Mindset Shift for Motivation

I want to share my secret to staying motivated to stick to fitness with you, but before we get to that I need to tell you a little story.

My mother is sort of like Mrs. Claus.  There was even a time we all dressed as elves and handed out gifts at her business back in the day. 

For as long as I can remember, my mother kept a "giving room".  Not a Living room...a Giving room, all year round.

She stocks it full of wrapping, ribbons, boxes, bags, and loads of random things to give-away.  We would often joke at Christmas time that if something didn't fit, give Shirley a minute, and she would come out with three other choices. 

What's interesting about my mom's room is that I never went in to snoop around.  I learned from a young age that the anticipation of getting a gift was better than getting the gift itself.

That's the secret to sticking to your fitness routine day after day, week after week, month after month, and for years to come: 

The gift of working out can come one day at a time, but on those days when you just don't feel like it, when you discipline yourself to tie those bows on your shoes, and wrap up your body in workout clothes, you are investing in a long-term gift of health.

Too often we dread what the effort will feel like or how much we might miss out on because we took the time for ourselves.  

There's lots of excuses I could have used to justify opening those packages or to allow myself to dig through my moms hidden treasures. However, my mindset was what gave me an expectant hope for the ultimate gift.

When we choose to live in a state of hope and expectancy for the best outcome- it changes us.

Are you desperate for a change?  Do you long for the gift of feeling great when you move? Do you find yourself wishing you could find a way to burst with energy again?

With black Friday just a few days away my mother is already wringing her little hands getting all geared up for her shopping and stocking this year.

And I am holding on to a little secret gift of my own that I'll be releasing this Thursday.  It's the biggest giveaway I have ever offered and it is guaranteed to start shifting your health in just 10 days.

Stay tuned friend, I'm putting the final touches on my gift to you.

In the meantime, would you shoot me a response to this e-mail letting me know what the best gift you ever received was?  Or, even better, would share your stories of what getting gifts was like for you growing up? I'd love to hear your precious memories.

Wishing you holy, healthy, healing,


What's The First Thing You Do Every Morning?

Sunrise Just as we've mentioned (lots and lots) how crucial getting enough sleep is, what you do first thing in the morning can often set the tone for the rest of your day. It can affect your mood and your behaviors for the following hours. What's the first thing you do every morning?

Do you:

  • Check your e-mail?
  • Run to wakeup the kids?
  • Drink coffee?
  • Check Facebook or other social media?
  • Read the news?

What if you were to set your alarm for literally 5 minutess earlier and spend 5 extra minutes doing something that could really positively affect the rest of your day? It could lead to a more productive work day, keep your stress levels regulated, lead to a better workout, help your food cravings even! We'd love for you (if you don't do it already!) to add in one of these listed below or something similar that would jumpstart you in the right direction.


  • Journaling for 5 mins about ANYTHING! A dream you had, an interaction you had from the day before you want to remember, your goals for the day, organizing your day, etc.
  • Taking the time to listen to a favorite, motivational song that makes you feel like you can conquer the world! You can do this in between hitting the snooze buttons while you're still in bed!
  • A 5 min meditation, this can be a guided recording or not and you can even stay laying in bed if you'd like! We think you'll end up loving this so much that you may end up choosing to wake up earlier for a little longer of a meditation.
  • If you're not quite ready for meditation, take a few deep breaths and simply repeat a mantra you enjoy. THEN, hop out of bed! 
  • Stepping out of bed and doing some gentle stretching right in your bedroom. Very gentle light stretches would be perfect; as easy as reaching up towards the sky with a deep breath in while lengthening your spine and then folding over letting your breath out. If you'd prefer, you can even stay in bed, laying flat on your back pulling one knee towards your chest at a time to start.

5 simple extra minutes in the morning can truly make a difference in how the rest of your day goes. Taking the time to center yourself and be present first thing in the morning  can bring a whole new outlook; the point is to take a few extra minutes for yourself to feel whole, reassured and happy. Give it a try! If you'd like some more guidance on some tools to use for your new morning routine, please feel free to reach out to us.

Chicken and Veggie Red Curry

Serves 4 (with leftovers)


1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast sliced in strips

Red curry paste

Coconut oil

Chopped garlic (liberal amount)

1/2 tblsp fresh grated ginger or store bought ginger paste

1 small onion sliced thin

2 julienne sliced peppers (2 different colors)

1 yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces

1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

2 cans coconut milk

1 can water chestnuts

1 can bamboo shoots

1 packet of Truvia or Stevia (sugar)

All natural chili garlic sauce or sirracha (optional for some spicy heat)


-Heat large skillet (w/ lid)

-Heat 1 - 2 tblsp coconut oil in the pan

-Brown chicken strips in skillet.

-While browning, add ½ tblsp red curry paste to chicken and stir

-Dump out cooked chicken into bowl

-Add another 1-2 Tbls. Coconut Oil

-Place onion with chopped garlic and ½ tblsp ginger paste to pan and stir up brown bits of chicken

-Add peppers, yellow squash and mushrooms. Cover w/lid and cook until tender

-When veggies are close to done add 1 can water chestnuts and 1 can

bamboo shoots. Cook until warm

-Dump veggies into bowl w/chicken

-Put 2 tblsp red curry paste in pan and mix 2 cans coconut milk (you can add more coconut milk or some chicken stock if you prefer more broth) and mix thoroughly with a whisk

-Add 1 pack of Truvia or other natural sweetener and ½ tblsp of chili garlic sauce and stir

-Put chicken and veggies back in skillet and mix with sauce

-Simmer and serve hot over rice or rice noodles.

June's Member of the Month: Jack Unrue

Jack Unrue is a pleasure to be around. Anyone who has worked out beside him will agree he is all smiles and great attitude. He always shows up on time and ready to give his best; earning his title of June Member of the Month!

Jack is originally from upstate NY but moved to Colorado 20 years ago with his awesome wife and fellow Restoration Fitness member, Danielle. The two of them are incredibly active, humble about it, and an enjoyment to train. They live in Lafayette with their cat, Ripley. Jack is a software engineer and avid runner. He has been a RF member since  mid February when it became obvious to him that what he had been doing up until that point wasn't cutting it. He wasn't getting the results he was hoping for and was looking for some accountability and coaching. He also felt that his back pain was consistently getting  in the way. Danielle did a google search for Boulder personal trainers and they found us, and we are so glad!

Restoration Fitness: What positive results have you had since joining our community in February?

Jack: I'm stronger! My body feels different; I've lost weight and 11 1/4 total inches off my body circumference. My attitude towards health is a lot better; I want to come here! I absolutely love and thrive off having a coach and a group of people in classes, the collective energy is awesome.  I aslo think about nutrition much more than before I was a member. And, I've also brought my 3 mile running time down from 29:40 to 25:53.

RF: We are so proud of you, Jack!!!!


RF: What keeps you motivated?

Jack: I'm so able. I'm doing what I need to with my workouts rather than wasting time. I also really enjoy the group atmosphere here. I haven't been in this kind of shape in a long time, being able to sign up for the Bolder Boulder with confidence is pretty awesome. I know I can do it!


RF: What's the biggest challange you've overcome?

Jack: Food and nutrition which I'm still working on. Also, I never worked out when I was younger - I started around 30. So, I find that being in control and in tune with my body can be more difficult. So, I'm loving the feeling of empowerment I'm getting with my workouts lately.


RF: What does health mean to you?

Jack: Health means not procrastinating. Being healthy enough to get things done that HAVE to be done. Feeling well enough to tackle things.

RF: Great insight!


RF: What's your favorite healthy recipe?

Jack: Danielle and I make ground beef, green peppers, onions, lots of ground red pepper, and canned tomatoes. Very yummy!


RF: What's your favorite song to workout to?

Jack: It used to be loud, angry music... Right now it's Massive Attack's song Angel. Check out the video, it's cool!


RF: What's your favorite workout?

Jack: Fitness Fire classes and running.


We are so glad to have Jack as a RF member and appreciate him greatly. His continued hard work and dedication is most definitely only going to help him reach goal after goal. Here's to all our amazing, dedicated members!


May's Member of the Month: Nancy Sievers

Nancy doing an assisted forward lunge 


Nancy Sievers became a Restoration Fitness member two years ago and now works out with us alongside her husband, Bob, three times a week. Nancy was raised in a Chicago suburb but has lived in Boulder since 1975. Her and Bob have been married for 51 years and have a very funny daughter and sweet son-in-law who live here in Boulder, a son in Seattle and four wonderful grandchildren. She and Bob also have a cute 3-year-old bichon frise that is a well-known flirt. Nancy is a retired special education teacher who now fills her time with travel, gardening, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. She is a very sweet person who lights up the room she is in. Meet May’s Member of the Month: Nancy Sievers!


RF: What positive results have you had from working with RF?

Nancy: I’m in good shape for a person my age; I’m 73. RF prepared me for my knee replacement surgery then helped rehabilitate me afterwards. I think my other knee does not need surgery because of all we do here. My balance has also improved greatly and RF does a great job of modifying exercises within my ability each workout.


RF: What keeps you motivated:

Nancy: The variety RF provides for Bob and I. I like coming here and I’m not a person that likes exercising. I don’t do it on my own. You and Nicole do a great job engaging me!


RF: What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?

Nancy: My knee replacement surgery. I can now kneel and garden! I’d like to try and play tennis this summer. Bob also loves tennis.

RF: We’re going to hold you to that!


RF: What does health mean to you?

Nancy: Health is terribly important at my age. It means I can travel. It means I can do all I want to do. Health means maintaining good body function.


RF: What’s your favorite healthy food?

Nancy: Spinach omelet with a little sprinkle of cheddar cheese.


RF: What’s your favorite type of workout music?

Nancy: Definitely something peppy!


RF: What is your favorite type of workout?

Nancy: Does eating count?

RF: Hahahaha No!

Nancy: Walking with my dog and my friends. And, I really enjoy some of the ballet type movements we do in here.


Thank you so much Nancy! We greatly appreciate you and are so glad we are helping you to feel good!




Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy of continuous growth and improvement of working practices and personal efficiency. Wether it be excelling at work, changing career paths all together or getting to the next level in your workouts; kaizen urges you to push through your existing comfort zone to find true happiness and be the best you.

We spent a lot of time this week in Fitness Fire classes talking about getting out of your physical and emotional comfort zone and pushing through. I believe that some of the best personal growth can come from pushing through your comfort zones. If you think about it, it begins at birth. A baby is safe, warm, and content in its' mother's womb but at a certain point, it is time for it to join the unfamiliar world. Each step of growth for a baby is forcing it to leave it's comfort zone. The baby's first days out of the womb, crawl, step, etc. Each sign of growth is a step out of its' existing, familiar comfort zone and into the strange unknown. For the baby, pushing through leads to more independence and the formation of their own unique personalities.

The same principles hold true in ones' adult life. New, fresh experiences are vital to enrich ones' life. Personal growth stems from new challenges that lead you to new life experiences. It is easier to remain static and not push forward; fear of change and the unknown are huge factors.  Fear is your body's natural way of letting you know your comfort zone is being compromised. One should be aware and respectful of the feeling of fear but do not let it hold you back. Fear is not a comfortable feeling and usually we avoid it at all costs. Remember we would all be (twenty,thirty, forty,etc) fifty-somethings living in our mother's womb if facing fears were not necessary.

Every time we face our fear and push through our comfort zone, growth happens! Growth is not supposed to come easily. Again, think of the tiny baby taking all its' firsts. Or another example would be any business owner that has taken a risk; for their business to grow they must constantly move forward and be comfortable with change to keep up with the industry. Successful businessman and author Robert Cushing stated, "The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can."

Something to keep in mind is once we've pushed through one comfort zone into the new zone, over time the new zone can become yet another comfort zone. It is important in life to continually challenge oneself with new goals and experiences; this allows for personal growth which sanctions ones' best life possible. It may seem trivial but when you are sweating, out of breath, and feeling uncomfortable during a workout and you make the decision to continue and push yourself by going even faster or picking a heavier weight or just finishing all the way through, you are practicing kaizen. I urge you to take that feeling of empowerment and succes and continue to grow!

Which Would You Rather Lose?

There's a difference between weight loss and fat loss.  For those of you who read magazines or blogs promising miraculous weight loss, you might be led to believe that losing weight is just as good as losing fat. Ah, but the real evidence of health is having a good balance of fat and lean body mass.  You read it right, it isn't healthy to lose too much fat or too much lean tissue.  In fact, losing too much fat (below 9% for women and below 5% for men) can actually lead to death much faster than being obese.  The real question, and the one that really hasn't been answered definitively yet by modern science, is what ratio of fat to lean body mass is best for your body?

"No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat.  Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office."  -George Bernard Shaw

Which Weight are We Weighing?

Although I may not be able to specifically answer the very individual question of what body fat percentage vs. lean body mass (connective tissue/bones/muscle) percentage your body functions best at, there are many different charts that give us ranges to shoot for. If you'd like to know what these ranges are for your age group and sex, here's a link. What I find more interesting is that although these charts would lead us to believe that we can all fit into a little category, each and every one of us has a unique body that can both be manipulated to perform and change, and that will also find a way to lean toward its own set-point.

Data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study out of Dallas, TX found that men who were physically "fit" (scored in the top 80% of one's age group while performing a treadmill walking test) had death rates one-half those of lean unfit men.  So, even though they had a significantly higher body weight than others, because they were active and fit, their likelihood of living longer was still double!  Our body weight is a measure of our total mass regardless of what that mass is composed of. When we look at body fat, we are looking at both subcutaneous fat and the fat that protects and surrounds our organs. Our lean body mass is made up of muscle, connective tissue, organs, bones, and really everything besides fat. In theory, the less excess fat we have, the less work our body has to do to overcome our total mass to move and play and live. However, without adequate fat, our organ systems shut down, our hormones deregulate, we don't think as clearly, and we have no energy reserves to do anything beyond very minimal activity (unless you are eating 8 times a day).

To reach a balance of healthy body fat and an active, flourishing amount of lean tissue, you must eat a diet rich in colorful vegetables and fruit, lean protein, omega 3 fats, and you must do some form of regular activity that forces you to resist your own body weight and beyond. We build muscle tissue when we stress the muscle enough that it lays down more muscle fibers so it can meet the challenges we impose upon it the next time we place a demand on it.   This requires that we come within a few repetitions of near failure, and that we do different things to challenge the muscular system all the time.

We love resistance training and have found it to be a great compliment to nearly all of our clients lives outside of the gym to help them improve performance in other activities, reduce injuries, improve metabolism, and give them more energy. And, when one thing improves, it's easier to gain momentum to make other health changes too!

Please feel free to respond with your thoughts or comments on health, wellness, or your energy anytime.  We love it when this newsletter is shared and forwarded to friends or when readers give us their suggestions or ideas!

Have a beautiful week!

In love and health,

Nicole Irlbeck and the Restoration Fitness Crew

February's Member of the Month: Bob McCool

Bob became a member of Restoration Fitness in October of 2011. Since then he has been committed to improving his health and has had some awesome results. We are also very proud and impressed by Bob’s learned perfection of squats! We sat down with him recently and asked him some questions. Meet Bob!


(RF) Tell us a little background info about yourself:

(Bob) Originally, I’m from Columbus, OH and was raised in PA. I’m the youngest of 8.  I’ve been living in Colorado since 1994 with my wife Daryl and our 7-year-old son, Jackson. I work as a partner of a computer services company.


(RF) What results have you seen since joining RF in October?

(Bob) To start, I’ve lost 20 pounds! My energy level is ten times higher than it’s ever been which helps me keep up with Jackson. I’ve noticed continuous improvement of previous injuries. I can also snowboard much better than I ever have been able to in the past. Another positive result is that with the help of RF, I’ve been eating so much healthier.


(RF) What keeps you motivated?

(Bob) The accountability of RF has been great. I love coming here! It’s also been a great stress relief and managing stress is important to me. I want to feel good! And, above all else, having the energy to keep up with Jackson. Being healthy for him is very motivating to me.


(RF) What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?

(Bob) Food. I used to stress eat a lot. Having workouts as my new stress relief is great!


(RF) What’s your favorite healthy food?

(Bob) Grilled trout with a spicy rub

(RF) Yum!!


(RF) What’s your favorite song or artist to workout to?

(Bob) The Police


(RF) What’s your favorite type of workout?

(Bob) Fitness Fire classes! They’re a really great, hard workout and they’re fun!