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Workout not working? This is probably why

Amanda Russell is a top-rated fitness and lifestyle writer, professional keynote speaker, Olympic-trained athlete, model, spokeswoman, founder of FitStrongandSexy.com.

I know this is a big claim, but in my experience this is the problem I see with most workouts, (go ahead, attack me, but first read where I’m coming from).

Where do I get my claims? Through hours and hours of teaching workouts to people, men and women, all over the globe. No, this was not a verified scientific study; rather it is my personal observations through experience.

So WHAT IS this "big obstacle?"

Ready, here it comes... intensity, aka level of physical exertion.

Sounds obvious right? However, it's the culprit keeping so many of us from achieving our goals.

Lack of intensity comes in many forms and can be cured through a variety of ways, but the bottom line is, people are OK with getting "moderately uncomfortable," but we rarely push ourselves to the extent we can.

Our bodies are at least 50 percent stronger than our minds let us believe; however, it’s human instinct to pace ourselves down to preserve our energy and "make it through." That's the problem with most 45 - 60 minute workouts, the levels of intense segments are too long for us to really push the limits, Rather, we lower our effort level to a state that allows us to preserve ourselves.

What can you do? Here are a couple ways to Get more out of your workouts:

Think "get uncomfortable"

Don't be afraid to get breathless and keep the goal at the front of your mind. For example: run faster! Cardio lovers may prioritize time but try adding sprint bursts to your runs. Not running? You can do this with anything. Bike? bike faster! Elliptical, go harder... you get the point.

Have a plan

Without a plan, a trip to the gym can quickly become a complete waste of time. To avoid wandering aimlessly from one piece of equipment to the next, sketch out your workouts ahead of time and set clear training goals. When you go in with a purpose you will maximize your time.

Exercise "in the moment"

Rather than trying to work out for a long period of time, focus on what you are doing, rather than what's still ahead. It's better to go so hard your first couple intervals and need more recovery time than to breeze through the workout. You can do anything for a limited period of time, and it allows your body (and mind) to push harder than it could for unknown time intervals.

Don't multi-task your time

It's tempting to fire off emails on the stationary bike (or browse Instagram on your phone), but a trip to the gym should be the time you disconnect from all of this and focus on working your body. Up the intensity by using the timer on the machine to do intervals (full steam ahead).

Exercise does work, but you have to work it; it's the one thing someone else can't do for you.

Here are five awesome "go-to" interval workouts (no equipment required).

Note: These workouts give you the framework; you decide how hard you can work.

Please note, there are several other factors that could be obstacles in keeping you from results, such as consistency, diet, etc. but this is the number one problem I notice when it comes to the time people actually spend working out.

So next workout, know what you're doing and really work it!

Photo credit: MichaelSvoboda/Vetta/Getty Images
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