Cover art for podcast Finally Fearless with Dr. Mel

Finally Fearless with Dr. Mel

106 EpisodesProduced by Dr. Melissa Cioffi, PTWebsite

Navigating the health and wellness industry is confusing: but it shouldn't have to be! Join the discussion with Dr. Mel where she exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly in regard to women's health and wellness, and learn just how you can demand the life you deserve.

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E105: How many skipped workouts does it take to go backwards?

September 22nd, 2023


Ever worried about undoing all your hard work if you skip 1, 2, 20 workout sessions? In today's episode, we are talking all about how consistency and capacity play into your body's response to exercise (or lack thereof) …

E104: Sciatica - What it is, what it does, and how TF do you get a handle on it?

September 15th, 2023


I know you've heard of sciatica: whether you know someone who has gone through it or you have experienced it yourself, it can be scary and confusing. …

E103: What to do when you've tried everything

September 8th, 2023


Ever feel like you've tried everything under the sun when it comes to "closing the gap" of your diastasis recti, reducing your leaking during workouts, or just getting stronger? Today we are talking about things to …

E102: How much weight should you be lifting?

September 1st, 2023


There's a myth going around that lifting weights is dangerous for your pelvic floor.

The truth is, you're essentially lifting every day of your life: …

E101: Not weighing yourself? How do you know if your workout is "working?"

August 25th, 2023


You've decided to stop shrinking your body and using this as the sole outcome measure of whether your exercise program is working for you. But now …

E100: Are you too busy to find joy?

August 11th, 2023


I stepped out of my comfort zone last weekend and attended a workshop where we learned how to discover joy in our lives.

It's wild (and sad) to me that so many of us are walking around, going through the motions of our …

E99: Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor - The One Thing I Want You to Keep in Mind

August 4th, 2023


A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the best piece of fitness advice I have for you: today we are talking about the best piece of pelvic floor advice I have for you when it comes to strengthening your pelvic floor.

E98: Hoohas and Dingalings - How the Way You Speak About Your Body Affects Your Pelvic Floor Performance

July 28th, 2023


It's absolutely wild to me that people get offended when someone calls a penis or vagina by their "actual" anatomical names. Beyond the embarrassment …

E97: The Best Piece of Fitness Advice I Can Give Anyone...

July 21st, 2023


"What should I be mindful of when recovering from ____?"

You can insert anything here: injury, surgery, giving birth...

...and this also applies to …

E96: Seasoned With Salt - So Your MD Is Gatekeeping Pelvic Rehab; Now What?

July 14th, 2023


Something that is (mind blowingly) common in my line of work is when MDs and healthcare providers tell people to "wait and see" whether their leaking …

E95: "Can I still work with my personal trainer if I'm having knee pain?"

June 30th, 2023


Have you ever pushed through pain or leaking or just not feeling "right" in your body during a workout?

Maybe you're not sure when to push through discomfort and when to stop and modify.

Maybe you're not sure of the …

E94: Keys to a Better Sex Life

June 23rd, 2023


"How can I make my sex life better?"

This is a question I get asked very often. And exactly what we are answering on today's episode!

Healthcare is a …

E93: Will Joining a Gym Motivate You to Workout?

June 16th, 2023


Thinking about joining a gym to gain more consistency with your workouts? Today we are talking about the points you may not have considered when it comes down to becoming a gym member, helping you to get some insight …

E92: When The "Jokes" We Tell Aren't That Funny

June 9th, 2023


You're newly postpartum and you make the mistake of sneezing.

All of a sudden, you really wish you didn't decide that today was the day you went without a pad.

"Welcome to the mommy club, where peeing your pants is …

E91: Personal Trainer or a Physical Therapist - Who Should You See and When?

June 2nd, 2023


A question I get very frequently is "when should I see a physical therapist vs. a personal trainer?"

For many of my clients, they work with both at …

E90: Seasoned With Salt - The Internet Says I Don’t Like Women

May 26th, 2023


This episode is seasoned with a lot of salt! Today, we are touching on the new social media pastime of accusing people of "not supporting women" any time someone calls out trash behavior exhibited by a woman, how I've …

E89: How Much Exercise Do You Need to Get In?

May 18th, 2023


According to the CDC recommendation, we should be getting 150 min of "moderate intensity" exercise + 2 strength training sessions in each week in …

E88: Seasoned with Salt - Mother's Day Myths

May 12th, 2023


Grifters are ALWAYS gonna grift. In today's (salty) episode, we are covering all the trash rhetoric surrounding (and preying on) people who have given birth. These range from, at best, things that waste your time, …

E87: Are you checking in or checking out?

May 5th, 2023


How many times do you feel like you're just coasting through your workouts or your life in general? We are oftentimes told what we "should" be doing, …

E86: All Things Pelvic Organ Prolapse

March 17th, 2023


Pelvic organ prolapse happens in 35-50% of postpartum people, yet no one ever talks about it.

Even more mind blowing is people don't realize that it …

E85: Are You Eating Enough?

March 10th, 2023


"Are you eating enough?"

This is a question I ask most private clients, regardless of the body standing in front of me. Oftentimes, our healthcare system/providers perpetuate this idea that larger bodies = eating more …

E84: Are You Ever "Enough?"

February 17th, 2023


Who would've guessed that Rihanna's Super Bowl performance would have brought so many women's health issues to the forefront (and hence finally help …

E83: "Dangerous" Exercises for Your Pelvic Floor

February 10th, 2023


Ever wonder whether you "should" be doing planks or squats because you've heard they're bad for your pelvic floor? Today we are hashing out what …

E82: Why You're Not Feeling Stronger In Your Workouts...and How to Fix That

January 20th, 2023


Ever feel like you're spinning your wheels when it comes to your workouts? Like, no matter how consistent you are, not matter how much you work, you just feel like you're never getting any stronger?

Back when I was a …

E81: Lifting Weights and the Pelvic Floor

January 6th, 2023


If you've been on IG or TikTok over the past couple of months, you might have seen the hype videos circulating around a woman bodybuilder who was …

E80: 5 Thoughts to Leave Behind in 2022 - Pelvic Floor Edition

December 30th, 2022


I'm not really a resolution type of person; instead, I like to look back at thoughts and habits that didn't serve me very well in the current year …

E79: How Long Should You Workout?

December 23rd, 2022


How long should an "effective" workout be? We are talking all about it on today's episode!

Healthcare is a difficult territory for women to navigate, …

E78: The #1 Thing I See Medical Doctors Get Wrong

December 16th, 2022


You had a baby. Or tore your ACL. Or injured your back.

You still feel like a hot bag of garbage.

But your MD says all imaging and labs look great and you can just ease yourself back into your "normal" activities.

E77: How Do You Know Who to Listen to for Diet & Exercise Advice?

December 9th, 2022


Ever follow a health & wellness "guru" on social media, only to find out, down the line, that what they were saying holds no merit?

I say it …

E76: How Diet Culture Creeps Into Your Healthcare...and Keeps You Stuck

December 2nd, 2022


I was scrolling through my IG wall the other day; the two things I post about most are the pelvic floor (cuz, duh!) and the absolute nonsense that is …

E75: 3 Mistakes You're Making In The Gym

November 18th, 2022


Today, I'm challenging how you go about your workouts, especially if you're doing them in the gym. In this episode, I am reviewing 3 of the most common mistakes I see in the gym that I wish more people were aware of: …

E74: Confessions From the Mall Fitting Room

November 11th, 2022


This week, I ventured into one of the places I hate the most: the fitting room.

In the past, trips like these would send me into a spiral of striving …

E73: Feel Like Your Life Is On Hold Cuz You Can't Lose Weight?

November 4th, 2022


"Once I lose 20 pounds, I'll go on that trip." How many of us create this compromise? That if we lose weight and reach a certain number on the scale, that THEN our life can really begin? How many times have we put off …

E72: Combating “Bad” Diet and Exercise Days

October 28th, 2022


You've skipped your workout for the 3rd time this week. Or you've eaten a slice of pizza instead of your usual kale salad for lunch. Does this make you "bad?"

Many of us "fall off the wagon" in regard to whatever plan …

E71: WTF Does a Pelvic Floor Exam Look Like?

October 21st, 2022


Someone sent me a post from a very large social media account, spreading all kinds of misinformation about what pelvic rehab professionals do. No, we don't "finger" people. No, we don't have your legs up in the air. Not …

E70: Myth of the Week: Pelvic Floor Issues Only Happen In Pregnant/Postpartum Peeps

October 14th, 2022


I'll often have someone reach out after following me for YEARS, finally asking whether working on their pelvic is "weird" because they're young or …

E69: Is Diet Culture Keeping You Sick?

October 7th, 2022


Have you ever felt guilty for calling in sick? Or forced yourself through a workout, despite not feeling your best? In today's episode, we are …

E68: Your Relationship With Exercise May Be What's Holding You Back

September 12th, 2022


How many of us think of exercise as a way to get/stay "healthy," ie lose weight?

What if I told you we are going about it all wrong?

The reality is, …

E67: The Exercise You're NOT Doing That Prevents Pelvic Floor Woes

September 5th, 2022


Women are so afraid of lifting heavy shit for reasons that are all untrue, still feeding into the idea that...⁣

  • You're gonna get bulky (you won't).⁣

E66: Are You Selfish ENOUGH?

August 29th, 2022


I went on a trip recently and you know that whole spiel they do with the oxygen masks on a plane? The one where they tell you to put your child's …

E65: Rethinking Our Relationships

June 24th, 2022


When you hear the word "relationship," what do you think of?

In many cases, we automatically think of our significant others, our romantic partners: but is that all? Granted, these people are so prominent in our lives …

E64: Are you using exercise as your "therapy?"

June 3rd, 2022


Shoving your feelings down and "getting your therapy" by forcing yourself through a hard workout is the complete OPPOSITE of health. When trainers, physical therapists, etc are advising you to "get over it" for an hour …

E63: Stuff You Should Know Before Hiring a Nutritionist

May 27th, 2022


Being a pelvic health specialist, I always ask my clients who is working on their care team; in many cases, they'll say they're working with a nutritionist which gets my brain wheels turning.

If you're dealing with …

E62: How The Heck Do You Advocate For Your Health?

May 16th, 2022


It's so easy to say "you need to advocate for yourself" when speaking with someone who is navigating a health situation. Heck, I say this stuff all the time! But it wasn't until I recently went through a scary and …

E61: Getting a Bigger Bang for Your Workout Buck

March 10th, 2022


Have you ever started or done a workout program and had this out-of-body experience? Kinda like you blacked out during it but you're panting and sweaty and just standing there like "wtf just happened?"

A lot of us do …

E60: Kegels Are an Insult to All Women

February 21st, 2022


"Just do your kegels." Sounds simple enough, right?

And everyone loves simple solutions to complex problems. "Just do kegels" has been pushed as the …

E59: Does High Intensity Exercise and Lifting Weights Set You Up for Pelvic Floor Issues?

February 7th, 2022


You may have heard that high intensity/high impact exercise and heavy weight lifting lead to pelvic floor issues like prolapse, pain, and peeing …

E58: Taking Leaps and Learning to Trust Yourself

January 24th, 2022


The other day, I was talking with a new pelvic floor PT who wants to open her own practice.

"People keep saying I need 5 years of mentorship. That I …

E57: Time / Money Saving Tips When It Comes to Using Your Insurance for Physical Therapy

January 17th, 2022


Do you know how your insurance plan works? Like really know how it works??

Lemme tell you: as a healthcare professional, even I get confused about this stuff! Copays, co-insurances, out of pocket maxes, deductibles, …

E56: Your Knee Pain Is Not a Life Sentence - A Candid Convo With Dr. Michael Stranges, PT

January 10th, 2022


Have you ever had an injury sideline you from doing the things you love? What about pain in general?

If you've ever had knee (or hip or back or any kind of pain), you know how much it sucks to have it interfere with …

E55: Setting Goals You'll Actually Stick With

January 3rd, 2022


Have you set your new year's resolution goal?

I haven't: and here's why....

I find waiting until the new year to set a "resolution" goal (or any …

E54: You Workout All The Time: Do You Actually Need Physical Therapy?

December 20th, 2021


Your hip has been nagging you for YEARS and you finally decide to do something about it. You go to your orthopedist who takes an xray and tells you …

E53: Is Your Provider Overstepping?

December 10th, 2021


It's tough asking for help, right? So when you're struggling with stuff like pain, leaking, even fitness and getting healthy in general, you're gonna trust the person in front of you who's the supposed professional, …

E52: Fear vs. Caution - How Do They Play Into Your Fitness Goals?

November 29th, 2021


Are you approaching your fitness (and life) goals based off of fear or caution? WTF is the difference anyway?

As we approach the end of the year and a fresh start to a new one, we will be bombarded by all sorts of …

E51: Best Bladder Habits

November 22nd, 2021


Did you know that how you go affects your pelvic floor health and peformance?

Whether you're experiencing issues with leaking / feeling like you have to pee "all the time," or just want to prevent these from happening …

E50: Whose Expectations Are You Trying to Meet?

November 15th, 2021


Ever feel like you "should" be at a certain point in your life by a certain age?

How do you feel if you aren't there yet?

Ever feel like you don't …

E49: Are You Stealing Your Own Joy?

November 1st, 2021


Did you ever think about how we go from the most care-free, celebrate-your-inner-child holiday (ahem, I'm talking about Halloween) to this stressed …

E48: Conversations With a Misfit Postpartum Woman Featuring Jenna Jozefowski

October 25th, 2021


How do/did you honestly feel about being pregnant? About having kids in general? About your body changing during the process?

Did you ever feel guilty for not having the flashy reveal parties or the elaborate pregnancy …

E47: Social Media Is Ruining Your Pelvic Health

October 18th, 2021


Social media is a blessing and a curse; in today's episode, we are talking more about the curse side of things. This past weekend, my fiance brought …

E46: 5 Life Lessons We Could All Learn From My "Disaster" Hike

October 11th, 2021


Pushing your body and mind on an 8 hour hike in a downpour while falling over rocks into a stream really gets the brain going lol!

In all …

E45: How Long Will You Be In Physical Therapy?

October 1st, 2021


"How long will I need PT?" This is a question I get asked very often, most times before I even evaluate the person. The thing is, so many factors play into how long you'll be a participant in PT.

Today, we will be …

E44: How Physical Therapy Fails You...and What You Can Do About It

September 24th, 2021


"Try PT and if it fails, you can get surgery."

The famous words uttered by almost every MD when referring someone to see a PT. There is so much wrong with this statement, including setting you up to believe you'll fail …

E43: Stretching Isn't Doing What You Think It Is

September 17th, 2021


"5 Stretches to help with lower back pain!"

"3 Top stretches to combat neck pain FOREVER!"

God, make it stop!!! These headlines are circulating …

E42: Does Your Trainer Actually Care About Your Health?

September 10th, 2021


We all know that exercise adds years to our lives and staves off (some) disease...but, when a "good" exercise program is deemed so because of how much weight you lose while on it, this may actually be damaging to not …

E41: Your Keys to Better Core Workouts

September 3rd, 2021


I know you've been there: you're doing all the crunches, all the sit-ups, all the planks and it seems as though you're not getting any stronger. You feel like you're expending all this energy smashing away at your abs …

E40: Navigating Bad Body Image Days

August 27th, 2021


"How are you so confident?"

I get this question a lot via emails, DMs, and speaking with people 1:1. 

The cold hard truth: I'm not.

At least not …

E39: Your Discomfort With Your Body Is Affecting Your Kids

August 20th, 2021


A few months ago in my IG story, I reposted something saying how kids should know about the pelvic floor...and people lost their absolute minds. I …

E38: Why You Feel That Having a Baby "Ruined" Your Body

August 13th, 2021


Does any of this sound familiar?⁣⁣

  • "I don't want to undo all my hard work."⁣⁣
  • "I'll never get my body back."⁣⁣
  • "I know sex will never feel the …

E37: Do Kegel Machines Help You Stop Leaking?

August 6th, 2021


I'm seeing "women's health" products and "pelvic floor physical therapy" clinics popping up everywhere; with "pelvic floor" being the new hot topic, it was only a matter of time before companies (and yes, even medical …

E36: 3 Ways to Stop Failing at Work and In Your Workouts

June 11th, 2021


As things slowly start going back to "normal" (whatever that means), you may be starting to feel ready to tackle your career and your workouts. Let's go into this new phase with a plan of attack instead of just going …

E35: Combating Stress When It Feels Like You Can't

June 4th, 2021


Stress is a way of life for many of us; sometimes, we equate being stressed out and busy as being "successful." Sure, some amounts of stress are …

E34: The Body Positivity Movement is BS

May 28th, 2021


"Just love yourself, no matter what."

Let's get it straight: I love a lot of what has come out of the body positivity movement. More people are …

E33: Do You Have to Work Your Pelvic Floor If You Aren't Having Issues Down There?

May 21st, 2021


We all know that issues like leaking and pelvic pain can warrant a trip to the pelvic floor PT. But what if you aren't having any glaring issues down there? Do you need to worry about your floor? And if so, is there …

E32: Diastasis Recti - What Is It Exactly and Is It a Big Deal?

May 7th, 2021


Diastasis recti, or DRA, is something that happens in appx 2/3 of postpartum people. If you're postpartum, you've probably heard of this and wondered …

E31: You've Had a C-Section - Now What?!

April 23rd, 2021


It's no secret that our postpartum aftercare has something left to be desired: add to the mix the abysmal ways we treat folks who have undergone a …

E30: Your "Toning" Workout Is Ruining Your Body

April 9th, 2021


Toning workouts are all the rage with women.

"I just wannabe toned."

WTF is a toning workout anyway?? Usually, "toning" is used to describe a workout program that uses very light resistance and has you doing a bajillion …

E29: You've Been "Cleared" for Exercise 6 Weeks Postpartum - Now What?

April 2nd, 2021


You know the feeling: after carrying around a child for what seems like forever, you've finally given birth and FINALLY got cleared for exercise from …

E28: Feminism - You're Doing It Wrong

March 26th, 2021


Welcome to 2021: where people like to sling around buzz words without actually knowing what they mean.

One of those words is feminism; people are gaslighting each other, claiming you're not a feminist if you don't …

E27: The Reason Why You're Not Getting Better

March 12th, 2021


"Physical therapy didn't work for me."

"I don't know why I'm in PT: my doctor made me go."

As a physical therapist, these were 2 sentiments that I heard over and over again when evaluating a new client, especially when …

E26: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and the Pelvic Floor

February 19th, 2021


Womxn with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or EDS, are oftentimes given very lack-luster advice in regard to their health and wellness. Because of the nature of EDS, a connective tissue disorder, pelvic floor dysfunction is …

E25: Is It Normal for Sex to Hurt?

February 12th, 2021


Womxn everywhere are constantly being told that a "normal" part of life, especially after giving birth, is that sex can be "a little painful." Like, …

E24: Why I Don't Take Insurance

February 5th, 2021


The most common question I get is "Do you take my insurance?" Because we pay so much into our medical insurance plans, most of us believe that using it is in our best interest regardless of what service we are seeking: …

E23: Are Elimination Diets 'Healthy?' - A Chat With Jenna J

January 29th, 2021


Besides both being incredibly awesome (ha!), Jenna J and I have one thing in common: after both trying a popular elimination diet, we both finally …

E22: Answering Your Questions About the Pelvic Floor

January 15th, 2021


During the last weeks of December, I asked my Instagram followers to hit me with all their questions regarding health, wellness, and everything in …

E21: Answering Your Questions About Physical Therapy

January 8th, 2021


During the last weeks of December, I asked my Instagram followers to hit me with all their questions regarding health, wellness, and everything in …

E20: Answering Your Questions About Health and Fitness

January 1st, 2021


During the last weeks of December, I asked my Instagram followers to hit me with all their questions regarding health, wellness, and everything in …

E19: Surviving the New Year (A Miniseries) - "I Don't Accept New Clients In January"- A Chat With Personal Trainer Jen Borruso

December 23rd, 2020


If we can guarantee anything (yes, even during a global pandemic), it's that shamey messaging and marketing comes in hard and strong in December and lasts pretty much into January. Most fitness professionals and …

E18: Surviving the New Year (A Miniseries) - Being Honest With Your Fitness

December 18th, 2020


We've all been there: trying new workout after new workout, only to quit about 6 weeks in. Then, December rolls around with something else, complete …

E17: Surviving the New Year (A Miniseries) - Before You Buy That New Workout...

December 11th, 2020


We all know the drill: come December and January, there is always a new workout program or gym offering SOME kind of special. But you have to act NOW or else you're gonna pay out the ass if you wait another second!

E16: Surviving the New Year (A Miniseries) - Setting Boundaries

December 4th, 2020


Seeing the shit storm marketing throughout 2020 that preyed on people's shame and insecurities for the sake of making a buck, I'm anticipating this will be even more exacerbated leading up to and through the first month …

E15: What's Normal "Down There?"

November 20th, 2020


Douches, vaginal rejuvenation surgeries, bleaching creams, razors, waxes...when it comes to issues "down there," what is actually normal?!

I've drilled it into your brain that when it comes to womxn's pelvic health, no …

E14: The Truth About Kegels

November 13th, 2020


I know you've seen those posts on Facebook, all like "Did you do your billion kegels today?" Your MD prescribed kegels because you can't stop peeing your pants when you cough, sneeze, and exercise. But do you really …

E13: Integrating a More Well-Rounded Approach to Your Fitness - With Morganne Frazier

November 6th, 2020


Being well-versed in your body and its capabilities is so important when embarking upon a fitness journey: yet, we are never instructed on what to look for or what to pay attention to when we are navigating exercise …

E12: Being a Better Human

October 30th, 2020


With the most important presidential election just around the corner, it's imperative that we stop being garbage humans to each other and actually learn how to LISTEN. I am seeing so much hate and disrespect towards …

E11: My MD Didn't Listen to Me - A Candid Interview with Kaitlin M. Brazil

October 23rd, 2020


We are switching gears today with an interview with one of my favorite people in the world, Kaitlin M. Brazil! Kaitlin is a mom of 2 boys who experienced urinary incontinence with her first child about 5 years ago. …

E10: What You Should Know About Arthritis (Even in Your 20s)

October 16th, 2020


In honor of Bone & Joint Health Week, this episode is all about one of the most common diagnoses out there: osteoarthritis (OA), or normal wear and tear on your joints.

I know what you're saying: "But Dr. Mel, I'm …

E9: My COVID Weight Gain and What I Did About It

October 2nd, 2020


In this VERY transparent episode, I dive deep into how I gained the COVID 20, and what I did about it. And the answer might surprise you.

As a health and wellness professional, I felt shame around the fact that I gained …

E8: What Is PCOS and What Do I Need to Know?

September 25th, 2020


September is National PCOS Awareness Month and given that womxn aren't really given much info when it comes to their reproductive health, we are …

E7: The One Thing You're Probably Not Paying Attention to That's Damaging Your Health

September 18th, 2020


Today is all about how being authentic with yourself affects your mental, emotional, and physical health. This episode is purely anecdotal: I am not nor do I claim to be a mental health professional. But, I do believe …

E6: Peeing Your Pants Is NOT Cool...Or Normal

September 11th, 2020


I know you've been told that because you're a woman, have given birth, or are of a certain age, things just "are what they are" and it's "normal" to …

E5: Why Hustle Culture is Making You Hate Your Life

September 4th, 2020


We are taught to wear busyness as a badge of honor. That if we are busy, it means we have finally made it: WE ARE SUCCESSFUL!

But why is this actually doing us more harm than good?

We are getting down to it in today's …

E4: What to Look for When Hiring a Physical Therapist

August 28th, 2020


Despite what many people think, not all physical therapists are created equally. You also might be surprised to know that choosing a clinic based of whether they take your insurance OR its proximity to your house are …

E3: Why You Might Want To Hire a Physical Therapist

August 21st, 2020


If one thing is clear regarding physical therapy, it's this: no one knows wtf we do! 

When someone asks me what PT can help with, I always give this answer: I can help you overcome anything physical that's keeping you …

E2: Shame in the Fitness Game

August 14th, 2020


I am so tired of seeing shameful social media posts focusing on those who've gained weight during COVID: you are surviving a pandemic. You're wearing …

E1: Why Your Xray (Probably) Doesn't Matter

August 7th, 2020


One of the most frustrating things I encounter as a physical therapist is when a client/prospective client receives an imaging report (xray, MRI, CT scan) and is basically scared to move due to the "findings." There is …

Becoming Finally Fearless: Welcome Episode

July 10th, 2020


For the past few months, I have been doing a YouTube/IGTV series called Fearless Fridays; every Friday, I would release a video exposing some BS that …

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