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September 26, 2012

Back to Basics: Lifting Like a Girl 101

You guys loved Nia Shanks so much, I asked to have her back on the JillFit blog (once I got over my transient jealousy about her being a blogging badass, ha!). She and I chatted last week on the phone and we decided to start getting the message out there that we all have to stop complicating nutrition & training. This is hard, right? We are so scared of messing up with our diets or workouts that sometimes we over-think things and get paralyzed, and end up doing nothing consistently. I do it all the time. In her new blog below, Nia is back talking about the importance of DOING WHAT WORKS FOR YOU, while keeping things suuuuper SIMPLE. This girl knows her shit :) Enjoy! –Jill


Howdy, y’all!

I’m crazy excited to be back here invading Jill’s website once again. This time, however, I’ll spare you my typical moonwalk entrance. Maybe next time I’ll show you my infamous “sprinkler”.

Until then, I’ve got some great stuff for you today. Let’s get to it!

1) Do What Works for You

Few things in life abide by the one-size-fits-all mantra. When it comes to working out and eating patterns, there’s no such thing as a cookie-cutter design that will work for everyone or every body.

That’s why you need to discover what works for you with working out and eating.

First, let’s tackle working out:

To reap the best results from your training program, there are two key elements you must abide by: training hard consistently and having a balanced training program.

The first part – training hard consistently – is a no brainer. Working out once every blue-moon ain’t gonna cut it, and you know that.

The second part – having a balanced training program – is quite simple. You want to work every muscle group, correct any imbalances, and train certain movements (more on that last part in a bit).

Other than that, your workouts should center around your experience level, your realistic available time to workout, and your preferences. For example, don’t plan to hit the gym four days per week if you know that’s unrealistic. Don’t follow a program for advanced trainees if you’re a beginner. Don’t force yourself to bench press if you don’t like doing it or it aggravates your shoulders.

Second, let’s discuss eating patterns

Different strokes for different folks. Some people love the Paleo lifestyle. Others, such as myself, don’t like omitting entire food groups (unless, of course, you have an allergy). Some people enjoy multiple small meals each day. And still some prefer intermittent fasting.

Honestly, I don’t care which approach you use as long as you focus primarily on smart food choices, first and foremost. Eat real food and get enough protein. The rest is dependent upon YOUR lifestyle and preferences.

Don’t force square pegs in round holes.

2) Movements > Specific Exercises

I mentioned this briefly above. Bottom line – training movements is more important than training specific exercises.

For example, is it mandatory for you to perform a deadlift from the floor with a straight bar?

Short answer – nope.

Should you train the deadlift movement?

Yes, absolutely. But that can be accomplished in a number of different ways. For instance, you could perform rack pulls, or single leg deadlifts.

The movement you choose is dependent upon your training equipment, what you enjoy doing, and any physical limitations you may possess.

3) Don’t Overdo Cardio

I understand. Cardio has, and still is, being touted as the most important factor and the best thing to do for fat loss and improved body composition.

While I encourage people to get up and move as often as possible, I don’t recommend resorting to walking on a treadmill for hours every week. You’re better off training hard and consistently with your strength training and dialing in your eating habits.

Furthermore, I encourage people to do cardio that’s disguised as playing. For example, I play racquetball frequently. It’s tough, challenging, but most importantly – it’s fun. Why would I do traditional cardio when I can do something just as, if not more so, beneficial while actually enjoying myself?

Try to find ways to play more and don’t rely on cardio machines.

4) Stop Overcomplicating Everything


See what I did there?

When it comes to working out, stop searching for “the best” or “the latest and greatest” training program. Instead, focus on the basics and nothing else – training hard and improving your performance on the best exercises.

With regards to nutrition – don’t obsess over the small things. For example, don’t stress over eating chicken or fish for your protein source, or choosing strawberries over banana because one may have more antioxidants. Focus on the basics – eating real food – while taking the time to discover the eating patterns that work for you.

And of course, lift like a girl because well, it makes you a badass :)

Learn, Grow,
Teach, Practice

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Teach, Practice

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