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If you're looking to get fit and build strength, two of the main equipment choices are fixed machines and free weights. Both have their advantages and drawbacks depending on your fitness goals and experience level. Here's a rundown of the key pros and cons to consider: 

Fixed Machine Pros 

1. Often viewed as safer since the movements are more restricted and guided 

2. Can be a good option for beginners still learning proper form 

3. Isolate and work specific muscle groups effectively 

4. Don't require a spotter for heavier weight 

5. May allow for bodybuilders getting to a greater point of failure more safely 

Fixed Machine Cons: 

1. Limited to fixed movement patterns which don't mimic functional movements  

2. Doesn't engage stabilizer muscles as much as free weights 

3. Can be tedious and boring for more experienced lifters 

4. Not ideal for explosive power exercises 

To summarise, fixed machines are a suitable choice for beginners, seniors, injury rehabilitation, or those focused primarily on muscle isolation and toning rather than functional strength.  

Free Weight Pros: 

1. Allows for more functional, multi-joint, and compound movements 

2. Engages more stabilizer muscles and core strength 

3. More versatile and adaptable for varied workouts 

4. Helps develop better overall balance and body control 

Free Weight Cons: 

1. Requires proper form to avoid injury, so not ideal for complete beginners 

2. Often needs spotter for heavy lifts 

3. Free weights take up more space than machines 

To summarise, free weights are great for intermediate to advanced fitness levels looking to build overall strength, power, and functional muscle. They're ideal for athletes, bodybuilders, or those training for general fitness. 
The bottom line is that for most people looking to get leaner, stronger, and improve overall fitness, using a mix of both fixed machines and free weights is ideal. Beginners can start with more machine work to nail down form. Over time, incorporating more free weight exercises will lead to better functional strength and body control. 
Ultimately, the "best" option depends on your current fitness level, goals, and personal preferences. Consider mixing up your routine with both fixed and free weight training for balanced, full-body results. 
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