Have you even walked out of your local gym and felt that even though you were in there for an hour or so, you didn’t really accomplish anything? If you have, you’re not alone. It happens to the best of us. But, how do you prevent it from happening again? First, you have to understand where you went wrong.

No plan
You walked into the gym with great intentions, but you had no plan. Maybe you had a general idea that you wanted to work out your legs, but no playbook on which machines you were going to work out on and if you were going to go with heavy weight or high repetitions. Or, maybe the machines that you usually use were busy and you could not get to them. That left you so thrown off that you wasted a lot of time looking for alternatives and never really found your focus.

The fix
Ensure you have a periodized program to follow for your specific goal. Then every time you go into the gym you will have a plan of which exercises you are going to perform during your workout and also a measure of accomplishment for that day. Be prepared for some of the equipment to be busy and know what you can use in place, or just change up the order without totally throwing off your workout.

You just weren’t into it
You were in zombie mode. You went to the gym just because you were following your daily or semi-daily routine. You did the exercises and maybe even sweat a little, but you weren’t really focused on what you were doing. You did a standard number of repetitions: 3 sets of 10 or 4 sets of 8, but you did not push yourself. You didn’t leave one machine exhausted or out of breath. You just went through the motions.

The fix
Make sure when you leave for the gym that you have a purpose and know what your workout from your program is meant to accomplish. When you have a long-term training plan, you inherently value the steps along the way that get you to your end game. If you feel like you cannot deliver on your program that day for whatever reason, try some mobility work to start to wake yourself up and then load your phone or iPod with music that will get you motivated.

You forgot something
You get to the gym and you realize that you have forgotten something. Your iPod, phone, earphones, workout gloves, towel. It’s something that you always take to the gym, but will not prevent you from working out.

The fix
Sure, not having your tunes may hinder your enjoyment of your workout, but don’t let it totally sabotage it. You made it to the gym after all, so you might as well go hard. Listen to the gym music or try to remember the songs that motivate you the most to sweat, push hard and get a good workout in. Then when you get home, put your earphones, towel, etc., back in your gym bag so that it doesn’t happen anytime again soon. Also, don’t be afraid to ask at the front desk if they have some of the items you forgot available.