Want to aim to lose belly fat in 7 days?
To lose belly fat in a week and get a flat stomach, you need a plan to follow and stick to.
Belly fat accumulates in the deep abdominal area, and it’s a stubborn kind of fat. Typically, it takes major changes in your diet and lifestyle are needed to get rid of the harmful fat in the stomach.
But if you are looking to lose the deep belly fat fast, you need a concrete, simplified plan that’s proven to work.
And no, you don’t have to completely alter your daily habits to get a flat stomach within a week.
It’s as simple as following this step-by-step guide to reduce belly and flaunt your abs the way you have always dreamt of!
It’s a healthy meal plan that’ll help you lose that stubborn belly fat and kick off your path toward a flat abdomen.
Before we get to the 7-day plan, let’s quickly see why belly fat accumulates in the first place.
Excess Belly Fat and How to Get Rid of It
Studies show people with excess belly fat, that have a fat accumulation in the abdomen also known as visceral fat, are at high risk for heart disease and heart attacks, also known as cardiovascular disease (1, 2).
This visceral fat is often found surrounding several vital organs and within arteries. Too much visceral fat in your abdomen over time can create havoc in your body.
It increases the risk for metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer (3).
Decreasing excess visceral fat has many health benefits, even losing 5% of your total body fat can make significant differences in your health.
It can potentially help ward off chronic diseases and health risks, such as lowering your blood pressure.
The best way to lose belly fat is to follow this 7-day meal plan.
This meal plan has foods that balance you, nourish and keep your calorie intake controlled. There are no magic pills, spot reduction foods. It is a simple balanced meal plan that works.
Other changes that will help are, enough sleep, consuming plenty of fiber, moderate-intensity physical activity, ultimately an overall lifestyle change that improves metabolic health.
Before starting this meal plan, an important thing to do is to calculate the calories your body needs.
Calculating your calorie intake can be done by a number of formulas, they are all just general approximations of your body needs, but an effective way to monitor yourself.
A good formula to use is the Mifflin-St-Jeor Equation, it has an equation for men and one for women.
This will give you the BMR (basal metabolic rate), it is the calories you need while at rest. This number will be the one to stay above, for your body to function.
A calorie deficit will help with weight loss and belly fat.
Keeping a journal of your daily calorie count and exercise will help you stay focused.
We’ll also go over foods that benefit weight loss and are good for gut health.
Also, foods that don’t help and you need to avoid to prevent fat gain, like cereal which contains a high amount of sugar.
A few basics to know about abdominal fat.
What Is Belly Fat?
Before getting into the 7-day meal plan, it’s good to know that there are two types of belly fat, visceral fat, and subcutaneous fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat that sits right under the skin. It’s the one that causes the unwanted excess belly that often protrudes and flops over your jeans. It is the first place you notice fat gain.
The other type, which is the most harmful is visceral fat.
It surrounds your internal organs in the abdominal cavity (3).
Your body can also store fat in your butt, hips, and thighs. This can give your body a pear shape.
Before starting a weight loss journey, knowing your body composition will also help with monitoring.
Besides knowing your Basal metabolic rate, measuring parts of your body to track your progress is an additional tool to understand your progress.
Calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI), waist to hip ratio, waist circumference.
Your body mass index is an average weight category based on your height and weight. Will determine if you fall in the lower BMI underweight category or the higher BMI obese category.
Waist-to-hip ratio, by using a tape measure and measuring the waist right over the belly button, then also measuring the hip at the widest point with the tape measure.
By dividing the waist measurement into the hip measurement, the results can give you an idea of your health risk factor.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a result above 0.90 for men and above 0.85 for women can be determined to be abdominal obesity.
Abdominal fat can be reduced through an overall fat loss.
If you’re a beginner, a simple way to start is to create routines in eating throughout the day to help belly fat reduction.
Keep in mind that long-term fat loss needs a change in behavior.
A day of healthy eating isn’t going to give you significant changes, but working diligently can help with weight maintenance.
What Causes Belly Fat?
Numerous studies lead some to believe your biochemistry and fat genes have everything to do with excess abdominal fat (4, 5).
But more often than not, lifestyle choices trigger abdominal fat.
Belly fat is caused by many factors, mostly related to certain lifestyle choices.
Here are some that can add inches to your waist size.
- Too much junk food and sugary beverages
- Negative weight-loss strategies, like binge eating and emotional eating
- Slow metabolism
- Trigger hormones like cortisol ( stress hormone) or ghrelin the (hunger hormone)
- Little to no physical activity
- Not enough sleep or sleep apnea
Improving your eating habits, increasing exercise, reducing stress (reducing cortisol levels), and making other lifestyle changes can all help you lose stubborn abdominal fat.
Extra weight affects many of your other systems too such as your digestive system and your immune function.
A specialist doctor in endocrinology can help when hormones become a concern or, you’ve gained too much weight quickly.
How to Lose Belly Fat in 7 Days?
The best way way to get rid of total body fat quickly is to make lifestyle and dietary changes in your daily routine.
So, not just good habits in the morning, but the rest of the day.
Healthy Habits: Belly Fat Healthy Eating Plan
Eating healthy is not just eating in moderation, it’s about choosing the correct type of foods. A common focus is to be on a low-carb diet, low-fat diet, or high protein foods.
But what is most important is to have a variety of foods of the healthy type.
Focus on adding good fats that can be found in avocado, nuts, seeds, fatty fish.
Increase lean protein intake, from plant-based protein sources like legumes and nuts, but also animal sources like fatty fish, chicken breast, and turkey.
Lastly, grains and a type of fiber that helps with the feeling of fullness are known as soluble fiber.
A good switch is by following a Mediterranean diet and avoiding high-fat intake.
On the contrary, a low-fat diet may also not be the most beneficial.
Remember, some fats are good, like unsaturated fats that include monounsaturated fat (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fats.
Plenty of fiber is very important to your gut health, Eat 25 – 30 grams of fiber per day from food, not supplements. T
Two different types of fiber can contribute to your digestive health. Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber can dissolve in water making a type of gel that travels through the digestive system, allowing for easy bowel movements.
There aren’t exact recommendations of grams of soluble fiber but having a variety of vegetables throughout the day can help.
This type of fiber is important, because its viscosity allows for delayed emptying of the stomach, giving the sensation of fullness and controlling appetite.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water.
It is great at bulking and will allow for the quicker passage of stools in the digestive system.
This 7-day meal plan is based on a balanced Mediterranean diet that is plentiful in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and whole grains.
Studies have shown this way of eating may reduce high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and promote better health.
Eat a Healthy Diet by Avoiding Certain Foods
Avoid liquid calories, found in sugary beverages: Most sugary drinks are high in calories and simple carbs. (See foods to avoid to lose belly fat)
If you have had a high-calorie intake through beverages, an easy way to take in fewer calories is to cut empty calories. And you can find those in alcoholic drinks, this is how you get that beer belly.
Limit refined carbohydrates: instead of white bread or bagels, go for complex carbs like sweet potatoes and other vegetables.
Complex carbs, like non-starchy vegetables, help but with insulin sensitivity, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance.
A good idea is to consider a dietitian, an R.D. for a personalized meal plan.
Healthy Habits: Belly Fat Exercise Plan
Regular exercise is key to a steady weight loss and losing excess belly fat. The following are effective weight loss strategies.
- Aerobic exercise/ cardio: A vigorous exercise like a cardio workout, is any physical activity that gets your heart rate up. It’s a great way to increase your calorie burn and lose weight. Whether it’s a jog, long run, 30-minutes on a treadmill, or short-distance sprint, adding a calorie-burning cardio workout can help you reach your weight loss goal.
- Strength training: Strength training, like squats or intervals, is a great way to build muscle and increase your metabolic rate. If you haven’t already started, add strength training to your exercise plan to reduce your fat storage and drop the extra pounds. The best thing is to add muscle mass.
- Abdominal exercises: To flatten your tummy, it’s also essential to work and train all of your core muscles, particularly your obliques and abdominal muscles. Include core exercises such as the plank, side plank, crunches, bicycle crunch, and other abdominal exercises that hit your abs and love handles. Taking your ab workout to the next level by muscle building in the torso will ignite your body’s ability to burn fat all over. Try adding a medicine ball or crunches on an incline to get more body part muscle tissue and flat abs.
- Consult a personal trainer for an effective exercise program.
A Good Exercise Program Contains:
- Interval training
- Aerobic exercise/cardio
- Strength training/resistance training
- Ab muscles exercises
Building your workout plan to include all four will improve your metabolism, increase the number of calories your burn daily and you will lose fat in all areas of the body.
You want a healthy protein intake, high fiber foods, and an appropriate amount of calories for your body to get rid of that extra fat.
Let’s go over what you should eat when trying to lose stomach fat.
What Foods Flatten Your Stomach Fast?
There are no magic foods to make your tummy fat disappear in an instant.
But that’s not to say some foods have a nutrient composition that’ll help aid in weight loss and fat loss around the belly.
These are the types of food to add to your overall health. First, you’ll lose water weight. Then the fat starts to burn.
Research shows certain foods have special belly-fat-burning benefits.
Some notable ones include artichokes, whole grains, kefir, green tea, eggs, and legumes.
Peanuts are also high in magnesium and linoleic acid.
You also want foods high in monounsaturated fatty acids, MUFA, such as pistachios and soybean oil.
Polyunsaturated fats include flaxseed.
These foods are rich in nutrients like protein, fiber, and essential vitamins.
They also help digestion and appetite suppression, bringing satiety that’ll help manage your food intake in a healthy way.
Together, they bring effectiveness in combating weight gain.
Adding these fat-burning foods to your daily meal plan is one of the fastest and effortless ways to shrink fat cells and decrease waist circumference.
While there are many to pick from, let’s focus on the top superfoods that bring the most benefits.
Also, check out the Best Foods That Burn Belly Fat.
Avocados are full of good-for-you nutrients that are kind to your waistline.
They’re loaded with fiber, adiponectin, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (6).
These healthy fats can help lower LDL levels that cause high cholesterol and boost metabolism but can be high in glucose.
Researchers also found that people who eat them tend to have less abdominal fat than those who don’t.
They are also low in carbohydrates, which means they have little effect on blood sugar levels.
Nuts have a healthy combination of fiber, healthy fat, adiponectin, and protein content.
They bring fullness, fill cravings, and keep hunger at bay.
Their low-carb content is also another reason why they are weight loss-friendly foods and won’t cause spikes in insulin levels.
Together, nuts stimulate your body to drop bodyweight, burn fat, and shrink the midsection.
Include varieties like almonds and cashew that are considered lower-calorie nuts.
While peanuts and pecans are higher in calories, they provide a feeling of fullness. Consume in moderation.
Beware of nuts with added salt!
Green tea has been known as one of the best fat-burning beverages to lose fat around the abdomen.
It contains a high amount of antioxidants, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and caffeine.
Caffeine is a natural plant compound that stimulates fat burning and aids weight loss.
In addition, catechins found in green tea are potent antioxidants that can increase metabolism and boost your fat-burning even more.
Aside from its fat loss component, green tea is one health drink that can help optimize your wellness, prevent bloat, and beat inflammation.
Pair this drink with healthy weight loss meals.
Note that if you are sensitive to caffeine, refrain from drinking late in the day.
Apple cider vinegar also contains catechins and is great for reducing inflammation. You can also try white tea.
Not all dairy products are weight loss villains.
Greek yogurt is a great protein-rich breakfast that contains probiotics and healthy bacteria.
Greek yogurt is a rich source of vitamin A and calcium, that’s linked to lower levels of stomach fat.
According to health experts, calcium is believed to boost fat burn, improve metabolism, and reduce the absorption of fat (7, 8).
Add fruit toppings like blueberries or tart cherries to make it a healthy treat.
While it may be high in grams of protein, it can also be loaded with grams of sugar. Diets high in sugar can foster insulin resistance.
Nothing comes close to the perfect protein food other than eggs.
Eating eggs for breakfast not only boosts your energy but also helps build lean muscle mass, a key to a faster metabolism.
Eggs contain quality carbs, protein, amino acids, and healthy fats, a combination that’ll keep you satisfied for much of the morning and prevent snacking on empty calories.
They also contain a dose of vitamin D and vitamin B12, which helps your body burn more fat.
While these five foods are amongst the absolute best fat-burning foods for your abs, there are more you can add to your list of foods to aid your fat loss.
Foods like salmon, brown rice, peanut butter, and leafy greens vegetable aid in shrinking your waist circumference.
If you have a sweet tooth, consider dark chocolate!
Skip the fruit juice! It’s packed with hidden sugars and lots of calories.
If you must have juice, try adding water. Sauces also hide extra calories. Use in moderation.
Check the ingredient labels of foods before eating.
Try water with ginger or add soluble fiber with flavor if you’re having a hard time drinking water throughout the entire day.
Another good way to get the necessary vitamins and minerals are smoothies or overnight oats recipes.
This 7-day meal plan incorporates these flat-belly foods, plus healthy fats, in delicious ways to help make it easier to eat and feel great.
7-Day Belly Fat Meal Plan-Healthy Eating
Day 1: Diet to Lose Belly Fat
Morning Revitalizing Drink:
- 8 ounces of hot water
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp of lime
- 1 tsp of honey
- In a mug, add hot water and other ingredients and mix. Enjoy a moment o quiet with your warm revitalizing drink
Breakfast: Egg, Toast, and Bacon
- 1 slice of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread
- 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced and placed on toasted bread
- 1 tsp butter, spread on toasted bread
- 1/2 grapefruit
- 1 cup of coffee black/ tea
Lunch: Quinoa Salad
- 3/4 cup cooked red quinoa
- 1/2 cup of chickpeas
- 1 cup of chopped bell peppers
- 1/2 cup black beans (or any other legumes)
- 1/4 cup of corn
- 1 lime
- Cook quinoa, chickpeas, and black beans as indicated on the package. Chop bell peppers to the size of your liking.
- Corn can be canned or removed from a cob. Mix all ingredients together and squeeze the lime, and mix.
Beverage: Water / Unsweetened Tea
Snack: Greek Yogurt
- 6 ounce Greek yogurt – plain
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
- 1 small head Romain lettuce
- 3 oz grilled chicken breast – sliced lean meat
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp of anchovy fillet (can)
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy.
- On a bed of lettuce, add chicken breast and sprinkle the dressing over.
Day 2: Diet to Lose Belly Fat
Breakfast: Berry Smoothie with Chia Seeds
- 1 cup frozen berries (blueberries and strawberries combined)
- 1 cup plain almond milk
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp honey
- Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Lunch: Kale and Steak Salad
- 2 cups baby kale leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup Brussel sprouts
- 1/2 avocado – sliced
- 3 oz grilled red meat steak
- 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1 tsp mustard.
- Mix all salad ingredients and dressing. Toss until lightly coated. Season with a pinch of salt.
Snack: Piece of Fruit
- 1 small orange
Dinner: Oven-Baked Wild Salmon and Lentil Salad
- Wild salmon over lentil-currant salad (get the recipe!)
Day 3: Diet to Lose Belly Fat
- Green Tea or Black Coffee
Breakfast: Broccoli Rabe, egg and toast
- 2 eggs any style
- 1/2 broccoli florets – sautéed with vegetable oil
- 1/4 avocado slices
- 1 slice Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread
Lunch: Salmon Salad
- 2 cups mixed baby greens
- 3-ounce salmon
- 6 asparagus sautéed with garlic and vegetable oil
- 1 lime on squeezed over the whole salad
Snack: Nuts and cheese
- 1/4 cup nuts
- 1 mozzarella cheese stick
- 1 small zucchini, cut in 4 and grilled
- 4-6 asparagus, grilled
- 4 oz chicken, grilled
- Seasoning pack of your choice
Day 4: Diet to Lose Belly Fat
- Refreshing Start of the day Beverage-Lime infused water
Breakfast: Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- 8 ounces of plain almond milk
- 1 small banana – a good source of potassium
- 2 tbsp nut butter
- 1/2 small avocado
- 1 cup raw kale
- Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/2 can of canned tuna
- 1/4 cup of corn
- 1 slice of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread
- 1 /2 cup arugula or lettuce
- Mix the mayonnaise, corn, and tuna together in a small bowl.
- Layer the arugula on the slice of bread and spread the tuna mixture on top.
- 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
Dinner: Flank Steak with Balsamic Vinegar
- 4 oz of flank steak
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Roasted vegetables on the side
- Mix the remaining ingredients into the bag and shake. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
- Jab the steak with a fork in several places to allow the marinade to seep in.
- Grill the steak over medium heat until it’s cooked.
- Baste with the remaining marinade.
Day 5: Diet to Lose Belly Fat
Breakfast: Cinnamon Oatmeal
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 cup berries of your choice
- 1/4 apple, diced
- Dash of cinnamon powder
- 1tsp honey to taste
- In a pot, boil water and add the oatmeal and cook as directed in the package.
- Once cooked, top with berries, apple, and cinnamon. Sprinkle honey to taste.
Lunch: Turkey Wrap
- 1 tortilla wrap – Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Tortilla
- 1 tbsp hummus
- 2 slices of roast turkey breast
- 4 lettuce leaves
- Lay the tortilla flat on a large plate. Spread the hummus and layer the turkey breast and lettuce leaves.
- Fold in the sides then roll to form a wrap.
Snack: Crackers & Cheese
- 4 salty crackers
- 1 oz any cheese you like
Dinner: Chicken Pasta
- 1/2 boneless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup whole-grain penne pasta
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 4 cups raw spinach
- Red pepper flakes
- Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
- Boil water in a large pot and cook the penne pasta as directed on the package. During the last 3 minutes add the chicken.
- When cooked fully, drain the chicken and penne and save 1/4 cup of water. Return the penne and chicken to the original pot and add the remaining ingredients.
- Cook over medium heat and adjust the taste. Serve and enjoy!
Day 6: Diet to Lose Belly Fat
Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito
- 1 tortilla wrap – Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Tortilla
- 1/2 cup diced chicken breast
- 1 large scrambled egg
- 1/4 cup Swiss cheese
- 2 tbsp salsa
- Scramble your egg using vegetable oil.
- Place all your ingredients in the tortilla and fold.
Lunch: Turkey Chili (makes 4 servings)
- 1 pack of dry chili seasoning mix
- 1 pound turkey breast, diced
- 3 cups drained red beans, cooked
- 8 oz diced tomatoes with chili peppers
- 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- Smear the seasoning over the turkey. Sear in a medium nonstick pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Reduce the heat to low and add all the veggies. Stir well and add the stock.
- Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes. When carrots are soft, serve and enjoy.
- 1 hard-boiled egg, a pinch of salt, and lime
Dinner: Mediterranean-Style Cod
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup olives, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 6 oz cod fillet
- Cut aluminum foil into about 12” by 12”. Lay the cod and season it with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes and onions around the cod, and sprinkle the minced olives over the veggies and cod. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Place the dish in the oven and roast for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees or until the cod and vegetables are fully cooked.
Day 7: Diet to Lose Belly Fat
Breakfast: Overnight Berry & Chia Oatmeal
- 1 cups plain almond milk
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal
- 1/2 cup berries of your choice
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 tbsp of honey
Combine all ingredients in a container, place them in the refrigerator overnight, and be ready to eat in the morning.
Lunch: Pesto Shrimp Pasta
- 4 oz penne pasta
- 6 large shrimp, peeled and pre-cooked
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 3 tbsp ready-made pesto
- 3 tbsp Gorgonzola cheese
- 2 tbsp diced walnuts
- Boil the pasta as directed on the package. Drain the pasta and transfer the pasta to a large bowl.
- Add shrimp, spinach, pesto, cheese, and walnuts. Stir well and serve.
Snack: Hot cocoa
- 1 cup unsweetened nut milk
- 2 tsp cacao powder (which contains polyphenol!)
- A dash of cinnamon
Dinner: Peaches and Pork Chops
- 1 bone-in pork chop
- Coconut oil
- 1 firm peach, pitted and halved
- 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Brush the pork with coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side.
- Brush the peach halves with oil and add to the grill, face down. Grill for 5 minutes.
- Remove, slice, and toss with the pine nuts, onions, and balsamic vinegar. If desired, add blue cheese.
- Serve the pork chop with the peach mixture.
The Bottom Line On Diet to Lose Belly Fat
This meal plan program kicks off a lifestyle change to improve your overall health.
Eating all of the food groups isn’t enough to get rid of much belly fat. It takes a long amount of time for a smaller waistline.
There are 2 types of fat, visceral fat, and subcutaneous fat. The Visceral is what surrounds your abdominal organs.
This excess weight contributes to obesity and health problems.
Excess belly fat and the risk of cardiovascular disease are targeted in this meal plan.
Additional weight may be contributed to genetics.
Cholesterol is found in your cells and makes hormones and substances to help aid in digestion. High cholesterol also affects your risk of heart disease.
Getting rid of that stubborn belly can lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, boost your immune function, and improve your health conditions.
Keep your blood glucose level in check, by measuring the sugar levels. High carb intake can lead to diabetes or insulin issues.
Avoid a high-fat diet. The good thing is that not all fats are bad! MUFA and polyunsaturated fat can be helpful in tackling abdominal obesity.
Make sure you have a way to monitor your weight loss efforts such as waist measurement or body mass index. Track your caloric intake on a regular basis for better results.
Don’t have too many sweets, junk food, juice, or ice cream.
Add a personal trainer, Registered Dietitian, nutritionist, for accountability. You can also consult a certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD).
For further reading and the most recent studies, check out the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the International Journal of Obesity.
A healthy lifestyle and thinner torso includes not only a healthy diet program of less fatty foods and the 5 best foods above but getting 8 hours of sleep, drinking plenty of water (try a glass first thing in the morning!), high-intensity interval training (HIIT), weight training, and lowering your stress levels.
Track your steps and fitness with an electronic device such as a Fitbit or Apple watch. Add a medicine ball to your abdominal region targeted workouts.
Don’t try to force a greater reduction with steroids which have many adverse side effects.
This is a lot of information so take a deep breath. Especially if this is your first time. Any diet program takes willpower and no excuses.
Be kind to yourself. 1 cheat meal or restaurant meal will not blow your entire diet. Simply try to do better the next time. Getting a flatter belly is a marathon, not a sprint.
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