I confess- this week I've been pretty unmotivated. I've kept working out, but have been caving in to that voice in my head that tells me I don't need to push myself. Whenever I go through a slump like this, I re-read an article I found on rosstraining.com (for the full article, click here). The things that Ross discusses that have particular meaning for me are, succinctly, that you can create your own workouts and that a work out can be laid-back or intense depending on ones mind-set.
Creating your own workouts is a fascinating and novel concept in the world of personal trainers and thousands of websites and blogs promising to deliver fantastic results if one dedicatedly follows the program dictated therein. I'm not knocking those websites and trainers- just suggesting that they might be a tad overhyped and perhaps better utilized as a source of inspiration. (For example, I get a lot of workout ideas here) I love thinking up new workouts for myself because I can target specific areas that I know I need to improve in, like my upper body strength, or lack thereof.
If you're new to working out, I suggest taking the time to learn a bit about how the body builds muscle and how to perform exercises correctly, in addition to learning various strategies for achieving specific results before you jump in and start creating workouts. For example, testosterone is a vital part of building muscle, so if you work your larger leg muscles (quads and hams) you release more testosterone, which helps build muscle throughout your body, including your arms (or abs, or back).
The other point that Ross makes is that I'd like to harp on a bit more is intensity. This is something that I notice a lot at the gym where I take boxing classes- we'll all be doing the same thing, but some of the kids will be clearly doing the exercise half-heartedly (I admit- I'm not a huge fan of the heavy bag...) while others will be pushing themselves to their personal limit. Honestly, Ross pretty much says it all with regards to intensity, so I suggest you read his article.