I started back up when I got back to Iraq. It was almost three years since I did any kind of workout (other than just playing baseball with my son's baseball team and playing with the kids in the neighborhood). I started out on the eliptical for about 20 minutes with a moderate resistance. I then went to light weights every other night (three different exersizes @ 3x10 reps) and eliptical every night for 30 minutes. Once After about three weeks of that, I dropped the cardio on the nights I lifted and increased my weights, reducing my reps (4x5 or 6). I've been building up the amount of weights as my reps for each exersize increase. I just happened to work several different areas last night (and I'm feeling it today) to show some results.
Bench- started 3x10-12 @ 145, 5 @ 165... as of last night, I did 10 @ 205, 8 @ 225, 3 @ 255
Curls- started 3x12 @ 75... as of last night, 2x10 @ 120, 2x8 @ 140
Tricep press from machine- started 3x12 @ 70 as of last night, 2x10 @ 125, 2x10 @ 140
Butterfly on machine (the big difference)- started 3x12 @ 70 as of last night, 2x10 @ 175, 1x10 @ 185, 1x10 @ 190
Crunches- roughly about 25 before I almost shit myself, as of last night, 5x50 on the floor, 3x20 from each side, 200 straight on the ab machine @ 95lbs resistance
Leg press (another big improvement)- started 3x12 @ 200, as of last night, 3x10 @ 350, 2x10 @ 400, 10 @ 450
Lat pulls- started 3x12 @ 90, as of last night, 3x10 @ 130, 2x10 @140
Shrugs- started 3x10 with 40lb dumbells in each hand, as of last night, 2x10 with 60's, 2x10 with 75's
I was too sore to do squats, calf raises or pull-ups last night, but I've increased in all of those as well. Hell, I could ony do three pull-ups and maybe 5 dips when I started. LMAO! I know these aren't astronomical numbers, but it's not bad for a 32 year old at about week #12. It took a while to even notice any changes in both increasing weights and physical appearance, but now that it's starting to show, it just gets that much more addicting.
Don't worry about where you're starting from, everyone has their own starting point. This is one of the few things you can do that truely rewards the effort you put into it. I've never heard anyone really working hard at it and not get results.