#1 Get a Workout Buddy
For me there is honestly nothing more excruciatingly boring than working out alone. Do yourself a favor and get a buddy! Not only does it make the painful course of your workout more bearable, but it can actually be a lot of fun! It's also great motivation because you will push each other. Your buddy also comes in handy for machine swapping, spotting, watching your form, and are also your own personal cheerleader: "You can do that last rep! YOU GOT THIS!!"
#2 Have a Plan
I mean this in two different ways: First, have a plan of when you are going to the gym. My boyfriend, Brandon, and I go every morning Monday through Thursday from 6:30-9 (Yes, we may be certifiably insane, however this does include showers) and sometimes Friday and Saturday if our work schedules permit. It's a lot easier to go when it becomes a regular part of your routine (ie. Gym, Work, Home, Dead...I mean Bed). Second, have a plan for your workout. We have a routine for upper body day and lower body day that we normally follow, unless Brandon tries to kill me by adding something new -_- but I digress. If you have a little routine going, you'll always have an idea of how long you'll take and it saves you time and thinking power.
#3 Switch it Up
This may seem contradictory to my last tip, but hear me out. It is good to have a routine, but don't let it go stale. You don't want to be just going through the motions, or you're going to get bored and want to quit. I like to switch up my cardio on occasion or swap out an ab exercise. Also, adding weight and pushing yourself will keep you motivated too!
#4 Be Prepared
If you're planning on showering at the gym or you have somewhere to be right after make sure you have everything you need. I go to work right after, so I look like a legit bag lady ALL THE TIME. I have my gym bag that has all of my normal things (wallet, keys...) and also keeps all of my shower things (soap, change of clothes, towel, makeup...) Basically, I need a bigger bag. Then I also have a lunch box since I eat breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout my long ass day. Brandon and I make our post-workout protein shakes in the parking lot. It's a good time. You may spot me walking to my car casually shaking my blender bottle bartender style. Basically, just make sure you have everything you need to keep your day going smoothly. There is nothing worse than forgetting your underwear and having to go commando with your jeans all day (although I cannot attest to this, I imagine that would be a pretty rough day).
#5 Set Some Goals
#6 Challenge Yourself
This applies to going to the gym in general and in your workout. If you're a night person but your schedule only gives you time to go in the morning, DO IT! You don't know until you try and it's never going to be easy, but it gets better! Once you know what you are capable of, you can find your balance! Also, push yourself to keep stepping up. Don't do the same amount of weight every day or even every set. If it feels too easy, it is! Add 5-10 lbs. each time and see how much you can do, but still always be careful. If you're in pain, and I mean more than just the push of your muscles working, then it is too much. Or, for another example, if you got up to an 8.00 incline on the treadmill yesterday, go for the 10.00 today! Your workouts should be challenging in order for you to make progress, but they will vary from day to day!
#7 Don't Get Discouraged
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I cannot stress that enough. I'll be honest, I was super uncomfortable the first couple of times I was in the "weight room" since I was usually the only girl amongst a bunch of beefed up guys. Mind you, I am by no means tiny, but I felt like a little peanut next to these guys and I felt like I didn't really belong there. Thankfully, Brandon encouraged me and now I hardly even notice them, unless I'm picking out the ones with horrible form; which I feel bad not saying anything, but chances are slim that they'd take advice from a little squirt like me LOL. Also, don't compare yourself to your partner, especially if they are the opposite gender. On most things Brandon does a lot more than me, but he's a guy. He's a lot bigger than me and he's been working out regularly for a good while before we started going together. But then there are things that we do the same on. It really depends on the person. A 50 lb. dead lift for them might be the equivalent of a 15 lb. one for you. As long as you are making progress, the numbers don't matter! It's how you feel that counts!