I think she's right ... and wrong. Starting with bodyweight exercises isn't a bad way to go, although it depends on the exercise. Pushups, pullups, dips, and squats can be bodyweight exercises, but so too are (ineffective) leg raises and donkey kicks.
Eventually, though, if you want to build muscle strength, you need to lift weights, and push yourself to "lift heavy." If you lift heavy there's simply no way that you can work out every day and still give yourself adequate recovery time. Even with an upper/lower split. Yes, bodybuilders do it, but most are either genetically advantaged or on drugs or both.
So what about machines? I'm coming around to the view that there is a place for them. This is especially true for legs: without adequate coaching, many people just can't get the "feel" of squats or deadlifts in their quads and glutes. They wind up working their backs pretty well -- too much, even -- but their legs don't get sufficiently trained. A few sets of leg presses and leg curls on machines will help with this problem. But, I wouldn't build the entire workout around machines.
Low-intensity cardio + weights is fine and possibly even beneficial. (LISS aids in recovery, increases work endurance, etc.) High-intensity cardio, including HIIT, is catabolic and harms muscle recovery. So, you're working your body at cross purposes.
Plus there's a time issue. A high-intensity weight workout with adequate rest periods for muscle growth will take about an hour. (No, you don't get the same effect from 20 minutes of circuit training -- it's a different type of training, for pump not for hypertrophy.) If you're then going to throw an hour of cardio on top of that, or even 40 minutes + a shower, you're looking at (pauses to count fingers) 2 hours in the gym. Per day. Most people can't do that long-term, either practically or mentally. Well, maybe Mel, but she's superwoman!
Just my $0.02...
Last edited by kaw : 01-18-2011 at 07:13 AM.