I was a book worm for my childhood and never in a sport at school or anything, to give you an idea of where I'm coming from. Personally, I'd had enough of feeling uncoordinated and tired and also of hearing about women being weak and incompetent physically from one of my male friends. My other friend has weight lifted before, and he let me in on his routine of 3-5 sets of ten repetitions each. I get a real high out of doing the exercises correctly--you know, keeping the bar from wobbling and inhaling and exhaling at the right time, and moving up in weight every few weeks.
I also eat immediately afterwards. It feeds your torn up muscles so they can remodel better. I read a (bionutritionist?)'s recommendation to drink your first meal within thirty minutes of finishing exercise. He mentioned protein and carbs in the drink. I use a protein mix and vanilla soy milk. It tastes like a milkshake. Then, you eat solid food (w/protein and carbs) in the next two hours. It works for me.
I don't do as much cardio as I should, but I've found I can go the longest if I don't think about it being impossible and if I have something to occupy my mind. I went forever on the treadmill when a Star Trek 50 years Special magically showed up on the viewscreen attached to the treadmill at my gym. (NERD)
It's funny. I actually go to the gym when I'm stressed now because it's an easy way for me to feel competent and do something.