Product Review: "Lift Like a Girl" Program by Nia Shanks
Lift Like a Girl is a refreshing program for women who want to get stronger. I would highly recommend it for women who are looking for a new take on strength training – minus pink 3 lb. dumbbells – and also trainers who specialize in women’s fitness. Not only does it provide excellent programming advice and information, but it also covers other aspects of training like nutrition and mental training.
The thing that struck me first about Nia’s program is that you get a lot of bang for your buck. After you purchase the program, you receive access to over 2.5 hours of online presentations, with visual slides as well as audio accompaniment. You can also download the presentations to your computer. The Lift Like a Girl program only costs $29.99, which is really how much the strength training program section alone is worth. When you add in the “Eat Like a Girl” and “Think Like a Girl” segments, which are each almost an hour in length, you’re really getting a lot for your money. Here’s a quick rundown of what you will find in the Lift Like a Girl package:
- Introduction: Lies out the basic principles of the LLAG program.
- “Lift Like a Girl” segment: This segment is further divided into two parts, each about 50 minutes in length. The information presented here is comprehensive and covers everything you need to know to get started with heavier lifting - including bodyweight training, how to program your workouts, exercise substitutions, the role of isolation exercises, and more.
- “Eat Like a Girl” segment: In this segment, which is about 30 minutes long, you'll find Nia's advice on smart eating without obsessive calorie counting and watching the scale.
- “Think Like a Girl” segment: I love that Nia includes this part, which she describes as 'mental strength training.' This segment is a little over 20 minutes long.
These are the three words I would use to describe Nia’s program:
- Simple: One thing I love about Nia’s program is its simplicity. You won't receive hundreds of pages of workouts with different combinations of sets and reps, but you will receive solid advice on the fundamentals that you can tailor to your own needs.
- Balanced: Nia’s approach is also refreshingly balanced. For example, although she does say that isolation exercises are not the best way to get lean and strong, she doesn’t simply dismiss them, either. Instead, Nia’s approach is “if you’re gonna do isolation exercises, you better earn ‘em.” Rather than treating isolation exercises like a staple of the gym diet or dismissing them entirely, Nia adds them on as a rewarding end to a well-rounded program based in more fundamental movements. The compound movements act as the foundation for the specific training. Nia recommends spending the last ten minutes of a solid compound workout doing isolation training to increase definition.
- Flexible: Nia’s program is also flexible. For exercise selection, for example, she recommends that you choose any variety of the pull & press, squat, and deadlift movements, and cater those to your specific abilities and limitations. If you don’t have the mobility or equipment to do a barbell back squat, for example, Nia provides advice for substitutions. I found this segment helpful for my at-home workouts, since we don’t have an extensive amount of equipment at home.
These three qualities apply as much to the “Eat Like a Girl” and “Think Like a Girl” segments as they do the actual lifting portion.
There’s one word I left out: effective. An approach like Nia’s can’t help but be effective. Not only is it well thought-out, but it’s also manageable and even, I dare say, enjoyable. By making the workouts simple and smart, Nia makes it easier to be consistent with your training.
A final word: Nia stresses that you don’t have to kill yourself at every workout to be successful and see significant gains in strength. After years of high-intensity workouts, it was hard for me to change my mindset about this one. Since I’ve become a mom and don’t always have time for an hour-long killer workout, I have seen more strength gains and a better overall sense of wellbeing by implementing this approach. That’s not to say there’s no place for a crusher here and there, but it’s nice to hear someone else confirm that those short but heavy workouts are actually effective, even if they don’t make you feel like you need to throw up.
I highly recommend Nia’s program to women who are looking for an alternative to what is, unfortunately, often found in commercial gyms these days. Also, if you’re a male trainer who works with female clients, this program is a great way to get a woman’s perspective on strength training. Not to say men don’t know anything about training women, but it might help to hear it from a girl.
"Lift Like a Girl" is available for $29.99 at NiaShanks.com.