Supplement Series #2: Pre and Post Workout Supplements

By | hydration, Nutrition, resistance training, Supplements

Protein powder may be the staple of the supplementing world, but when it comes to maximising your workouts there are plenty of pre and post-workout supplements available. Some will boost your energy, others will help you focus, and most aim to help your body rest and repair more efficiently. Understanding their role in the body and how to use them to optimise your training can make all the difference in reaching your health and wellness goals. 

What’s the Point of Supplementing?

Everyone wants to get the most out of their workouts, but it is nutrition that often has the biggest impact on our training. Although they are not a complete food source, supplements are designed to supply our body’s with the ‘missing elements’ we do not already receive from our diet. 

In our first edition of the Supplement Series: Not All Supplements Are for Sports we covered some of the applications of nutritional supplementation and shared a wide range of products, including:

  • Anti-ageing supplements
  • Digestive aids
  • Cardiovascular and cognitive support supplements
  • A general-purpose sports supplement

In this second edition, we’re pointing the focus at Turnfit approved pre and post-workout supplements that can help you power through your workout and minimise recovery time.

What Is a Pre-Workout Supplement? 

As its name suggests, a pre-workout supplement is taken before your workout. Designed to increase your energy, focus, vascularity (nitric oxide) and power, pre-workout supplements can make the difference between hitting the gym or staying home.

When it comes to energy, caffeine is commonly included as a stimulant, and the vast majority of them will also include:

  • Branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) to supply your muscles with building blocks
  • Beta-alanine to reduce lactic acid buildup and improve performance
  • B-vitamins
  • Creatine

Generally speaking, a lot of pre-workout products available will contain elements that assist with post-workout recovery, and vice-versa. Moreover, a pre-workout supplement regime will usually begin about 30 45 minutes before you hit the gym, giving the supplement plenty of time to make it through your system, and prepare your body for work. 

What Is a Post-Workout Supplement?

There are a number of post-workout supplements available, but for the most part, they aid in protein synthesis, muscle growth and recovery, and general rest and wellbeing. The type of post-workout supplement(s) may change depending on your exercise needs, physical exertion, and nutrition plan

Unlike pre-workouts, high-quality post-workout supplements will be made up of few, if not single, ingredients. Of course, they are not all created equally and it’s important to understand where your supplements are coming from, or if they’re legitimate. 

Types of post-workout supplements include:

  • Powdered protein- whey, casein or plant-based
  • BCAA’s such as Leucine and Glutamine
  • Creatine
  • Zinc and magnesium

The type and purpose of the supplement will dictate how often and when to use them. For example, you may use a quick-absorbing whey protein immediately after a workout, and a slower digesting recovery protein before you sleep to help your body recover.

Do I Need Pre and Post Workout Supplements?

Supplements, on their own, are not going to magically make you healthy or get in shape. Rather, they are there to aid your already healthy diet. That is, you need a strong foundation before you can really enhance your training with the right pre and post-workout supplements. 

At Turnfit, we can help you to more fully understand your nutrition and requirements, to make sure you’re maximising your exercise without the need for supplements. However, the human body is an incredibly adaptable machine, and once you’ve dialled in your nutrition and training, supplements can make all the difference between a performance plateau and continually improving your results. 

When it comes more specifically to pre and post-workout supplements, they can also be the difference between hitting the gym on your way home from work or hitting the couch. Post-workout supplementation can also be the catalyst for a good night’s rest, allowing your body to fully absorb and make use of the nutrients and vitamins that you have been feeding it. 

One of the main issues with pre and post-workout supplements, though, is in their quality. Whilst many of them feature the same or similar ingredients, this often falls under the guise of a ‘proprietary blend.’ With the specific quantities and ingredients hidden from the customer- you- it can be hard to determine if the products you’re using are actually doing what they claim to do. 

With decades of experience in the health and fitness industry, and as some of Vancouver’s top-rated personal trainers, we’ve recently made some pre and post-workout supplements available in our online store that have been approved by the Turnfit family.

Turnfit Approved Pre and Post Workout Supplements

Unlike a lot of pre-workouts available, we believe our body already stores all the energy needed to power through a workout- it just needs to be activated properly. So we do not recommend pre-workout supplements that are just stuffed with caffeine. In most cases, the energy ‘crash’ and other side effects just aren’t worth it.

ATP Labs E-nos Pre-Workout Supplement

One of the best pre-workouts we’ve found is ATP Labs E-nos. Although the name is a bit unusual, this pre-workout supplement has no caffeine. It does, however, have a good blend of BCAA’s- citruline and arginine- as well as beta-alanine to help your muscles cope with the increased load. 

The inclusion of glycerol helps with vascularity and moving blood to where it’s needed most in the body. This also works synergistically with the key ingredient- agmatine sulphate- which is synthesised in the body from the amino acid L-arginine. 

Some research has shown that agmatine is responsible for nitric oxide regulation, by moderating two out of three nitric oxide enzymes, otherwise known as iNos (inducible) and nNos (neuronal) nitric oxide production. Whereas it encourages endothelial enzyme production or eNOS, which:

Pre and post workout supplements can rapidly improve your muscle growth and retention“signals vasodilation in the lining of blood vessels for increased blood flow. Increased blood flow lowers blood pressure and increases the import of oxygen and nutrients and export of cellular waste products.”

Jori Enfield, BS Science (Biology).

Other research has shown that agmatine may play a role in our cognitive ability and neurological performance, as well as protecting the brain from stroke

Biosteel Beta-Alanine

If the E-nos pre-workout supplement isn’t your thing, you may consider just adding beta-alanine to your workout regime. This amino acid is found in most pre-workout products but is also available as a single ingredient powder, and is best taken 30-45 minutes before your workout. 

Unlike essential amino acids (which are the building blocks of proteins), other amino acids like beta-alanine cause chemical reactions in the body. When it comes to working out, beta-alanine is crucial to the body’s ability to synthesise carnosine- which slows and/or prevents the build-up of lactic acid during and after your workouts. Reducing lactic acid can improve your performance, but also reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

At TurnFit, we recommend the Biosteel range of natural and non-GMO amino acids, such as Biosteel Beta-Alanine. Thanks to a recent partnership you can now access a 20% discount on these Biosteel products when you use the code “TurnFit” at checkout. 

Biosteel Fermented BCAA’s- Glutamine and Leucine

What we love the most about the Biosteel range of amino acids is that they are single-ingredient products. Both the Biosteel Glutamine and Biosteel Leucine are high-quality fermented amino acids, making them friendlier on the gut biome, as well as being:

  • Preservative-free 
  • Gluten-free 
  • Vegan
  • Non-GMO 
  • BIG servings- 150 servings per tub for the Biosteel Leucine and 45 servings per tub for the Glutamine. 

They are also both flavourless products, making them easy to add to your shakes or drink bottles. When it comes to using these supplements, glutamine is a great post-workout supplement. It helps to flood your muscles with nitrogen, which is used to replenish energy and repair muscle cells. At the same time, it can help us to metabolise protein and supports healthy immune function after intense activity. 

*** Thanks to a recent partnership with Biosteel, you can now access a 20% discount on these Biosteel products when you use the code “TurnFit” at checkout. ***

We occasionally get asked if Leucine is better as a pre or post-workout supplement. Whilst Leucine can be taken at any time of the day, our body metabolises it directly in the muscles, rather than in the liver. As such, it is particularly good at increasing protein levels and protein synthesis in the muscles that you’re training. However, research suggests that Leucine is best taken either during or post-workout. This is because it affects a nutrient-sensing molecule known as mTOR, which is literally responsible for:

“muscle protein synthesis while inhibiting muscle protein breakdown, causing muscle protein accumulation that drives muscle growth.”

-Brian Turner, Advanced Molecular Labs. 

Similarly, studies have shown that consuming Leucine post-workout can enhance post-exercise muscle protein synthesis by up to 33%. Due to the anabolic effects of Leucine within the muscles, it is not a great supplement to consume pre-workout. This is because of the way it activates the conversion of glucose to glycogen, whilst inhibiting the breakdown of glycogen to glucose. Metabolically, this is an energy-intensive task and may limit the energy your muscles have in the gym.

Biosteel Essential Amino Acid and Hydration Mixes

If powders and individual amino acids aren’t your things, you can also get a 20% discount on Biosteel BCAA hydration mixes. Depending on the product, these pre-made or powdered drinks give you the advantage of a full range of branch chain amino acids, electrolytes or both. 

We hope that the second edition of our Supplement Series has helped you to understand the benefits, and impact, that pre and post workout supplements can make to your diet and training regime.

If you want to maximise your workouts please visit our online store, and don’t forget to use the code “Turnfit” for 20% off Biosteel products! 

About Turnfit Personal Trainers

Turnfit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day.

With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the 2019 Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver. It’s our mission to help you to build the skills, and mindset, it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life.

For more information, please visit, join our community on Facebook and take advantage of all of our FREE content by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

We look forward to hearing from you!

-David Turnbull

Adding micronutrients to your water can improve your wellbeing

Upgrade Your Water So You Can h2GO!

By | fat loss, hydration, Nutrition

It’s the elixir of life. The fountain of youth. More than 60% of our body weight and quite frankly the most important thing we put into our bodies. Water isn’t just the key to hydration, performance, and better health. It is literally responsible for keeping us alive! However, the hydration paradox isn’t as simple as just drinking from the tap. And although the tap water in B.C. is high quality, there are plenty of things you can add to your water to make it taste better, and be better for you!

Hydrate or Die…drate, It’s That Simple

We all know that fresh water is crucial to our survival. The worst stages of dehydration can kill, but to get there you will also be put through fevers, exhaustion, incredible headaches, muscle and joint pains, digestion problems and many other issues.

That is because every cell, organ, tissue and fibre of our being requires water to operate efficiently. Not only does it allow vitamins and minerals to dissolve and be absorbed by the body, but water also:

  • Lubricates our joints
  • Allows our cells to reproduce and survive
  • Forms saliva, which not only helps us to eat but also aids in digestion
  • Regulates body temperature (through perspiration)
  • Delivers oxygen all over our body

You would think that something so important to our health and wellbeing would be priority number one! For most adults, however, even consuming the recommended 8 glasses per day is a challenge. 

Moreover, in order to keep our tap water safe in Vancover, chlorine is added to manage pathogens. Whilst this may be ‘safe’ to drink from a molecular standpoint, chlorine does not distinguish between good and bad bacteria, killing them both. 

Then, a lot of the naturally occurring minerals which we, as humans, used to receive when drinking water from streams and creeks are removed simply through the purification process. Sadly, the end product, although considered ‘safe’ is no longer as hydrating, or useful, to our health and wellbeing. 

** Note: We are not suggesting that you go and drink from the local river, as this will most likely lead to even worse consequences. However, there are a number of things you can add to your water to boost your hydration, and improve your wellbeing!Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going

5 Ways to Make Your Water Better for You!

1. Water for Digestion

There are a number of natural additives that can help your body with digestion. Adding a slice of lemon or lime can help you to achieve your daily vitamin C requirements. Adding mint can improve your waters taste, whilst also stimulating digestive enzymes in our saliva that help to break down food. Ginger can help to reduce gas, bloating and cramps. Apple cider vinegar can increase our body’s production of hydrochloric acid, which breaks proteins down into amino acids, and helps to absorb the most nutrients from our diet.

2. Water for Performance

If apple cider vinegar isn’t your thing, there are plenty of branch chain amino acid (BCAA) additives that will optimise your bodies:

  • Hydration
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Nutrient delivery (to muscles, joints, tissues, etc…)

When it comes to exercise or any physical activity, being able to better provide your body with the nutrients it needs can boost your performance, energy, stamina, recovery, and focus. Hit this link to see which one we recommend, or for more information about BCAA’s please get in touch with our dedicated team- we’ll be happy to make other recommendations depending on your needs.

man reaching for water bottle after exercise


3. Eat Your Way to Hydration with Gel Water

This may come as a surprise to some, but scientists have recently confirmed that water has a fourth state- liquid, solid, gas, and now gel

“Gel water, also called structured, ordered, liquid crystalline, or living water is a newly identified phase of water that’s not quite liquid, vapour, or ice.”

-Gina Bria, Founder, Hydration Foundation

Although conventional wisdom would have you drinking 8 glasses of water per day, there are plenty of dessert dwelling tribes that have survived for thousands of years on much less. Their diet largely consisted of foods that contained gel water, like chia seeds and cacti. You know the silky layer that forms around chia seeds when you soak them? Or the slightly slimy substance that comes from cacti or other succulents? That’s gel water. 

Although this is only a new field of research, gel water is now believed to be the primary form of water in the human body. 

“The water in our synovial fluid, joint fluid, and, importantly, our cells, is gel water. Think of your cells as tiny ziplock bags full of jello-like gel water, which keep our cells and tissues in the proper shape and buoyancy.”

Dr. Gerald Pollack, bioengineer and author of The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor

Foods containing electrolytes, like coconut, citrus fruits, avocados and vegetables release an electrical charge in the body. Unlike ordinary tap water, gel water has a unique electrical charge that allows our bodies to operate more efficiently, and better absorb vitamins and minerals. In turn, when foods/drinks that are high in electrolytes begin to dissolve, the unique conductivity of gel water kick-starts a process of hydrogen bonding, which causes the body to create more gel water, and can, therefore, lead to better hydration.

4. Remineralise Your Water

Although our modern city water is lacking in minerals, there are plenty of ways to remineralize your water. Some water filters/dispensers will actually do it for you. But if that isn’t your taste, there are a number of natural things you can add to your drink bottle to get the micronutrients and hydration your body so desperately needs:

5. Don’t Limit Your Imagination

For most of us, ‘water’ comes out of the tap and is our only way to get it. However, we actually obtain between 10-20% of our daily water intake from food. This is because water is a byproduct of the metabolic process, which can then be reabsorbed by the body. It also means that certain foods can impact and enhance our body’s ability to absorb- and create- H2O. 

One food, in particular, is making a comeback and that is bone broth. Although we tend to use the quick and easy ‘stock’ solution found on supermarket shelves, bone broth was once a staple of our diets and a throwback to the thrifty nature of our ancestors. Put simply, bone broth is just the homemade version of chicken or beef stock. It is full of collagen, which coincidentally is full of gel water. 

Bone broth is a great source of gel water

Bone broth is a great source of gel water and glycine

It is a cheap, simple and low-calorie way to add nutrients to your diet, and the glycine content (a BCAA) can also help your body to detoxify. The best part? Not only do the vitamins and minerals help you to hydrate, but the main ingredient of bone broth is- you guessed it- water!

When it comes to hydrating, water is obviously the key element. However, that shouldn’t limit your imagination! There are plenty of ways to enhance your water intake (many of them are foods!) to not only make it taste better but to also make it better for you.

Of course, if you need any help or advice in optimising your nutrition, hydration, or exercise regime the Turnfit family is here to help! 

How Can I Join The Turnfit Family?

Click here to learn more about our online training packages, and choose the one which best suits your needs. We will send you an invite to download the Turnfit app and set up a time to complete your FREE video assessment call.

Then, make sure you join our community on Facebook for up to date information, access to the team, and a whole host of other free resources, training programs, boot camps and more!

Don’t forget- you can help your friends and family to stay healthy, and earn up to one-month FREE membership when you refer 4 friends– the best part is they can start with ANY package!

For more information about our programs or packages, or about any of our resources please don’t hesitate to reach out and connect:

Call: 778-887-0660




We’re always available to help you improve your health and fitness goals!

About Turnfit Personal Trainers

Turnfit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day.

With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the 2019 Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver.

It’s our mission to help you to build the skills, and mindset, it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life.

For more information, please visit, join our community on Facebook and take advantage of all of our FREE content by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

We look forward to hearing from you!

-David Turnbull

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