The Mental Benefits of Exercise

The Mental Benefits of Exercise

A quick Google search for the mental benefits of exercise will yield you an exhaustive list of articles and other resources on the subject. It can be difficult to find time and motivation to fit in exercise and personal training while juggling the many demands of modern life! Many of our clients are busy working professionals juggling their fitness regimes with work, children, hobbies, and a host of other activities.


December 3, 2018

GIVING BACK: Train the Trainer 2018

With over $106,000 raised company-wide in 2 hours at our annual Train the Trainer event, we’d say this event was nothing short of amazing!

Train the Trainer (TTT) is a night where clients donate money to a chosen charity in order to have the opportunity to get payback on their trainer for what they’ve endured this past year.

As one of our core values, we pride ourselves on the #LEGACY we leave within our local communities. This year, the money raised will be donated to charities across BC, including KidSport, Peace Arch Hospital Foundation, Food Banks, Family Services, and more!

Known as “the ultimate night of payback”, TTT puts the coaches through rigorous workouts. Clients are welcome to dress the coaches up, create wild concoctions for them to eat or drink, make them sing or dance; whatever it takes to get their payback!


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December 3, 2018

RECIPE: Chocolate Mint Energy Bites

Looking for a quick and easy on-the-go snack idea? Try out these chocolate mint energy bites; you won’t regret it!
Thanks to for the delicious recipe idea!
Prep Time:mins
Servings: 24 balls, approx.
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut + extra for coating
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk (or coconut milk or your favorite dairy-free option)
  • 1-1.5 tsp peppermint extract
  1. Put the walnuts in your food processor and pulse until well chopped.
  2. Add the dates and pulse again until mixed well.
  3. Add the cacao, 2/3 cup shredded coconut, peppermint extract, and 1 Tbsp almond milk. Pulse until combined. Add 1 more tbsp of milk if needed (you should be able to roll into balls easily.) Add a little more peppermint extract if you want an extra minty flavour.
  4. Form into 1″ balls
  5. Keep refrigerated



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December 3, 2018

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

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