Guilt-free Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Thank you to Bakerita for the recipe!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we know as well as you that there’s no escaping the temptations of all the delicious food that’s about to be spread in front of us.

When it comes to dessert, there’s no need to shy away! Especially with this guilt-free pumpkin pie recipe. With no gluten, dairy, or refined sugars, this pie is bound to please everyone at the table. 

Try it out and be sure to let us know how it was (or feel free to drop some off the next time you’re in the studio)!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: One 9″ pie
Author: Rachel Conners


For the Crust:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cup coconut oil solid
  • 1 egg beaten

For the Filling:

  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom


For the Crust:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut sugar, and salt. Add in the coconut oil and using a fork (or your fingers), cut into the almond flour until the coconut oil is in mostly incorporated. Stir in the egg until the dough is slightly moist and forms a ball. There may be streaks of coconut oil running through your dough.
  2. Press the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling, or place in the refrigerator if not using immediately (can keep in fridge for up to 1 week).
  3. When ready to bake, roll out your dough in between two sheets of parchment into a 12-inch circle. Lay dough into a 9-inch pie dish (not deep dish). Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the filling until completely smooth and combined. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.
  3. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the the center of the pie doesn’t jiggle. Let cool for at least two hours before serving to let set.


October 1, 2018

COACH SPOTLIGHT – Lianne Burrell

How long have you been with Innovative Fitness?

I started with IF TELUS Garden in May 2017 – just after moving to North Vancouver.

Tell us about yourself:

I grew up in the Maritimes and went to school at Dalhousie University for my Kinesiology degree in Halifax, with an exchange at University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ. It’s probably easier to say what sports I don’t play, as I currently trail run, climb, play ultimate, soccer, run track, canyoneer, splitboard, snowboard, surf, cycle, and (of course) lift weights.

What is your next big personal CHALLENGE?

Expanding upon my backcountry and climbing skills so I can add “mountaineering and ice climbing” to that long list of sports above.

What personal ADVERSITY have you had to overcome to be successful?

Leaving a stable career in the fitness industry, long-term relationship and support network out east to pursue my passion for the outdoors in BC, where I had no professional network, no job, and only knew two people.

What has been your biggest personal VICTORY at Innovative Fitness?

My biggest victory is to keep on progressing and combining those small victories in a completely new environment. Since moving to BC, I have climbed (much) bigger walls, tried canyoneering and participated in more trail races (including my first Ultramarathon) than back out East.

In other words I think my biggest victory is that I am able to continue having small victories on a yearly, monthly, and almost weekly basis to push the limits in all my sports and challenging myself; the ability to not settle into the mundane.

What is your biggest client success story: 

Hard to choose as I’m truly stoked about everyone, however, the current client of the month at IF TELUS Garden, Aaron Harburn, has been crushing it . He’s currently able to deadlift 300lbs, (200lbs higher than this time last year in his workout logs), pushes it every single session on Monday’s @ 6AM all while being a super-dad. Not to mention a fantastic Adventure Challenge partner for the past 2 years now who honestly pushed and inspired me in the kayak and mountain bike portion.

Who is your inspiration in the fitness industry?

In terms of famous trainers: Ben Bruno – Perfect mixture of technically sound and also hilarious.

In terms of people I know personally:

Al Yarr, my old running coach who has trained and coached for ~60 years, for always seeing potential in his athletes and his endless wealth of exercise physiology knowledge.

Anne Falconer, my old boss, who gave me so many opportunities for helping me transition from a sport-specific coach to a general-population/group fitness stream.

Jeff Zahavich for raising the bar in the fitness industry/physical literacy for youth in Nova Scotia.

Sean Allt (coach at IF TELUS Garden) for all his mentorship and advice at IF and beyond.

What is your must read book for other Personal Trainers?

It’s a textbook (ha) – Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology. It’s important to know the physiological side of training, without forgetting about the psychological.

If you could only pick one workout song what would it be?

Anything electronic with a good beat or “Eye of the Tiger” for nostalgia purposes from competing as a Dalhousie U Tiger.

What advice would you give anyone thinking of starting a career as a Personal Trainer?

Train and surround yourself with as many different groups of people you can. Weekend warriors, collegiate athletes, the elderly, youth, couch-to-5km’s, powerlifters, etc. Find mentors in the field for each of these populations and learn. Be adaptable.

Also, find something to be excited about and invested in for every single client.

Thanks for chatting with us, Lianne!

Want to book a session with one of our coaches? Contact us below!


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October 1, 2018

Combating the North American Posture

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

Truer words have never been spoken in reference to fighting the good fight against bad posture.  Many people have fallen victim to what has become known as the “North American Posture,” which is characterized by excessively rounded shoulders and a pronounced forward head position, or an excessive lumbar curvature and protruding abdomen.  The technical definition of the “North American Posture” falls under two headings:

  1. Upper Crossed Syndrome – A weakening and lengthening of the upper back and posterior neck muscles, and a tightening and shortening of the chest and anterior neck muscles (leading to the aforementioned conditions of the shoulders and head)
  2. Lower Crossed Syndrome – A Weakening and Lengthening of the deep abdominal muscles, gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, and Tightening and Shortening of the low back extensors, and iliopsoas and rectus femoris (hip flexors) (Leading to the aforementioned conditions of the lumbar spine and abdomen)

But what is a “victim” to do?

In reference to the opening quotation, we must first seek to prevent the pitfalls of the “North American Posture” by making behavioural modifications to 3 Main Areas of our North American Lifestyle:

  1. Prolonged Sitting – “Sitting is the new smoking” is a commonly heard turn of phrase nowadays. In order to modify this behaviour, try things such as:
    1. Changing your sitting position if you have to sit for a prolonged period of time. Also, try getting out of a chair and sitting on the floor
    2. Getting up and walking around when you’re doing things such as talking on the phone, texting, or working on a tablet
  2. Poor Exercise Technique – Cycling or running with rounded shoulders, and weight lifting with a “sway back” or rounded shoulders, will only serve to reinforce the negative effects of the “North American Posture.” Special attention should always be paid to exercising with proper technique.
  3. Imbalanced Training – “Chest Only” days at the gym, and doing exercises such as squats exclusively with the load on the shoulders, should be a thing of the past. Exploring Natural Movement (, and engaging in balanced training for the whole body should comprise the bulk of our exercise regimen.

However, if we’ve reached point where a cure is needed, I have narrowed down my “Top 5 ‘On the Go’ Postural Corrective Exercises” that you can do pretty much anywhere.  Combine these daily exercises with the aforementioned behavioural modifications, and better posture will not be too far in the future!

Be sure to do them in this order:

  1. Reaching Reverse Crunch (can be performed without the wooden dowel):
  2. Half kneeling and Rear Foot Elevated Hip Flexor Stretch (can be performed without the band):
  3. Floor Angels (neutral pelvic tilt with a flat low back is the key to this movement):
  4. Wall Angels (A flat low back with elbows on the wall are of the utmost importance):
  5. Wall “Y’s” (Be sure to avoid any low back extension during this movement):

*The information in these videos is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a Physician or Physiotherapist prior to starting any new exercise program, or if you have any questions regarding an injury or medical condition.

If you have any further questions or would like any additional advice on combating the “North American Posture,” please feel free to contact me at

Yours in health,

Jeff Berger, BHK, BACK, FMS LV. 2, Movnat LV. 1

October 1, 2018

Back to School Workout Routine

It is reasonably safe to say that the summer is not great for most of our fitness regimes. There are a few of us who ride bikes and hike all summer long, which helps offset summer BBQ’s and cold beer in the backyard. But for most, the warm weather and free time get the best of us. Back to school season rolls around and suddenly it’s time to start taking your fitness routine a bit more seriously than walking from the pool to the lawn chair and back.

September has some big upsides when it comes to getting into a fitness routine. School season is a time for organizing schedules and for some of us, those schedules are focused around kids and their never-ending list of teams, friends, and a litany of other time-sucking events that can prevent you from getting in that much-needed workout. For others, those schedules are focused on attending school itself.

Tips and Tricks:

The number one key to fitness is routine and consistency. Way too much time is spent on “what” we are doing instead of “how” we are making it happen. There are a few tricks you can employ to ensure that you are taking care of more than just the kids this fall, and it starts with being prepared. Make sure you always have running shoes and gym clothes in your car. If you are sitting and waiting for practice/camp/class/playdates to come to an end, you can get a workout in. Go for a brisk walk or a run, or perhaps even get in a mini-training circuit while you wait. Maximize your ever-so-precious moments by getting in a quick workout – a 30-minute workout is better than none!

Sample Circuit:

Here is a good simple circuit you can do anywhere: 

  • Brisk 5 minute walk or jog
  • Body weight squats x 20
  • Push ups or modified push ups 
  • Lunges or walking lunges x 20
  • Planks
  • Glute bridges or single leg glute bridges
  • Brisk 5 minute walk or jog
  • Repeat the above as time allows

A routine like the above is simple and easy to replicate. Remember the key is getting yourself moving. If you don’t want to be “that person” doing the workout in the parking lot, you can simply find somewhere to do a brisk intentional walk or, for an added challenge, find some stairs.

Active Alternatives:

Another great option for getting into a new routine is to join a club or a team. For example, rec soccer leagues or running groups that meet on a regular basis have fun while getting in a great workout. As an added bonus, anything involving a team or group will have some built-in accountability – a perfect way to stay on schedule!

Get moving!

There are lots of options when it comes to staying active, from having time in your schedule to joining a group or being “that” person doing circuits in the parking lot. The key is to just make it happen. #NoExcuse


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September 4, 2018

5 Tips to Actually Make it to Your Morning Workout

With school back in session and the summer getaways coming to an end, it’s time to fall back into routine. It seems that amongst the ‘health and fitness’ crowd (or maybe more broadly the ‘hustlers’ of the world) there is a deeply held belief that the early bird gets the worm. Early morning workouts, long before the sun comes up, are the way to put you on the path to success and productivity.

But what if you hate mornings?

Sure, it feels great to get your workout done for the day. There’s less temptation to pass on your workout due to the mental fog that can come from a long day of work or for social events (no one is asking you out for post-work drinks at 6 AM). But if you’re someone who feels like they are continually battling what they “should be” doing (i.e. getting up and working out) and what they “want to be doing” (i.e. getting a few more hours or sleep) then we’ve got some tips to help you actually make it to your AM workout.

How to Get Out of Bed & Workout in The Morning

Change Your Mindset

As far as we know, there isn’t any magic potion out there (including coffee) that makes getting up at 5 AM feel good, (especially so if you aren’t a morning person). But instead of thinking about all the work that needs to be done (i.e. miles to run and squats to bang out) think about the chance to get some alone time just for yourself before the rest of the world (work, family, etc.) starts knocking at your door.

Don’t Jump Out of Bed

It might seem counterintuitive, especially if you want to hit the snooze button, but give yourself a moment to transition from sleep to awake. Sit up in bed. Hit the light. Drink some water. Over time these small queues will help your body recognize that sleep is over and it’s time for the next phase of the day.

Add In A Pre-Workout

Now that you’re actually out of bed, it’s time to give yourself a little mental boost. Pre-workouts often contain caffeine, plus a variety of other cognitive workout enhancing ingredients such as β-Alanine, Citrulline Malate, Creatine, and amino acids like tyrosine which have been shown to help with mental focus giving you the extra boost you need to crank up the dial for an intense workout.

Start Slow

Mentally you might be feeling more alert thanks to the previous tips, but physically your body still isn’t there yet. Give yourself the space to allow your body to warm up slowly. Try a 5-7 minute run at a slow pace (we’re talking a 3 or 4 out of 10 on the exertion scale) coupled with some dynamic stretches to really get the blood flowing to the muscles. Taking the time to add this warmup onto your workout may seem like wasted time that you could have spent in bed, but it will actually help you go harder once you get to the ‘main’ part of your workout and avoid injury to muscles which aren’t quite ready for the grinding workout you have in store.

Better Yet, Start the Night Before

Going back to our first tip, there may not be a magic potion to make getting up feel any easier, but there is something to be said for a good night’s sleep that has you waking feeling well-rested.


What are your tips for getting out of bed for that sweet Rise & Grind? Let us know!

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September 4, 2018

The Benefits of a Vitamin D Supplement

Vancouverites have all experienced – at one point in time – a lack of motivation or energy that might come after a streak of rainy, grey weather. Believe it or not, you may have been experiencing this low state of energy due to a lack of sun exposure and Vitamin D! Who knew that the sun could have such a big impact on your physical health?

Sun exposure, or more specifically vitamin D absorption via sun exposure, is immensely important for a number of reasons. North Americans (especially Vancouverites) are highly susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder that is characterized by symptoms of depression (fatigue and lethargy) mainly due to the changing of seasons. This is more prominent in the fall and winter seasons due to a lack of sun exposure – and it is here where vitamin D supplements come greatly into play.

Vitamin D Supplements to the Rescue

Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to decrease the likelihood of seasonal depression due to it’s mood and energy enhancing effects. The infographic above summarizes a study done on elite soccer players in Northern Europe. The players either took a large bulk Vitamin D supplement once a week or several smaller doses daily. The results showed that a daily dose of vitamin D was more effective at changing mood and energy levels than taking a bigger dose once a week.

Benefits and Daily Dosage of Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D is a key player in maintaining heart health, a strong immune system, strengthening bones, and binding calcium. Therefore, receiving a smaller daily dosage allows the liver to continuously process this vitamin, keeping levels high. Conversely, a weekly dosage would get processed by the liver within a day or two, causing the levels to drop back to what they were before.  The daily recommended dose of vitamin D for adults under 50 is 400-1000 IU. In contrast, for over 50s, it increases to 800-2000 IU since the risk of osteoporosis increases after the age of 50.

So get out and enjoy the sunshine while you can! It’s not only good for your mental health, it’s good for your physical health too!


Patryk Zuk
Professional Training Coach
Innovative Fitness Kitsilano

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September 4, 2018

**PRESS RELEASE** – Innovative Fitness Recruits a Key Educator to Join their Established Team!

We are extremely excited to announce that Chad Benson, one of the most respected personal trainers and educators in the industry, will be joining our corporate team.

Chad will be spearheading the launch of our education platform that will include entry level certifications (certifying personal trainers) as well as high level continuing education opportunities for experienced industry professionals. Our goal is to develop a cutting edge academy of learning while providing further educational support to our trainers, thereby ensuring the highest quality of training sessions and programming to our clientele.


Chad Benson: MSc, BSc, BPE, CSCS, CanFitPro PTS

Educated at the University of Victoria and Memorial University of NL, Chad holds degrees in Psychology, Physical Education and Kinesiology. He is a published book author, keynote speaker, fitness presenter & blogger. Chad specializes in corrective exercises and athletic performance and has been a strength and conditioning consultant for Nike, the National Woman’s Basketball Team, the National Sailing Team, the Vancouver Canucks, and the BC Lions.

Prior to joining the IF Team, Chad was the Director of Education for Steve Nash Fitness Clubs where he developed the nashFIT and Prepair2Perform functional platforms and ran certifications through the BC Personal Training Institute. He is a graduate of the IRHSA Business Institute and holds current certifications in Kickboxing, Muay Thai Striking, Kettlebell, Bulgarian Bag, Fascial Mobility and Trigger Point Therapies, Functional Performance, Preventive Injury, and movement assessments such as FMS and SFMA.

Educationally, Chad is a member of the JCC & CanFitPro Advisory Boards and has delivered educational content throughout North America.

Chad spends his spare time creating cancer awareness, climbing mountains, training for adventure races, exploring scientific journals, sipping red wine, and exploring warm weather destinations.


Welcome to the IF Team, Chad!


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August 9, 2018

Pack the Essentials: Your Guide to Healthy Summer Road Trip Snacks

We can all agree that there are few better feelings than a good old-fashioned road trip right? Windows down, sun shining, warm air, music up.  But don’t let your summer getaways derail your latest fitness efforts.

Yes, travel brings freedom and excitement with regards to discovering new yummy eats and treats and laying off the workouts.  But, this freedom can also feel tempting (and possibly stressful) if you’ve been putting in the time at the gym and making gains.

The good news is that a little planning and prep will easily satisfy your munchy boredom cravings while also keeping your energy steady and your nutrition in check.

Healthy Road Trip Snacks: The Approach

With every choice you make, your efforts should be focused on foods that are high in protein and fibre and limited in added sugar. Think low sugar protein bars, your favourite powder in a shaker bottle, fresh fruit & veg.

Lookout for big bags of munchy foods that are tempting to grab and easy to mindlessly chow down multiple servings of (especially when you’re not paying attention like driving and chatting).

And don’t overlook hydration! Water is essential, but zero-calorie artificially sweetened electrolyte drinks, and carbonated waters can also be fun and help curb some cravings.

Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Our Top Picks

Our top recommendations?  Grab a cooler bag and stock it with the following:

  1. Protein Bars
    Here are our smart nutrition parameters: find a bar that’s going to kick your craving for a sweet candy bar to the curb but doesn’t deliver more than 10g of sugar. Look for at least 15 g of protein, and bonus points for choosing one with fibre and (or!) greens.
  2. Fruit & Veg
    Don’t be afraid to throw together a bag of fresh veg such as peapods, cucumber, mini carrots, etc. to munch on. Low in calories and high in fibre, you can munch for a while, feel good and keep your calories in check. Buying a container of prepared cut fruit or packing some apples is also an excellent way to hydrate and satisfy a sweet craving. Plus it gives you a boost of antioxidants which help fight off those damaging free radicals in your body.
  3. Healthy Fats
    Adding in some healthy fats (in addition to protein) with your snacks is ideal way to satisfy, curb cravings and resist temptations. Consider a squeeze pack of nut butter, trail mix (watch your portion, though!), or even an avocado.
  4. Salty Snacks
    Who doesn’t love a good salty snack to much on? Nowadays you can even find some options are better for you options, like having added protein. If you can buy or pack single portions, you’re in better shape and packing healthier options will likely be better than what you can find on the road. Our go-to choices: dry-roasted chickpeas or edamame, protein chips (yes, they are a thing!), kale chips and jerky.
  5. Sweet Treats
    Sometimes you just want some candy! Check out SmartSweets gummy bears (and sour gummy bears), a line of low-sugar, high-fibre candy that legit tastes like the real deal. With 3g of sugar and 28g of fibre per bag, they will help you #KickSugar (without feeling like you are).
  6. Beverages
    Aside from the obvious water, we like buying single stick-pack powder packets for the road to add to any bottle of water. Top choices include single-serve protein powders (ideal to hold you over until you can get a quality meal), greens powders for a vitamin and antioxidant boost, collagen (add to your coffee order), and electrolyte sticks for hydration. Not only will these options keep your drinks exciting to your taste buds, but they might also help you skip some less-than-ideal choices.

Finally, we get it – sometimes it’s just not possible to plan ahead or pack your snacks. And while there’s a lot of junk in gas station marts and fast food stores, the good news is that there are an increasing amount of good options too!

When you’re in a bind and dying for food look for:

  • Single serve bags of nuts & seeds
  • Ready-to-drink protein shakes, a good rule is 15g – 20g protein and less than 10g sugar per bottle.
  • Protein bars, (consider our recos above)
  • Zero calorie drinks and electrolyte waters
  • Healthier Fast Food Options

Reach out to us if you’ve got more questions on how to keep it healthy on the road!

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August 1, 2018

A Mountain Biker’s Mecca

The North Shore, or “The Shore” as many of the locals like to call it, is a mountain bikers dream. It is the birth place of “free riding”, showcasing the extreme and exhilarating nature of the sport. With technical features, roots and rocks that will keep you gripping your handlebars to incredibly designed flow trails that will have you ripping through the trees, The Shore has something for every level of rider!


The Shore is predominantly comprised of two main mountains, Mt. Fromme and Mt. Seymour that are maintained and being expanded upon by the North Shore Mountain Biking Association (NSMBA) Whether you are new to the sport or a veteran rider there is no shortage of trails to hit up for an evening or weekend ride.

Got an hour or two? Here are some tried and true trails you must check out!


BOBSLED (Beginner/Intermediate)  

Mt. Fromme

Distance: 759 m
Descent: 118 m
Average Ride Time: 4 min
Description: This flow trail is the perfect ride for any beginner. With big berms, fun wooden features and smooth packed gravel, Bobsled is a great introductory trail that is fun for any level of rider. With its close proximity to the parking lot it will have you riding back up for a second lap!

ESPRESSO (Intermediate/Advanced)

Mt. Fromme

Distance: 1.3 km
Descent: 214 m
Average Ride Time: 10 min
Description: Kicking It up a notch from Bobsled, Espresso is a trail that flows through the forest with nicely designed berms that keep you cruising around every corner.  With the mandatory woodwork spread through the ride, it is recommend for more experienced riders. Spice up the ride with the optional tables, roll downs and some pretty big but smooth rock rides!

7TH SECRET (Intermediate/Advanced)

Mt. Fromme

Distance: 955 m
Descent: 163 m
Average Ride Time: 9 min
Description: While the climb up mountain hwy is not for the faint of heart, this North Shore classic is worth the trek. With a variety of trail features from ladders, jumps, bridges and an iconic log ride, this trail is a mixed bag of flow and tech. Extend the ride through Lepprd, Crinkum Crankum, and Kirkford to round out this epic ride and will take you right back to the parking lot!

JOHN DEER (Intermediate)

Mt. Seymour

Distance: 1 km
Descent: 172 m
Average Ride Time: 6 min
Description: This flowy single track trail is a fun descent with A-frames, bridges, drops and jumps to keep things fun. With these optional features, it is a great place to work on your riding skills but also allows you to just cruise. John Deer can be accessed through Good Sir Martin which is a newer climbing trail that makes the ascent up the mountain an enjoyable but heart pumping ride!


Mt. Seymour

Distance: Pingu – 481 m, Pangor – 1.3 km
Total Descent: 228 m
Average Ride Time: Pingu – 2 min, Pangor – 14 min
Description: These trails kick it up a notch. With Pingu riding a little smoother, Pangor contains many difficult features from drops, rock faces and skinnies keeping you on your toes the entire descent. While there has been extensive work done on them over the years, these trails have kept true to the North Shore style of riding and are a fun lap for an evening on the mountain.


There you have it, a few of the must ride trails of the North Shore you will be glad you explored. If you are planning to head up the mountain, make sure you are prepared. Pack a small bag with an extra tube and bike pump (no one likes to walk their bike down the mountain) and plenty of water to keep you hydrated throughout. For any riders new to the area, make sure to download ‘Trailforks’ on your phone. Its trail maps and descriptions will keep you on track and help you plan your ride!

Happy Riding!


Sarah Van Noort
Professional Training Coach
IF North Vancouver


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August 1, 2018

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