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First a little background:

I am a 29 yr old 5'4 250 lb guy that is currently a web developer (so a lot of sitting...I'm definitely considered sedentary). I have a gym membership that I'm not currently using (sounds familiar, I am sure). However, my weight loss efforts have suffered previously due to not having a sound plan. (and I like food). I did use to weight lift in high school, and the lowest I've weight is 170lbs. I'd like to get down to that again (or just under 200 lbs would be amazing).

As far as exercise, if I get past the initial pain, I enjoy running the most for cardio. I got to Week 9 on the couch to 5k running plan. I really liked the way the couch to 5k plan gave you a roadmap to follow, and I think that's why I had so much (relative) success - granted, I didn't finish, but I was really feeling the benefits.

I would like to start lifting again, but with a focus on trimming down rather than bulking up (I'm big enough, thanks). Lean muscle is my goal. Where is the best place to get a lifting regimen for the purposes of slimming down and getting lean muscle? If paying for it is the best option, I am not opposed to that at all.

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I would recommend getting in contact with a personal trainer at your local gym. If your gym is in a small town with no personal trainers - go to another gym that has. Trust me, someone that knows their stuff really pays off in the long run.

Also, despite you loving to run, I would suggest eliptical machines or bicycle. The reason for this is just for your knees - they'll thank you after a few weeks.

The best way to slim down is to start in the kitchen. This is where the major gains will be made. You need proper fuel (food) for your machine (body). Perhaps just cutting down on soft drinks or chips or whatever it is you are keen on eating as snacks.

When you get used to training and eating a little healthier, than I suggest getting a nutrition plan. Infact, depending on your motivation, I would suggest you get one now but that may impact your motives very drastically once you start craving the unhealthier sweets and snacks.

Get an evaluation with a personal trainer - make him your coach. See him for questions, tips, workouts, etc. My coach loves that I go to him for everything and most of all - he loves that I'm motivated. Show him that you're motivated and he'll be motivated to help you.

Good luck!

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