• Lift Like A Girl: Nia Shanks Interview

    Nia Shanks

    EM2WL: I understand you suffered from disordered eating in the past. What was your “ah ha” moment where you decided that things had to change, and how did you start working on changing how you looked at exercise and eating?

    Nia: The problem was, I knew for years things needed to change! I was unable to do so. I went to three different counselors, read numerous books, and tried other suggestions. However, none of those things worked. It wasn’t until I did things my way that it all started to improve. I stripped nutrition down to the bare essentials (eat mostly real foods, don’t have any forbidden foods, eat my favorite “treats” when I craved them, listen to my body and eat when I’m hungry and stop eating when satisfied). I also made my workouts exclusively about what my body could do. My goal was to improve my performance and get stronger.

    I talk about this in more detail in the recent episode of the Lift Like a Girl Podcast.

    E: Many clients find EM2WL after years of extreme dieting and/or exercise. What would you tell a woman that is looking for quick results? How do you convince them that the long slow road is the way to go for maintainable results?

    N: Anyone can hop on the latest diet craze or fad and lose some weight. But I’d say 99% of the time people gain back what they lost, with interest, simply because it was unsustainable. The goal shouldn’t be to lose the max amount of weight as soon as possible. The goal should be to build a simple, sustainable, enjoyable lifestyle you can maintain long-term. After all, wouldn’t you rather be able to maintain your results 1, 5, and 10 years down the road instead of constantly yo-yo dieting?

    Nia ShanksE: What do you tell women who are feeling “stuck” but seem to be doing all the right things – eating an adequate amount, and lifting weights, but feeling discouraged with what seems like a lack of progress? Especially when the scale is not moving.

    N: Get back to the basics. Oftentimes people are trying to do way too much all at once. Focus on just the few BIG things that will have the greatest impact and forget about the rest. Make sure you’re eating mostly real, delicious foods. Make sure you’re using the best exercises and focus on getting stronger.

    And be honest with yourself. Are you really doing what you think you’re doing?

    But when in doubt – keep it simple. Choose just 1-3 things to focus on exclusively for 4-8 weeks and track your progress.

    E: For women that are looking for fat loss they are often surprised when strength training is recommended. Can you explain your philosophy behind using strength training as a method for fat loss?

    N: Strength training helps burn fat and build muscle. Period. That’s what helps people get the “toned” look they desire.

    But more importantly, strength training boosts self-confidence and body-image. It’s fun, motivating, and reveals to women the true strength they possess. I find that THOSE are the things that keep people coming back for more. And consistency is what really produces long-lasting fat loss.

    E: Why do you feel that strength training is so important, especially for women?

    N: Because of the additional benefits it provides that most people don’t even think about: improved self-confidence and body image. It’s a way of revealing and allowing women to appreciate and be proud of what their body can DO instead of obsessing over how it looks.

    E: So, lastly, I have to ask, are you still moonwalking? I’ve checked your technique and it is flawless!

    N: Every opportunity I get.  :)

    To hear more from Nia Shanks, visit her website or the Lift Like a Girl Podcast

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    Trish Adams (43 Posts)

    Mom, wife, technologist, certified fitness trainer and nutritional coach. Encouraging women to put their health first. Change starts with self love and acceptance. Once mastered, there's no limit as to where you can go. Treat your body well with sound nutrition combined with an effective training plan to achieve a healthy body composition. We all want to look good in our jeans, but not at the sacrifice of our health. Precision Nutrition Certified Coach