You may have just spent 2 hours at the gym, but how much of that time were you intensely exercising? Yes, fitness should be fun, but if your set routine involves reading a magazine on a card machine followed by the same weight machine circuit, chances are you aren't seeing the results you want.
"In the beginning exercise can feel unruly and even excruciating—which is clearly not fun—but once your body learns how to do various exercise movements and your strength and stamina improve, it's time to upgrade your program," Olson says. "Time and again research has shown that increasing to more vigorous levels of activity bring about greater health benefits and noticeably improved fitness and appearance."
And you don't have to spend more time at the gym. In fact, if you focus on the quality of your workout, you may actually spend less time there. "This is why interval training has become so popular," Olsen says. Experts recommend a range of intensity levels, but many interval workouts go up to 85 percent or your max heart rate. "If you can learn to push yourself appropriately, you can also land the benefit of a higher metabolism following exercise—that means you are rewarded for your extra effort following exercise with an extra energy burn!"