As a personal trainer I interact with existing and new gym members daily and the most common thing that I've notice is that the majority have no constructive plan for the time they are spending at the gym, In time this leads to frustration and naturally they loose motivation and 'throw in the towel' on their training with the mentality that what they are doing just isn't working so why keep trying.
I watch new gym members doing the same workout routine daily which usually consists of 30/40 minutes cardio followed up with them floating between the same weights machine exercises in a circuit order (chest press,shoulder press, leg extension, adductor,adductor, ab crunch machines) and then they leave. I see members that have been training for 6+ months also completing the same workouts week in week out with little or no progress which is the reason I believe gyms are now offering a 'workout/challenge of the week' as they accept that some people don't really know what they are doing on the gym floor and so they stick to the safe areas of the gym (cardio equipment + machines).
I understand that the gym can be an intimidating place for most people but having a 'plan of attack' for your workouts will help you to feel more motivated and focused to do them. Don't just arrive at the gym and think right what should I do today? You should be thinking about your workout before you get to the gym. If it's chest day for example, plan in your head which exercises you are going to do in which order and actually visualise yourself doing the workout. If you aren't following a printed training program I suggest you keep a training log for your workouts, not only does this help you keep track of your workouts but it saves you time and valuable energy as you can easily look back to previous workouts to see what you were lifting before.
Of course there will be times when the gym will be busier than usual and the equipment you want to use at a certain part of your workout may be occupied or there will be times when you just aren't feeling an exercise as much as usual and do something else so you can never truly plan your workout to each exact detail before you do it, but at least having that rough idea in your head of what you are going to do before you get to the gym will give you a better chance of progression and will definitely make sure you actually make it to the gym!
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