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I'm a 45M, 220 lbs, and probably around 20% fat. I'd like to get into an exercise routine that can ease me into hopefully a long term and more serious commitment to fitness.

I'm looking for an exercise routing / split that I can do on my own, with limited risk of injuries (I do not have any existing injuries, but I just want to be careful especially when I'm starting), and maximum benefits.

My gym seems to have most of the machines one would expect. I think I should opt for those instead of free weights at the moment (less likely for me to do them wrong, I would assume).

I assume that I should pick the machines that mainly provide me with compound exercises?

I'm not sure if I should be doing full body exercises every other day, or if I should do a 2-day split, or something else? I'm also not sure which exercises to do.

Any recommendations for a plan that I can follow (that gives me the best results)?

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  • Does this look reasonable: bodybuilding.com/content/… ? Aug 9 at 13:31
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    There are some open questions here. Machines are generally used for isolation exercises, but you seem to understand that compound movements are the way to go. How often do you plan to train? What are your goals?
    – Alec
    Aug 9 at 14:47
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I would highly recommend a fitness/lifestyle coach. The one I have uses an app to program all of my workouts and nutrition. It so easy to go to the app today and see my workout - use all the needed gym equipment and be done. Same with the nutrition - look ahead make, make ahead and check off as I eat. You will need a high level of commitment but at least its not DIY. My coach is a licensed professional.

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    What app do you use? Aug 9 at 21:45
  • @FitnessNewbie find an actual coach first, don't bother with apps for now - a good coach should be using an app to track your progress (that you can also use), or will be able to recommend some suitable for the program you'll follow.
    – Luciano
    Aug 10 at 8:42
  • It’s my coaches app. I believe she pays for it and uses it exclusively for her clients. It’s called pt hub. She loads my custom workouts and nutrition into it. Lmk if I want my coaches contact info. Aug 11 at 1:38
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If you're unsure about the cost of a gym membership, as well, I'd recommend buying a couple of different level of resistance stretch cords. This allows you to add a wide cross-section of exercises for muscle groups, and resistance. If you have to travel, you can bring them with you, and there are tons of sites out there with exercise advice, like this one -

Livehealthy: Stretch cord exercises for beginners

If your foray into exercise is going well, and you eventually feel that an upgrade in equipment or a gym membership is in order, the initial outlay is cheap enough that you won't feel like you wasted money on it.

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There are many training programs for beginners on the Internet. To begin with, warm-up and stretching exercises will always help to prevent injuries. After these simple exercises, you can start with a full body or if you have a training program you like, I can recommend you to design it for free from the workout builder site.

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Day 1:

A. Smith machine bench B. Smith machine incline bench C. Smith machine decline bench D. Smith machine close grip bench E. Tricep pull-down

Day 2:

A. Lats pull down B. Machine row C. Hyper extensions D. T-bar row or face pulls E. Curls using cables

Day 3:

A. Smith machine press B. Plate raises C. Side raises D. Shrugs

Day 4:

A. Smith machine squat B. Leg press C. Leg extension D. Leg curls E. Calf raises F. Abs

1 warm up set with 50% load of first work set, and 3 work sets of 12-15 reps should be good. The second set should be heavier than the first, and the third should be heavier than the second.

Start with 20 minutes running. Finish with 10 minutes elliptical everyday.

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