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A Beginner's Guide to Getting Fit for Summer!

Beginners Guide to Summer Fitness

If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t stop at the Freshman 15. I kept the cheeseburgers coming and my tummy followed close behind, bringing with it the sophomore 15 and the junior 10.

Before I knew it, I was way overweight! My lack of action toward my health started to impact my:

  • Energy
  • Self-Confidence
  • Social Life
  • Relationships
  • Mental health

Sometimes, all it takes is one person believing in you for you to start believing in yourself. That’s where my transformation began. So I want to share what I learned on my journey and offer myself as a resource on your own adventure!

So let’s go through the process of fitness transformations starting from ground zero! If you've never stepped foot in a gym, no worries. Learn how to set up a meal plan and exercise routine that you can execute to achieve your fitness goals!

Step 1: Set a Tangible Goal

Step 1: Set a Tangible Goal

Photo of my before/after transformation - 202 lbs vs. 170 lbs (three months apart)

Let’s start by setting a tangible goal. It needs to have achievable numbers and a realistic timeline so that you can measure and track progress without getting discouraged. Whether you want to lose weight, trim fat, or build muscle, you need to document where you are and where you want to be.

So think about it, what is my end goal?

Once you've set your goal, it’s time to create a step-by-step guide to get there. To make sure the timeline and goal are reasonable, we need to create steps that you can follow on the days you’re sore and tired when everything seems to go wrong and you don’t have the time, or it costs too much to keep it up.

Step 2: Measure and Record Everything!

Let’s find out where you are currently and more importantly… accurately.

What You Need: 

Ozeri Pronto Food Scale MyFitnessPal  Omron Fat Loss Monitor
Food Scale - $20 Phone App - Free Track Body Fat % at Gym


Once you have access to a food scale and a food recording app, you can start tracking your calorie intake. Record everything! You need to include soda, seasonings, sauces and more. You can search many food items in MyFitnessPal's existing inventory, too.

Do this for at least 1 week.

You can get a free Body Fat Percentage measurement from:

  • A local gym
  • A device you purchase (see above)
  • An estimate based off of photo charts online

The more accurate your measurements are now, the easier it will be to monitor progress. With this information, we can go ahead and get your calories figured out!

This part was very confusing during my initial phase when I first started my transformation. Especially since there are a ton of articles online touting inaccurate and false information such as diet fads that really have no grounding in truth. 

Step 3: A Custom Calorie Plan

A Custom Calorie Plan

Reference Body Type Chart

You need a customized Calorie Plan that includes Macro-Nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats).

Variables needed to calculate Basal Metabolic Rate:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Weight (lbs)
  • Feet
  • Inches

Variables needed to calculate a Custom Calorie Plan.

  • Excercise level
  • Body Fat %
  • Goal
  • Macro-Nutrient Plan

Phoenix Fitness USA Calorie Calculator

I programmed my own calorie calculator to help with my meal planning. You do NOT need to know your body fat percentage to get your custom plan. You can choose a Macro Plan based on your body type from the chart above or choose a custom plan or Keto/Paleo plan from the Phoenix Fitness link above. I can also help you with your recommended daily mineral & vitamin intake.

With a little help from the American Dietetic Association, we can calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (The calories your body needs to function in a day if you didn’t move at all) and an accurate Macro-Nutrient breakdown based off of your current body and goals.


  1. Do NOT drop your Calories below your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
  2. You need to update Calorie plan as you lose and gain weight
  3. 1 lb of Fat (454 grams) = Approximately 3,500 Calories

1g Fat = 9 Cal
1g Carbohydrates = 4 Cal
1g Protein = 4 Cal

Step 4: Choose Your New Workout Routine!

Step 4: Choose Your New Workou

Photo of me before/after weightlifting - 160 lbs vs. 190 lbs

There are countless workout routines available online, but the challenge is finding the right one based on your goals and needs. We can break them down into four primary categories: strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. 

Each category is important to any exercise regimen including Sport-Specific Conditioning, High-Intensity Interval Training, Weightlifting, and Mobility & Recovery.

Here are my recommendations for what type of plan to choose:

Beginner: Fitness classes & boot camps (3+ per week) such as Title Boxing Club. Here are some local classes.

Intermediate: Fully balanced plans online combine strength, endurance, flexibility, & balance
with a focus of improving athletic performance & physique (~5x per week).

Advanced: A fully custom plan utilizing routine variability, exercise variation, and a proper nutrition plan to fix weaknesses and fine-tune performance & physique. If preparing for a competition or sport, then it is highly advised to work with an experienced coach or trainer to help get the competitive edge. Here's a good list of contacts to get you started.

I hope this blog helps you have a basic understanding of your current nutrition and where you can improve. Then, all you need to do is choose a fitness activity or workout routine and get going!

If you have any questions and are truly serious about taking back control of your health, you can send me an email at mcantrell@phoenixfitnessusa.com and I’ll help you out however I can.  


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