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5 reasons your workout isn't getting results

Wednesday - 4/23/2014, 6:32am  ET

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Successful workouts are, in part, about quality over quantity. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON -- Nothing is more frustrating than going to the gym but not seeing any results. But most of us are guilty of running on the treadmill for 30 minutes and expecting to lose weight instantly.

Nardia Norman, a personal trainer and author of "Fat Attack: The Secrets Behind the World's Biggest Loser," spoke with the New York Post about why this doesn't work, and how to change your training sessions to get the most out of your time.

1. Lack of intensity: If you're able to read a book or magazine while doing cardio, you're not working hard enough. The most effective form of training is high- intensity interval training (HIIT).

"This means working at 95 percent of your maximum for between 10 and 30 seconds on the treadmill, bike or rower, then resting for 30 to 60 seconds," Norman tells the Post.

HIIT allows you to get into your workout quickly and causes you to burn calories even after you've stopped working out. This is called "excess post- exercise oxygen consumption or 'afterburn'".

2. Working one muscle at a time: Bicep curls, leg extensions and leg curls might build muscle in specific areas, but overall they're not effective because you are only working one muscle. Exercises such as squats, lunges or push-ups work multiple muscles and joints, which burns more calories and helps gain or tone muscles, Norman says.

3. Quantity-over-quality mindset: It is more beneficial to have high-quality training sessions, with more rest in between, rather than working out so often that the quality of your workouts decreases. Recovery is very important in losing weight and getting the most out of your workouts. Alternate strength and cardio workouts every couple of days so that your muscles have time to relax in between the lifting exercises.

4. You don't have a plan: Just showing up at the gym and running on the treadmill for a set amount of time won't get you results. If you want to lose weight, make a plan with the exercises that will get you there. Norman recommends a personal trainer, since they know how to asses clients and figure out a plan that is suited for them.

5. Lacking a goal Without a goal, you will lack drive and motivation, which will throw you off track. When you're tempted to eat that dessert after dinner, it's when you need your inspiration to be powerful enough to convince you not to. The key to success is wanting it and having a goal you're motivated to reach.

For more information, visit the New York Post.

Marissa Paiano, special to wtop.com, contributed to this report.

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