So for today’s blogisode I decided to go off the grid a little and conduct my first interview on the blog with my friend and fellow teacher of strength Nia Shanks! You guys know I love a straight shooter and Nia is a straight shooter when it comes to helping others transform their body into chiseled iron. Now if you don’t know Nia she is one chick that can walk into the gym and be stingy with the weights. This post is for all, but if you happen to be one of my women readers then you’ll appreciate the hell out of this interview.
Interviewing Nia Shanks…
BR: Tell us a little about yourself.
Nia: I’m the leader of the Beautiful Badass & Lift Like a Girl Revolution, co-founder of Girls Gone Strong, devoted strength trainee, and chronic moonwalker. Seriously. I moonwalk wherever I get the chance. I’m also a personal trainer with my BS in exercise physiology which I obtained from the University of Louisville. My philosophy, and what I use with my clients, revolves around simple, no nonsense workout and nutrition information that delivers maximum results in minimum time.
BR: When we first spoke online I saw your page and knew right away I was talking with a first class strength coach just like myself. 😉 Don’t worry NIa my readers expect this kind of attitude from me. All joking aside most strength coaches I know come from having an athletic background. Was this also the case with you?
Nia: I played basketball when I was younger, but gravitated towards individual sports and activities like martial arts, aggressively roller blading (homemade ramps, rails, boxes, you name it) and later power lifting. I like knowing that success and failure is completely up to me.
BR: As a male strength coach I try to communicate the value of quality heavy lifting to my female readers in much the same way as I do to my male audience. I know I’m painting with a broad brush here, but do you experience some resistance in trying to communicate this type of message to some of your female followers at least initially. Once again, most of the women I know such as yourself can out lift most guys, but in general do you get some resistance like this from a portion of your female audience?
Nia: Most of the time, yes. There’s hesitation to lift heavy since most women still believe the myth that weight lifting will make them “big ‘n bulky”. To combat this fear I make a few important observations. For example, I’ll have new female clients tell me they love how I look in addition to my other clients. I then tell them when they’re afraid of lifting that, “Well, you like how I look and my other female clients look. We all use heavy resistance training in our programs.” I get them to realize that success leaves clues, and that myself and my clients look the way we do from out training. That usually calms their fear.
BR: Ok, chocolate or peanut butter?
Nia: Or? What’s up with this “or” part? Both. And bacon. Chocolate AND peanut butter AND bacon.
BR: As part of my program I love utilizing kettlebells as an effective training tool for my athletes. However I am clear to people that I am a strength coach first, not just a “kettlebell coach.” Do you, or have you ever utilized kettlebells with your athletes and students?
Nia: The main kettlebell exercise I use, with my clients and myself, is the kettlebell swing. I love using various training tools at different times, and kettlebells are another wonderful tool in the training tool box.
BR: I’ve been fortunate to work with a variety of athletic populations. Right now I work hard at trying to beat a great deal of MMA athletes into shape, pun intended. 🙂 What kind of athletes do you beat into shape, or what all types of athletes do you train?
Nia: The majority of my clients just want to look better, have more energy, and improve their overall health. I don’t train many athletes. I help bring out the inner Beautiful Badass in all of my awesome clients. 🙂
BR: I’ve had a few injuries in the past that I’ve had to contend with and overcome. Have you ever had any significant injury that has set back your training? If so how did you deal with it?
Nia: Oh yes. I really tweaked my back last year chasing a triple bodyweight deadlift. It was impatience, stupidity, and arrogance on my part that led to the injury. I had to make some drastic changes to my workouts. Specifically I’ve been doing a lot of bodyweight training and making it a goal to perform advancing bodyweight exercises for a new challenge. For instance, I’m finally able to bust out handstand push-ups. That was a fun new goal to achieve.
BR: As you know programming an athlete based on their sporting need is a big part of what us strength coaches do when getting someone ready to step on the field, in the ring, or on the court. Knowing this, with your approach, do you find yourself making drastic changes to the basic layout of your program from one athlete to another, or do you keep a training model that can be easily adjusted to “fit”multiple athletes only with a few needed adjustments here and there based on the specific demands of each athlete?
Nia: As I mentioned I don’t train many athletes, but I definitely recommend making a program sport specific. Many of my clients participate in other recreational activities that they want to excel at, so I usually strip down their strength training to the bare essentials so it complements their other goals. For example, if someone is a competitive runner, cyclist, swimmer, or athlete, we focus primarily on building strength and preventative exercises in the weight room.
BR: You’ve got some killer products that you sell off of your blog. Tell us a little about them.
Nia: Beautiful Badass is my most popular item. It includes a manual that tells you everything you need to be a Beautiful Badass including simple, flexible, stress free nutrition information. It also includes 19 different workout programs. There’s literally years worth of workouts provided. This is the way to go for someone who wants maximum results in minimum time.
BR: Usually I’m the one being interviewed and this was the first time I’ve interviewed anyone on the site. How did I do? Before you answer that if I didn’t do well then just go ahead and lie anyway.
Nia: Awesome, Brandon. You mentioned “chocolate” which automatically makes this the best interview ever.
BR: I noticed that at the end of some of your training videos ( which are always very informative) you like to throw in a little bit of moonwalking. Yep, Nia I am going there. So if I ever get the chance will you give me a 5 minute moonwalking lesson?
Nia: Hmm. Not sure if I want to teach all of my tricks. I’ve gotta distinguish myself some how.
BR: Thanks for joining me for the interview Nia. It was an honor to have you on my site!
Well that is that! Now you see why I like straight shooters like Nia. Coaches like ourselves want you to know that there is NO BS easy genie in a bottle solution to results like this. This is all sweat, drive, and determination. If you want to check out Nia’s Beautiful Badass guide then do so right here! Like I always say and I know Nia will agree with me on this one, “most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart!” Start your smart training today my friend.