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Can’t ditch that flabby physique? Learn why you’re not as lean and ripped as you want to be.

Why You Are Still Soft

You treat your workouts like another job. You’re seemingly focused, determined and anxiously working towards the results you desire. However, when you look in the mirror your muscle definition is lackluster and instead an overall softness has taken hold. Here are six underlying catalysts that could be contributing to your lack of gains.

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Calories Aren’t Mapped Out

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It’s not enough to know roughly how many calories you’re taking in daily. If you’ve been bulking and are now at a soft state, the definition won’t come without a cut. You need to strategically plan those calories to ensure your calories in aren’t exceeding calories out. Your protein, fat and carbohydrate ratio will need to be analyzed as well. Focus on higher protein overall. A sustainable, balanced diet will go a long way to making those muscles pop.

Challenge Not Accepted

Have you been lifting the same amount of weight for weeks? Months? It’s time to switch it up. Your muscles aren’t breaking down and have become accustomed to your workout. Ever heard the phrase, it’s not getting easier, you’re getting better? It’s true. It’s time to challenge yourself. Up your weight and change your rep ranges. Focus on a challenging, yet doable lift with good form for upwards of five reps. Once a week to every other week max out with at least one rep.

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No Cardio Balance

Cardio is necessary to incorporate into your fitness plan. We know the importance of cardio to your overall health. Too much cardio though will thin you out rather than be an aid to your weight lifting routine. It’s all about finding a balance. It’s important to note not all cardio needs to be high intensity. Steady-paced cardio can be equally as effective and beneficial. For example: after an intense weight lifting session why not add a brisk 20 minute walk?

Lack Of Consistency

A couple solid weight lifting sessions in a week don’t hurt, but it will not be enough on the road to serious gains and definition. Be honest with yourself on your consistency at the gym. How often are you going? Do you go in with a plan of what muscle groups you’re working? Are you tracking your progress? How much time are you actually spending training or are there distractions taking away your focus? If you’re slacking in making your time at the gym count, you’re only hurting yourself.

Not Enough H2O

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The muscle gains you’ve made may be hiding underneath a layer of bloat due to a lack of water. There are numerous recommendations on the minimum amount of water an individual takes in depending on gender, weight, workout intensity, etc. From eight, eight ounce glasses to upwards of two gallons daily, it runs the gamut. On average, a gallon (128 ounces) is recommended for those using a pre-workout supplement. Aim for that and see how you feel and analyze how you look. You may not see the physical difference in the first few days. Stick with it. Added benefits include overall clarity, decreased headaches, less fatigue and more. Important to add…there’s such a thing as too much water, too. Don’t over hydrate.

Sleep Deprived

Ever pull an all-nighter or get less than your ideal number of hours in a night? You’re sure to wake up puffy. Your body has not had the proper amount of time to rest and restore. Make a concerted effort to get ample sleep and you’ll be sure to see a difference in your body overall. Added benefit, your body burns the most fat while you’re sleeping.

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