I keep hearing less is more regarding fitness and it is driving me crazy! It is not about the plan or who is doing the exercise. It is falsely leading people to think it is easy and setting them up to fail. Any good fitness professional knows that there is a lot of ways to get people fit and not a one size fits all way. The one consistent thing in a fit persons life what ever way they train is hard work! The more smart work (with rest days to recover in between) the better results you will get.
Train like a athlete and you will get in to shape quicker is another statement we hear. This is an absolute truth, but think about your favorite sports and what age the body starts to break down. 35 is like 50 for a baseball or basketball player, and 70 for a football player. Joints and connective tissue age and need to be watched out for. As we age we need more recovery time and can not threshold train as much as a younger person. Every exercise person should have one or two high intensity workouts a week and some moderate days as well.
Machines are bad, functional training is the way to go is another thing people say. Functional training gets us ready for day to day life and is very important. Isolation with machines (or free weights) is important as well for a couple of reasons. Most people have muscle in-balances and need isolation exercises to correct them quicker. The other reason to build a some of the bigger muscles with isolation exercises is to burn more calories at rest for weight loss.
So the moral of the story is you can get in shape with hard work. This can be done with a cargo strap, a climbing rope, or a shake weight (just kidding). These things are great but it is better to add them to a well rounded fitness program. Cross-training reduces injuries and helps keep you program fresh! So run, row, bike, use free weights, circuit train, take a boot camp class, do Yoga, do Pilates, and most of all have fun.