This is my third month of working out in a real gym, and so far so good. The fear factor over the amount of weight I can handle is more or less over, and the results of my masochistic efforts are becoming more evident as the weeks go by.
Since I'm going for strength and bulk (as opposed to definition and endurance), the low-rep, high-poundage program is recommended, with less emphasis on cardio, moreso that my physique is ectomorphic. That is, I'm a slow muscle-gainer compared to the wide-bodied mesomorphs. During my first month, I was too scared to go for the really heavy weights, and played it safe with manageable poundage at 12-reps over four sets.
I've recently reworked my program. Same four sets, yet packing in the weight for a plateau of five reps on the second set, then eight on the third, and twelve on the fourth. If I've the time, I go for an extra set to exhaust. It's a bizarre feeling, realizing how much I could actually carry. To some, rowing 120 pounds-worth of plates may not be a lot, but I look at it with wide-eyed amazement. "WOW! I'm actually pulling this monster!"
So this whole bulking-up thing is going to be a staple for me for a long while. That's three times a week, two-and-a-half hours per session. It's a major chunk off one's time, but it whizzes by so fast it frustrates me. But the duration should be enough; I've felt the ill-effects of overtraining and it's no picnic.