Powerlifter and Author Nia Shanks Talks with Nutrition Beast

Nia Shanks goal is to help women build the body they want through simple and no nonsense strength training and nutrition information. She encourages all women to focus on being the most awesome and strongest version of themselves.

Her website provides women with the tools they need to accomplish that goal. Nia has several different tutorials, guides, and manuals that can be found on her website at www.NiaShanks.com.

Please check out her book: Sane And Simple Nutrition.

Tell us about your sane and simple, no non-sense strength training and nutritional approach. And how do you impart that on others?

nia-shanks-2I believe in keeping the whole process, from working out to nutrition, as simple as possible. If something is simple, then people are more likely to apply the information and to do so consistently. If people are consistent, then they’ll achieve and maintain the results they’re after.

To keep things “sane and simple” I encourage others to focus on the basics and the few things that will provide the biggest results, and ignore everything else.

It’s terribly easy to get caught up in minute details that don’t really matter. By focusing on a just a few things with working out and nutrition, you can reduce stress and reap the biggest benefits possible.

What led you to try intermittent fasting? What were experiences with it and what are you doing now?

I first tried intermittent fasting because I got burned out with eating several small meals each day. I actually shared my entire experience, plus the pros and cons I experienced, in this article.

What would you tell someone who is considering trying intermittent fasting?

If you’re really curious about intermittent fasting, then give it a try. If you think it’s a nutrition method that will simplify your nutrition, then go for it.

Just keep in mind it’s not a one-size-fits-all. No diet or nutrition method is. Always do what works for you and don’t feel obligated to force anything, no matter how much anyone else swears by it.

Any nutrition method you follow should easily fit into your lifestyle and personal preferences.

I would also encourage them to read this article about the common mistakes people make when they try intermittent fasting.

What do you feel are some common mistakes women make when it comes to diet and nutrition? And what would be the best way to avoid them?

nia-shanks-3Women make things way too complicated by following rigid and strict rules. A good example, in my opinion, of what not to do is follow something like “The Skinny Rules”.

You absolutely must adopt a lifestyle that you can sustain long-term. Don’t force yourself to follow these ridiculous rules that drive you crazy after a week.

In my experience, strict rules and diets lead to disordered eating habits and binge eating because they usually restrict foods or entire food groups.

Don’t look for a diet. Keep it sane, simple and use some common sense. Listen to your body.

Tell us about your philosophy that the weight on the barbell is more important than the weight on the scale.

I think women should shift their mindset from a negative focus, “I need to lose fat because I feel ugly,” to a positive focus, “I’m going to get stronger and deadlift 1.5 times my bodyweight.”

Have a positive performance oriented focus, such as striving to deadlift a certain amount of weight, perform your first chin-up, etc; you’ll be more motivated to work out because you’ll have a goal to shoot for.

Not only that, but focusing on your performance allows you to be proud of what your body can DO. That’s something we easily neglect because we’re so concerned with how we look.

It all comes down to becoming a stronger and a more awesome version of yourself. When you do that, you’ll also reach your physique goals.

Focus on adding more weight to the barbell when you are strength training. Don’t even worry about stepping on the scale.

Can you give us some simple techniques for fast strength gains?

Practice if you want to be good at something; you need to practice frequently.

Use a fairly easy weight and practice 3-5 times per week. I cover this simple technique in detail in this article.


What are some of the biggest mistakes women make when starting out strength training and how can they avoid them?

They use the wrong exercises and too light of weights.

Instead they should focus on compound exercises and getting stronger. Use a challenging weight for all exercises, and strive to get stronger.

In my opinion the best way to achieve body transforming results is to focus on improved performance and the best exercises. Focus on lunges, squats, deadlifts, push-ups, rows, etc.

How should a women’s training evolve over time?

The most common mistake women make is not constantly challenging themselves. Too often they use the exact same weight for months and months.

Over time you must improve your performance. Don’t be afraid to add more weight to the bar or try more challenging exercise variations.

Push yourself and see what your body is truly able to do.

Do you feel some supplements can benefit women for strength training? What supplements and why?

I’m not a big fan of supplements, except for a high quality fish oil.

In my opinion, I prefer that people spend their hard earned money on real, natural, delicious food instead of expensive supplements.

nia-shanks-5Give us your 5 top tips to becoming a beautiful badass?

  1. It’s all about attitude. You’ve got to be focused on being the strongest most awesome version of YOU.
  2. Focus on your performance. Make it a goal to get stronger.
  3. Use exercises that provide the biggest bang for your buck. Your workouts should center around big compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, rows, push-ups, and other similar exercises.
  4. Be positive. Don’t focus on your perceived “flaws” or anything like that. Learn to love your body for how it looks and what it can do.
  5. Don’t diet. Dieting sucks. Adopt a simple, sustainable lifestyle approach.

What motivates you and why do you love this lifestyle?

I’m motivated by my amazing family and friends and those who reach out to me and share their stories of victory and success.

So many women have overcome adversity and faced challenging situations and still reached their goals. They never quit. They never give up. That’s true inspiration.

I love this lifestyle because it enhances my overall life. That’s the true sign that things are going in the right direction.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here