Eat Clean 80% Of The Time

You may not be eating as well as you think.

Sure Monday through Friday you may do well. But, then Friday night hits. You go out for dinner and order the grilled salmon with steamed veggies and skip the bread. But, you have dessert and a bottle of wine.

Or maybe on Saturday you feel that it would be nice to make your kids a big breakfast of pancakes and bacon. You tell yourself it’s okay because “it’s for the kids” and you’ll only have a little.

Then there is that stressful day that just needs unwound with a few drinks or a bowl of ice cream.

These are the small things that by themselves are perfectly fine, but added up can wreck your progress. To get results in the gym it takes eating clean 80% of the time. For most, it ends up only being 60-70% clean.

So what does 80% look like? Or better yet, what does the 20% look like?

To stay at 80% or above means you can have roughly 3-4 cheats per week. Every alcoholic drink that is a cheat. Every dessert that’s a cheat. Every piece of chocolate or candy another cheat. Fried and processed foods, a cheat again. Chips and salsa, you get the point.

Here’s an easy way to determine if you actually ate clean 80% of the time. Take a sheet and paper and make two columns. In column one write down all of your weeks “good” food choices and their calories, then in the second column write down all of your “bad” food choices and their calories. Now total the calories in each column. Then add those two numbers together. Finally divide the bad calories by the total calories of each column. If the number you get is less than 20% you did good if not, then you didn’t adhere to the 80/20 Rule.

Eating clean is the missing link to getting results. And many times what we think is clean eating isn’t clean enough.

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7 Habits of Clean Eating


You’ve probably heard before that results start in the kitchen and you will never be able to out exercise bad nutrition. This is true. It is simply too easy to consume calories faster than you can burn them. In order to lose body fat you need to make some changes to your daily nutrition, by incorporating the “7 Habits of Clean Eating”.

Nutrition is easy, everyone knows what he or she should and shouldn’t eat. Applying it is the hard part. 

By incorporating the following ” 7 Habits of Clean Eating” you’ll be on your way to making better nutritional choices and changing your body.

Clean Eating Habit #1 – Reduce Processed Foods

“If it was made to sit on the shelf for years, if will sit on your butt, belly and hips just as long.” Your goal should be to eat as much real, whole, unprocessed food as possible. This means if it’s in a box or a wrapper it’s processed and not the best choice.

Clean Eating Habit #2 – You Can’t Change What You Don’t Track – Keep A Journal!

At PNF we’ve seen repeatedly that those who achieve the best results keep a daily food log. Some prefer paper and pencil; others prefer an app, such as “My Fitness Pal.” What you use doesn’t matter as long as you track it. Simple but effective!!

Clean Eating Habit #3 – Eat More Protein

Eating more protein will result in greater fat loss and muscle gain than a low protein diet. Protein, which is found in red meat, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy, contains essential amino acids that act as the building blocks of muscles. These are needed to rev up your metabolism and help you shed fat. This happens through the process of building muscle tissue, which requires your body to burn more calories. Also, when you have more muscle on your body, it gives you a toned and sculpted looked. Aim to eat about 1 gram for each pound of goal bodyweight.

If you are following a vegetarian diet, your total daily protein will be slightly lower and you should try to eat a variety of nuts, seeds, and beans each day, along with a plant based protein shake after your workouts.

Clean Eating Habit #4 – Eat More Veggies

Not only do vegetables contain numerous vitamins and minerals, as well as high amounts of fiber. They are also very low in calories. Eat as many veggies as you can each day. We also recommend 1-2 servings of fruit each day. This makes a great dessert without all the added sugar.

 Clean Eating Habit #5 – Stop Drinking Calories

The number one way to gain weight is to drink calories. This means no soda, juice (even 100% juice drinks), sports drinks, and coffee drinks. The best options are water, green tea, coffee (no more than 5 cups per day), and other unsweetened teas. If you must have something in your coffee choosing either whole milk or full fat creamer is a healthier choice than skim or reduced calorie creamers. – See Habit #1.

But what about “diet” versions! The artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks trigger some of the same signals in your body as regular sugar and cause you to gain fat. The same can be said for artificial sweeteners such as Stevia, Sweet & Low, and Truvia.

And how about that nightly glass of wine? Wine, beer, liquor are a part of many people’s social lives and we don’t expect you to give them up all together. After all, we’d be hypocrites if we did, being that we are craft beer snobs at PNF. That being said we recommend keeping your total weekly drink to six or less. Now that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy bigger glasses, although we like how you think.

Clean Eating Habit #6 –Stop Eating Sugar

 Pass on desserts, candy, cakes and ice cream. These foods all contain high amounts of sugar and very little nutritional value and are a great way to gain body fat. With that being said, we don’t expect you to never eat anything bad again. Are you going to eat pizza and then follow it with ice cream? Sure you are, you’re human. You just are not going to do this regularly. Instead you will save these things for your splurges, or little indulgences to enjoy the good things in life. All you have to do is keep the splurges to only 20% of your diet. That means that 80% of everything you eat and drink is a healthy choice that will improve your body. The other 20% is where you eat and drink the stuff you know you shouldn’t, but tastes amazing.

 Clean Eating Habit #7 – Supplement for success

At PNF we are not big on supplements, but there are two that we find extremely helpful.

The first is a Post-Workout Recovery Shake. This is a shake that contains roughly 20 grams of protein (preferably whey protein because it is absorbed by the body better) and fruit puree. This natural sugar is beneficial to the body because it will replenish muscle glycogen stores that have been depleted during the workout. Also, post-workout is the one time that we always have control of our nutrition and the ability to get in good quality nutrition, during the rest on the day this is not always the case.

The second is fish oil. Fish Oil has numerous benefits including fighting inflammation and helping improving our body’s fat profiles. Our diets tend to be low in Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA specifically. So we like to supplement with these each day. Our recommended brand is Nordic Naturals as it is one of the highest quality fish oils available on the market.

There you have it 7 Habits of Clean Eating to help you feel better and build a better body.


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New “Lifestyle” Shake Line!!


New Lifestyle Shakes Are Here!!

9 Awesome Flavors – All Low Sugar, Less Calories, and still a minimum of 20 grams of protein.

  • Banilla
  • Chocolate Brownie
  • Peanut Buster
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  • Razzle Dazzle
  • Skinny Delight
  • Strawberry Lean
  • The Caffeinator

Try one today!

It’s All About Habits

Fitness comes down to habits.

Working out and eating clean are habits.

The more you workout and the cleaner you eat the more likely you are to continue to do so.

Now, this won’t happen overnight and you will fall off the wagon from time to time. That is completely normal, just pick yourself back up and start again where you left off.

We recommend only changing one or two habits at a time, rather than making a complete overhaul to your lifestyle. Once you conquer one habit, add another to start working on. Overtime these will all add up and with each one you will make more and more progress.

Fitness is all about habits.

Need help making fitness a habit? Click the image below for a 21-Day Kick Start…

Movement Is Life

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The body was made to thrive on movement.

Daily movement is essential for life, yet the modern lifestyle promotes being sedentary. A typical day results in an hour commute to work, eight to ten hours at a desk in front of a computer, an evening filled with running kids to activities, and then crashing down on the couch or in bed at ten in the evening to unwind with a book or TV before going to bed. Outside of walking the dog the entire day is spent sitting.

But, the body was meant to move. It is this lack of movement that causes aches and pains, poor posture, and a host health of issues. It’s also why weekend warriors get hurt skiing, playing pick up basketball, or doing yard work. The body has been sedentary all week and then it’s pushed to be physical, but isn’t prepared to handle the physicality of those activities, so it gets injured.

Finding ways to move more each day can prevent this. Go to the gym two or three days a week and do some strength training, get up from the desk every hour and do a short two minute body-weight routine, take a ten minute walk a few times through out the day, join a gym that is near the kids places of activity and go there in evening rather than sitting in the car or watching them practice, find as many ways as possible to be more active.

Movement is life.

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10-Minute Calorie Torching Workout

Exercise is simpler than you think.

Use the “Reps on the Minute” strategy and get in an awesome workout in only ten minutes.

Here is how it works:

Pick an exercise, a full body movement that can be done quickly works better than say bicep curls. Then pick a rep range, we like a number that is going to challenge you to get them all in in about 20-30 seconds. Then set a timer to beep every 60 seconds, on each beep perform the set number of reps, then rest the remaining time. Perform for ten rounds.

Here are our favorites at PNF:

Kettlebell Swings – 25 reps
Kettlebell Snatches – 10 rep, changing hands each round
Sqaut & Press – 15 reps
Battling Rope Slam – 40 reps

If you want to add a little more, do a second set or alternate between two exercises for a 20-minute workout. Which ever you choose you will be sure to get a calorie burning, cardio boosting workout.

Regular exercise doesn’t have to take a lot of time, it just has to be consistent.

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A Cheat or Two Is Fine, An Entire Weekend Is Not

A Cheat Or Two Is Fine, An Entire Weekend Is Not

Four awesome workouts and five days of cleaning eating. You’re feeling good and a little proud of yourself. So you feel like you deserve a little reward for all of your effort.

The key words being “little reward”. Not dinner and dessert with friends followed by a night of drinking until the last bar in town closes and then hitting McDonald’s or downing a pizza before heading off to bed. Only to then wake up feeling like death warmed over and spending the next day on the couch eating hangover comfort foods.

Unfortunately for many this is exactly what they do and is why they struggle to see the results they want. Coming into the weekend with a daily 200 calorie deficit, or 1000 for the week, and then binging on 4000 extra calories over the weekend still adds up to a weekly surplus of calories.

A couple glasses of wine, your favorite meal of fish and chips or pasta, a delicious slice of cheesecake are all fine by themselves. The problem is when they all come together. They taste great in the moment, but are regretted later.

Enjoy life, don’t deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy. Just make good decisions around them and don’t undo all your hard work on the weekend.

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Recipe of the Week – 5 Delicious Soups To Try This Winter

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Minestrone Soup –

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup –

Exercise Is As Simple As Walking

Exercise is simpler than you think.

Sure a workout filled with exciting exercises is fun, but you do not always need that to be healthy.

Exercising can be as simple as walking each day and is a great place to start if you currently do not exercise. After a few weeks you will find your jeans fitting looser and your ability to move without getting out of breath.

Twenty minutes a day is all it takes. That can be 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes after dinner. If you want to do more go for it, but 20 minutes is a good starting place.

Exercise DVD’s, gym memberships, and trainers are all great and can be very valuable, but fitness can be as simple as taking a walk.

Got you walk down and looking to take you fitness to the next level. Then check out our 21-Challenge Shape Up Challenge here:

You Are Good Enough

By: Tammy Zubasic

One of the biggest misconceptions about joining a gym is believing you need to get in shape first before joining.

Over my career I’ve heard this so many times that it breaks my heart.

Because of social media, many people feel intimidated and self-conscious about walking into a gym. They envision a gym full of people who are 10% body fat and all decked out in sports bras, booty shorts and tank tops. When you are not feeling or looking your best, this is the last environment you want to step foot in.

There is no shortage of gorgeous people in terrific shape, scantily clad, filling up your social media feed and sharing insane exercises to showing off their new PR (personal record) or their washboard abs.

While I am not too proud to admit I always do feel a twinge of envy. After four kids, three of which are triplets, washboard abs are not something in my future. I always wonder what the purpose of this is. Yes you look amazing and I’m sure have worked very hard to get there, but let’s be honest genetics do come into play.

But what is the big picture here. I realize that some only may be doing this to impress you, while others may be doing this to try and impress upon you the fitness lifestyle and the benefits of fitness. But, this doesn’t help the mom, sitting at home in her sweats, who hates her body and how she looks, and will do anything to avoid putting on a bathing suit. Instead, it reinforces the message that she is not perfect and will never be perfect unless she looks like the person depicted in the picture.

This is not the norm in most gyms. Don’t get my wrong, there are a lot of very fit, gorgeous people in gyms, but they are there to better themselves and to motivate those who are new to the journey. They themselves may have even walked in 20, 30, 40+ pounds overweight and have worked very hard to better themselves. All while holding down a full time job, working long hours, supporting a family, and taking care of aging parents.

Don’t ever feel bad about yourself after seeing some of these pictures and post on social media, as a majority of them are “paid” models. It is their full time job to workout and look the way they do.

I even have had members suggest following some of these women to me on social media. I am always looking for new role models and experts in this industry to learn from. But many times these are just very fit, very beautiful, photo shopped models doing “cool” exercises. Many times they have no background in exercise science, personal training, nutrition, or any other qualifications to qualify them to help anyone; other than being blessed by great genes, eating incredibly clean, working out for hours a day, and getting paid for it. All of which is extremely unrealistic for most people.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not knocking these people. Good for them!! We just have to put things in perspective and understand that to get into that kind of shape is a full time job; one that most mothers, fathers, and “regular joes” do not have the time or money to pursue.

Pittsburgh North Fitness does not promise to make you perfect, but we do promise to make you wonderful not matter what size or shape you are or what your goal may be.

You do not have to get into shape before coming to the gym. We exist to help you get into shape to enable you to live your life to the fullest!!!

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