| | Re: How to build muscle?
This subject is kind of like religion, everyone has their own passionate beliefs, their own prophets they follow and their own Bibles. However, there is more than one way to enlightenment when it comes to weight training.
How tall are you and what's your body fat %? I know you're mid 30's @ 200. What you need to understand is that your testosterone has peaked and been slightly declining for about ten years. You can still build good muscle even into late life, but it gets slower and slower. You need to have realistic expectations or you'll get discouraged.
Knock off the cardio, it's a waste of time. Ignore P90X and muscle confusion, ignore plyometrics, ignore big balls and other commercially conceived bullski ****ski.
You can build plenty of muscle on barbells and you can build it on machines. Or you can do both as I did back in the 60's and 70's. Nowadays, I just use machines, mostly.
Forget supplements. The only ones that work are illegal, with one exception.
You can either lift to failure or not. I almost always do one set to failure of each exercise, sometimes I'll follow that with a quick drop set to failure. In the past I've used multi-sets, both to failure and not to failure. It really doesn't matter, just so you're really working hard for the last 3 reps in a set. I prefer lifting to failure as it gets me through a workout in about 15 minutes.
What does actually make a difference is your exercise selection, your diet, and your rest. If you don't lift heavy compounds you won't grow (unless you're on gear), but there is still a place for isolation movements (in conjunction with compounds) if you're primarily lifting for physique rather than just strength.
Also, I don't particularly like backsquats and I don't do them, however, I do use belt squats.
The main moves are squats of some kind, bench (I prefer decline bench), deadlifts, chins if you can or pull downs if you can't chin, bent over barbell row or a machine row, overhead press, dips. Do that 3X a week until you stop making progress. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep or you won't be maxing your endogenous testosterone.