THERE IS A BETTER WAY!
Just so everyone knows the views expressed here are my own opinions and preferences. I don't believe there is one or even two ways to achieve results. There are many roads to fitness. Everyone must find the best one for them. I believe I've found mine.
Something that I've been noticing lately is how "behind the times" most Personal Trainers are these days with their training programs. I've worked in gyms and health clubs for the past 9 years or so. I have rubbed shoulders with some great personal trainers and have witnessed very poor personal trainers. What I mean by "behind the times" is training traditionally by having their clients perform body builder workouts. A typical body builder workout entails isolating exercises that are usually performed on machines as well as some barbell and dumbbell work.
There is nothing wrong with machines if you are a body builder, but if you are not and are either an athlete in another sport or a typical gym-goer who simply wants to get in the best shape they can then machines/isolation work are definitely not for you. This is because by isolating a particular muscle on a machine your body does not work to stabilize itself, but rather the machine does this for you. People who rely on machine or isolation work are not functionally strong and cannot do very much outside this style of training.
Body builders need isolation to create muscle hypertrophy in order to promote extreme muscle growth for shaping their bodies. Just because many of them may look pretty(in the eye of the beholder) means nothing to how they can perform and function in a workout filled with movements that force the body's joints to stabilize themselves and then toss in a need for high cardiorespitory output these body builders/ typical training client will fail very quickly.
When training the body as a "unit" it will be able to stabilize itself and become not only much stronger very quickly, but also quite functional in a great many areas in life and sports. To do this we work with compound(multi-joint) movements free from machines and inhibition. Functional training movements are not limited to any machine, but are free to use such exercises as bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, ropes, kegs, tires, sledge hammers, sleds, gymnastic rings, jump boxes, stability balls, pullup and dip bars, medicine balls, sandbags, and the list goes on.
Performing exercises such as these in a circuit format with extreme intensity in order to produce a great cardiorespitory response you will experience both the anaerobic and aerobic environments. Many people won't ever have to train separately for cardio because they get the best of both worlds within one intense workout that takes less than 30 minutes. So with a good warm-up, workout, and post workout stretch you will be in and out of the gym in less than an hour!!! That's great news. Do that 3-5x a week and you won't be in great shape- you'll be in ELITE shape in a very short time.
There is a better way to the "classicalness" of typical gym workouts resulting in hours of wasted steady-state cardio time and isolated exercises taking your muscles to failure. Yup! The better way is to train synergistically and smart in an intense circuit of functional exercises. If you aren't doing this now begin carefully and I suggest hiring a Personal Trainer to take you through at least a few months in order to educate you on the proper program design and movement form. Exercise isn't something that's complicated. What can be complex is how to ensure your body continues to change and grow with the best workout for it. Your body must experience different programs very frequently in order to constantly change. If you do the same thing all the time you will get the same results. That is actually the loose definition to insanity. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Hmmm... What does this say about many, many people in gyms today? Not us though! Not us. Every workout is different and every workout is challenging. That is why every workout promotes change and growth. That is the difference. That is the "better way".