I always had this image of myself with visible muscularity, but I never got around to doing anything about it until college. I started lifting weights by doing a selection of arm exercises in my dorm room with a set of 10-pound dumbbells. When those got too light for chest presses, I went and got a set of adjustable dumbbells. It weighed 40 pounds all told, and I had to get it up to my room by moving it one stair at a time and then shoving it down the hall.
That summer, I used the weight machines in the exercise room of the complex where I was subletting. Afterward, I joined a gym. I tried to squat the bare 45-pound bar and fell over backward. I got stuck after a few reps of a 65-pound bench press. One of the others was kind enough to haul it off me without laughing.
That was 12 years ago.
From then, I've tried an assortment of bodybuilding and powerlifting routines. I've since settled on something nice and basic that has worked well for the past two years. 3 days a week of full-body lifting, and whatever supplemental cardio I can fit around it - usually 1 or 2 instances of busting my balls on the elliptical trainer.
I like kicking ass in the gym. I like feeling all macho and buff and HOOAH! When I did my first chin-up - a feat I hadn't managed since my 5th grade beanpole gym days - I felt like Wonder Woman. I love that I can do 3 sets of chins on an easy day and call it that.
Each day, I warm up by rolling out the worst spots on a foam roller and doing a series of stretches focused on my hips, groin, and shoulder girdle. Blame my desk job for those being my problem spots. I need a day off between lifting workouts, or between a lifting + difficult cardio combo.
Squats: up to some 5-rep max
Weighted chin-ups, parallel grip: 5 sets
Dumbbell overhead presses: 3 sets
Bulgarian squats: 4x8 reps
Pull-ups, palms away: 5 sets
Dips: 3 sets
Deadlifts: up to some 5-rep max
Weighted dips: 5 sets
Dumbbell rows: 3 sets
It's hella fun, and it works. I maintain my bodyfat level just fine and dandy despite my predilection for beer and burritos. Last time I tested my 1-rep max for weighted chin-ups, I managed 32.5 pounds. At a bodyweight of around 160, my 5-rep deadlift max is 190. Not bad for an all-around non-specialist, especially because I can blame my weak left hand for the limitation. Of course I'm working on that.
Also, some visual proof: