us, winter can be the perfect time of year to try to put on some extra muscle mass. Without the need to show off a six-pack for at least a few more months, the colder weather is the perfect time to eat more, train hard and put on more lean muscle than you had last year. Come summer, you’ll be ready to diet down and show off your new, hard-earned gains.

But getting quality lean-muscle gains can be a challenge if you’re not sure how to go about it – you can’t just eat anything! If you’re not careful, you could end up packing on too much fat and not enough lean muscle.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are four tips to help you have a cleaner better, mass-gaining season!

TIP #1: Eat the Right Balance of Macros

When it comes to adding mass, it doesn’t mean you need to eat 24/7. You may just need a macronutrient adjustment. Remember, protein makes muscle, and carbs give us energy to fuel workouts. If you are eating too few protein calories, and far too many carbs, you will put on less muscle, and store those extra carb calories in fat. You are far less likely to eat too much protein and store it as fat. In fact, the intestines absorb about 90% of all protein that gets digested. If your body’s need for protein happens to be lower at time of ingestion, the body will simply slow down digestion until it is needed. Unlike carbs – especially the simple ones, that will spike insulin and either shuttle those carbs to your muscles to be stored as glycogen, or in fat if your glycogen stores are full!

EAT THIS: At least 1 to 1.5 g of protein per pound of bodyweight,; 1. 5 to 2 g of carbohydrates per pound; 0.5 g of fat per pound.

4 Ways To Eat For Lean Muscle Gains

TIP #2: Eat Fewer Calories

You might think you need to eat a lot of calories, to pack on muscle but this is not exactly true. Your body type and your activity level should determine your calorie intake. Calorie increases of just 500 calories per day are enough to gain weight. In total your calories should be anywhere between 15 to 20 times your current weight to add mass.

TRY THIS: Start slowly, increasing by 100 to 200 calories a day from your base calorie intake.

4 Ways To Eat For Lean Muscle Gains

TIP #3: Get Most of Your Calories From Natural Whole Foods

Yes, it’s true that you need to eat more calories. But those calories shouldn’t come from food that is low in quality. You are what you eat. Higher-quality foods will give you higher-quality results. Resist the urge to eat junk food to bulk up your calories, and instead eat whole foods closest to their natural state. Choose carb sources such as potatoes, brown rice, whole grains, starchy vegetables and greens. For proteins choose lean cuts of meat, poultry, whole eggs and non-fat dairy and pick healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Eating healthy foods will ensure better digestion, less insulin spiking and better blood glucose management.

TIP #4: Use Cyclic Bulking

One way to add lean mass without putting on excess fat is to use the diet technique of cyclic bulking, where you alternate between high-calorie bulk phases, and low-calorie cutting phases. The traditional approach of cyclic bulking was 2-weeks of bulk, followed by 2-weeks of a cut. This method was thought to lead to fewer gains in fat mass, and more gains in lean mass. Research has shown that those who used bulk/cut techniques not only experienced lean mass gains but also experienced positive changes in anabolic hormones including testosterone, insulin and IGF-1.

Interested in performing a bulk/cut cycle? For bulking take your bodyweight and multiply it by 10 to 12 to give you your base maintenance calories, than add 1200 to 1600 calories depending on your activity level and body type. For the cutting or low calorie phase take your bodyweight times 8 to 10 to give you your calories. You may want to use longer periods of a bulk/cut phase, instead of the short 2-week phase. Just remember, being on either a bulk or cut diet for too long can have repercussions as well, including fluctuations in metabolism and hormones needed for both weight gain or weight loss.


Forbes GB, et al. Hormonal Response to Overfeeding. AJCN. 1989. 494: 608-611.

Jebb, et al. Changes in Macronutrient Balance During Over- and Underfeeding Assessed by 12-Day Continuous Whole-Body Calorimetry. AJCN. 1996. 64: 259-266.

Ten Have GA, Engelen MP, Luiking YC, Deutz NE. Absorption kinetics of amino acids, peptides, and intact proteins. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2007. 17 Suppl: S23-36.


Eating to Build More Muscle

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By: Lauren Jacobsen
Title: Eating to Build More Muscle
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Published Date: Fri, 07 Aug 2020 15:51:37 +0000

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Mens Health




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By Bryan Hildebrand

Senior Editor, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals

CogniSport® is a unique combination of botanical extracts and nutrients that support cognitive function, mental focus, and overall visual health. The ingredients in CogniSport® are well studied and have been found to provide tremendous benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time. In addition, CogniSport® can enhance mood and well-being as well as lower cortisol levels to reduce the effects of stress. There are also several ingredients found in CogniSport® not found in any other focus or electronic gaming product.

With the addition of Visual® 2020 to the formula, CogniSport® provides support for optimal visual performance by supporting the ability of the eyes to filter high-energy blue light – from laptops, cell phones, and other blue-light sources. Visual® 2020 also supports visual function under bright light conditions such as the basketball court, gym, football field and other outdoor pursuits.

The alkaloid profile in Thermo-Rx® is unmatched by any other Senegalia species due to its phenylethylamine content, as well as numerous other alkaloids and amines. Phenylethylamine is a sympathomimetic amine found in the leaves of Senegalia Berlandieri. Phenylethylamine also naturally occurs in chocolate, and is responsible for its effects on mood, appetite, and sense of well-being. Researchers believe that Phenylethylamine may be the cleanest stimulant ever studied. Its ability to stimulate the central nervous system without causing a nervous feeling or the “jitters” is remarkable. Phenylethylamine acts on alpha-receptors in the brain, as do norepinephrine and ephedrine. It is also believed by chemists and scientists in the industry to cause the release of dopamine in the pleasure-sensing areas of the brain.

While the idea of providing concentration may seem potentially foreign to bodybuilders and fitness athletes, nothing could be further from the truth. Winding down a day’s training and you still have a few exercises left. Plus, cardio. Plus, the drive home. Plus, dinner for the kids. The energy from pre-workout products have proven they can only take you so far. The clean, long-lasting focal energy found in CogniSport® provides a much longer source of energy and motivation to power even the hardest working athletes, moms and dads through the remainder of their day without that dreaded jitters and impending neurological crash associated with so many high-caffeine pre-workouts and weight-loss products that many use for energy in the gym.

The researched ingredients in CogniSport® have been found to provide huge benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time. The other side of this is the mood-enhancing properties it exhibits. Gamers, athletes, and students who have used it say it provides reductions in stress and an overall sense of well-being. There are also several ingredients found in CogniSport® not found in any other focus or electronic gaming product!

• Maintain a Mental Edge With High Demand, Rapid Sequencing

• Supports Mental Agility in Fast-Paced Sports

• Improve Reaction Times in Rapid Movement Environments

• Helps Reduce Stress in Physical Situations

The researched ingredients in CogniSport® have been found to provide huge benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time.

For more information, visit

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Mens Health

Get a Beach Body: 8-Week Plan



498473081 screen shot 2023 05 08 at 4 53 01 pm 1024x591 1

“Spring forward” is a mnemonic meant to help us remember that in accordance with Daylight Savings Time, we move the hands on our clocks forward one hour in an instant time change designed to provide one additional hour of daylight. But there is nothing “instant” about gearing up for fat loss to get a beach body. It’s not a process that should be rushed into, for both physical and psychological reasons. Just as it’s not wise to walk into the gym and go right to your heaviest weights without a thorough and proper warm-up featuring several sets of gradually increasing resistance, losing substantial amounts of body fat is a process that should also be eased into for best results.

The Case for Making Haste Slowly

Both mentally and physically, our bodies don’t respond well to sudden, drastic change. It’s better to gradually adjust variables so you have time to acclimate. It’s not a good idea to go from eating whatever you want to a strict type diet in one day. Going from having done no cardio at all for months to hitting it for 45 minutes every day is a brutal punch in the face to your system that typically has negative results, similar to someone who hasn’t squatted in months getting under 405 and expecting to do a good set. If you’ve been gorging on things like fried foods, desserts, pizza, and alcohol, going cold turkey will probably have you craving the bad stuff again soon. Not to mention the fact that sudden and drastic reductions in overall caloric intake force the body into survival mode in which the metabolism is slowed down in the body’s effort to do the one thing it’s designed to do – stay alive! And because cardio involves a certain amount of repetitive stress on your knees, ankles, and feet, it’s smarter to start off with lower intensity, volume, and frequency to rebuild strength and endurance in those areas. Otherwise, you increase your odds of incurring tendinitis, bursitis, stress fractures, and muscle strains (minor muscle tears). What we are going to do to make this transition smooth is the following:

• For several weeks, your calories will still be well above maintenance level, thus facilitating muscle gain.

• The transition phase both psychologically and physically allows you to adjust to the changes with less trauma.

• Because your diet will become stricter over a period of a couple of months, you will begin losing body fat and have a head start once your official “cut” begins.

• Cardiovascular training will be ramped up gradually, giving you a chance to rebuild your stamina and thus be better prepared for a more demanding cardio regimen as summer nears.

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Nutritional Spring Cleaning

First off, don’t feel like a failure because you went off the wagon there for a while. Nearly all of us do once the weather starts getting cold. The gluttony begins for many Americans at Halloween, a holiday marked mainly by the wanton consumption of candy, which provides few nutrients but loads of sugar and fat. We buy enough for a theoretical battalion of trick-or-treaters, yet ultimately wind up eating most of it ourselves when they don’t show up at our door because parents in this era don’t allow their children to leave the house. Then along comes Thanksgiving, where we celebrate and honor the Pilgrims by force-feeding as much turkey, gravy, stuffing, candied yams, and pie as possible before passing out on the couch in a food coma after watching football. This is immediately followed up by the Christmas/holiday season. Even if your workplace has a PC non-denominational holiday theme, you can rest assured there will still be plenty of delicious foods rich in sugar and saturated fat to feast on: trays of cookies, pastries, and doughnuts – for free! There will also be home parties and dinners where food and drinks flow as freely as something out of an afterlife promised to the supremely faithful. If the host is either Italian or Latin, bet on an even greater abundance of decadent dining. The year ends with New Year’s Eve, where we ring in a new year by imbibing as much alcohol as we are able to without vomiting. Though the next day is typically marked by some form of grand resolution where eating better and losing weight often figures prominently, we don’t all act on this noble goal right away. And here we are.

As I said, we are going to progressively ease you into eating cleaner, a little bit more every week. By doing it this way, we can comfortably make these changes without shocking your system or feeling deprived and awake at night with cravings. Here’s how you will do this over eight weeks.

Weeks 8-7

Eliminate starchy/complex carbohydrates from final meal of the day.

Cheat meals should be a maximum of four per week. This means meals where you eat whatever you want, in any amounts you want. Note this is one meal, not an entire day of eating crap.

Reduce the amount of bread and dairy you consumed in the off-season by one-third.

Regarding the bread, you should never eat white bread. Opt for whole wheat or whole grain. Ezekiel Bread is very popular with fit people and competitive physique athletes. This brand is sprouted, made from whole grains and legumes, and contains no refined flour or sugar. This is purely an unpaid testimonial, but it also has a lot more flavor than any white bread I’ve ever tried.

Week 6

Cheat meals should be a maximum of three per week. All other variables remain the same.

Weeks 5-3

Eliminate starchy/complex carbohydrates from final two meals of the day.

Bread and dairy consumption should be reduced to half the amount you were eating previously, during the rest of the year before your 8-week fat-loss program began.

Week 2

Cheat meals should be a maximum of two per week.

Reduce your bread and dairy so that it’s roughly a third of how much you consumed during the rest of the year.

Week 1

Cheat meals are still allowed this final week at two for the week.

Eliminate starchy/complex carbohydrates from final three meals of the day. Ideally, two of your meals with carbs should be the meals before and after training.

Bread and dairy should either be fully eliminated or reduced to two servings of each per week. 

Week 0 – Cutting Diet Officially Begins

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Complex carbs should be eaten with no more than three meals per day, though this is an individual matter. Some people can lean out while still taking in ample carbohydrates, while others must consume very low carbs to lose fat. Again, the two meals where your carbohydrates will be utilized best will be your pre- and post-workout meals, so plan accordingly depending on what time of day you train. If you train in the evening, your carb meals will be eaten later in the day as opposed to someone who trains in the morning.

You should not have more than one cheat meal per week, and some who have a tougher time dropping body fat should not have any cheat meals.

All bread and dairy products should be eliminated.

Easing Back Into Cardio

Though you may feign ignorance, you are doubtless aware of the benefits of cardio. Yet even knowing it’s necessary for both maintaining good cardiovascular conditioning, i.e., a strong and healthy lungs and heart, as well as keeping body fat in check, many people drop cardio from their program the minute they decide they have kicked off their off-season. And trust me, I get it. Cardio is something most of us never signed on for. Personally, I started lifting weights at age 13-14 and didn’t begin doing any type of cardio until I had already been competing as a natural bodybuilder for three years. Even then, I did it grudgingly, holding it in contempt as a necessary evil if I wanted to shed the layer of blubber I’d accumulated via force-feeding at least double the amount of calories my body required in the form of 2-pound baked potatoes, bowls of rice large enough to use as helmets, and the sugar-laden mega-calorie weight gainers in vogue at the time. I did what many bodybuilders still do today, which was to take my cardio from zero to 60 overnight. I was able to get away with this shock to the system back then as I was just a whippersnapper in his early to mid-20s. By the time I was on the wrong side of 30, I was alarmed to find how badly I would suck wind if I returned to cardio after more than a month or so away from it. That’s when I realized it would behoove me to keep a certain amount of cardio in my program year-round.

Unless you are one of those rare metabolic freaks who stays lean without any conscious effort, or you have a physical job that keeps you breathing heavy and burning calories, you too should strive to include a bare minimum of three 20-minute sessions per week. But let’s assume you’ve done what so many other lifters do and stopped all cardio as soon as the leaves changed color. Here’s a reasonable schedule to ease you back into a level of cardiovascular fitness so that when it’s time to drop the hammer and enter full cutting mode, you’re more than ready.

Weeks 8-7

3 x 20 minutes, moderate intensity

Perform three sessions of 20 minutes per week, moderate intensity. That means it shouldn’t be so easy you can type clever comments on Instagram posts and stories, but you shouldn’t be gasping for breath like a fish on the dock either. You should have a light sweat by about halfway through. When you do these three sessions, as with any time you’re getting your cardio in, is up to you, your schedule, and your availability. We can all argue the relative benefits of fasted cardio versus doing it after your weights, or even in a fed state on days off from weight training. No studies have ever proven superior fat-burning results, though many people have verified over the past 20 or so years through their own experience that fasted morning cardio does seem to burn more body fat than doing it at other times. This seems particularly true once your body fat is already low. Since we’re not trying to get shredded in this transition phase, don’t fret if you can’t do fasted cardio. You can do it after your weight-training workout, though I would save your post-workout shake with carbs until after the cardio, so you don’t have that shake sloshing around in your belly. You can eat breakfast before heading off to the gym or to your own cardio machine at home; just give your body a good hour or more to digest it first.

I can say that I felt physically better and more energetic performing cardio with a meal in me. Those of you who follow Dr. Layne Norton know that he has effectively debunked the need to do your cardio in a fasted state. So long as you get it done and burn the calories, it really doesn’t matter.

Weeks 6-4

4 x 20 minutes, moderate intensity

We are adding another cardio day now, which takes you to four 20-minute sessions per week. For those of you grumbling about that, try to look on the bright side. In the old days, you had only your Sony Walkman and a cassette to keep you going during cardio, which eventually became a CD and a Sony Discman. MP3 players and iPods were the next evolution. Now, all of you own smartphones with access to almost unlimited text, audio, and video content.

Weeks 3-1

4 x 30 minutes, moderate intensity

For our final three weeks of spring training before it’s time to jump into full-fledged cutting, we’re keeping the frequency at four cardio sessions per week, but the duration bumps up from 20 to 30 minutes. Do the math and this has you hitting a total of two hours of cardio a week. That’s enough to make a real dent and melt away some of that winter hibernation fat you put on. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing the biggest difference in your body fat at this stage.

Weight Training

By now, the more detail-oriented among you might be asking, what about the weight training? What should I change, if anything? You may know from some of my previous articles that I believe in utilizing more intensity techniques such as drop sets, supersets, and giant sets in the off-season rather than in the cutting/prep phase as most people prefer to. This is because anything that ramps up your workload and intensity also takes a higher toll on your recovery ability. It makes sense to work harder and longer with the weights when your body has more resources to apply toward recovery. That’s why you should put those techniques into practice when you are in a surplus of energy and calories rather than a deficit.

Assuming you are doing this, the spring training period should see you gradually scaling back toward more straight sets. If you’re doing drop sets or supersets at every workout for every body part, start limiting them to just two exercises per body part, then one. Try to match the rate you transition back to straight sets with your increasing cardio frequency and your decrease in carb meals per day and cheat meals per week. Think in terms of overall energy expenditure, or energy in (food) versus energy out (weights and cardio).

As you can see, there’s no need to ever drastically jump into or out of fat-burning mode. Work your way into the summer cutting phase gradually with this “Spring Forward” spring training program, and you’ll be in an excellent position to launch your successful shredding regimen.

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Stop Buying Foods You Shouldn’t Eat

Unless you share your living area with junk-food junkies (or children), you’re in full control of what you stock your refrigerator and cupboards with. You can’t eat crap like cookies, muffins, or frozen bean burritos if they aren’t in your home in the first place. Try to do your food shopping on the perimeter of the supermarket where they stock the healthier basics like fruits, vegetables, fresh meat, fish, eggs, and poultry. Stay the hell away from the aisles full of cereal, snacks, soda, and candy. They can be very tempting, especially if you spy some sweet two-for-one deal. You’re better off leaving those aisles alone.

Start Meal Prepping

It’s always easier to eat cleaner when you have clean food already made that you just need to heat up in the toaster oven or microwave. Meal prepping is something a lot of people only start doing after Memorial Day when they panic and realize it’s going to be beach weather in a few weeks. Don’t wait that long! Start taking one day a week, maybe Sunday, to grill, fry, and bake batches of chicken, ground turkey or beef, and fish to freeze so you won’t have to cook the rest of the week. Otherwise, if most of us must choose between cooking fresh, clean food every day if not several times a day or going for fast food, the easier option often wins out even if it means we know we aren’t eating right. We are all busy in 2023, so use your time wisely. Be prepared to eat clean, and it won’t be an excuse not to.

Take a Break From Social Media

I confess I stole this one from four-time Classic Physique Olympia champ Chris Bumstead. Like me and most of you, he has no love for cardio. One way he makes the time pass by faster for his fasted cardio is to not even check his texts, emails, or messages on social media until he’s on the treadmill or StepMill. If you’re even a remotely busy person, answering those should take up a good chunk of the time you’re huffing away burning calories. Before you know it, you’re done!

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By: Ron Harris
Title: Get a Beach Body: 8-Week Plan
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Published Date: Wed, 24 May 2023 14:38:01 +0000

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Mens Health

The Keys to Success: Determination, Consistency and Desire



WADE 47 600

Relentless Pursuit

By IFBB Pro Josh Wade

Sponsored by ALLMAX

Weight training changed my life, kept me out of trouble and gave me a sense of accomplishment I never had before so I immediately fell in love with the sport of bodybuilding and after about eight years of serious training, I wanted to show my hard work and compete on a bodybuilding stage. At that point I was all in and even as a first-time competitor I ate, trained, and studied like a pro, reading articles in Muscular Development magazine about how the pros trained, their reps and sets and the splits they used and what their meals looked like.

From 2006-2014 I was as consistent as anyone could be climbing from a middleweight to a super heavyweight and finishing top five at multiple national level shows and narrowly missing my pro card multiple times. In 2015 I had two surgeries (shoulder scope and triceps tendon reattachment) and missed the whole season, which had me in a depression with self-doubt that after all the years of grinding and complete devotion to the sport I love, I couldn’t compete again and fulfill my dream of becoming an IFBB Pro! After that season I got a message from Dante Trudel, whom I highly respected, but I had no idea he knew who I was saying, “Hey man, I didn’t see you at the National shows this year and you are so close I hope you didn’t hang it up.”

The realization that people followed me and were rooting for me and supporting me lit a fire under my ass and my self-doubt (weak mind) turned off and I found the drive to push harder than I ever have – and from that point on my mind would never again be my limiting factor to seeing how far I could go – and that’s why I work so hard every day in the pursuit of my dreams and goals, which had taken me as far as making the Olympia in 2018.

I’m writing this the day after Samson Dauda won the 2023 Arnold Classic in Ohio. He is a true testament of Determination, Consistency and Desire to accomplish your goals and dreams. I met Samson and his wife Mel in 2019 as he was just coming on to the scene and competed with Samson a few times that year where I bested him in those shows. His humbleness and character are what immediately drew so many people to him, but you could see he had the desire to be Great! Every time I think of Samson’s rise, I think back to when he was quarantined in a hotel room getting ready to compete at a show using only bands to train. He was away from his family, secluded from the world in pursuit of his dreams; that’s sacrifice. The point is Samson has determination and desire, but his consistency is what’s allowed him to climb to the top so fast and already be one of the (if not the) best bodybuilders in the world! Like my late friend, coach and mentor John Meadows always said, “You never know what you are truly capable of unless you give it your all”!

WADE 47 600 1

Better Sleep, Growth and Recovery

Q: I work a lot of night shifts, and I know sleep is crucial for growth and recovery. Do you have any tips?


Honestly, I think no matter what your work schedule is, it’s the consistency that matters the most so your body gets used to what you want it to do and when. During the week, I’m lucky if I get six to six and a half hours of sleep nightly with a few extra hours on the weekends, and I feel rested because again that’s what my body is used to. Calories and rest are the most important things for recovery and growth but a lot times it is hard to get the recommended eight hours of sleep, so then it becomes even that much more important to get enough calories and protein at frequent intervals to keep your body in a positive nitrogen balance – so make sure to eat every three to four hours while you are awake and have a protein shake after your workout to keep consistent calories to allow your body to grow. Supplements around training are a super beneficial and easy way to make sure you are getting adequate nutrients to support recovery and growth.

To aid in recovery and growth I use a lot of intra-workout nutrition, making sure to shuttle the nutrients I need into the muscle I’m training, which is another thing I learned from John Meadows. Carbs are super important for growth and recovery so even people on lower-carb diets can benefit from intra-workout carbs to make sure their workouts don’t suffer.


1 scoop Impact Pump (helps increase blood flow and transportation of nutrients while significantly helping the focus for mind-muscle connection)

1 scoop Aminocore (prevents muscle tissue breakdown during training)

10g Glutamine (helps with DOMS, insulin sensitivity, gut health and immune system)

5g Creatine (for that fast-acting, explosive power needed to push weights and helps with muscle hydration)

1 scoop Carbion (50g carbs) (really helps with energy and endurance during workout by giving your body carbs that don’t have to be digested, therefore they are readily available for fuel)


2 scoops IsoFlex (fast-digesting protein with essential amino acids to start the building or repairing process immediately)

10g Glutamine again (helps with DOMS, insulin sensitivity, gut health and immune system)

Give these a try and I can guarantee your energy, intensity and pumps will dramatically increase in the gym.

ALLMAX is now selling directly to the consumer. For a great discount on all your Allmax Nutrition products, go to and use code JOSHWADE15 for 15% off.

For questions you would like answered in my column or coaching inquiries, please email






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By: Team FitRx
Title: The Keys to Success: Determination, Consistency and Desire
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Published Date: Thu, 11 May 2023 21:09:00 +0000

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