On August 30 of 2004 I made a serious commitment to lose weight. I started at 450 pounds and I'm currently down to 295 pounds. That's over 150 pounds in less than a year for a 23 year old male. I'm about 6 foot 2 inches and my skin is really loose yet I feel like I have at least another 100 pounds of fat to lose before I'll have anything close to reasonable body fat percentage. I eat perfectly for 6 days and then cheat the next. My diet currently consists of 2000-2500 calories with 40% protein/carbs and then 20% fat. I avoid all processed junk foods, even on my cheat days. I've also been doing at least 30 minutes of cardio on an elliptical machine 5-6 days a week for at least 6 months. Before that all I really did for exercise was a lot of walking.
I recently got a gym membership and I've been spending about an hour a day with a mixure of swimming, various cardio machines, the pull up / dips machine, and a few other machines for rows, lying squats / calf raises, etc. I'm also training on those huge balls that allows me to stretch and do push up and crunches. Am I ready to start free weights now? Or should I stick with the comfortable machines instead? Or should I just stick with cardio until my body fat % is normal? Since I already have so much loose skin (ie. granny ams), I'd really like to put on a large amount of muscle mass as soon as possible. What do you all recommend as far as training for someone in my position? I have an appointment with a personal trainer but I'd like to get some opinions here as well.