mental health

Turnfit Personal Trainers are offering FREE online boot camps

Getting Cabin Fever? Try Our FREE Online Boot camps!

By | mental health, Mindset, Online boot camps, Personal Training Vancouver

Vancouver is still locked down, and by now most people have exhausted their Netflix screen time. With social isolation now in full effect, it has never been more important to focus on your mental and physical wellbeing. To help everyone get through these tough times, Turnfit personal trainers are offering free online boot camps and mindful practice, as well as a range of free information to keep you updated on everything from mortgages to employment.

Mental Health As a State of Mind

We get it. Staying indoors, somewhat indefinitely, is enough to send most people a little crazy. 2020 is going to be different for all of us, and until we have some clearer direction, we all have to assume that the next few months are going to be much the same. 

BUT. This time at home, this forced time away from the office and our normal routines can also be an opportunity. Not only that, but it is also imperative that we all unite and create new ways to interact and communicate with each other. After all, we are social beings. 

Simple Ways to Captivate Your Mind

For too long, we have relied on distractions like Netflix and Instagram to keep our minds occupied. Whilst those things are still OK to utilize, overdoing it also runs the risk of going a little bit insane. So instead, we’d rather focus on some of the alternatives to keep your mind stimulated:

  • Play
    This can be in any shape or form, but being stuck indoors doesn’t mean you have to cut out all the fun. To maintain your mental health though this should be time away from screens. Boardgames, puzzles, blanket forts, painting, learning instruments, you name it, you now literally have
    all the time in the world to do the things you always ‘wished’ you could do.


  • Read.
    We, as a species, literally have all of the information ever created at our fingertips. Anything you want to learn, or to be, has been written down, and most of the good stuff is in books! If you’ve never been a ‘reader,’ now is the time. Not just to maintain this skill, but to learn something new! Keeping your mind stimulated with healthy skills will go a long way to preserving your sanity.


  • Mindfulness and meditation.
    Sure, it might feel like you’re doing a lot of sitting around and thinking. But doing it with
    intention, following your breath, calming the mind, these are all components of a healthy mental state. Build and use these skills now to help you to destress and focus your energy where you need it most. Join our socials for free online personal training sessions, including mindful practice and meditation.


  • Sleep well.
    This one is imperative to maintaining a healthy state of mind, and sadly with all the screens in our faces, most of us do not get healthy sleep. When we’re out of a normal routine it can become even more difficult to do so. Check out
    this article to learn more.


  • Learn to cook (or cook new things!)
    Lockdowns might mean less access to ingredients, or maybe they’ve just given you the time to try new things. Look up some new recipes, get outside your routine, and
    enjoy spending time with the other people in your house. Adding/maintaining micronutrients to your diet will also help you to build and maintain your immune system.

Learning to cook can be a great way to spend time at home!

Physical Activity Is the Key to Sanity

Amongst all the chatter and clutter, there are a few things we need to keep in mind. Even though most of us spend our days at work, there are still certain elements of physical activity attached to that. Whether it’s walking to/from work, a quick gym session afterward, even walking around the office, we’re not entirely sedentary. 

While these lockdowns don’t mean we have to be inside, generally speaking, we’re probably doing a lot more laying about than we usually would. Physical activity is key in this scenario, not just to boost your immune system, but to keep your mind and body in balance.

At Turnfit, we’re offering FREE online boot camps from a range of coaches to help you stay in shape, and stay sane. You do NOT need any gear, workout equipment or prior knowledge to participate. Add to that we have our full suite of online personal training programs available to you as well, which can be used on-demand, with regular updates and new information/plans added all the time. 

We also have our free community page, which we encourage you to follow to access our free online boot camps and classes, and we’re bringing in a whole team of professionals looking to share their time and experiences with you. If you don’t use social media or are trying to steer clear of it at this time, you can also join via our website (please ignore the pricing).

Click HERE to join our Facebook community and access our FREE online boot camps.

Click HERE to join via our website, or get in touch with us.

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. 

Every trainer at Turnfit is committed and relentless in our pursuit to help you reach your health and wellness goals. 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 communities 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

man has fun in a ball pit

The Play-cebo Effect: Why Its Important to Play as an Adult!

By | mental health, Mindset, Stress

The weight of responsibility only seems to increase as we age. From work to kids and everything in between, we often forget to take some time out for ourselves, and we almost never take the time to play. Re-learning how to play as an adult can have incredible effects on our physical, emotional and social well-being. It can also help you to de-stress, bond with your children, and boost your mood, energy, and cognitive abilities. Are you ready for recess? 

It’s Time to Have More Fun

Somewhere along the line, we get to a point where we don’t have the time to have fun. Nay, we don’t take the time. Between the stresses of work, our daily commute, looking after kids and all the rest, squeezing in a bit of fun for ourselves can just become another chore. 

But ‘play’ as an adult doesn’t have to become tedious. It doesn’t mean you build a sandbox and buy some new trucks. Nor does it mean finding the old dollhouse in your parents’ attic and brushing the hair of a 1980’s Barbie.

As adults, the importance of play isn’t just to break up our routine. It is how we learn to be or continue to be, creative. It develops our personality and lets us enjoy the little things. It releases endorphins and improves neural plasticity. It increases our brain function, helps us to maintain dexterity, and can ultimately just help us to laugh. 

As kids, these activities are integral to our learning and cognitive development, and an incredible way to build social skills. But playing is just as important as adults for the same skills. Research has also shown that play can increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is essential for the growth and maintenance of brain cells. It can also improve memory and stimulate growth in the cerebral cortex.

“At work, play has been found to speed up learning, enhance productivity
and increase job satisfaction; and at home, playing together, like going to a movie or a concert, can enhance bonding and communication.”

-Lynn Barnett, professor of recreation, sports and tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Source.

What Does It Mean to Play as an Adult?

Sometimes, when we think about play or recreation, we go straight to sports and physical activity. Whilst these have a myriad of benefits in an of themselves- they’re not the only way to play. As an adult, play is more about a conscious decision to undertake or participate in activities you enjoy! It can be anything that can help to stimulate your mind and body in positive ways, away from electronics and gadgets, and more importantly- in ways that your job cannot.

playing as an adult is just as important as it was growing up

Play is all about having fun, and not taking life too seriously!

It’s about taking things a little less seriously. Walking through your day with a lighter step and a bigger smile. And doing it just for its own sake!

Thankfully, ‘play’ as an adult can encompass a huge array of different activities- dependant solely on your imagination:

  • Board games and adult coloring books
  • Learning/playing an instrument
  • Becoming the artist you always dreamed of being
  • Engaging in community activities
  • Going for a walk or hike
  • Playing team sports
  • Joining a book club
  • Going to see a show or performance

“What all play has in common is that it offers a sense of engagement and pleasure, takes the player out of a sense of time and place, and the experience of doing it is more important than the outcome.”

Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play in Carmel Valley, California.

The activity itself doesn’t actually matter. Whatever you consider ‘play’ is up to you. The real motivation has to be in actually making time for it. For yourself. 

Physical Activity as a Form of Play

Although play as an adult can encompass just about anything, physical activity is a measurable and verifiable way to:

  • Keep us in shape
  • Strengthen your heart and lungs
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve or maintain dexterity and coordination
  • Release ‘good’ hormones and improve our mood
  • Help us to destress and relax
  • Improve social skills and meet new people
  • Teach us how to cooperate with others, especially in team settings
  • Support, and be supported, by those around you

Of course, these all have an effect on our physical self, but research has also shown that these benefits translate into all other forms of our lives- be it our work ethic and friendships, to home life and relationships with your children. Not to mention you’re setting a great example for them too!

Moreover, the on-going physical and social benefits provided by team sports and group physical activity have been shown to increase our happiness, help us manage stress, reduce our risk of dementia, ward off depression and prolong our lives.

“Highly playful adults feel the same stressors as anyone else,
but they appear to experience and react
to them differently,
allowing stressors to roll off more easily than those who are less playful”

Lynn Barnett.

Woman having fun with a smiley faced balloon
This Is One Playcebo We’re Happy to Take!

At the end of the day, whatever you consider ‘play’ is up to you, and re-learning to play as an adult is all about having an outlet. Somewhere to channel your creative and physical energy. The research has, and will continue to prove that it is incredibly beneficial for our health, and emotional and psychological well-being. 

At TurnFit, we haven’t made it to being Vancouver’s top rated personal trainers just by focusing on the physical. All of our coaches take a real, genuine interest in you, to equip you with the skills you need to improve all facets of your life, improve your emotional and social wellbeing, and ultimately- to have more fun!

Get in touch with us to see how we can assist, or to book your consultation today! 

About Turnfit

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. 

Every trainer at Turnfit is committed and relentless in our pursuit to help you reach your health and wellness goals. 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 communities 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

Falling asleep fast doesn't have to be a challenge

Fall Asleep Fast! 5 Ways to Unwind

By | Breathing, mental health, Mindset, Sleep

Our bodies are amazing machines, but even they need a recharge each night. Real, lasting sleep is not only imperative for your mental state, but it also gives your mind and body much needed time to repair and recover. It wasn’t so long ago that the average person would fall asleep in 7 minutes. Nowadays, however, with those addictive little screens in our pockets, the battle to fall asleep is almost as tough as the battle to stay asleep! With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways to help you unwind, and fall asleep, fast.

Falling asleep fast doesn't have to be a challenge

1. Put Your Phone Away

There was a time, not so long ago, where the only light we received was from the sun. Now, however, with our screen-filled lives, we are constantly and consistently using devices that give off ‘blue’ light. This spectrum is the same as the spectrum of light the sun, and during the day is great for boosting our alertness, reaction times, and mood. When it comes to falling asleep fast however, this blue light disrupts our natural circadian rhythms, and prevents our brains from ‘switching off.’

So, tip number one, if you’re winding down relaxing before bed, do it with a book, not your phone.

2. Watch What You Eat

This one may seem a little obvious, but it stands to be said- caffeine is cherished because it wakes you up. There is a multitude of research available proving the adverse effects of caffeine on our ability to fall asleep fast, and sometimes we don’t realize that we’re even consuming it. With recommendations and research suggesting that you don’t consume caffeine within 6 hours of trying to fall asleep, that means no coke with dinner and cutting out late in the day coffees. It is also recommended that you cut out sugar-filled snacks and desserts, as the body looks to process and burn this energy immediately- usually keeping you awake for longer.

3. Exercise During the Day

We wouldn’t be health and wellness coaches without recommending that you exercise. Not only does it help your body to control and regulate hormone and stress responses, but it is also a perfect way to make sure you are actually tired when you go to sleep. When you take into consideration the amount of food we consume, it is likely that most people aren’t actually burning off their intake each day. This oversupply of energy (yes, that’s what food is for) can make it difficult to fall asleep fast, so why not take the chance to improve your health, and prepare for a better night’s sleep!

Woman sitting at desk writing in a journal

Journaling can help your mind to unwind at night

4. Take up Journaling

Think about all those times you were exhausted, lay down in bed, and your mind started to race. You spend so much time questioning your day, your jobs for tomorrow, and all the things you didn’t get done, and by the time your alarm sounds in the morning your more exhausted than ever. With 1 in 5 adults experiencing mental health issues, most as a direct cause of stress and anxiety, falling asleep fast seems out of the question. But creating good mental habits, and daily practices like journaling can help you to unload, reflect, and unwind before hopping into bed.

5. Be Consistent

Like all habits we develop, consistency is key. If you want to get the recommended 8 hours sleep, and need to be awake by 6 am, that means you need to be asleep by 10 pm. Not having a shower, not getting close, asleep. Our bodies are amazing in their adaptability, and if you can form a good bed-time routine, you can easily train yours to wind down and be ready for sleep, when you need it to be.

So How Do You Fall Asleep Fast?

There are a lot of tips and tricks available to help you wind down. Some or all of these may work for you, but the real advice is exactly that- you need to find what works for you. If you are not getting enough sleep, you need to decide how serious that is before you’ll commit to trying new things. Once you do, however, creating new, healthier habits and routines are the key to improving your sleep. This, in turn, creates a more positive feedback loop, increasing your self-awareness (and alertness) throughout the day, to help you to continue to dial in on the new, rested, you.

About Turnfit

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. 

Every trainer at Turnfit is committed and relentless in our pursuit to help you reach your health and wellness goals. 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 communities 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

woman walking outdoors with sunlight

Exercise and Mental Health: More Effective Than Medication

By | mental health, Mindset, Stress

The prevalance of mental illness is rapidly increasing in the western world, and our dependance on prescription medication has become an epidemic. However recent research would suggest that we have all the tools needed to implement a real, lasting solution- and we’ve had them all along! Exercise and mental health are a package deal, two facets of holistic health that complement each other. Of course, we already know that exercise is good for our physical self, so instead let’s dive into the effects of regular exercise on our psychology, and how it is helping us to re-wire our bodies and our minds.

woman walking outdoors with sunlight

Mental Health: The Facts and Figures

Before we look at the ways exercise can help our state of mind, it’s important we understand the full scope of mental health, and it’s related issues.

It has been reported that:

  • 1 in 5 adults experiences some form of mental illness every year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
  • Rates of depression in young adults are increasing rapidly, 8.7 percent in 2005 to 12.7 percent in 2015.
  • Suicide has now become the second leading cause of death in the 10 to 34-year-old age bracket, and the fourth leading cause in people aged between 35 and 54.
  • Anxiety is the leading reported mental illness, accounting for 20% of diagnosis, followed by major depressive episodes at 7%.

It can be easy to sit back and assume that these things will never happen to you. However, the flow-on effects of mental health issues- whether they’re experienced by you, or the result of your influence/example over other people- can affect the physical and mental wellbeing of those around you:

  • People with depressive illnesses are 40% more likely to develop cardiovascular or other metabolic/physiological diseases
  • In 2018, almost 20% of adults with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in the U.S. That’s 9.2 million people.
  • Mental illness also increases rates of unemployment and highschool dropouts. 
  • The search for, and over-reliance on, a ‘quick fix’ has led to the opioid crisis, where the overprescription of opioid-based medicines is the leading cause of deaths caused by drug overdose- almost 68%

It’s time to go back to the basics. Placing the emphasis on exercise for mental health, rather than prescription medications. Research has shown the impact, and onset, of mental health issues, is particularly prevalent in young people. Turning back to physical activity as a solution not only positively impacts our lives, it creates the right foundation and examples for our children. It is also key to the ongoing support and development of our communities.

Exercise Physiology Psychology: How Does Exercise Affect our Mental Health?

We all know that physical activity, in any shape and form, can do wonders for our fitness and physique. When it comes to the mental effects of this exercise, however, it can be argued that it is even more beneficial for our state of wellbeing. 

And whilst you don’t need to spend hours per day in the gym or pushing your body past the point of exhaustion, you do indeed need to be active, engaged and present. It is recommended that you participate in some sort of aerobic activity, for at least 30 minutes, 3 times per week. This can be a brisk walk, jog, cycle, swim, anything that elevates the heart rate or requires some mental focus. 

Animated brain lifting a barbell

Exercising creates positive feedback loops with our mind, and the world around us

With this in mind (no pun intended), let’s look at 6 positive effects of exercise on mental health, and why we should all be aiming to squeeze a little more from our day! 

1. Exercise Can Reduce Depression and Anxiety

Endorphines are known as ‘mood-boosting’ neurochemicals. They are produced naturally in the brain and bind to our opioid receptors to regulate pain perception. Exercising, or any sustained physical activity has been shown to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety by stimulating our production of endorphins.

2. Say Goodbye to Alzheimer’s

Consistent exercise has been shown to positively affect the amygdala, which moderates our stress responses. It has also been shown to affect the hippocampus, which plays a role in the formation of memory and neural plasticity. It is this lack of plasticity as we age that is responsible for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

3. Exercise Regulates Mood and Sleep

Sleeping is our body’s chance to recharge and repair after a hard day’s work. However, with our constant exposure to blue light (thanks to phones, TV’s and computers), we now live in a society where more than 30% of people suffer from insomnia. This increases to 40-60% over the age of 60!
Physical activity can not only help you regulate your sleep patterns (say being more mentally alert in the morning, after exercise), you actually earn the rest at the end of the day.

4. Improve Confidence and Self Esteem

Exercising for mental health isn’t just about ‘curing’ something. It can also have long-lasting effects on our emotional states of being, including boosting our confidence and self-esteem. Not only do the physical benefits of exercise lead to these improved states, the social impact of exercising with other people- say in team sports or group training- can also enhance these feelings.

5. Relieve Tension and Excess Energy 

Our bodies are designed to utilize and expel energy. It has only been in the last 50 years that sedentary, desk-based jobs have become the norm. Unfortunately for most of us, this also means we are overconsuming food without burning off the energy it provides. Not to mention the overstimulation that often comes with a caffeine-rich diet. 
Exercising can help to relieve the muscle tension we develop from hours in seated positions, loosening muscles and putting us into the correct postural positions, whilst burning off all that excess energy at the end of the day! This, in turn, reduces our states of anxiety and mental alertness, giving us the chance to get a better night’s rest and jump out of bed in the morning.

6. Get Back in Touch With Nature

More recently, research has begun to show how being outdoors/in nature can supplement and enhance the effects of exercise on mental health. By being outside for a mere 20 minutes per day, participants reported increased feelings of ‘happiness and vitality,’ and it has been suggested that the mere presence of nature can ward off feelings of exhaustion. If there’s ever been a better reason to get outside and go for a walk, we haven’t heard it!

walking outdoors is great exercise for mental health

Get back in touch with the great outdoors, and watch your energy lift!

With all of these positive neural and emotional effects, it’s safe to say that exercising and mental health go hand in hand. By understanding these impacts, we can improve our own wellbeing, and positively affect the wellbeing of our children, families, and communities. 

If you’re finding it hard to get started or would like some advice about the right types of exercise for you, we’re here to help! With a host of online support and training available, free health assessments, and an emphasis on cultivating improved mental states, TurnFit can help you to achieve your health and wellness goals, safely. 

For more information, you can contact us via or commit to be fit in 2020 and join our 6-week health transformation challenge today!

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