Redefining Fitness (or Just Another Stupid Fitness Article But You Should Read It Anyway)

photo: some rights reserved by Olivier Noirhomme
photo: some rights reserved by Olivier Noirhomme

Fitness is expressed visually. It’s something you can see.

After all, if you’re lean and toned or at a healthy bodyweight then you must be fit, right?

Not so fast.

When it comes to defining health and fitness, physical appearance is not the most important thing.

I believe that your body should ultimately serve you and allow you to live a high quality life.

That that sink in for a moment. It’s a far different story than what’s on the cover of practically every health and fitness magazine which promises to reveal “secrets”, the best exercises, tips for getting rid of cellulite, and super-foods for fat loss.

Bottom line – health and fitness should not be solely about how you look. There are more important factors to consider and as a result “health and fitness” should be redefined.

Why? Because things aren’t working, or not working as well as they should.

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Why You Shouldn’t Have (Fat Loss) Goals

fat loss goals
photo: some rights reserved by Ben Watkin

Whaaaaaat? Abandon my fat loss goal?

Nia’s gone crazy!

No. No I have not. At least, not entirely.

Goals can be a good thing, but sometimes they may not be the best thing to focus on. This can especially be the case when it comes to specific fat loss goals.

If you have a fat loss goal such as reaching a certain body weight or body fat percentage, then I encourage you to abandon those goals for a period of time . . . and to focus on the process and the actions you can take on a daily basis instead.

And I have some dang good reasons why.

But first, let’s look at some common fat loss goals people have:

  • Weigh X amount
  • Obtain X percentage of body fat
  • Wear X pant size
  • Reach X waist measurement

Seems harmless, right? By striving to reach that goal of weighing less or wearing a smaller pair of jeans you’ll be motivated to keep working out and eating well.

Not so fast. Let’s discuss five disadvantages to having specific fat loss goals, like those mentioned above.

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One (Not Weird or Secret) Tip for Fat Loss

Heck Yeah, EatingI have a confession, and I’m ready to share it with you.

Hello. My name is Nia Shanks and I, am a very fast eater.

Sometimes I eat so fast it’s comparable to a rottweiler scarfing down its dinner. Let that mental image sink in for a moment. (Aren’t you glad you’re reading this article?)

For as long as I can recall I’ve always eaten quickly, so I made it a goal a couple of years ago to . . .

Eat. Slower.

It’s something I’ve been working on for a while and still have to make a mental effort to do, but I’m getting better at it.

Why am I making it a goal to eat slower and why do I think you should do the same thing?

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Lift Like a Girl TV – Molly Galbraith of Girls Gone Strong: Body Image, Motivation, and Developing Long-Term Habits

Molly GThis episode of Lift Like a Girl TV features the amazing Molly Galbraith, co-founder of Girls Gone Strong.

To say that Molly shared a wealth of information is, quite honestly, an understatement.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the topics covered in this episode:

  • How to deal with feeling obligated to look a certain way
  • How to be comfortable in your own skin at all times
  • The importance of, and how to, practice compassion and self-love
  • Why motivation won’t last forever, and what to do instead
  • How to stop obsessing over “forbidden foods”
  • The downside to cheat days and what to do instead

And a whole lot more so be sure to watch this.

There may even be a random dance sequence.

(My camera froze a few times so you’ll see some glamorous still shots. At least you’ll get a good laugh. You’re welcome.)

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Lift Like a Girl TV – Meg “Fit Bitch” Brown

Meg Fit Bitch BrownThis is the first episode of Lift Like a Girl TV. Whoop!

Today’s episode is an interview with the incredible Meg “Fit Bitch” Brown.

Here are some of the show’s highlights:

  • Great tips for moms who want to balance health and fitness with their busy schedule
  • How fitness and finances are related, and how to be successful in both areas (this is awesome!)
  • Why “diets” suck and how to develop long-term habits that stick
  • The key to developing long-lasting motivation to ensure you achieve your goals (and maintain them!)
  • Much more!

Let’s get to the video.

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7 (Simple) Steps to Lose Fat, Practically Without Even Trying

 

Lose Fat Easily
photo: all rights reserved by matteobragaglio

Fat loss is always a hot topic, but now that’s it’s spring time here in the USA, everyone is preparing for the upcoming swimsuit season. And that means a lot of people are trying to lose body fat.

Unfortunately, many people will attempt to lose fat rapidly and in an unsustainable way. They’ll revolve their life around a diet and rigorous gym schedule, no doubt.

But today I’d like to propose a much better approach to fat loss. When done this way, you can lose fat without even trying. That’s because even though your goal is to lose fat, you’re not going to try to lose fat.

Confused yet? Don’t be.

It all begins with an intense focus on your actions.

Focusing on actions (e.g. strength training three times per week) instead of outcomes (e.g lose 15 pounds of fat) is a not only more effective, but it can also be enjoyable.

What? Have fun while losing body fat?

No, I’m not going crazy, and I’m not pulling your leg.

You’ve been led to believe that losing fat is a grueling, miserable process that leaves you exhausted and hungry. (Or “hangry” as some people say: hungry + angry). It’s why people unenthusiactically utter, “Ugh, I have to go on a diet” instead of screaming with the utmost joy and excitement, “I get to go on a diet!”

But it’s just not true. You don’t have to succumb to dietary misery or work out for hours and hours every week to achieve your fat loss goals.

All you need to do is follow seven simple steps:

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Why You Should Abandon Your Initial New Year Resolution (And What to do Instead)

photo credit: Love Your Gut
photo credit: Love Your Gut

The New Year is quickly approaching. And you know what that means — New Year Resolutions!

This is the year to accomplish big things, and it’s definitely going to be the year you reach all of your health and physique goals.

Yep. You’re going to start eating better, dropping body fat, and building a great looking body you’ll absolutely love.

The truth is, many people approach their health and fitness New Year Resolution in a similar way. Let’s take a look at the typical regimen people say they’re going to follow to eat better and get fit:

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WHY You Work Out is Much More Important Than HOW You Work Out

why1

Strength training, and working out in general, should never be used as a form of punishment.

For example, proclaiming to perform an extra, or just a more challenging workout, because you overate or indulged in some Halloween candy is not a good idea. If your workouts are fueled by the punishment mentality, then you really need to change things up. Now.

I quote my good friend, Jen Keck, very often and I’ll do so once again:

“Train because you love your body, not because you hate it.”

It’s a simple phrase, but let’s examine it a bit closer.

How many times have you done a workout because you over indulged at a party, ate more cookies than you initially planned, broke into your kid’s Halloween candy stash, or enjoyed a spontaneous dinner at your favorite restaurant?

An extra, or more grueling workout, was in order because you had to “work off” or “un-do the damage” from what you ate and get back on track with your fat loss plan..

Sound familiar?

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Consistency Trumps Perfection. It’s About Sustainable Habits.

cons2

Consistently applying some simple nutrition guidelines and following a practical strength training program that easily fits into your schedule will produce better results than attempting to follow even the most perfect diet and workout regimen.

And I’m going to prove it in this article.

Consistency trumps perfection.

To prove this point I’m going to share a story about my friend, who I’ll refer to as Amanda.

Amanda has tried numerous popular diets and workout programs over the years. She’d begin them with fierce determination and proclaim, “This time I’m going to be successful.”

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A Case for Staying off the Scale and Not Weighing Yourself

scale2

It’s no secret that I think most people could benefit from staying off the scale. In fact, I had a conversation about this recently.

“Hey, Nia. I was just wondering, how much do you weigh?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t weighed myself in over a year. In fact, the only time I know my scale weight is when I get my yearly physical.”

“Are you serious? Well how do you keep track of things and know if you’re putting on fat?”

“Well, first of all, I don’t care how much I weigh — numbers don’t define me. The number on the scale means nothing to me. What matters is that I like how I look, how I feel, how I perform, that my quality of life is high, and that I’ve established sustainable lifestyle habits.”

It took me a few years to learn that fact, but I’m exceedingly grateful I did, and it’s time for you to as well.

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