Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Is A Bike Fit

Last month I posted that I had decided to become more serious about riding my bike for fitness.  So serious, in fact, that I had entered a Duathlon and had seven weeks to train.  Additionally, I figured that in the long run, biking would be a good way to get out in the beautiful spring thru fall weather and minimize the foot pounding that comes from running. Great idea right?

Now everyone knows it takes a minute to get used to the uncomfortable bike seat so I was pressing on through it not realizing there could be more to the situation.  However, when I began experiencing pain above my knees, upper back and shoulders together with sever lasting pain in my lower back and the inability to ride for more that 20 minutes before the seat pain felt disabling, I knew I needed help.

In pops Nedra Deadwyler, owner of Civil Bikes, who volunteered to be my Cycle Coach.  Yes, I know I'm fancy now lol!  In one lesson she practically eliminated all of my cycling complaints.  She also answered many questions I had and her lesson gave me the much needed boost of confidence. You can read more about that experience here.

I was so pleased with Nedra's help concerning cycling I figured I would ask her to chime in from time to time to assist us with cycling knowledge for beginners and she kindly agreed.  Below is a her first installment, with an issue which can make or break a beginner rider - A Bike Fit.

What Is A Bike Fit?

Riding a bicycle can be a fun activity that you make a regular life habit.  So much fun in fact that you make it part of your normal routine because it is both practical and fun.  Getting to this point is a different process for everyone because our lives are different and what we all need to accomplish in a given day is also different.  One step in making bicycling a usual thing for yourself is a proper bike fit.   

What is a proper bike fit?  It is just what it says; having your bicycle fit your body.  There are adjustable parts on your bike, namely:
  • The seat height, 
  • Saddle position, 
  • Handlebar (style and width), 
  • Stem height 
  • And handle bar grips.  

"Does your bike seat hurt? 
The solution may be a bike fit." 

The best time to start your bike fit is at purchase.  If you purchase your bike from a big box store you can take it in to your local bike shop and they will be happy to assist you with a bike fit.  You want to make sure that from the beginning that your bicycle’s geometry fits your body.  There are charts out there on the web to investigate bike geometry and your height, but for the sake of this post let’s go with a simple method.  The simple way to select a bicycle for your own body is to check your stand-over room.  Straddle the top tube of your bike and the distance between your body and the tube for a road bike should be between 1 to 2 inches.  The stand-over room for a hybrid and mountain bike would be 3 to 4 inches.  

The next step is to check your seat height.  Connect to this link, for a through description on seat position, saddle height and pedal alignment.  (  

The final step is handlebar and stem adjustments.  You want to make sure that when your hands grip your handlebars that you are able to reach without over-extending.  There should be a 5 to 10 degree bend in your elbow and your hands should be no further apart or together than when your hands are extended from your shoulders.  Otherwise a longer ride could be uncomfortable and you will add stress and pressure to your shoulders and lower back.  

Each of these components is vital to achieving the perfect bike fit. The goal is to have your bike sized for your body so that you will be comfortable and be able to ride as much as you desire.  

Nedra Deadwyler is the operator of  If you have any biking and or tour related questions, please feel free to email Nedra at  

Hope Nedra's Bike Fit post helped with any ailments you might have been having with your bike. What types of issues do you have with your bike that are stopping you from riding more frequently? 

Catch the art and nature shots I capture on my rides by following me on Instagram.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Decision Day Has Come

Remember back in March when I made a Semi Race Annoucement?  I was struggling to regain my prior beastly prowlness (what??!!!) after having a long vacation and being sick for an extended period of time.  In my struggle it had dawned on me that I do best in my exercise when I am working towards something that has a deadline.  It's kind of a kick in the butt that I have to make it happen or else.  Remember that?

The deadline was going to manifest as a great leap in the form of the Callaway Gardens Duathlon and I had seven weeks to whip myself into some semblance of shape.   Being a little bit more than nervous, for multiple reasons, I reserved signing up until the sixth week of training to review my progress.  Well, I am entering the seventh week of training right after I finish writing this post.  What do you think I've decided to do?

I kind of gave it away, but I guess you guessed anyway.  I decided last night to register for the race. I am officially running and riding in the Callaway Gardens Duathlon. Yayyy me!  I'm very excited and not as nervous as I thought I would be.  Training has been trying, but good.  Things are still not where I would like them to be but hey, I'm in.

I read a post last week that talked about being fearless and it asked what have I done lately in which I challenged my fears.  My response was, this race!

Decision Day Has Come

Weekly Workout Recap / Week 5 Duathlon Training April 20 - 26th, 2015


15 min Run / 30 min Ride / 15 min Run

Honestly,  I wasn't able to train on Sunday because it rained all day so Monday I opted to do Sunday's training. I only ran one of the run components because I was trying to make it to meditative yoga at Solstice Atl, An Urban Retreat for Moms.  It is brand new in the ATL and you can read my review of it here.  I totally enjoyed the studio, the class and my fit social with my girlfriend.  

I missed the BGR Run we had unexpected guests that we haven't seen for years.  


Rest & Stretch

Since I did yoga the day before I decided to skip it today.


Run 30 / Bike 30

Run and bike went well.  Not sure why I didn't get to the run.


Run 30

Rained out and starting to experience some, "I don't wanna".  


Bike 75 min

I struggled for three miles and my help showed up.  I went further than I have ever been,12 miles, and tried some new trails. Biking is starting to give running a run for its money.




Run 10 / Bike 60 / Run 10

Training was brutal today.  No help came and I struggled the entire way. I barely ran the last leg of training.  My legs hurt most of the day, which never happens, and I was completely exhausted.  I haven't been doing any super crazy eating, but I haven't been supporting myself nutritionally either. 
Good news, I got it done.  

On to next week!!

Do you ever feel like you don't want to or am I the only one?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Superfood Power Smoothie

Who ever said looks don't count?  Well, for this very visual person they do.  That is the entire merit on which this smoothie was chosen.  Isn't it gorgeous?  Two awesome layers of smoothie goodness.

Photo Credit: Sally's Baking Addiction

I found this smoothie on Pinterest via simple smoothie search.  When Sally's Baking Addiction came up I was sure it was going to loaded with all sorts of things I didn't want.  I am very familiar with Sally's site because she has some of the best cookie recipes and techniques on the web but smoothies?

Perfect example of jumping to the wrong conclusion.  I was wrong.  The smoothie not only looked purddy, but it tasted good and was good for you.  I loved it.

You can find the original recipe here.

  • Don't be like me and think you can add ice to the recipe instead of freezing the fruit. It only adds more liquid to the recipe and you need the thickness to successfully achieve the layers. The frozen fruit gives it the thickness.
Robin thought it was ice cream so I guess it it kiddy approved!

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Lion Flowers and Girlfriends (Avondale Lake)

As many of you know and for those that didn't, I have an amazing sidekick.  My Robin to her Batman.  She is:

  • The major inspiration for changing my lifestyle and become fit and healthy, 
  • My main exercise partner (baby girl can drop a hot squat),
  • And the reason for this new blog section. Atlanta Toddler. 

Introducing Zj (aka Robin)!

Currently, I am in Duathlon training and she is right there with me most days in some form or fashion. Here is a pic of us from before hitting the biking portion of training last week. (read about it here)

I am a SAHM (stay at home Mom, for those of you new to the game lol)  and Robin and I are out and about almost every day of the week in this awesome city and the surrounding areas. Atlanta Toddler will cover our amazing adventures through the parks, numerous events and play dates across the city like today with our buddies MJ of and her princess Z.

 Both girls attend P's In The Pod in Avondale Estates and I had been dying to take them to see the ducks at just a few streets over at Lake Avondale.  We knew we were pressing our luck by going after school with two tired toddlers.  Both of them claimed they were not tired and it was such a gorgeous day. Plus there is nothing like a little fun in the sun to help nap time along. 

Lake Avondale is a beautiful and peaceful spot located in the city of Avondale Estates a few streets over from Main Street.  Hubby and I found this spot originally when house hunting.  We did not decide to settle here, however the location is so pretty and tranquil we have returned many times over the years just to enjoy the park.  The lake seems to be the central social hub of the area so there is lots of  activity. You will find runners, walkers and bikers alike.  From the nursery to the lake is a two mile loop and from time to time I will run or walk the loop before picking Robin up for the day.   The lake is stocked with fish and you will often see people fishing.  The area enjoys fireworks on Independence Day and sports a lovely lit tree in the middle of the Lake during the Christmas season.

The lake is prettiest when the leaves change in the fall and again when the trees bloom in spring. Robin and I usually stop to see the display on our return trip from the Dekelb Farmers Market.  We get to sit quietly, have some lunch and enjoy the scenery.  Robin likes trying to get close to the ducks.

Today, as with any other day we have visited, the lake and surrounding park is beautiful.  The girls enjoy their walk around the lake as MJ and I point out the turtles, ducks and geese. We take a break so the girls can enjoy a swing on one of the many hanging benches.  Robin teaches Z how to walk along the cobbled curb which has been a must on every visit since she learned to walk.  Ultimately, I would have to say that the highlight of the day was finding the patch of dandelion flowers, or lion flowers as she calls them, and making a big bouquet to blow.

For these girlfriends saying goodbye is never easy and the exaggerated tiredness from their romp around the sunny lake is not helping.  

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Meet The Brown's - The Get Fit Fam

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fit Social At Solstice Atlanta

Like everything else in my life these days I'm trying to redefine my social life.  Usually when I get together with friends it is all about eating and for me that usually means eating all the wrong things and too much of them.  So because of that I decided a few years ago to try and gather around activities instead of food.  I call it Fit Social.  I will say that it has not been an epic success as most would rather taste some goodness than sweat but I haven't given up on it.

This past week a good friend of mine asked to get the kiddies together for a play date.  Her suggestion was Solstice Atlanta Urban Retreat for Moms.  Urban Retreat for Moms?  My interest was peaked and I felt special.  I checked out their website and it was true.  It was all about Mommy finding balance.  Just what I needed.  My Robin was going to be in Parents Morning Out, the day we scheduled to go, but that was ok with me.  The play date was a no go because Mommy wanted to see this place that was catering to the needs of a Mother.
A balanced Mom is a Healthy Mom! click to tweet

As I told Kristen (one of the owners) we (me and the studio) were friends from the moment I walked in the door.  Stepping inside you are greeted by a concrete turquoise floor that is practically glowing. What an entry and it sets the intention for the studio. To say that I adore turquoise would be an understatement.  It reminds me of the of the sights and smells of the ocean in my island home.  In fact, my toe toes were sporting the color.  I immediately felt welcomed and comforted.

Initially, when I decided to attend the class I thought I would be attending a Restorative Yoga session.  I was good with that.  Currently I am in training for the Callaway Gardens Duathlon and it calls for stretching two days per week and yoga fits the bill.  However, after reviewing Solstice Atlanta's class schedule, I realized the class was going to be a Meditative Yoga session.  I love yoga, but outside of a restorative yoga video I do about once every other week, I don't participate much because I have a condition called Hallux Rigidus.  Simply put, it is a type of arthritis and bending and extra pressure for stabilizing causes serious pain.  Being inexperienced I wanted to  be sure I was setting myself up for pain later.

While I waited for my friend to arrive, I discussed my unique situation with Kristen and Nicole (the instructor for the Meditative Yoga session) and they assured me that they were more than ready to provide modifications based on their clients needs.  That was reassuring and immensely helpful during the session.  It was a small, peaceful class that Nicole lead very confidently.  I practiced with my eyes closed practically the entire time as she was very easy to follow and I didn't feel singled out for needing adjustments.

The philosophy of Solstice according to their website is:

We believe in...A Balanced Mom                                
We believe in the healing, therapeutic application of yoga and Pilates as well as preventative health. Safety and self acceptance are at the core of our approach. We strive to empower women and families by providing information and resources along with both emotional and tangible physical results in a safe community environment.

And now for the big question.  To be a true Mom retreat you want to know if they provide babysitting services, right.  Yay, yes they do!  They offer on site sitting services in a bright and cheery play space.

I enjoyed seeing my friend and got to move my body which was very important to me. Mission Accomplished!  How about you?  Maybe your next meet up with your girls could be a Fit Social and possibly with Solstice Atlanta's Urban Retreat for Moms.  It offers a close and trendy location, free and convenient parking, a welcoming environment, a great practice and excellent baby sitting services.  It doesn't get too much better than that.

****I was not compensated for the post by Solstice Atlanta for this post in any way.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Meet The Brown's - The Get Fit Fam

I am a sunlight, sunshine kind of girl.  In my opinion, if the sun is out there is no need to waste it indoors.  The sun being out means it is time to get outdoors and play.  Maybe it is a throw back to my childhood when as long as the sun was out I could go out and play.  Even at seven in the morning.  As I got older it meant the beach all day with friends.

I seem to be instilling those ideals in my daughter.  Every morning when we wake up my routine, before we do anything else, is to go around the house pulling up the blinds.  I want to see outside and I want to know, most importantly, if it is sunny.  Even she, my trusty exercise sidekick, knows to be extra happy if  it is sunny.  Sunny means we are going to have a different kind of day.

Don't waste a sunny day indoors.  Sunny days are perfect for outdoor family fitness! click to tweet

This particular morning it was not only sunny but it was warm and Daddy was going to be hanging with us.  Yayy!  Isaac (Daddy and Hubbs) made breakfast and after some funning about the house I was itching to get outside.  "Let's go biking", I announce.

Zj's always ready to go.  She is the ultimate social, get out and go child.  She inherited that from her mother. Daddty, as Zj has started calling him since she started watching Guess With Jess, is a homebody.  He loves to just be at home tinkering around the house unless he out to the gym or running.  So when I announced we were going riding Zj jumped for joy and Isaac was dreading the drama.  He claims we are drama filled, but it is Ok because he likes us. lol.  

toddler in bike trailer

For all of you who have little ones, I'm sure you can relate, trying to get out of the house some days is a total nightmare.  The very thought of making breakfast, cleaning up, brushing teeth, putting their clothes on, combing hair, packing snacks and other miscellaneous items to keep them entertained and getting to and in the car can be enough to make you stay at home to make a craft instead. If you let it it will zap every once of your enthusiasm.  

Nevertheless,  We press our way.  Daddy didn't have too much to say which balanced out the Talking Princess.  She alone will talk you under the table.  Just ask Aunt Gina, who keeps her while I train.   Isaac puts the bikes on the car and we are off to Panola Shoals, South River Trail.  

Once we arrived Zj recognized the trail and immediately started talking loud asking to go on the roller coaster.  She must have remembered last year's family ride debacle. Dadty hitched the chariot to his bike and put Zj in.  From there she proceeded to talk us to death demanding that needed her helmet, then her snacks, Bunny and her juice. "Ok Zj, take a break."  

We choose a better trail spur this time and rode a half hour out and back for an hour ride.  Zj was enjoying herself.  Every time I passed her, she was smiling and chatting to whoever would listen. Even the other people out enjoying the trail.  Dadty and I were huffing and puffing over the hills and through the heat.  My legs were burning me and Isaac looked like he had been dunked in water from perspiring so badly.  At the half way point we were all grateful I had packed so much water.

Father & Daughter cycling

By far today's ride went much better than last year's inaugural ride.  Last year Zj screamed and hollered so badly her voice was echoing through the scenic, silent country side. That, combined with picking the wrong hilly trail (mind you they are all hilly in GA but that one was ridiculous), my inability to make it over most of them and Dadty's dislike of drama put a nail in the coffin for family riding 2014. 

This year, I'm not sure which part was worse, Zj trying to talk us to death, prepping to go, the hills or my now sore legs and lady parts.  However, none of it even matters because we had a great time and we got some exercise in during the process.  I can't wait to get back out into the sunshine with my family! 

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Flash Forward Five

This morning I was happily greeted by Facebook with a memory from my 2010 timeline.

Squat like this, squat like that, squat catch the ball, squat throw the ball, squat pick up the ball. SQUAT! SQUAT! SQUAT! Trainer: "Tonight guys you will be in a lot of pain, don't worry". eh?!
I know it doesn't look like much, but let me explain.   Looking back at this post represents a major victory in my life! Just a few months before I had started walking and lost 30 pounds.  I felt I needed to up my game and after talking to Josh the owner FitWit I joined.  That was five years ago.  Many days I experienced extreme muscle pain and thought I would die but I didn't.  That boot camp exploded me onto the fitness scene.  A world I had never even glimpsed before and I have been here ever since.  Through pregnancy, complications, illness, diagnosis, multiple injuries and every type of interruption, I'm still here.  With over 115 lbs gone from my body I'm stronger than ever, and training for my first Duathlon.  Me? Training for a Dua-what?!   Over time my focus has changed from being skinty to being fit, but my ultimate goal has remained the same.  To change my lifestyle and to become active.  Seeing this post from the past this morning helped me to realize that I accomplished just that.

Weekly Workout Recap / Week 4 Duathlon Training  April 6-12, 2015


30 min Bike:  good ride getting stronger each time I get on the bike
2.25 mile Run:  best thing ever was starting the C25K again.  My mind is beginning to focus
5 reps 30 Sec Plank:  Started the #rockMyCore Challenge this week.  Better late than never.  My toddler wanted to join in and we did them together. Man, I wish I could squat like her.


Rest:  No, I didn't do the yoga session - hoping to do it on Saturdays rest day.
#rockYourCore cardio high knees with a twist. 5 sets of 15 - I remembered at the last minute and did them in the wrong bra. Lord, have mercy!


Bike 45 mins / Run 15:   OMG!  I took the family on this one.  Hubby was miserable from the hilly terrain and Z talking him to death.  My fault for not packing the right snacks and toys into the chariot. 15 mins in and we had stopped four times.  The fifth emergency stop was because Z was screaming she had wet her pants.  Hubby was ready to head back to the car.  After investigation, we discovered the water on the chariot floor was the condensation from the water bottles.  I ended up taking Z to potty in the bushes and we continued the rest of the way uninterrupted.  
The run was a little difficult.  Running after biking is tricky for me.  I feel dizzy in the hips.
Crunchy Frog 5 sets of 15:  Lol this was funny trying to get my coordination together but again I got it done. 


Bike 60 & Reverse Crunches:  Very, very productive day, but instead of biking in my scheduled time frame I opted to do it later.  Limey (the bike) was strapped to the car all day, but I never got to go riding.   Reverse crunches went well.


Run/Walk 30 mins:  Thought I would be able to catch up from yesterday, but it was not to be.  It rained all day and night. Now I'm two days behind.


Rest Day:  I don't have child care on Saturdays, so even though it was a rest day I couldn't play catch up either.  I just chalked it up as a missed opportunity and let it go.


Run/Walk 15 and Bike 45:  I was anxious for a number of reasons about this workout.

  1. I had missed days in the schedule 
  2. I hoped I hadn't lost my gains
  3. Could I actually ride more than 7 miles and hour
  4. Would I get over the dizziness in my legs
Well, my fears were put to rest on all four counts.  I hadn't lost a thing.  I rode for an hour and I did ten miles even still braking downhill.  My butt was fine and I ran for half an hour after biking.  This time I did a little stretching that my Cycle Coach Nedra suggested and I was perfectly fine.  I was impressed.

I'm at the midway point in my training now.  I knew taking on this Duathlon was going to be challenging for me, but believed for some crazy reason that I could do it.  Even when I was disappointed because I could only ride 4 or 5 miles an hour, something keeps letting me know I can do it.  Now I'm beginning to see the training paying off and I'm getting excited.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Untamed Emotional Eating

Weekly Workout Wrap / Week 3 Duathlon Training  3/30 - 4/5


30 min Run:  Didn't go as planned. Feet are inflamed and uncomfortable. I walked 9/10ths of 2.25 miles limping straight to the car. Pretty upset. I wanted to be flowing by now. As I drive off all my mind was talking about was chips.  I resisted Micky D's and the others, but now I'm sitting outside the Jamaican restaurant trying to convince myself I won't eat that much of the carb / fat laden meal. Lol, I'm supposed to be a lean, low carb kind of girl looool!  Emotional eating is a hot, irrational mess.  This is what I eneded up with.  Lower carb, but I'm sure a week's work of fat. At least it tasted really good.


Rest Day: And I did just that.  Starting to understand why they are so important.  My legs are heavy and stiff.


20 min Run:  Since trying to make a comeback from my extended vacation and being sick for two months my focus for running, has been way off even though my legs and breathing seem pretty good.  I had been thinking about using the C25K app again, but was feeling kind of embarrassed because I used to be able to run 8 miles naked (without GPS & music) many times a week.  I was very proud of that and now here I am starting over.  Wow!  But I got over myself and used the app today.  The run went really well and I was pleased.  I went back to the Jamaican restaurant and got the same dish but no rice.  I replaced the rice with mixed vegetables.  Cabbage, mixed veg and curry goat.  It was amazing.  Eat when you are up and eat when you are down and everything in between.  Untamed emotional eating is a beast.

At this rate I guess I'm not trying to lose weight.  Clearly I'm exercising for my the sake of my lungs considering my diet is all over the place.  I'm so hungry after a workout and eat too much that it is scary.  If I'm not careful I will have gained weight by the end of this training.


70 min Ride:  I'm excited to let you know that I now have an excellent Cycle Coach.  Nedra Deadwyler, Owner of Civil Bikes came on board to help me out.  I met her at the office.  Today was my first lesson and what a world of difference it made.

I knew I needed help but I was also a bit skeptical.  I grew up riding a bike. Do I really need a lesson? How difficult could it really be?  Well, the difference turned out to be night and day.

The main reason for wanting a cycle coach was to solve some of the issues I was having with gear changing and seat pain.  After only about 15 mins into the session the Lady bits business was settled for good.  My tires require 50 - 75 pounds per square inch of air.  I had less than 20.  Duh!  Even though the tires were firm to the touch they just weren't firm enough.  That, coupled with a minor seat and handlebar adjustment and I was set.  Before, from the very moment I sat on the bike I would begin experiencing pain.  By the end of 15 minutes I was wincing.  Now I can ride the bike for an hour and not feel the need to get off.

The first part of the lesson was centered around how to conduct the ABC test.  This test needs to be completed before each ride.  We headed out for a ride so she could see me in action.  She gave me in depth instruction on gear handling, along the way, which made a lot of sense and provided me with a visual to help me.

Since the lesson I have been out on my own twice and there is a marked difference in my performance.  My handling has improved. My speed has increased and my confidence in handling the terrain has skyrocketed.

Nedra herself was very comforting and encouraging yet firm.  She told me I had a mental block concerning riding in the street.  I definitely agree, but I will say that I totally surprised that she had the gumption to say that to me.  I think that alone sold me on her as a coach.


30 min Ride:  After my ride yesterday I was eager to put everything I had learned into practice.  I did well and I was proud of myself.  I've gone from being concerned about not being able to competently ride to feeling like I do have a chance in this duathlon.


Rest Day: Finally, I did the restorative yoga at the crack of dawn.  I had been struggling with giving up an hour to do what basically seemed like laying on the floor, but I did it early before the toddler got up and felt amazing.   Just as my session was ending and I was feeling mellow, the toddler woke up, "Mum, Mum, what you doing?" In her loudest street voice.


45 min Run / 15 min Ride:  I was determined to do my best on the run and ride.  Both went very well.  Couldn't have asked for better.  After my training was completed I hung out in the park with Zj and Aunt Gina.

What is clear:

  1. I need to get my nutrition under control
  2. Work at eating the right foods before and after working out
  3. Find some way to make food prep work for me
  4. Address the emotional eating, again.

Overall, it has been a great week and I feel myself gaining confidence and improving.  If I look at the times and distances I'm definitely behind, however deep down on the inside I'm getting excited.  I feel I can do it.  So I'm going to ignore everything and do my absolute best.

How do you handle emotional eating?

I am happy to announce that Nedra Deadwyler of Civil Bikes will be sharing her cycling wisdom on MW in the coming future.  Nedra, through Civil Bikes, is a full service cycling service - providing rentals, lessons, camps, tours, and historical tours to both individuals and groups.  Click here for more info.

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#WOW Workout Wednesday