Come on guys…
John, welcome aboard.
On the outside, it is as simple as eat correcty/often, lift correctly/often. That’s a good starting point really, because as you slowly read more about how to do that, you’ll develop more and more questions. This is good.
Read a ton, and ask specific questions along the way.
Good luck, and don’t get overwhelmed. Keep it simple for now.
Bottom line, brother- Get in the gym, educate, execute.
It can be confusing. Your best bet would be to find a good, solid, basic 5x5 program (Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, Stronglifts, something that focuses on squats and deadlifts, with good push and pull motions).
At first, you’ll be wondering why you’re exercising so little. At least, I felt that way when I started Stronglifts. 5 sets of 5 reps of 3 lifts and a bodyweight exercise? It didn’t seem like nearly enough.
Then I tried it.
Then I began adding weight every workout.
Then I reached the point I couldn’t add weight every workout.
Then I switched to a more advanced 5x5 program to continue adding weight.
The various 5x5 (or 3x5) programs out there are great places to start. They’re simple, they hit all the major muscle groups, they provide a solid foundation both in terms of muscle and form, and they’ll kick your ass if you let them.
As some other folks have mentioned at various times in other threads: There’s a reason a lot of people recommend Rippetoe’s or some variant: it works.
Personally, I’ve been doing Stronglifts (which is a Rippetoe’s variant) for 6 months, having never lifted before in my life. Now, I’m 15 pounds away from hitting 300 lbs on my squat, 20 away from 300 on my deadlift, and 15 away from 200 on my bench. And I can knock out 3 sets of pullups with 10 lbs strapped to my waist. And 3 sets of dips with 40 pounds strapped to my waist.
Not bad for a 230 lbs lardass!
Get yourself a notebook (I use a Moleskine pocket notebook and a small pen I keep clipped to it), and write down every exercise you’re supposed to do each day, one day per page. Mark off your progress each workout. Take notes about how you feel, how you did, when you cheated (and you’re going to, until you get your form down, or when you have off days and just can’t make that last rep, etc), what you eat, etc.
Make it a habit. Make it a ritual. Embrace the suck, and enjoy!