Beauty, strength, intellect, inspiration… all that is impersonated in one person-Nia Shanks. She is a beautiful women, who has dedicated her life to her passion- helping people achieve their health related goals, heal their body image issues… helping them start loving who they are and doing what they love! Whatever I say about her, would belittle the person she is, so I will let her introduce herself!
Nia Shanks: My name is Nia Shanks. I’m the leader of the Beautiful Badass revolution and co-found of Girls Gone Strong. I love lifting heavy weights and moonwalking.
Ines Subashka: How long have you been lifting weights? How did everything begin?
NSh: I got into strength training when I was about 15 years old. My Mom is a personal trainer, so I fell into it naturally.
IS: Have you been involved in some other sports before that?
NSh: Prior to that I was involved in some martial arts, organized sports, and aggressive inline skating (homemade ramps, rails, boxes, and other fun toys). I’ve always been active one way or another and make it a point to go hiking, bouldering, play racquetball, and other outdoor activities to this day.
IS: How do people around you accept what you do? Do they think it isn’t a sport for women? How do you manage the negative reactions?
NSh: The people I’m close to know that weight lifting is a part of who I am. I’ve never had an issue with people “accepting” it. If people think it’s not girly or “too manly,” their opinion simply doesn’t matter and has no affect on me. I just keep doing what makes me happy and don’t acknowledge those individuals.
People are always going to have negative opinions, but I don’t let them impact me in any way.
IS: Do you have a nutrition plan that you follow? If yes, do you meet disapproval from you friends?Or do they understand why you eat the way you do?
NSh: Not really. I like to keep things very simple, especially when it comes to nutrition. I follow a few simple guidelines – eat real, high quality food, eat when I’m hungry, and enjoy “treats” from time to time.
I tried counting calories, weighing food, and other more strict methods, but they didn’t work for me. If my nutrition method causes me any stress or wastes too much mental energy, I simplify and change things immediately.
Again, I’m not concerned with what other people think. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s most important to find, and follow, what works best for me.
IS: Do you take supplements and what is your opinion about them? I know you struggled with eating disorders. How did you manage to get out of it? How did you start liking what you see in the mirror and appreciating yourself?
NSh:I take a high quality fish oil and Vitamin D supplement. Other than that I drink a protein shake after training with a few grams of creatine.
Supplements can be beneficial, but they’re not magic. Again, I prefer the “simple” approach and taking the supplements I believe are most important and beneficial.
I go into detail about my battle with disorder eating in this article . I share in that article how I developed and later beat the disordered eating habits.
IS: What advice would you give to people struggling with their diets? What tips help you stay on track?
NSh: Simplify, first and foremost.
Other than that, experiment with different methods, if necessary, and find what works for YOU. Don’t worry about what’s the latest and greatest trend. If it doesn’t work for you, then don’t do it.
Again, I recommend simple tips, and if necessary tweak things later on – eat real food, focus your meals on high quality protein, eat when you’re hungry, etc.
IS: Most people think that healthy living is a burden! Did you ever have a time in your life, when you regretted that you work so hard in the gym and in the kitchen , instead of spending your time hanging out with friends and indulging in junk food?
NSh: When I battled my disordered eating, my mind was always preoccupied with thoughts about food and training.
Once I turned things around and kept things simple, I didn’t have to waste any time worrying about food or training. This is the basis behind Beautiful Badass and the training programs I use with my clients.
IS: How did you came up with the idea to run a website and help people achieve their goals?
NSh: I wanted to help as many people as possible, and my website allows me to reach more people than I could by training in a gym.
IS: What would you tell all the women out there who are afraid of lifting weights because they do not wanna get bulky?
NSh: Ha! Follow any of my training programs and eat smart the whole time. If you get the least bit “big ‘n bulky”, you can scissor kick me to the head.
I’ve been training people for almost 10 years, and I have NEVER seen a woman get “bulky”.
IS: If you had to describe your training philosophy with just a sentence, what would it be?
NSh: Revolve your training and nutrition around your life and personality; not vice versa.
Or . . . Lift heavy, eat smart, and get the results you want.
IS: How would you finish the sentence “ I workout because…”
NSh: I’m a Beautiful Badass. 😉
Nia Shanks deadlifting!
Don’t forget to visit Nia’s website!
I don’t know about you but that interview made me strong just reading it! Let’s go to the gym! 😉
P.S. If you liked this interview, please share it with your friends! 🙂