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Fitness Articles

KISS: A Beginner’s Guide to Fitness

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Gym Beginners
[vc_column_text]KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. When you’re new to lifting, things can seem overwhelming. Here are three basic principles critical to success and without any fluff.

If you’re just getting going in the iron-game, it can be really hard to know where to start, who to trust, and what to do when it comes both exercise and dietary advice.  There are literally 10s of thousands of businesses and self proclaimed “experts” all trying to convince you that their products are the best, or that they’ve uncovered secret exercise methodologies that you NEED in order to get results.   Thankfully, there also some resources out here like Fitness Informant that are actually here to HELP, rather than sell you a bunch of bullshit and hype you don’t really need.   And never mind confuse you in the process.

Yes, there have been advances in supplement design over the years. And yeah, as time passes there are more and more training systems to seemingly to choose from, often with guys who weigh 300lbs and are three-percent body-fat promising you if you just listen to them—you’ll look like them in short order.  Sound too good to be true? Probably is.

But here’s a little secret that won’t make anyone any money but can most definitely help you find results:  what’s always worked—still works and there are a few basic things we all need to account for.   Before you worry too much about having the latest and great pre-workout, or the right colored blood-flow-restriction-training straps to match your new fancy flat-bottomed lifting shoes and tights—here are three things to make sure you’ve got a handle on first.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]

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Make Nutrition a Priority

By definition, a supplement is supplementing something else—that’s why it is in-fact– called a “supplement” and not a “solution.”    They can be fun to buy and talk about, I get it.  But before you worry about whether you should buy the chocolate or vanilla flavored protein powder, the whey or the casein,—have an honest conversation with yourself about your regular food intake first.   Are you eating a diet rich in high quality whole foods?  Quality proteins and starch are critical for putting on any appreciable muscle mass—and getting these things in the right amounts is important as well. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “I eat a lot but I don’t gain any weight” I’d be rich. Busllshit.  Newsflash—you’re not defying the first law of thermodynamics.   So, if you are “eating a lot” but not gaining weight—you aren’t eating enough, it IS that simple.   (Same applies incidentally if your goal is weight loss—if that scale isn’t going down, you’re consuming too much relative to what you’re burning—end of story. It’s not because you’re missing some fat burner.)

One thing the gym-going crowd often seems to forget about is vegetables.  While not as sexy as that big cut of red meat—vegetables are critical for too many reasons to list.  They keep you running optimally and provide loads of micro-nutrition that we all need to function at our best.    And that’s before we even look at things like the positive effect of the fiber they provide on gut-health.

Just like workouts, consistent nutrition is important and a fundamental building block of anyone who is going to have success in the gym.   If your diet is inconsistent, or built around fast or convenience foods, or your more worried about your pre-workout consumption than your vegetable consumption—it’s time to get honest with yourself and make some changes.  Supplements can certainly help, but its critical to understand this starts with real food first.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]

Do The Work Gym
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Be Willing to do the Work

There is no supplement or work around for attitude and work ethic.   When it comes to building muscle in the gym, what you’re willing to do and the time you’re willing to put in will trump almost everything else–save perhaps diet.  Look, I like going to the gym most of the time, but I have days where I feel tired, have a work or family thing going on, or something else pops up.  But I go those days to, because you know what? Consistency can NOT be over stated. If you only go the gym when the stars align, and everything is perfect—I hate to be the one to tell you– but you’re not likely to experience much in the way of results.   Don’t tell yourself you’re too busy because you likely aren’t–and the first time you tell yourself that, it’s that much easier to use the same excuse next time.  Priorities get done, don’t over complicate it.

If getting to the gym is step one, step two is doing shit that matters when you get there.  That means doing what needs to be done instead of just doing what you like. Don’t be the idiot doing curls in the squat rack, especially when your best 1RM on a squat is 85lbs.  Are you willing to get under a weight that might make you a little nervous from time to time?  Are you willing to try and bang out one more rep when your legs feel like they’re on fire? Are you willing to push outside your comfort zone?? Because you know grows in the comfort zone?  Body fat, not muscle.

You know what makes me want to slap people?  And guys—this is way more common with us than the ladies… “Well, uh, I don’t really do leg day because my legs get plenty of work through my cycling. “  Or skiing. Or whatever.  Really dude??! Translation:  legs are hard and I don’t like to put that mean heavy bar on my back, cause it hurts me!!  So I make shit up to convince myself this is ok.”    Or leg day is all leg-presses and seated-knee extensions.  Look, if you’ve got an injury, or are further down the road in your training life—there certainly can be a place in a program for both leg-pressing and knee-extensions. The latter is a great quad-isolation move that body builders have used for years.   But—odds are, that isn’t you.  If you’re doing leg-presses and calf-raises for leg day because “squatting is hard” and you don’t like it?  Well– time for a reality check.   Axial loading (like a barbell back squat) will make your whole body stronger, and the hormonal response will benefit your whole body, not just your legs.  Don’t short change yourself.

Show up, show up consistency and work hard.  There is no way around this, and this brings me to my final point.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]

Squats are Key
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Get Really Good at the Basis

In their book, “New Rules for Liftings” Schuler and Cosgrove take the approach that human body is capable of producing six foundational level movements:  pressing, pulling, squatting, hinge, lunge and rotation.  I’ve trained hundreds of people and I really like this way of thinking initially because it keeps things relatively simple conceptually when people are new.

When you are starting out, get really, really good at these basic movements and make progress with them before you worry about more advanced programing and modalities.  It blows my mind when I walk through most gyms at what I see.   Take the bench press, “how much ya bench bro?”   You’ll see guys who have elbows flared at 90 degrees to their shoulder instead of tucked.  Zero upper-back tightness or arch, and when they struggle to press that sucker up?? You get that one leg coming off the floor and flailing around in space like Dido’s white flag of surrender.  If you can push any real weight, you already know total body tightness is key (as it is on every lift) and leg drive can help you press a big weight.   Same is true with a good squat—there is a lot more going on there than simply throwing the bar on your back and releasing the brakes and letting gravity take over.  Understand this stuff—and then work to master it.   Even at 25 years into this stuff, I am constantly trying to set my shoulders tighter and always working on my set up—and I’m still able to make incremental improvements.   It might not seem as exciting as trying that new pump-arm workout you saw on the cover of Suns-Out Guns-Out Magazine, but you’re laying down a foundation for long term success.

If you can’t bench, squat and dead your own body weight (and hopefully then some) don’t spend tons of time on things like direct arm work, worrying about your quad sweep or spend hours trying to bring up your rear delts.  Nothing will build total body strength like heavy compound movements, and the best tools in any gym and those barbells and dumbbells-get to know them.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]

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About The Author

Chris Bremner, NSAM CPT is a Level 1 Resistance Training Specialist (RTS) and a Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, while holding numerous certifications from NSAM. Chris has been around gyms since he was 13 years of age. Chris currently runs his own personal training business (Trend Healthy) and is the head trainer at one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies.

Chris is passionate about helping others achieve the best versions of themselves through better health and fitness. To date, Chris has helped trained hundreds of people and have helped them reach their goals over the years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/3″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]

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TUDCA: The Ultimate Liver Health Supplement

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TUDCA Liver Supplement
[vc_column_text]All too often in this “industry” we focus on external appearance versus the more important aspect of our health, our internal organs. We are willing to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on supplement stacks that target our workouts: pre-workout, protein, amino acids. But when it comes down to our internal organs, we neglect them. Completely. There is a name for people who only care about external appearance: bros. Here’s a tip kids, don’t be a bro. Take care of your internal organs, especially your liver.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

The Liver

The liver is the largest solid organ in the human body. It is also the largest gland in the human body. The liver has many major functions, most of them extend from the liver’s main function: bile production. Bile production is responsible for so many things including metabolization of fats and proteins. Failure to produce enough bile is a condition known as Cholestasis.

Cholestasis

Cholestasis is the medical diagnosis for a disorder of the liver causing a stoppage or block in bile production. While bile production is stopped, the pigment bilirubin escapes into the bloodstream and accumulates.

In a healthy liver, bilirubin joins with the bile in the liver and moves through the digestive tract. Bilirubin is extracted from the body through the stool or urine.

In an unhealthy liver, suffering from cholestasis, bilirubin leads into the blood stream which can cause jaundice. You may have heard of jaundice in babies…this is exactly that. It can also lead intense itching and dark urine.

Causes of Cholestasis

Being a fitness centric website, we want to focus on two big causes of cholestasis: alcohol and steroid abuse.

First, alcoholics are prone to cholestasis due to alcoholic liver disease. Alcoholic liver disease is a result of overconsuming alcohol that damages the liver, leading to a buildup of fats, inflammation, and scarring. If you’ve been to college, I am sure you have consumed your fair share amounts of alcohol. Yes, you may not have been diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease, but you sure as hell didn’t do yourself, or your liver, any favors. If you consume large amounts of alcohol, you should be concerned about your liver health.

Steroid abuse can also lead to cholestasis. What do we mean by abuse? Well really, if you are on any sort of steroid cycle, you should be concerned about your liver health. A liver supplement should always be taken while on a cycle, even if you think you’re not abusing. The fact is, more people do abuse steroids, taking large amounts in a short period of time. Developing cholestasis, and then jaundice from steroid use, can lead to severe pain, discomfort and weight-loss…seems counter intuitive for someone taking steroids.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

TUDCA

Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, more commonly referred to as TUDCA, is a bile salt that is found naturally occurring in the body. TUDCA is a water-soluble bile salt, which is in contrast to regular bile salts possessing both water soluble and fat soluble ends and conferring a detergent effect. This is good for the bile salt’s biological purpose (emulsifying fats in the intestines to help with absorption) but when bile acids back up in the liver, a clinical state called cholestasis which occurs when the liver is unhealthy, these bile salts can be damaging to cells by destroying the membranes and signalling for cell death. TUDCA and other water soluble bile salts like UDCA compete with this toxicity and thus indirectly protect cells from death [source: Examine.com].

Studies on TUDCA have shown it to prevent cholestasis. This is our go-to supplement for liver health. Even if you’re not on steroids, or you don’t consume alcohol, you should still take care of your liver health, and TUDCA is the ultimate source to do that.

On-top-of preventing cholestasis, TUDCA also has been shown to combat elevated liver enzymes. Those on anabolic steroids can suffer from elevated liver enzymes. This is another reason to take TUDCA for your liver health.

TUDCA is FDA-approved for treatment of liver diseases caused by lack of bile flow (cholestasis). A growing body of evidence is also supporting the use of TUDCA for diseases beyond the liver.

TUDCA Dosage

A study on TUDCA tested doses of 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 1,500 mg per day over six months, finding that there was little difference between the doses. It is recommended to consumer 500mg to 1,500mg per day. Use your brain here, if you’re on steroids or consume massive amounts of alcohol, lean towards the 1,500mg per day.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]

Where to buy TUDCA?

The biggest issue with TUDCA is sourcing. Most companies look to come out with a TUDCA supplement, but cannot source high quality TUDCA consistently (TUDCA can either come from bear bile or synthetically produced.) The highest quality TUDCA is sourced from live, wild bears. This makes it extremely difficult and, to some, taboo.

The one way to know you’re getting a high quality TUDCA supplement is to ask for a third-party test of their TUDCA product. We did just that with a company called Leviathan Nutrition. They had no problem sending us their third-party testing that shows they have high quality TUDCA.

The testing revealed that their TUDCA was 286.88mg our of 300mg TUDCA. That is 95.6% TUDCA. Honestly, this isn’t bad at all considering how tough this stuff is to source. The purity level was 95.99% pure.

Here’s the best part, it’s affordable. May TUDCA’s you find online are really expensive, but they also do not post their test results. Leviathan Nutrition offers affordable, quality TUDCA that you should take, especially if you’re on “gear” or drink a lot of alcohol.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]

TUDCA Results
TUDCA results
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LEVIATHAN NUTRITION TUDCA
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LEVIATHAN NUTRITION TUDCA label
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A Quick Guide To Fats – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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A Quick Guide To Fats
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Fats

The old-age opinion on fats are that they are bad, and you should avoid them at all costs. This is the farthest thing from the truth. In fact, fats provide a source of energy and help you build lean muscle. The trick is knowing which fats to consume and which ones to avoid.

Your daily intake of fats vary on your fitness goals and your overall activity levels. It can also depend on the type of foods you like to eat. If you generally like higher fat foods like bacon, your fat intake might be calculated more when determining your macros.

Are you always buying fat-free foods at the store? Think again. Fats are essential to a healthy life. The important part about fats is knowing which ones to consume and which ones to avoid. Fats play a big part in your cholesterol levels and prevention of certain illnesses. Let’s take a closer look at the different classifications of fats. Then we will provide you with a list of healthy sources of fats.

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Saturated Fats

Goal: Limit

Foods that contain high amounts of Saturated Fats:

  • Red Meat
  • Seafood
  • Dairy

Saturated fats are to be consumed in moderation. Too many saturated fats can increase your total cholesterol and your LDL (bad cholesterol). This can cause you to develop a variety of illnesses and diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

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Cholesterol

Goal: Limit

Foods that contain high amounts of Cholesterol:

  • Seafood
  • Eggs

Cholesterol contains HDL (High-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as the “good cholesterol” and LDL (Low-density lipoprotein), also known as the “bad cholesterol.” You want to limit your intake of LDLs, bad cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can cause you to develop high blood pressure and heart disease.

 

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Cholesterol
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Unsaturated Fats

Goal: Increase

Foods that contain high amounts of Unsaturated Fats:

  • Olive Oil
  • Seafood
  • Nuts

Unsaturated fats contain three variations: Polyunsaturated, Monounsaturated and trans fats. The difference between Polyunsatured and Monounsaturated fats from trans fats are that trans fats are solid at room temperature, while the other two are not. You want to avoid trans fats, which we will talk about, but you want to increase your Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats.

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Polyunsaturated Fats

Goal: Increase

Foods that contain high amounts Polyunsaturated Fats:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fish

Polyunsaturated fats also contain Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Polyunsaturated fats are healthy for you. Polyunsaturated Fats help lower your total cholesterol levels and reduce the bad cholesterol, LDLs. Omega-3s and Omega-6s will be discussed next in this guide.

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Omega-3s

Goal: Increase

Foods that contain high amounts of Omega-3s:

  • Fish
  • Soy
  • Walnuts

Omega-3s are extremely important to your overall health. They are an essential fatty acid. This means our body cannot produce them, so we must obtain them from food sources or supplements. Omega-3s help fight inflammation, help control blood clotting and lower blood pressure. A lot of dietary supplement companies sell Omega-3 supplement, most popular is fish oil capsules.

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Omega 3 Oil
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Omega-6s

Goal: Maintain

Foods that contain high amounts Omega-6s:

  • Vegetable Oils

Omega-6s are necessary for our bodies since they are an essential fatty acid, just like Omega-3s. A healthy balance of Omega-6s help with growth and brain functions.

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Monounsaturated Fats

Goal: Increase

Foods that contain high amounts Monounsaturated Fats:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Peanut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil

Monounsaturated Fats raise your body’s HDL levels and lower your LDL levels. If you recall from before, HDL is “good cholesterol” and LDL is “bad cholesterol.”

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Trans Fats

Goal: Eliminate

Foods that contain high amounts Trans Fats:

  • Processed Foods
  • Fast Food
  • Deep Fried Foods

Trans fats increase total cholesterol and LDL while lowering HDL. Words to look for on labels include hydrogenated, par ally hydrogenated, or shortening.

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[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]We are all about a healthy balance, but we cannot say enough bad things about Trans Fats. We want you to avoid these at all costs. There is a common saying when it comes to healthy food consumption: shop the outside of the store. What does this mean? It means that typically the foods on the outsides of the grocery store are fresh and not processed. The foods you find in cans, bags and boxes typically are highly processed foods that contain Trans Fats.

Your best friend when it comes to understanding the fats you are consuming will be the nutritional label on the foods you eat. Take a minute to read over the ingredients. Although the total amount of fat a food item contains is important to your macros, you also want to look at what type of fats are making up that total amount of fat. A better understanding of fats will help improve your overall health.

The following is a list of foods that contain healthy fats that you can include in your macronutrient plan, along with their macronutrient profile.

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Avocado

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Avocado
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Weight: 100g
Total Fat: 15g
Saturated: 2.1g
Ployunsaturated: 1.8g
Monounsaturated: 10g

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Coconut Oil

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Coconut Oil
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1 Tablspoon
Total Fat: 14g
Saturated: 12g
Ployunsaturated: 0.2g
Monounsaturated: 0.8g

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Olive Oil

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Olive Oil
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1 Tablespoon
Total Fat: 14g
Saturated: 1.9g
Ployunsaturated: 1.4g
Monounsaturated: 10g

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Grilled Salmon

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Grilled Salmon
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Weight: 3oz
Total Fat: 6g
Saturated: 0.8g
Ployunsaturated: 1.3g
Monounsaturated: 1.2g

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Chia Seeds

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Chia Seeds
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Weight: 100g
Total Fat: 31g
Saturated: 3.3g
Ployunsaturated: 24g
Monounsaturated: 2.3g

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Grilled Tuna

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Grilled Tuna
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Weight: 3oz
Total Fat: 5g
Saturated: 1.4g
Ployunsaturated: 1.6g
Monounsaturated: 1.7g

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