Parvati Magazine interviewed Nia Shanks of “Lift Like A Girl” and “Train To Be Awesome”, about her approach to fitness as a way to empower people without guilt, excessive effort or compulsion.
Parvati Magazine: What has your journey been like? What called to you about pursuing a career in fitness and what keeps you doing it every day?
Nia Shanks: Helping women break free from obsessive workout and disordered eating habits has been one of my greatest accomplishments. Showing women that fitness is an empowering, rewarding endeavor that should build them up, make them more, and allow them to discover and appreciate the incredible things their body can do, is my motivation. Fitness is not about “fixing your flaws” or a constant battle to lose fat. It should improve your life, and empower you.
PMAG: What sets your work apart from other fitness coaches out there?
NS: I’m not one for comparing myself to other coaches. As long as I’m doing my best to help others reach their goals in a sane, simple, and enjoyable way, that’s all that matters. I will say that I encourage women to focus on improving their performance and getting stronger instead of trying to burn as many calories as possible, or finish every workout exhausted. Performance improvements trump fatigue, and are more motivating.
PMAG: What does it mean to Train to be Awesome?
NS: To be physically strong, capable, mobile, and pain free. It’s about becoming the best version of yourself, with whatever workout tools you have available, and within your range of ability. It’s your journey.
PMAG: What’s the difference between motivation and discipline?
NS: I equate motivation to a feeling (e.g., “Today is a great day and everything is going right, so I feel like doing a workout!”). But discipline is the critical element for success. Discipline is what fuels you to perform a workout when it’s the last thing you want to do.
PMAG: What’s your favorite bodyweight exercise to do these days?
NS: I don’t have a favorite, but I do enjoy exercises like inverted rows, push-ups, parallel bar dips, pull-ups, and skater squats. They’re incredibly challenging.
Nia Shanks is a writer and coach. She helps women discover and reach their potential through an empowering approach to health, fitness, and life. Strength training is her tool of choice.