A really good workout doesn't just happen, there is several variables that can affect your workout positively or negatively. The music in the gym, the people training near/with you or how much cologne your trainer put on after his workout.
The biggest variable that I've found, however, is you. What you bring to the table for that hour is what's going to make or break the session. And, no, I don't mean physically. There are going to be days that you come in and you're tired, dehydrated, under-fed or over-stressed. Shit happens. But the thing that overcomes any other obstacle standing in the way of a good workout is your own mind.
Let's be real: you know you have a training session coming up, so why not prepare? You're spending some hard-earned cash on this hour, so you might as well get the most you can out of it.
There are a lot of things you can do ahead of time to make sure your session goes well: eat well, drink plenty of water, have a coffee or show up early. The thing that I've found that swings my clients to either the good or bad side is the mentality they bring with them.
If the first thing you say to me is "Oh, I'm so tired, I'm going to have such a shitty session today!" then you are setting yourself up for failure. Would you walk into a job interview and say "Well, I know you guys won't want to hire me, but..." I sure friggin' hope not.
Sure, tell me you're tired. I'm going to ask how you're feeling that day anyway, so be honest. A good trainer will always take that into consideration during your workout. If your baby was up all night crying then I'm not going to see if we can max out your deadlift; we'll be a little conservative.
You know what, though? Just get your fucking head in the game. Your time in the gym should be a sacred time. You'll be there for an hour, put all of your other bullshit aside for 60 minutes. Nothing terrible is going to happen in that hour, and if it does then you won't be able to fix it anyway. Put your phone away and forget about what happened at work. Stop thinking about the fight with your girlfriend and get your mind right. Nothing else matters for this hour except you and the weights. You need be present in that moment; whatever happened before and after is inconsequential at that time. When you leave the gym you'll have plenty of time to worry about everything else in your life.
The other thing people need to learn how to do is to channel their aggression and stress into their workout. Take it out on the weights! Blow off some steam! I guarantee you'll feel better at the end of your hour.
Any other tricks for getting mentally involved in your training session? Leave a note in the comments!
Have a great day and go lift some heavy shit!