Another Depressing Trip To The Mall?


Another depressing trip to the mall?

An afternoon shopping spree used to be one of your favorite indulgences. Now it has become a dreaded chore. You like having nice clothes, but lately it just seems like nothing ever fits quite right and you end up leaving feeling horrible. You know that getting back to a regular fitness routine will get your clothes fitting the way they used to, but where do you start?

You could try yet another diet, but are you really going to count points for the rest of your life. You could join a gym, but everyone there is already in shape and there will be that “mean girls” club of fit “regulars” who flaunt themselves and judge everyone else by appearance and performance. Plus, what would you do? There are those new kettlebell thingy’s you could try, but they look dangerous. The treadmill is boring and cycling makes your butt hurt for days. You want to make a change but where do you turn?

Why not hire a coach that will be in your corner? Not all gyms are your stereotypical gym with the barely dressed fit people. There ARE nutrition plans that are sustainable. There ARE gyms out there that will make you feel comfortable, provide you with guidance and within a few weeks will have you feeling better about yourself than you have in years.

That type of place is Pittsburgh North Fitness. There are no judgments here. PNF has coaches here to guide you each step of the way, and will provide you with sustainable healthy eating habits for life.

Let us help you change your life!

Five Pillars of Fitness

5 Pillars of Fitness

5 Pillars of Fitness

There is no right or wrong way to develop a fitness program. And one way is not better than another. However, there are some common threads that need to be in every program to create change. The following are five components should be included in every fitness program. If they aren’t already start incorporating them today.

Pillar #1: Get Off The Treadmill.

Most of the clients work with have spent the majority of their fitness lives doing nothing but cardio and are coming to us because their go-to cardio routine is no longer working. Their body has become accustomed to cardio and does not
respond to it anymore. For others their body will just no longer tolerate it and they are beginning to experience aches and pains. Whatever the case may be their
body has changed. And this means the plan of attack must change.

By changing the focus of the workout to strength training you will be able to provide a new stimulus to your body and also work around any injury issues you may be experiencing.

We have heard from many leery clients that they are hesitant to move away from
their old tried and true cardio routine to a strength training routine due to the follow misconceptions.

#1. Fear of bulking up.
#2. Fear of not getting in any cardio with a strength-training program.

The fear of bulking up and looking like one of the women on TV at the Crossfit games is very common among our female clients and is a legitimate concern. If this is your goal we can certainly help. But, we have found that the majority of our female clients are just looking to tone up and gain a little definition so that they feel better about themselves. We achieve this through prescribing fitness programs that will not add unwanted bulk, but rather toned lean muscle.

As for not getting in any cardio. We program each workout to keep you moving through circuits of exercises that keep you moving and increase your heart rate.

Pillar #2: Always Train The Backside.

We are a society of sitters and spend most of our day in a seated position with poor
posture. This poor posture leads to back and neck pain as a result of weak upper
back muscles, weak glutes, and tight hamstrings.

This means we need to train this muscles on the backside to help restore proper posture. The primary focus should be on the muscles of the upper back with exercises such as the TRX Row and the glutes with the kettlebell swing.

Pillar #3: Build Work Capacity.

Looking good is one thing, but having useful muscle and strength is what will
make the biggest impact on your body and life.

We’ve all seen the athlete who looks great with his shirt off, but when he gets on the field he can’t play. The same thing happens with many gym goers. Each week they run a few miles on the treadmill, do a few sets of the circuit machines and maybe do a few exercises with light dumbbells. But yet they still get winded when carrying a suitcase up a few flights of stairs, or hurt their back when moving furniture.

The problem is that while they workout regularly they are not building work capacity. This is the ability to perform physical work over an extended period of time without getting tired or hurt.

The fastest route to improving this is through loaded carries, like the farmers walk, bear hug carries with a sandbag or heavy bag, and sled pushes. Using noncompeting compound sets and kettlebell and barbell complexes in each workout is also an effective way to bring up work capacity.

Pillar #4: Total Body Movement.

The body works as one unit, not as separate groups of muscles. Therefore,
it should be trained as one unit.

Using multi-joint movements, like the deadlift, squat, overhead press, the pull-up, lunges, and loaded carries, you will create a higher metabolic response in the body than if you only focused on isolation exercises. Including these movements in every workout is what will make great fitness program.

Additionally, you will also build a body that is functional in everyday activities and has a higher injury resistance.

Pillar #5: Train Like An Athlete.

While you may never have any aspirations of competing in an athletic event
this does not mean you shouldn’t train like one. The human body was
designed as an athletic machine and should be trained this way in every workout. This means getting up on two feet, jumping, sprinting, moving laterally, and moving quickly at some point in every workout. The only difference between you and an athlete is in the level of the movement performed.

There you have it, five pillars to start incorporating into your regular workouts.

Recipe of the Week – Autumn Pork Tenderloin


Autumn Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Sized right for two, this rustic and comforting entree is treated to a combination of apples, raisins and nuts.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 5 min. + marinating Bake: 40 min. YIELD:2 servings

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pork tenderloin (3/4 pound)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 cup apple pie filling
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Rub salt and pepper over pork. Place in a large resealable plastic bag; add apple juice. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Drain and discard apple juice. Place pork on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the pie filling, raisins, pecans and cinnamon; spoon over pork.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 40-45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160° Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Yield: 2 servings.

Source: Taste of Home

Holiday Survival Guide – Part 2 – Set A Workout Goal

Holiday Survival Guide - Part 2 - Set A Workout Goal

Holiday Survival Guide – Part 2 – Set A Workout Goal

Holiday Survival Guide: Part 2 – Set A Workout Goal

It is easy this time of the year to skip your workouts. Friends and family are visiting from out of town that you have plans with. You are hung-over from drinking too much, yet again, at the night before’s Christmas Party. All of which makes it easy to miss your regular workouts and just say the heck with it until January.

But, do you really want to have to start all over again in a month? Be sore after each workout again and lose all that toned muscle that you have worked so hard for to a layer of pudge?

We didn’t think so?

That is why it is important to set a workout goal for the next six weeks. Maybe you typically get in three to four great workouts each week. Awesome! But, it may make sense for you to cut back to two per week until January. So let’s set the goal of getting in twelve workouts between now and January 2nd. Sound doable? Great!

It doesn’t matter how you get in these twelve workouts. It could be two this week, four the following week, and one the week after. You’re still on track, actually one ahead.

Focus on maintaining your fitness over these next six weeks and you’ll survive the holidays without losing all your hard work.

Old Fashioned Bread Pudding


Treat your Thanksgiving guests to a delicious dessert that’s not the same old Pumpkin or Apple Pie. No, it’s not healthy. But, it is ok to let yourself indulge this Thanksgiving. And your guests will love it much more than that gluten-free, organic, dairy-free, paleo, nonGMO cardboard that you had last year for dessert.

Recipe taken from:, submitted by Amy Golden


Bread Pudding:
1 loaf Cinnamon Raisin Bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
1 quart half and half
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins, coated in 1 Tbsp Bourbon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Caramel Bourbon sauce:
2 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup light brown
1 Tsp bourbon
1 Tbsp flour
dash of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place half and half in a large mixing bowl and add the bread that has been cut into squares. Press the bread into the milk with your hands until all of the milk is absorbed.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Stir in the raisins, then pour over the bread and milk mixture, and gently stir to combine.

3. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour the bread milk and egg mixture into the baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until the liquid has set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan.

When the Bread Pudding comes out of the oven, mix all of the sauce ingredients together and bring to a boil for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding.

It’s delicious warmed with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

PNF’s Holiday Fitness Survival Guide – Part 1


Part 1 – How To Stay On Track At Thanksgiving Dinner

There probably is no better meal than Thanksgiving dinner, okay Christmas dinner is pretty good too. At least that is until you have finished eating and find yourself about to slip into your annual after dinner bloated food coma. You know, the feeling you get after eating so much that loosening your belt or slipping on your comfy sweat pants doesn’t even help. So you slowly make your way to the couch to sit down and talk with friends and family. And of course watch the annual football game, even though you could care less about the Dallas Cowboys.

No! How did this happen? You said to yourself that you wouldn’t let this happen again this year. You’ve worked hard all year changing your body. You’ve committed to a workout plan for the last ten months, changed your eating habits, and you have even lost two pants sizes. But, now you are nervous that you are going to slide back into your old habits. After all, this is the hardest time of the year for you and it seems like every year you gain at least five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. You said not this year, but so far you are not off to a great start.

So how do you prevent overeating this Thanksgiving and still enjoy all the delicious food that you look forward to?

Here’s how:
#1. Take smaller portions, but take some of everything.
#2. Skip the bread. That is why there is stuffing, so enjoy that instead.
#3. Eat a healthy breakfast. That way you will not be starving when it is time to sit down and eat, or craving sugary carbs. If you are eating later at dinner time, make lunch healthy too.
#4. Do not pick at the meal while it is being prepared.
#5. Go for a walk with the fam after the “big dinner”, or play a game of touch football with them. This will help you digest and burn off some of what you just ate.

Keep these five steps in mind as you enjoy your dinner. And if you completely blow it and overeat, it is just one day. Get back on track tomorrow. This journey isn’t about perfection, it is about consistency over time.

Workout Smarter, Not Harder Using Heart Rate Zones

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Workout smarter, not harder.

The harder you workout the more calories you burn and the leaner you get, right? Well, not exactly.

Does keeping your heart rate in 80 and 90 percent range for most of your workout produce the best results? No again.

To look and feel your best everyday you want to keep you heart rate in to 60 and 70 percent range (blue and green zones if using MyZone). This is the range that allows your body to burn the most stored fat. When you reach the 80 and 90 percent range (yellow and red zones if using MyZone) you begin to burn sugars stored in the muscles, called muscle glycogen. When the body burns off its stored glycogen during a workout it causes you to go home and pig out because your body is depleted of energy. Additionally, working out in this high heart rate range tends to make you excessively tired and results in you being less active throughout the day. So while you may see calories burning like crazy on the screen and feeling like you are killing your workout, you end up burning less through out the day due to reduced overall activity along with being extremely hungry with a strong craving for carbs and sugar. So you end up eating more and this can turn you into a fit fat person overtime.

Also, working out in the higher ranges leads to chronic tiredness, aches and pains, injury, and burnout. None of which you set out to achieve when you began your fitness journey.

As you increase your fitness level you will find yourself having a harder and harder time leaving the 70 percent range. This is good. It is the result of an increased work capacity, meaning you are able to work at a high level for a long period of time without tiring easily.

The people who workout in the 60 and 70 percent range find that they feel great after their workout, leave the gym energized, and experience less injuries. They also tend to be leaner and look more fit than those who are always trying to stay in the highest heart rate zones.

So the next time you hit the gym for your workout remember, the yellow and red zones equal tired, injured, and excessively hungry. While the blue and green zones equal healthy, lean, and energetic people who are ready for whatever the day throws at them.

It is important to workout hard, but only hard enough.

Recipe of the Week – Mexican Chili

This week we have a quick and easy recipe for a spicy Mexican Chili. Prep it in 10 minutes and then let it simmer for about an hour and dinner is served. Save the leftovers for a healthy lunch!

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
2 15oz cans of kidney beans
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
4 tbsp of chili powder
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 square of organic 86% dark chocolate, chopped
Salt to taste
3 pinches of cilantro
1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Brown the grass-fed ground beef in a large pot. Diced onion and garlic. Chop the chocolate. Once the meat is browned add all of the ingredients. Let simmer for about 1 hour. Serve with shredded cheese and jalapeños on top. Enjoy!

Delicious Mexican Chili

Delicious Mexican Chili

Healthy Crab Cakes

There is nothing better than chowing down a couple of crab cakes for dinner. Unfortunately, they are usually deep-fried, loaded with calories, and not too friendly to your waistline.

That is why we found this healthier version that is just as delicious, but only packs a third of the calories of traditional crab cakes. That’s three for the cost of one!

View the recipe here:


Exercise of the Day – Slider Jack Push Ups

Grab a pair of Valslides and give the Slider Jack Push Up a try.

Step #1 – Push up position with toes on slides.

Step #2 – Lower down and spread out legs.

Step #3 – Press up and bring feet together.

Step #4 – Repeat for reps!

Need a progression for your push-ups? Give this one a try.

Need a progression for your push-ups? Give this one a try.