Hey everyone. It's been just over year that I decided to get off my ass and to get into shape. I stand at about 5'8". Back in March of 2008 I weighed at about 195lbs. Currently, after a months (on and off) of cardio, some weight training, and cutting back on calories (no I didn't starve myself) I've hit a plateau and can't seem to lose anymore weight (160lbs).
Currently I try to go to the gym 3 times a week. There I head over to the weights section first and stay there for about an hour or so. Then I head over to the treadmill and run a 1-2 miles before hopping onto the elliptical and doing another 20 minutes of low-med intensity cardio. The biggest problem I have at the gym is that I am completely lost and have no idea what to do when it comes to weight lifting. I focus mostly on upper body exercises because my lower body is abnormally large (huge calves and thighs). The few exercises that I do are bicep curls, machine chest flies, bench press, and tricep pull downs. I have no clue how much weight I should be lifting at my size. Furthermore, the I do my bench press on a smith machine (because I have no one to spot me). When it comes to doing a free weight bench press, I have horrible form and can't seem to stabilize the bar without wobbling and almost dropping the bar on myself. Are there any exercises I can to fix this? Another question I have is whether I should continue doing cardio or just weight lift when I am at the gym. I don't know what my body fat percentage is, but I can still see that I have tons of fat on my chest and on my abdomen.
In terms of my diet, I eat three unhealthy meals a day. Now that I am back at home for the summer, I don't watch what I eat like I do when I am away at college. For my diet, how many calories should I be consuming per day? Furthermore, should I be taking any protein supplements? If so, when do I take them, before or after workouts?
Tried posting some pics but apparently I need to make some posts first.
Thanks for all the help!