Being a trainer creates a bit of a social stigma; like many jobs, once people find out that you are good at what you do, they tend to ask you for advice in all sorts of places. For my part, I field plenty of questions from people that want to know about workouts, diets, exercises, machines, and all sorts of other parts of the puzzle.
One thing that I run into a lot at this time of year is the question of "How much is enough?" It usually comes from the people who are hangin out on the cardio deck, or jumping in on a couple of group training classes each week. The question usually comes in the form of, "I'm doing ____ amount of exercise...but something is better than nothing. right?"
Usually the "____" is in the range of maybe 20-30 minutes of work, done at a moderate exertional level. I have to agree that yes, doing something is much better than nothing. Unfortunately, it's more on the lines of, "walking out of a burning building is better than sitting in it." Sitting doing nothing will most likely lead you to an earlier-than-desired death, and walking towards the exit certainly increases your chances of leading a longer, healthier life. But really, wouldn't you want to try a little harder? Maybe you should run the F towards the door? Let's face it; you would bust ass for the reason that putting in the extra effort now greatly increases the likelihood of a healthier (and longer) life.
Yes. I went there. Now, let's put that in applicable terms. Doing "something" to stay in shape is commendable, and for many people, that first step is the hardest. So to you, I say congratulations. Once you're up and moving, keep looking up towards the top. Say you made the time to get to the gym, but you are just planning on reading a magazine on the elliptical until you get bored and head home. You made such a good start be getting there, and then screwed up when you didn't have an action plan! You need to put in work once you are there, so pick up some weights, get moving, and keep moving! Science shows us that the harder you push during your workout, the bigger payoff there is afterwards. When you push yourself to 70% of your maximal effort and stay up there through your workout, you recieve rewards. Those rewards come in the form of increased endorphin rush, higher blood flow & oxygen circulation, and a residual caloric burn. The endorphins and oxygen will literally make you feel better through the day, and when you push yourself into that 70% or higher level, your body continues to burn off calories after your workout, compounding on your results.
So, make sure that you have a plan for your workout today so that you are armed and ready. Remember that the results you want need to be earned, and they will directly reflect the amount of effort you put into your workout!