The Carbohydrate Loading Strategy


There are three main types of nutrient stores that are contained in the human body: Glycogen, fat, and protein. Glycogen is the first nutrient that your body relies on whenever you are exercising and, with extended periods of exercise, such as a 10k+ race or an endurance based fitness competition, this store of energy can become depleted. Any long distance runner can tell you that they reached a point in their race where they felt like they just could not continue on. This is the moment that their glycogen store has become depleted and is where we get the phenomenon “hitting the wall”. Your body then starts to rely on your fat stores for energy, but the process to convert fat is much slower than the initial glycogen conversion. This is why the last small part of the marathon is the hardest part and is also why a big focus for runners is how to delay glycogen depletion until the last possible second. Luckily, there is a strategy that’s been researched for the last 40 years on this very issue: Carbohydrate Loading. Carbohydrates, when digested, are what your body converts into glycogen and is what is stored in your muscles. The theory of Carbohydrate Loading is that if you consume more carbs than normal, then your muscles will have more stored glycogen and it will take longer for this store to become depleted. A common program for Carbohydrate Loading is called the “Classic 3-Day”.

The “Classic 3 Day”

With this 3 day program, you are going to start 3 days before your race or competition. On the first day, you are going to perform an intense workout in order to completely or nearly completely deplete your muscle glycogen stores. You are basically making it so you start on a clean slate. Then for the rest of day one, you are going to consume around 4.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight (about 10 grams per kilogram). This means that you are going to want to eat more breads and pastas. To account for the increase in calories from consuming more carbohydrates, you are going to have to limit your intake of fats for this 3 day period. The next 2 days, you are going to do little to no exercise but you are going to keep consuming the same amount of carbohydrates. At the end of the 3 days, if you consumed the correct amount of carbs, your muscles should me at, or near max glycogen storage.

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If you are running a long distance race or competing in an endurance based fitness competition, one of your goals is probably to keep your energy level high as long as possible. This can be improved by training, but if you are within a couple days of your race, you’ve done all the training you can do. But there is still something you can do to help you keep a high energy level and that is Carbohydrate Loading. Carbohydrate Loading maximizes the amount of glycogen stored in your muscles, pushing back the point at which you hit the wall and therefore getting you better race results. For more tips on how to improve your results, visit The Keys to Running a Better Race.




The Keys to Running a Better Race

Whether you are running your first 5 K or your 20th marathon, everyone’s goal is to run their best race possible. Most of your ability to perform well is determined by how hard you trained in the months leading up to the race. But when it comes down to within the last week before your race, you’ve done all the training that you can do. Trying to get an extra day of training in isn’t going to help and actually might increase your risk of injury. But if you still have the pre-race jitters and can’t get it out of your head that you need to be doing something, there are still things you can do to help you on your race day.

     1. Get Proper Amounts of Sleep

During your sleeping phase is when your body rebuilds a majority of its muscle that was broken down by training. This muscle regeneration is crucial to your performance during the race because no one wants to run 26.2 miles with a strain in their hammy. Also, sleep is a time for many other processes to start happening in your body. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain can’t process all of your thoughts from that day, including details such as what your race strategy is going to be. Come race time, you might forget everything that you had thought about the day before if you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep. But studies show it is not just the night before the race that affects your performance. Even missing sleep from a couple days before your race can have an impact. So try and aim for around 7 hours for 3 or 4 days before your race

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     2. Visualize your Race

This one may sound weird because if you are running a marathon, its going to be hard to visualize a full 3 hours of running. Luckily, visualizing your whole race isn’t necessary. Just try and visualize the start of the race when the gun goes off and you cross the starting line, the middle of your race when you are keeping a consistent pace, and the end of the race when you pushed through all of the exhaustion and broke through the ribbon at the finish line. Some people might think that this is a stupid idea and that it isn’t helpful, but I have an example of when it worked for me.

One day during my Bold Warrior training, we were practicing our rope climb. I was able to get up once just from pure force, but the second time I tried to get up, my muscles kept giving out. I was told that I needed to use my legs more to help me up and was shown what it looked like, but I couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. I tried over and over again and worked at it till we were already an hour past our training time, yet I still couldn’t get it. But then I took a 2 minute break, walked away, and just visualized myself performing the exact leg motions I needed to and saw myself touching the top. Then I walked back over and got to the top on my next try. That day, I tried climbing up that rope at least 50 times and failed each and every attempt, until I visualized myself.

So next time you have a race coming up, just try visualizing yourself running and see if it helps.

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     3. Hydrate

This one is a pretty obvious one, but also the most important. Your muscles are over 70% water and when you sweat, which you will during your race, you are losing high volumes of fluid. Dehydration is a big reason people start to get cramps during a race. You don’t want to be on the final leg of your first race and end up getting a major calve cramp and not be able to finish. But it isn’t just the water that is important. When you sweat, you are also losing electrolytes, such as sodium, which are vital for proper cell function. Gatorade is a good source of electrolytes but it also has a high amount of sugar, which is helpful if you are running a long race but unnecessary if you are running shorter distances. So if your race is around the distance of a 5 K, then you can buy a Gatorade and pour half of it into another bottle and then refill it with water. Now you have the electrolytes and water you need without all of the added sugar. Also, hydration, like sleep, is not just important for the night before, but also for the days leading up to your race. So make sure you are drinking more water than normal for 2-3 days before the big day.

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     4. Nutrition

Your nutrition is like the gas in your car. You are only going to get out of it what you put in. For a car, if you put in cheap gas, you aren’t going to get as good MPG as you would for the more expensive stuff. Same with you what eat. What you consume is either going to help you get across that finish line or give you a major side stitch right during the middle of the race. So you want to fill up with higher quality foods. But what are these “quality” foods? Well the issue with this question it that it doesn’t have a definitive answer. It is all based on you and your specific needs. What one person consumes before a race is going to differ from other people. The one rule is to keep it consistent. You don’t want to eat something new before a race because you don’t know how it is going to affect you. The problem now is that if this is your first race, then you aren’t going to know how certain things affect you. But this is why you train. Training isn’t just for preparing your legs and cardiovascular system, but also to test out new routines. It is your time to experiment with different food combinations to see what gives you the most energy. And though getting a side stitch or running out of energy during a practice run still isn’t fun, it is much better than it happening during the actual race.

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Just like sleep and hydration, the way you eat a the days before your race will also affect your performance. But unlike the day of the race, you don’t need to limit what you eat. In fact, you want to eat more than you normally do. More carbs that is. This is where the strategy of Carbohydrate Loading comes in. Carbohydrate Loading is simply increasing your daily intake of carbohydrates in order to increase the amount of glycogen stored in your muscle. To read more about Carbohydrate Loading, visit The Carbohydrate Loading Strategy.



If you have a race coming up in the near future, there are 4 things you need to start focusing on in order to maximize your performance: Sleep, Visualization, Hydration, and nutrition. If you focus on these 4 things, you will set yourself up to run the best race of your life.

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The 3-Day Split

How Much Rest?

When working out, especially when performing strength exercises such as lifting weights or doing high volumes of push-ups, recovery time is very important. When you perform strength exercises, your muscles are actually broken down at the microscopic level. They then rebuild themselves bigger and stronger in order to adapt to the weight that you are lifting. Too little rest and your muscles will not have enough time to completely rebuild, leading to declining results and leaving you vulnerable to injury. Too much rest and your muscles will actually start breaking down. Since muscles burn a significant amount of calories, your body wants to have the minimum possible amount to keep you alive. Therefore, if you take an extended period of time off, your body will think that it no longer needs as much muscle and will start to get rid of it. But how much rest is appropriate? According to the University of New Mexico, the amount of rest you need depends on 4 things: Your gender, what your current training level is, what your particular goal is, and what your volume of training is. For gender, studies have shown that females actually need less recovery time than equally fit males. For your current training level, if you are a beginner, your muscles aren’t as used to the exercises you are performing so you are going to want to take a little bit more rest. For training goals, there are different recommended rest times for people aiming at Hypertrophy then there are for people aiming at Endurance. And for volume of training, if you are performing a high number of reps and sets one day, you are going to want to take some more rest. In general, though, the recommended rest time is between 1-2 days. But this 1-2 days is the recommended rest between working out the same muscle group. So if you work out your chest one day, you can work out your legs the next day and still be fine. This is where the 3-Day Split comes into play.

The 3-Day Split

The 3-Day Split is basically just an effective way of organizing your workouts by muscle group. As the name suggests, you will be doing 3 weightlifting workouts a week, with each day working out a different muscle group. You can pick which days are best according to your personal schedule but you want to try and make it so that you have a day of rest in between. A standard schedule is to workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then rest or do other non-weight exercises the other days. For the muscle groups, a lot of people, including me, divide them into the following categories: Chest, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms, Shoulders, Back, Legs, and Abs. They then organize them and assign each muscle group to a day. For me, I combine Chest, Triceps, and Forearms and assign them to Monday, Back, Biceps, and Shoulders to Wednesday, and Legs to Friday. Working out the legs, AKA Leg Day, is a pretty intense day on its own so a lot of people assign it its own day. For me, I normally finish off each session with abs so I don’t assign them to a specific day. 


After you assign each muscle group to a day, it is now time to pick out which exercises you are going to do. For Chest, Triceps & Forearms and Biceps & Back, try and pick out a couple exercises for each muscle group to make it even. For Legs and Shoulders, there are many smaller parts to each of the bigger muscle groups. Such as for Shoulders, there are Deltoids, Traps, Lats, and more. So for the Shoulders and Legs, try and pick out an exercise for each of the individual muscles. 

There is also a similar program for more advanced weightlifters called a 6-Day split. With the 6 day split, you workout 6 days a week and work each muscle group twice. This is nice because you can get more exercises in for each muscle group without spending an extended period of time at the gym each day. So you will consolidate a 3 day split into Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then repeat for the next 3 days with different exercises.

If you would like an example of my 3-Day or 6-Day split plans, just email me and I will send it to you. My email is

If you would like to create your own workout plan, I would suggest downloading the Fitness Lab app for your phone. Again, I am not getting paid to advertise. I just find the app to have a lot of good exercises and it is very well organized. It also shows animations on how to perform each exercise. This app is where I found all the exercises for my workout plan and there a lot more that I did not include. So just remember to take 1-2 days between each muscle group workout and with proper nutrition and sleep, you will go far to preventing injury. Keep lifting!


Visit the link below for more information on muscle recovery




The Big 3…or More?

If you have decided to add lifting weights to your fitness routine, then you have added a challenging but fun form of exercise. There are so many different exercises and so many variations that you will never get bored. But there are some sites out there that only talk about something called “The Big 3”. No they are not talking about the 3-on-3 professional basketball league that I didn’t know existed until I researched this topic. They are talking about the 3 basic weightlifting exercises: bench press, weighted squat, and deadlift. Why are they the basic weightlifting exercises you might ask? Simply because they workout the major muscle groups. The bench press works out the chest & triceps, squatting works out the quadriceps and hamstrings, and deadlifting works out the back. The problem is that being the major muscle groups does not mean that they are the only ones, nor the most important. There are many more smaller muscles that are just as important, some you have probably heard of and some you might not have. In order to maximize the results of your weightlifting routine, you need to also workout these muscles. But you don’t want to eliminate these “big lifts” from your routine, you just want to add other exercises to compliment them. Such as with the bench press, which works the chest and triceps, you are missing all of the muscles in your shoulders plus your biceps and forearms. Forearms are not a muscle people think of often but you use them everyday whenever you open a door or carry a plate. So when you are planning your next workout, try and choose an exercise for each of the muscles listed below.


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Next post will be about different exercises you can do for each of the muscle groups and how you can effectively group them. Until then, keep working!


















A Workout Tool for Success

Working towards your goal to finally get in shape or to lose a couple pounds is hard work. If you have already started the process, you know what I mean. If you haven’t started yet, you will soon find out that it is not an easy task. You have to force yourself to wake up earlier. You have to motivate yourself to get your butt off the couch and drive to the gym. You even have to resist snagging that extra cupcake sitting at the middle of the table. Luckily, there is a tool out there to help you out: Technology. More specifically, your phone. You carry this magical device around with you everywhere. Why not put it to more use than just for checking whether that picture you posted 5 seconds ago has started trending yet? Why not make the device that tells the world when you are in Target, work for you? The same tracking software that tells Target when you are driving by so that they can send you a coupon can also be used to help you during your workouts. All you need to do is download one of the many free workout apps out there. But you don’t want to download just any one of them. You first want to make sure it does all that you want it to do. This is why I personally use the Under Armour My Fitness Pal app (no I am not getting paid to advertise for Under Armour, though I wish I was). What makes Under Armour Fitness app so good is that it has a lot of nice features. First, it has a nutrition tracker that not only counts how many calories and carbs and such that you have consumed, but also the vitamins and minerals that are so crucial to your bodies performance. There are a couple different ways that you can input the food that you consumed. You can search for it and select what other people have already added, manually add your foods nutrition facts, or, the easiest out of all, the bar code scanner. All you have to do is scan the bar code from the package of whatever you are eating and it automatically adds all of the nutrition facts. I must say though that keeping track of what you eat (AKA. Calorie Counting) takes some motivation and a good memory. First, it is hard to enter the food you ate if you had a bad day and ate a lot of junk food. But this should be a motivation to eat better. Second, you have to remember to track your food right after you eat your meal because it is too hard to remember what you ate for lunch if you have already eaten dinner.

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The next feature of the Under Armour My Fitness Pal app is the goals section. You can select your current weight, goal weight, and how many pounds you want to lose or gain per week and the app will calculate how many calories you should be consuming each day to reach this goal. The goal section also allows you to set nutrient goals, such as if you wanted to limit the number of carbs you ate per day, and fitness goals, such as how long and often you want to workout each week. Finally, the Under Armour app is a community. Everyone else that is using the app is trying to improve some part of their life just like you. And nothing motivates better than challenging and competing with your peers. Invite your friends to use the app and see who can reach their goal first.

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The one thing that the Under Armour My Fitness Pal app does not have is the GPS workout tracker. For this, you will have to download either the Under Armour Map My Fitness app or Under Armour Map My Run app (they are basically the same). You might think that it is a hassle to have to download 2 different apps but they do this for your own privacy. Since you have to allow the Map My Run and Map My Fitness apps to use your location in order for the GPS tracker to work, they make it so you have to sacrifice as little privacy as possible by storing your information in a separate app. The Fitness Pal app does not require your location to function so all of the information stored in this app is secure. In addition, the Map My Run and Map My Fitness apps sync with the My Fitness Pal app so any workout that you track automatically gets logged with the Fitness Pal data. And lastly, for all you people that like counting steps, the Fitness Pal app can connect to the step counter that came installed in your phone and automatically log them.

Whether you already knew about fitness tracking apps and just wanted to know which one to get or whether this is your first time ever hearing about them, I hope this post was informative. Stay Motivated!!!


Below is a link to the Under Armour Apps site which can give you more information if you are interested.


Side Note: The fitness apps are a low to no cost way to track your workouts. If you would like to go out and purchase an expensive Fit Bit or other wristband tracker, by all means do so. I personally think the apps are very sufficient. But with the Fit Bit you will get slightly more accurate info and features like the heart rate monitor. 


What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and does it Work?

Some people, like me, excessively research articles about fitness to make sure that they are doing the ‘right’ thing. If this is you and you have researched HIIT and already know about it, you can skip to the next paragraph. For those that don’t know what HIIT is, you are in luck because the next couple sentences will explain all about it. HIIT training was first used in the mid 1900’s by athletic coaches. This particular type of training involves performing an exercise, most commonly running and cycling, at a very high intensity (hence the name high-intensity) for a short period of time. The high-intensity ‘interval’ is then followed by a short period of rest. This intense-rest pattern is then repeated for an extended period of time. When stretched to its limit, the human body does some incredible things to try and adapt, among which is burning a lot of calories. The problem is that we can only physically push ourselves enough to stay at this extremely high intensity level for short periods of time. That is where the HIIT training strategy comes in. By adding short periods of rest in between, you can continue reaching this level. After a couple of repetitions, your total time at the High Intensity level will have accumulated to a couple minutes, which is huge. One thing about HIIT training that makes it so appealing to people that are trying to lose weight is that your body continues to burn calories long after your workout. Due to the amount of stress that your body was put through, it works hard afterwards recovering and rebuilding itself to prepare for the next time it is in a similarly intense situation. Research shows that you can burn up to twice as many calories hours after a HIIT workout as you would on a regular day. Along with the calorie burn, high intensity training is one of the most time efficient workouts you can perform. Just a 10 minute workout is equal to walking for 30 minutes at 4 mph. So “I’m too busy” is no longer a valid excuse.

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Now for the people that don’t trust the facts, here is a testimonial from none other than…me! When I first joined ROTC, I was not at a physical level in which I could pass the fitness test. For those of you that don’t know, the Army Physical Fitness Test, or APFT, consists of 2 minutes of push-ups (do as many as you can in 2 minutes), 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a timed 2-mile run. I was doing 60 sit-ups, and running a 14 minute mile which were okay, not great, but I could barely do 30 push-ups without hitting muscle failure. I knew that I needed to improve or I was going to be at risk of dropping out. I desperately started searching the internet, and that is when I came across Tabata. Tabata is a type of HIIT training in which you perform an intense exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10. It was first implemented by Olympic Speed Skating Coach Izumi Tabata, who it was obviously named after. In the previous paragraph I said that HIIT training was commonly used with running and cycling. But it can be used with resistance exercises as well. In my case, I started using it with push-ups. I would do as many push-ups as I could do in the 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. I repeated this 8 times and by the end, I could barely do 5 during each 20 second interval. I would do this at the end of my weightlifting workouts 3 times a week and I would be sweating for 10 minutes afterwards. What this did is push back the point at which I hit muscle failure during my PT test. Within a month, I was doing 60 push-ups in 2 minutes and after 2 months, I was at 80. With how much success I saw with my push-ups, I started using HIIT with my sit-ups and running and saw similar results. After a month, I raised my sit-ups to 85 and dropped my running time to 13:10. I went from at risk of dropping out to maxing my PT test and making the PT competition team. The results I personally saw from implementing HIIT training into my weekly routine is why I 100% recommend that everyone try it out. You can use it with any exercise you choose, as long as it is at least mildly intense. Now go out there and do some HIIT!

Click here for some Tabata ideas.

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Should you vary your workouts day-to-day?

So you have built up the motivation to start going to the gym and lifting weights. Congrats you have gotten past the first step to start getting into shape! Maybe you have already done your research about what exercises you should perform to get the results you are looking for. But sometime during that research, you probably came across a site saying that to get the best results, you need to vary workouts every day. It claims that you need to “keep your muscles guessing” by changing exercises and number of reps each workout, in order to promote the process of break down and rebuild. This, in fact, is not true. According to Michael Clevidence, a researcher of exercise performance at Ohio University, it takes the muscles around 4 weeks to fully get used to the exercises, sets, and reps that you are performing. This means that the muscles will keep breaking down and rebuilding bigger for about a month into your workout routine. After these 4 weeks, you can simply change the number of reps and sets of each exercise that you are performing. This is where the 4 phase rotation comes into play.

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The 4 phase rotation, scientifically known as periodization, has been researched and been proven to most effectively improve overall fitness. The first 4 weeks of the rotation are dedicated to hypertrophy, also known as muscle growth. During this phase, you will perform 3-6 sets of 8-15 reps with 1-2 minutes in between each set. The next phase is the strength phase where you are going to be focusing on getting your muscles to lift the most weight possible. Throughout this phase, you will be performing 4-5 sets of less than 6 reps with 3-5 minutes in between each set. The third phase is the endurance phase where the focus is on improving how your muscles perform with light resistance over an extended period of time. For this phase, you will be performing 6-8 sets of 15 or more reps with less than 30 seconds in between each set. The final phase is the power phase which focuses on decreasing the amount of time it takes for your muscles to produce their maximum possible force. This sounds very similar to strength and in fact the 2 are very complimentary. Strength increases the maximum force your muscles can produce and power reduces the amount of time it takes to produce this force. Throughout this phase, you will be performing 5-6 sets of 1-5 reps with 5-6 minutes in between sets. For the power phase, focus on lifting the weight fast (but controlled). Like if you are bench pressing, imagine you are trying to throw the weight up and hit the ceiling (but make sure to actually hold onto the weight. For each phase, each set should be performed with a weight where it is challenging to complete the number of reps listed. So for the strength phase, you should be using near the max amount of weight you can possibly lift. After you complete the full 4 phase rotation, you can either restart it with the same exercises to see how much you have improved, or change the exercises in order to work different parts of each muscle group and to just add a level of excitement. By following this rotation, you will be able to improve your overall fitness instead of just hyper-improving one part of it.

Weeks Phase # of Sets # of Reps Rest Time
1-4 Hypertrophy 3-6 8-15 1-2 min
5-8 Strength 4-5 <6 3-5 min
9-12 Endurance 6-8 >15 <30 sec
13-16 Power 5-6 1-5 5-6 min

Visit to read more about periodization.

My Middle-School Transformation

When I was in middle school, I was overweight. I was 5′ 8″ and 120 lbs, but I was young so I17042-183_redesignrotator.jpg didn’t think too much about it. That was, until I joined the city baseball team. It was a travel team that I had too tryout for and I, being in the shape that I was, barely made it. Everyone else was faster and generally more athletic than I was and it became clear to me that if I didn’t change, I wasn’t going to stay on the team for very long. So I set some long and short term goals like I learned in elementary school and set off to change my self. What surprised me is that I didn’t have to completely change my lifestyle. I made a few minor changes to my diet and exercise and the rest just naturally fell into place. Before, my mom would always go to the grocery store on her own and pick out whatever she thought I would like. This ended up being a decent amount of junk food because that is what she saw me eat most often. So I started tagging along with her on her weekly trips to Meijer and just walking through the produce isle excited me. We would pass by a rack of vegetables and I would be picking stuff up left and right and asking my mom if it was okay if we got it. There were just so many things that I had never seen before so I was really interested in trying them out.


Later we would pass through the junk food isle and I surprised my mom by just only getting a family size bag of tortilla chips. “So you don’t want this or that?” She asked. I replied no and we just continued walking. Though I still had a little bit of junk food in my school lunches, I also added peppers and carrots and assorted fruits. I didn’t completely change what I ate, I just added some healthier options to it.

Along with nutrition, I also changed how much I exercised. But I’m not talking about going to the gym everyday and lifting weights (first of all I was in middle school and second of all it wasn’t necessary). I started running one mile a couple days a week but it was mostly that I joined other sports. I started playing hockey and swimming, things that I loved to do. So it didn’t feel like exercise cause I was having fun while doing it. I’m not saying that you can just magically get into shape cause that’s not how the world works and what would be the point of life if that was the case. What I am saying is that it doesn’t take as much effort as some people say. Just find something you enjoy doing and stick with it.

As a result of changing a couple small parts of my life, I stayed the same weight for the next 2 years. I basically stretched upwards and by the end of middle school, I was about 6 feet tall and at the same weight I had been when I was four inches shorter. My baseball coach took notice of how much I had changed and he actually had me give a speech to the rest of the team about what I did. I was very reluctant to speak cause I knew everyone would make fun of me afterwards and call me names (which they did) but deep down inside, it felt really good that other people took notice of how different I was. Though I was only 8 years old when this event occurred, the underlying message can relate to people of all ages. Just know that you don’t have to do a complete 180 in order to change your life around. Just start with the small things, such adding more vegetables to your daily intake, and the rest will all come together in the end.