resistance training

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

Should I Hire a personal trainer?

10 Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer

By | Personal Training Vancouver, resistance training

There are almost too many reasons to hire a personal trainer. Not only do they help you to identify, plan for, and reach your health and wellness targets, but they are literally qualified to do it! Regardless of whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve your fitness, or just stay active in a fun and friendly environment, we’ve put together the most important reasons to have a personal trainer on your side. 

1. Personal Trainers Keep You Accountable

It’s easy to make excuses when it comes to doing things for ourselves, even if we know they’re good for us. However, if you hire a personal trainer, you have an instant accountability partner. For the majority of us, letting ourselves down is something we can get away with, but letting someone else down is out of the question. 

The journey to a healthier you can only happen with real, measurable goals. A personal trainer is a perfect partner to help you not only recognize these goals but can also guide you to continue to re-set them. 

2. Personal Trainers Are Qualified

There’s a reason you don’t ask your doctor how to cook. They aren’t the right person for the job, nor are they qualified to teach you. A personal trainer, on the other hand, is exactly that. Whilst there are plenty of fake online personal trainers (many of which were just blessed with good genetics), hiring a real personal trainer ensures that you are receiving real, qualified information. 

Not only that, but recent research has confirmed that hiring a personal trainer is the fastest, and safest, way to achieve your health and wellness goals. The research has also confirmed that using a personal trainer can actually change your opinion of, and attitude towards, health and wellness. 

3. Personal Trainers Educate and Motivate

One of the biggest barriers to entry when stepping into a gym is not knowing what to do, or how to do it. When you hire a personal trainer, however, you are also employing all of their knowledge and expertise to help you understand why to do something, as well as how. They are literally trained to teach you how to exercise properly, and in a targeted way depending on your goals and circumstances. 

Put simply, if you don’t know which exercises are the most effective for the goals you have, you are unlikely to achieve them. But it isn’t just about which exercises to perform. Personal trainers are also qualified to teach you how to perform them properly. Not only does it reduce your risk of injury, but you are also better equipped to continue your health and fitness journey outside of the gym.

Woman performing a one-arm dumbbell row

Coach David teaching the proper form for a dumbbell row

4. Customizable Plans, for Individual Circumstances

No two people are the same, and therefore no two workout plans should be the same. Whilst you may ‘save’ money by using generic online programs, they are not designed specifically for your needs, or your capabilities. 

When you hire a personal trainer you are actually hiring a health and wellness coach. Your plans and programs are not solely about physical exertion. Rather, they encompass everything it means to be healthy, including nutrition, body alignment, and aspects of mental health which can lead to a happier and healthier you. 

5. Maximise Your Time in the Gym

When you hire a personal trainer, you are committing to your time inside the gym. With a real and specific goal in mind, you will no longer have to wander around wondering what to do, or half-heartedly completing a set in between texting your friends. 

By training more efficiently and effectively, you’ll maximise your time in the gym, and maximize your results. 

6. New Friends and New Skills 

Your personal trainer isn’t just an accountability buddy. They become both your friend and confidant. It’s important to take into account the facets of your life which may or may not assist you in your health and fitness journey.

For example, does stress at work lead you to comfort eating? Do you work regular hours? Are you getting enough rest? Whilst your personal trainer is there to help you with measurable results, in many cases, they can actually become a stand-in therapist and friend that you can rely on.

Add to that the fact that you’ll be learning new, lifelong skills, and hiring a personal trainer becomes a bit of a no-brainer!

7. Personal Trainers Work in With Your Schedule

We all live busy lives. But one of the best things about having your own personal trainer is flexibility! Personal trainers understand that you need to work, or look after the kids, and can establish the times that suit you best. 

At Turnfit, we also have a number of locations across Vancouver. With our qualified team on call and ready to work in with your schedule, it means you don’t have to sacrifice ‘me time’ to receive all of the benefits that a personal training session can provide.

woman running at sunrise

Morning, afternoon or evening- Turnfit Personal Trainers will work in with YOUR schedule

8. Develop Better Habits

We all slip into bad habits sometimes, but those behaviours can become reinforced without us being conscious of their effects. If you’re looking for even more reasons to hire a personal trainer, the opportunity to rethink and redesign your habits is one of the most important! 

This isn’t just about your habits in the gym. It’s about changing the way you act and perceive your own health, building consistency into your routine, and cultivating better thought patterns to decrease stress.

9. Personal Trainers Are Inexpensive!

Everyone is willing to spend money on a night out, but they hesitate to spend when it’s going to benefit their health. So we ask these questions:

  • What is a lifetime of feeling good worth to you? 
  • If you could learn the skills, develop the right habits, and build the intrinsic motivation to pursue a healthier version of yourself- why wouldn’t you take that opportunity? 
  • If you can take advantage of that opportunity, with the best personal trainers in Vancouver, for less than a night out, isn’t that worth at least considering it? 

Many people assume that when you hire a personal trainer, you’re literally paying for someone to walk (or yell) you through a workout. What you’re actually paying for is years of accumulated expertise in health, fitness, and personal wellness. All of these are important factors, but the ultimate motivation- or at least the first step- has to come from you.

10. Learn lifelong skills 

A personal trainer can help you to build and develop the skills you need to be successful in all walks of life. From setting and realising your goals to creating new and better habits and thought patterns, when you hire a personal trainer you’re getting more than just a fitness coach.

The best part? Your personal trainer is actually working hard to equip you with the knowledge and skills so that you can carry on without them! 

Should I Hire a Personal Trainer?

If you’re still unsure whether to hire a personal trainer, reach out and connect with us. At Turnfit personal trainers, we have decades of experience in personal training, rehabilitation, sport-specific training and more. 

We can also help you to get started with a no-obligation, free health and wellness assessment to see if personal training is the right fit for you. With a range of locations across Vancouver, we’re also able to work in with you, to make sure that you get the absolute best treatment at a time that suits you best.

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 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 performing a one-arm dumbbell row

Muscular Power or Strength? How to Train for Both!

By | Core, fat loss, resistance training

When you step into the gym, it’s time to work. Regardless of whether you’re trying to improve your physique, lose weight, or just open that damn jar, the way you train can affect your abilities both on and off the floor. However, the option doesn’t have to be between training to improve power OR strength. There are plenty of ways to effectively improve both, to make sure you can achieve your athletic goals.

Power or Strength Training- What’s the Difference?

There are a lot of crossovers between power and strength training. Both are forms of resistance training, however, the adaptations they create in the body, and the goals of that training are varied.

Strength training refers to your body’s ability to produce enough internal force to move an external object. When it comes to training in the gym, this ‘external object’ is usually some form of weight (dumbbell, barbel etc…). However, it can also be targeted with bodyweight exercises, where the resistance to overcome is your body against gravity.

The generation of this force is a result of your muscles, joints and connective tissues working in synergy. Over time, the repetition of these movements gives your muscles the chance to repair, adapt, and strengthen, thereby increasing the internal force you can generate. 

Training for power, on the other hand, still involves resistance but is almost exclusively about the speed of the movement.

When training for strength the rest in between sets tends to be longer, and the goal may be to beat your 1 rep max. Whereas training to increase power may use less resistance but aims to generate that force more explosively, in the shortest amount of time. 

In doing so we are able to train our muscles and tissues to consistently produce fast and efficient movements. As an example, a power training program may include short sprints, box jumps and plyometrics, designed to improve your takeoffs, jump height, and movement speeds.

Plyometrics help to build explosive muscle power

Plyometrics help to build explosive muscle power

So Should I Train for Strength or Power?

The ultimate answer is dependant on your circumstances. However, the choice doesn’t have to be whether to train for strength OR power. The best programs are designed to maximise both forms of training, as each one can enhance the other. 

Second, enhancing the body’s ability to move resistance, in any form, is beneficial. Not only does it improve your strength and help you to tone, but resistance training:

  • Increases bone density, and reduces that bone density loss as we age
  • Reduces the risk of injury by protecting joints
  • Can improve stamina and endurance
  • Improves mobility and balance
  • Can improve mental health issues and reduce stress
  • Drastically reduce body fat by improving your body’s metabolic processes.

How to Train for Increased Strength

Whilst there are many benefits to strength training, the primary goal is- you guessed it- to improve your strength. That is, your ability to generate an internal force, and overcome (or lift) resistance. 

In order to do this, we aim to keep the body in a ‘guessing’ state. We do this by regularly changing the movements and loads used. However, regardless of the lift, typically strength training programs will establish your 1 repetition max. This is the absolute most weight you can lift for 1 rep, depending on the exercise. 

Then, this figure is used to calculate your training loads, which is usually around 85% of your maximum. Generally, these resistance loads are used in slow, low repetition sets like a 5 x 5 or 5 sets of x 3 repetitions type programs. The key is to also lengthen the rest period between each set, to ensure your muscles are recovering and able to perform again.

By the end of your allotted program time, you should see improvements to your 1 RM max, and can, therefore, establish if your strength is increasing.

Biologically, training for strength actually causes micro-tears in our muscles- but don’t worry- this is a good thing! When our body recovers and makes use of the protein and other nutrients/supplements in our system, these tears reknit and repair stronger and healthier. This is how your body and muscles adapt to the resistance and, therefore leads to your strength and muscle mass increases. 

Some of the key points to take note of in a strength training program include:

  • Slow and controlled eccentric movements (the down phase)
  • Heavy resistance (85-90% of 1 RM max) but low repetitions
  • Longer rest periods between sets

How to Train for More Power

Training for power isn’t necessarily more complicated, but it does give you more options. Remember that training for power is more about overcoming resistance at speed, so choosing which body parts to train, and why, are dependant on your athletic goals. For example, a sprinter would focus on improving their ‘leg power’ whilst a shot-putter may focus more heavily on upper body power.

Training for power can also target a number of types of movement. For example, a power program may include:

  • Plyometrics e.g. box jumps, speed squats. Typically the resistance used is your own body weight or light resistance like medicine balls
  • Ballistic movements e.g. kettlebells, scissor jumps, jump squats. Ballistic exercises tend to be more explosive, and require a fuller range of motion. 
  • Dynamic movements e.g. bench press, barbell squats, clean and jerk. Dynamic movements use the most resistance in power training, but is less than the 85%> used in strength training. Generally, dynamic power lifts will use between 60-75% of your 1 RM max, so that you can perform the lifts quickly, but with control. 

When it comes to sets and repetitions in power training, they are similar to strength in that you will still use low reps (4-6), and around 5-6 sets. Remember the goal here is to generate that explosive power, so even though the resistance is less, the movements are performed more quickly. Over time your jumps will be higher, your joints will become more mobile, and your range of motion will increase. 

Training with ropes can help to build more explosive power

Whether you’re training for power OR strength- developing coordination and mobility is key for both!

Can I Train for Strength and Power?

The great news is that yes- you can! In fact, any balanced resistance training program will be a combination of both, with some endurance and HITT training to boot. Whilst you may lean more towards one or the other depending on your athletic goals, the two are complementary. Improving your strength will increase your power, and increasing your power will also aid in boosting your strength.

Rather than be caught out with the latest gym fad, the best way to achieve your goals is with a personal trainer. Not only has research confirmed this to be the case, but it is also the best way to ensure that you are performing your movements correctly and that your training programs actually align with your goals. 

At Turnfit, our dedicated team of trainers and wellness professionals aren’t just gym motivators. As some of Vancouver’s top personal trainers, we offer a full suite of health and lifestyle training and benefits.

Our studios are back open! 

If you’re ready to get back in the gym or to try it out for the first time, our Vancouver personal training studios have begun to reopen! Each member of the Turnfit family receives/has access to:

  • On-going health consultations
  • Nutrition Programs
  • Programs and training advice suited to your goals, and capabilities
  • Access to TurnFit’s community
  • Goal consulting

Thanks to the expertise of our team, we also offer and include: 

  • Fitness Competition Training
  • Injury and rehab training
  • Online personal training via the Turnfit app!
    -This means you don’t even need to be in Vancouver to take advantage of our at-home personal training packages.

For more information about strength and power programs, or to see how Turnfit can help you to meet your health and wellness goals- reach out and connect 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.

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

there are a lot of ways that exercise can make you smarter!

10 Ways Exercise Can Make You Smarter

By | brain power, fat loss, mental health, Mindset, resistance training

It’s no secret that exercising will improve the physical self. but did you know it also has vast impacts on the brain? In a system that is designed to be in constant, positive feedback, working out can help you to maintain focus, increase your brain cells, and literally make improve your intelligence. Ready to drop a few more squats?! Today we’re diving deeper into brain health, to bring you 10 ways that exercise can make you smarter.

1. Increased Heartrate = Increased Blood Supply

On a basic, physiological level, exercising increases your heart rate. This increase also means that there is an increase in the amount of blood (and therefore oxygen) that is pumped around the body. Not only does this stimulate our physical self, but it also helps to move nutrients and other vitals to the place that consumes them the most- the brain. By increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain, we are providing it with the energy it needs to undertake the complex tasks of our daily lives.

2. Exercise Can Stimulate a Bored, Tired Brain

Getting outdoors to exercise is key to keeping our brains interested, and stimulated. For many of us, going to work usually means being sedentary. Although we have challenging days, once you’ve settled into your job, it’s easy to switch to autopilot. In fact, that’s actually how our brains are designed. We become comfortable in routine, and will actively avoid anything that disrupts that routine.

Exercise, on the other hand, can put you into a variety of environments and situations. It also puts you in touch with other people- and studies have shown that it is that connection with other people that makes it easier to pursue. Whether it’s running around Stanley Park, a group fitness class, or rock climbing, keeping your brain stimulated through a wide variety of exercise and activity is key to keeping your mental acuity.

3. Exercise Increases Your Neural Capacity

Exercise is vital in protecting our brain health. By boosting the amount of oxygen our brain receives, we also enable the release of beneficial proteins (neurotrophins). These proteins protect our brain cells (neurons) and by keeping them healthy we are able to stimulate the production of new neurons, otherwise known as neurogenesis. In this way, exercise can make you smarter by literally increasing our brain capacity, and ability to learn/store new information. 

train smarter, not harder

Resistance training is one of the best ways to boost results, and boost your brainpower!

4. Exercise Improves Our Brains Ability to Process Information

Not only does regular exercise stimulate the production of new brain cells, but it can also improve the functioning of existing ones. This neural ‘plasticity’ is a measure of our brain’s ability to transfer information through the synaptic nerves and can have a direct impact in preventing neural diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

5. It’s All About Those Feel-Good Hormones

You’ve probably heard about dopamine and endorphins before, without actually knowing what they’re responsible for. But these ‘mood-boosting’ hormones are literally responsible for feelings of happiness, relaxation and stress relief. 

They are produced naturally in the brain and bind to our opioid receptors to regulate pain perception. However, when we exercise or perform any sustained physical activity we are able to stimulate the production of these neurochemicals. Studies have shown that these endorphins are effective in easing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and can help to detoxify the body. Seems like a no-brainer to us! 

6. Physical Activity Can Improve Your Memory

As we age we seem to lose the ability to create new memories. However, this is less due to ageing and more due to a lack of stimulation. Being more active during the day has a direct impact on our ability to ingest new information, process it, and retain it. It also helps to keep the brain active, lowering your risk of illnesses that can affect our brain power and memory such as diabetes. 

A study from the University of British Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise can boost the size of the hippocampus. Other studies have shown that people who regularly exercise can increase the volume of other areas of the brain (namely the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex), which all contribute to our ability to create and store new memories and information. It stands to reason, then, that exercise can make you smarter simply by increasing the brain’s capacity to process information.

exercising can boost your memory, and help you to appreciate new experiences

Treat your body well, and your mind even better

7. Take a Load off and Unwind

Stress is one of the leading causes of inflammation and illness. With our busy and modern lives, it can be difficult to find some time for ourselves with the constant drive for productivity. But just like physical exercise, we can also take advantage of mental exercise to help our bodies unwind and become more adaptable. Using tools like meditation we are able to consciously take time for ourselves, reduce our stress and anxiety, and increase the brain’s capacity for learning.

8. Exercise Can Reprogram the Brain

When we experience anxiety, it is actually an overreaction from the brain, caused by our fight or flight response. Nowadays more than 20% of all diagnoses surrounding mental illness being pointed at anxiety, and research has shown that those suffering from anxiety are 48% more likely to develop brain-degenerative diseases. But with the prevalence of anxiety on the rise, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current solutions do not work effectively. 

Exercise, on the other hand, can literally be used to reprogram the brain, and stop it from ‘over-firing.’ This is largely due to the aforementioned benefits in increasing brain volume and capacity, as both factors contribute to our body’s ability to handle stress. By exercising and improving our mental acuity, our neurons have the ability to ‘mature.’ 

The non-technical explanation is that the maturation of these brain cells means they are more experienced and able to better respond to stressful situations. 

On a cellular level, exercise promotes the growth of neurons that release GABA neurotransmitters, which is often referred to as the ‘anti-anxiety’ molecule. The improved release of this neurotransmitter prevents overactive (or understimulated) brain cells from overfiring and helps your brain to identify the real threats, rather than perceived ones. This, in turn, reduces anxiety and can improve our mental focus and clarity.

9. Even Light Exercise Can Make You Smarter

If you are just beginning your exercise journey, or maybe re-starting one, the idea of hours of exercise each week can quickly become intimidating. But studies have shown that even light exercise (that which doesn’t meet the recommended guidelines) can still have a large impact on our brain health. Regular, light intensity exercise, amounting to 7500 steps daily or more, was shown to increase total brain volume amounting to equivalent to “approximately 1.4 to 2.2 years less brain ageing”

10. Get Ready to Feel the Flow

Obviously, regular exercise can improve our fitness, boost our immune system, and increase our energy levels. But this additional energy is good for more than just the exercise itself! By improving our focus and energy levels, exercise can have a direct impact on our ability to enter the ‘flow state.’ 

If you’ve never heard of the flow state before, flow is considered an optimal state of being. It occurs when we are confident in our abilities, and our mind and body are operating in harmony, allowing you to properly connect with your work. Exercise increases the release of the feel-good chemicals/endorphins, and in doing so can increase our intrinsic motivation, which serves to improve our focus and attention. 

By practicing and augmenting these abilities we are able to boost the brain’s ability to take in new information and create new connections with it, thereby improving our mental abilities.

“The mental state of flow also promotes intuition as we access vivid imagery and information beyond our normal conscious awareness.”

Beata Souders

Exercise, Smarter!

Are you ready to boost your mood, and your intelligence, in a fun and safe way? Not only does exercising itself increase your capacity for learning and retention, but there are smarter ways to exercise!

Research has recently confirmed that you will get the best results using a personal trainer, and our Turnfit personal training locations are re-opening in Vancouver! If in-person training isn’t your thing, we also offer a range of online and in-app personal training solutions so you can get the most from your workouts, in the comfort of your own home.

So exercise, smarter, with Turnfit!

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 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

women doing cardio workout with weights

Cardio or Weights- Which One Goes First?

By | fat loss, Nutrition, resistance training

Whilst there are many types of training, they generally fall into two categories: cardio or weights (resistance). However, there have always been misconceptions around which one to do first. Of course, the best results in the gym come through combining the two in a tailored and balanced program, but knowing where to start, and the reasons why can make all the difference to your results! 

Year 9 Gym Class Don’t Fail Me Now! 

For our bodies to generate any sort of movement, we require a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Our body breaks this down, which releases usable energy to our muscles and tissues. This provides us with the short term, explosive energy that activities like lifting weights, jumping and running require.

Our ATP stores deplete quickly, as only a small amount of this energy can be stored. But with every movement of the body requiring ATP, we have developed the ability to synthesize more on-demand. We can improve our body’s ability to create more energy, more efficiently, by incorporating a range of training and exercise types into our regime.

Improving your health and fitness isn’t just about being able to go for longer, it’s about helping your body to create energy, naturally, which helps us power through our day.

Why Does This Matter? Is it Cardio or Weights First?

When your body requires energy, it uses our ATP stores. Although we can synthesise more, this is still a limited process, and with enough exercise, we can completely deplete our supply of ATP. 

When you choose to hit the stair climber before lifting weights, you are actually robbing your body of the energy it will need later. Not only will this put more strain on your joints, but it can also become dangerous if you don’t recognize the signs of fatigue. 

Verdict: cardio after weights training for the best results, and session in the gym!

Whilst there are different reasons for cardio or weights training, most wholistic programs will have a combination of both. Combining a range of resistance and weights exercises with high-intensity cardio will give you the most impactful results, and the biggest boost in energy overall, in the shortest amount of time. 

Weights Before Cardio Can Help You Burn Fat

Another good reason to lift weights before cardio is for the added fat boosting power. Did you know that increasing your muscle mass can actually help your body to burn more fat while resting?

“When we are resting, one pound of muscle will burn around three times as much energy compared to fat, just to maintain itself. A lot of those calories come from the body’s fat stores, and so it stands to reason that the more muscle you have, the more fat burning your body will do in a resting state!”
Dieting Without Strength Training is Pointless 

So we know that lifting weights can actually help your body to burn fat, purely on a metabolic level. But knowing what we now do about adenosine triphosphate (ATP), we can start to understand a bit more of the why. 

When we lift weights before doing cardio, our muscles are full of ATP and ready for movement. In performing the exercise, more ATP is sent to the muscles that need it most- your biceps for each curl, or your glutes to help push you up in a squat. 

This extra ATP is stored in the liver, and is replenished by- you guessed it- breaking down our fat stores. This is why we recommend doing most of your cardio after lifting weights. 

Weights Then Cardio It Is!

Not only do you get to build muscle mass with the most available energy, but by the time it comes to cardio sessions your body has already depleted a lot of these ATP stores. In order to supply you with enough energy to finish that run, it has to learn how to more quickly and efficiently break down fat cells.

The right training regime can help you to reduce fat stored in your body, and help it to more efficiently convert our fat stores into energy.

That’s why we recommend resistance training as part of any balanced workout routine.

But it doesn’t have to be scary. If you’re not sure how to get started the Turnfit family can help! We offer obligation free health assessments to get your journey started. Then, if you would like more information about any of our services, including individual and group personal training in Vancouver, online personal training, nutrition advice and more, get in touch with us.

We look forward to getting you moving!

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 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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