As the title states, 3 weeks ago I started going to a local gym. I didn't do it for any particular reason, although I know I need to exercise, I just decided one day off work to go sign up. Anyways, I've never been to a gym before, or worked out on my own. Well, ok, I've hit a few hotel gyms when I was bored, but that's it. I'm truly enjoying it so far, I'm using it as an excuse not to go to happy hour after work. So far, my game plan has been 30 minutes on the elliptical doing one of the "hill climb" programs. At the beginning, I struggled to do 20 minutes at 5 mph without my heart rate flying through the roof. I'm now breezing through 30 minutes at 6.5-7 mph steady. Beyond that, I spend 30-45 minutes just roaming around and using different machines. I don't know enough about using free weights to not hurt myself. The diagrams are helpful, and they seem to encourage doing the exercise in the "correct form". However, I could be wrong on this since I have no frame of reference. For the record, I'm not trying to "lose" any weight or turn into The Rock. I'm going more for health/strength training than body building. I've been attempting to go a minimum of 4 times a week, preferably 5. However, if I feel I'm going too hard I will skip a day to let my muscles heal a bit. I'm trying not to skip consecutive days, so far so good on that one. Physical stats: 30 years old 5'10, 155-158 pounds Relatively slender build, however I have been a full time auto tech for... 15 years and stay fairly active in my free time. Not hikes and bikes and all that, but active. I have a rotator cuff injury from this past Super Bowl (drinking and ice-covered driveway aprons don't mix, as such) and I've had several severe back spasms over the years. Core strength and back strengths are a definite focus. Diet is basically garbage, but at least I get home cooking now. Not really healthy home cooking, but not fast food as much. So, that being said, here's a couple questions for those on here more knowledgeable than I: 1. In general, do I have a decent plan here? Anything I should be more focused on? 2. I'm trying not to load my shoulder too much as it still gets sore at extreme loads and range of motion. Not painful, but sore. What can I do to help this area in particular? 3. This one is COMPLETELY irrelevant, but how long should I think to expect some "visible" results? I was thinking 3 months should provide some decent improvement, as long as I can keep the diet in check. It's hard to not snack during MN winters (I detest the cold, and basically hibernate). Thanks for any input! I'm kind of surprised I'm digging in with this, I've just never had the ambition to work out. Winter is a good time to start, however. I can't see myself doing 30 minutes of cardio after working in a 100 degree shop for 9 hours!