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Nia Shanks is not just any other fitness trainer. She is strong, she is tough, she wants to help other women become their strongest selves by following a simple and sustainable lifestyle. In addition to being a fitness coach for 10+ years with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Louisville, she is also a health and fitness writer who contributes to several online publications, and the torchbearer of the Lift Like a Girl revolution. She hosts the weekly Lift Like a Girl podcast where she inspires women to develop stronger bodies in a healthy way. Nia Shanks definitely walks the talk.

Nia shares her philosophy on life and being fit, her inspirations, and on building habits with us.

Nia’s Fitness Philosophy

“It’s imperative that people eat and work out in a way that they can maintain long-term. It’s not about a quick-fix. It’s about developing habits that you can do tomorrow, next week, next year, and years from health,” Nia says.”

Nia fitness mantra is not just sweating it out at the treadmill or burning the miles. She has a holistic approach to good living and believes in leading a simple lifestyle that can be easily sustained in the long term. She steers clear of quick-fix solutions. Instead, she advocates developing healthy habits that become a way of life. She also points to another benefit of building habits that is not often realized.

“Motivation has a natural ebb and flow. Some days you have a ton of motivation! Some days you have none at all.”

During her interactions with her clients, Nia has to hear how they feel often unmotivated and end up missing workouts. Nia explains we do not realize that our motivation levels naturally rise and fall in tandem. So one day, we might be brimming over with enthusiasm and cannot wait to lift the weights or go out for a jog while the very next day, we might not even want to get out of bed. So relying on motivation alone to stick to your fitness regimen is not enough. According to her, habits keep you going on the days when motivation is lacking.

“This is why relying exclusively on motivation is futile, because it’s not a constant, endless thing. This is why habits are important. When fitness becomes something you do consistently, you won’t always need ‘motivation’ to maintain those activities. It will just be part of who you are.

Another tip, however, is to make sure you’re enjoying the things you do. Find a way to make being active fun.”

Fitness Trackers?

She divulges that, although a number of clients use fitness trackers, she does not. They keep tabs on their sleep, the miles they have run, and a sundry other minute bodily data.

“They love “hacking” their sleeping habits, steps-per-day, and other things so they can track and monitor their habits.”

She admits that the number-crunching makes for a personalized experience, but she disapproves of the obsession with statistics. According to her, the more the numbers these gadgets throw up, the more some people become obsessed about clocking a certain number of sleep hours or burning a specific amount of calories.

What’s more, some people continue to stick to the numbers and goals recommended by these gadgets when they should be aiming higher for optimum health benefits. Nia is also concerned about how some people value their worth based on the numbers they notch up on these fitness trackers and often end up feeling frustrated.

“Some people may become “obsessed” with constantly burning a higher number of calories, for example, or chasing a constantly smaller number on the scale. As a result, some people may end up valuing their self-worth based on these numbers, and that’s never a good thing.

Nia’s Motto in Life

“It’s important to be the best version of yourself in every way possible.” Nia strives to live an authentic life, placing great value on simplicity. She believes that whether you want to achieve some fitness goal, improve your financial situation, or strive to reach a personal milestone, you can never go wrong with simplicity. She has a golden rule of thumb on these occasions:

“When in doubt – keep it simple. This can apply to anything in life be it fitness, finances, or reaching a personal goal. Keep it simple and put your effort into the few things that truly matter and produce the majority of the results.”

Nia’s Inspiration

Nia’s earliest inspiration was her mother who was the first woman personal trainer in their town. Since then, Nia has been fortunate to have met many strong women who overcame extreme adversities to emerge stronger, braver, and an inspiration to others. These acquaintances have shaped Nia’s goal in life: live life to the fullest and always aspire to be the most awesome version of yourself.

“I’m inspired by strong women in my life who have faced unimaginable adversity but always manage to come out better, stronger, and more awesome.”

Kudos to Nia for being the awesome inspiration that she is!

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