Opinion | A gym girl’s guide to healthy eating


Clare Sheedy | Assistant Visual Editor

Roots Natural Kitchen on Forbes Avenue.

By Kelly Xiong, For The Pitt News

If you’re a gym rat like me, you know the struggle of trying to eat right so the gains pay off. Cooking is a hassle, and sometimes you just don’t have the energy or time to prepare a meal for yourself. 

Diet and nutrition play a huge part in health and reaching your body composition goal. Whether you’re cutting, bulking or maintaining, what you eat matters a lot. Food is what gives us energy to workout to the best of our capabilities and it’s also what helps us recover from a strenuous gym sesh. 

Here are some of my go-to dining spots around campus that can help you hit your goals.

Shake Smart

Located in the Petersen Events Center, Shake Smart is my favorite place for a post-workout shake or snack. Their menu offers a variety of shakes, bowls and yogurts along with the ability to customize ingredients. Most of their shakes contain around 20g to 30g of protein. This is an especially great way to up your protein intake if you’re looking to bulk. My go-to is the chocolate covered strawberry flavored shake which contains 28g of protein. 

The yogurt is another one of my favorites. It’s Greek yogurt plus four toppings of your choice, and as basic as that is, it gets the job done. Greek yogurt actually has the highest protein content out of all the yogurts — about 17g of protein. This is really helpful for building muscle. 

Burrito Bowl

Located in the Pete, Burrito Bowl is very Chipotle-esque, except you’ll actually get good portions for about the same price. Most people opt for the create your own bowl or burrito option, but if that’s not your cup of tea, they have a bunch to choose from on their menu as well. 

Their Power Protein bowl is one of the best options for bulking — and the name of the bowl is very fitting. It includes black and red beans, eggs and brown rice, all of which are healthy sources of protein and carbs. 

This makes for the perfect post-gym meal because it gets your protein up as well as carbs. While much as our society likes to demonize carbs, they’re actually super important for recovery. Carbs are what fuel you. Burrito Bowl is a great place to go no matter what your nutritional or body goals are. 

Their bowls are very filling and have great nutritional value. Another great thing about them is that they also offer a meatless protein option. So one way or another, you’ll be getting those gains. 


Located on the ground floor of the William Pitt Union, I find that CrEATe is an especially good place to eat when you’re on a cut — meaning that you are eating in a caloric deficit. Their food options are generally low in calories while also providing great nutritional value. 

Their wraps tend to have somewhere between 15g to 30g of protein. The proteins and carbs in their bowls and salads can vary based on what you put in it. I typically like to order the Sweet Salmon Wrap. Salmon is a great source of protein as well as a really healthy source of meat in general. The wrap is lower in calories compared to the other wrap options and it’s probably one of the healthiest options on the menu. 

This is probably the most convenient place to go if your go-to gym is the one on the third floor of the Union. 


Roots, which is located on Forbes Avenue, is quite popular among Pitt students. They have a lot of nutritional options to choose from, and you’re also able to create your own bowl and wraps. Roots just recently introduced a variety of new wraps to their menu for a limited time that mirror their bowls and are advertised as an on-the-go option. Although the wraps do contain slightly less protein, they are still very healthy overall. 

Their most nutrition-packed bowls — and now wraps as well — are the El Jefe and the Pesto Caesar. Both are delicious and packed with protein, both ranging from 35g to 45g. 

This is an ideal place to go if your goal is to bulk up. The high-calorie bowls are meant to ensure that you get a full meal, and it’s a quick and easy way to up your caloric intake. 

Hello Bistro 

Hello Bistro is another great place located on Forbes Avenue. I typically go here when I want a good salad, though they do offer other options on their menu. My go-to is their chicken caesar salad. 

Hello Bistro offers a great selection of salads and burgers as well as good portions. They offer a wide range of nutrients and caloric needs. Whether you’re looking for a small meal or something to fill you up, they’ve got something for you.

Noodle House

Noodle House, which is located on Forbes Avenue next to The Colombian Spot, offers more than just noodles. Whether you get their ramen or Japanese-style rice, they are guaranteed to make you feel full. 

Their Japanese-style rice dishes are lower in sodium than the ramen and they’re a great way to bulk. These dishes are essentially a more flavored version of the basic rice and chicken combo that most of us gym goers have had one too many times. 

No matter what your fitness goals are this semester, Pitt has a dining place for you. These are just some of the places on campus that can help you achieve your nutritional or body goals. 

Kelly Xiong writes primarily about personal health and wellness. Write to her at [email protected].