Interview with a Health Expert: Nia Shanks

Getting to be a little too much of a couch potato? Nia Shanks is the answer to your problem! This health and fitness expert understands that it can be difficult to navigate the world of diet and exercise. So, her site,, offers tons of helpful articles to make you the best version of yourself. Read on for Nia’s advice on creating a healthier lifestyle.

Your site focuses on fitness and health. What gave you the inspiration to start the site?

The website was a way for me to reach more people and to use my passion for writing.

You’ve developed the “Lift Like a Girl Manifesto.” What are the basic rules of this mindset?

The single most important part of the “Lift Like a Girl Manifesto” is to focus on becoming the strongest, most awesome version of yourself, because you’re already awesome - the goal is simply to become even MORE awesome.

There are several things you recommend not doing when following the manifesto (like going on a restrictive diet or overexercising). What are some traps that women fall into that they mistakenly think are healthy?

Trying to do too much all at once is a common mistake. Women go on a strict diet and combine that with a lot of exercise. Then they restrict food even more and work out even harder to get more results. This “eat less and work out more” approach can only take you so far. If you constantly strive to eat less and less and work out longer and harder, you’ll get burned out. The solution is to adopt simple, flexible GUIDELINES that turn into life-long habits.

You make the case that women shouldn’t be weighing themselves. Why do you think the scale is a dangerous thing?

Because women (and men) have a tendency to rely too much on that number. Worse yet, they may think their self-worth is related to that number, but it’s just not true.

I suggest people ditch the scale and focus on consistent ACTIONS they can take every day instead of focusing on a number that doesn’t reveal the whole picture.

Your site also touches on the pressure women feel to look perfect. What are some ways you would recommend that women can combat this thinking?

This is the great thing about strength training and why I encourage women to give it a shot, in one form or another (e.g. heavy barbell lifts, dumbbell exercises, bodyweight workouts). Strength training gives you the opportunity to focus on, and be proud of, what your body can DO.

You’ve written several really helpful ebooks. In “Sane and Simple Nutrition,” you suggest women do away with dieting completely. What are some keys to maintaining a healthy diet?

In my opinion, it’s all about following a few simple, sane, and sustainable guidelines that can be tailored to your lifestyle and preferences. This way you can maintain the results you achieve.

Not everyone has an exercise plan already laid out. What steps would you recommend taking to develop an exercise routine?

First, choose a routine that fits your schedule. If you can only (consistently!) dedicate two days per week to a strength training routine, then follow a two-day per week program. If you can work out three days per week, follow a three-day per week routine.

I know that sounds simple, but people oftentimes revolve their life around an unrealistic gym schedule. Set yourself up for success by choosing a routine that fits your life. After all, a health and fitness regimen should enhance your life, not dominate it.

Some women might be apprehensive about weight lifting. Why do you think it’s an essential part of every workout?

Resistance training is certainly an effective tool for losing fat and building a lean, strong, healthy body. But it provides so many additional benefits that often go unnoticed.

What are some ways people can sneak activity into their lives without having a specific regimented program?

The simple answer: play more. Do fun, physical activities that you enjoy.

Structured, regimented exercise is not mandatory. Find more ways to play in an active way and you can reap the physical health benefits while having a great time.

If someone doesn’t want a gym membership, what equipment or resources would you recommend using to get started at home?

Perhaps the best place to start is with bodyweight workouts, because you can do them anywhere with little to no equipment. I would suggest getting a suspension trainer and starting with bodyweight workouts. They can easily be scaled to your strength level, and a suspension trainer allows for a lot of variety in a simple, inexpensive, travel-friendly tool.

It was so great of you to answer our questions! Anything else you want to tell our CouponPal readers?

Whatever you do when it comes to your health and fitness routine – keep it simple! Make sure whatever you’re doing can be maintained six months, one year, five years down the road. And as always, focus on becoming the strongest, most awesome version of YOU.

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