I Must Break You – Nia Shanks

For those new to the series, make sure to check out last weeks entry where I nearly experienced the true death.

In each release, I’ll be performing a new workout designed by some of the world’s best trainers and strength coaches in an attempt to…well, break me. This is just a way to add some variety and fun to my sessions (and give you something to laugh/cringe at) while giving all of you Sexified readers out there some ideas to inject into your own workouts every now and then.

Today’s entry is brought to you by the one of a kind Nia Shanks.

Don’t let the smirk, amazing posture and incredibly cool t-shirt fool you, because somewhere out there in the world Nia is warming up with your max.  As a personal trainer, writer (check her out here) and author, Nia is committed to empowering women both mentally and physically through strength training, but she was kind enough to take time off from her noble cause to crush me.

Here’s the workout:

Squat 225lbs for as many reps as possible.

Rest 10 minutes

Deadlift 315 for as many reps as possible.

When Nia sent this to me I figured it wouldn’t be all that bad, but the smiley face at the end of her message should have tipped me off.  I actually liked this challenge…for the first 10 reps, and everything after that was just stupid mean.

The first thing that kicked in was my lack of conditioning, which I expected, then on the 11th rep my quads started to realize that they’d exceeded their 10 rep norm and start yelling at me to stop.  By rep 20 they were just rolling on the ground in gasoline soaked underwear on fire, and by 25 they were just dead.

I see why she said rest 10 minutes, because the quad pump was incredible, and as an added bonus my glutes decided to speak up and express their disdain for Nia about 5 minutes into the rest period, twitching like a psycho killer. Lovely.

The deadlifts sucked right from the first rep. My quads still hadn’t truly recovered from the squats, and each time I locked out my butt felt like it was being tazed. Eventually my grip started to give and I was finishing some reps without my glutes and started to feel some low back pain, so I called it before my form got too ugly.

The only good  thing about this challenge is that it was over in less than 2 minutes per exercise, but as any gift that keeps on giving I cursed Nia Shanks by shaking my fist angrily at the sky every time I tried to stand up for a few days afterwards.

I won’t feel truly Sexified until I get 30 reps on everything, so until then…

Status: Broken

Next week we’ll have a challenge from the illustrious Marianne Kane of MyoMytv and possibly a guest victim to suffer alongside me!

I Must Break You – Nadine Brown

Welcome to the first thrilling & action (or lack thereof) packed edition of “I Must Break You”

In each release, I’ll be performing a new workout designed by some of the world’s best trainers and strength coaches in an attempt to…well, break me. This is just a way to add some variety and fun to my sessions (and give you something to laugh/cringe at) while giving all of you Sexified readers out there some ideas to inject into your own workouts every now and then.

Today’s edition is brought to you by Nadine “The Queen of Mean” Brown

Nadine is a personal trainer out of Australia’s Matrix Boxing Gym and is the current Queensland professional champion in the lightweight division, so it goes without saying that she’s a beast and I clearly wasn’t in my right mind when accepting this challenge from her. Here is the workout:

Complete as many rounds of the following as you can in 30 minutes

20 Burpees
20 Bodyweight Squats
20 Pushups
40 Mountain Climbers (20 per foot)
20 Dumbbell Uppercuts

So, despite having the conditioning of a pregnant one legged elephant, I had several things going against me in this workout:

1 – I thought it would be a great idea to add this to the end of my workout, which consisted of heavy front squats, overhead presses, back squats and deadlifts. I ended up dropping the dumbbell uppercuts after the first round due to excessive shoulder fatigue.

2 – I’ve lived in the 1-8 rep range exclusively for the past few years, so doing anything over 10 reps causes my muscles to crouch in the corner in the fetal position wondering what they did to deserve such torture.

Combine all 3 of those factors and you have the Trifecta of Suck, which is what I did here! Despite sweating profusely and breathing like an awkward teenage Rog during the painting scene in Titanic, I managed to get 3 rounds in 25 minutes (had to get ready for a client) – not even close to good, but this sets the baseline for when I repeat this workout later on down the road.

Take not of the overall length of the video – that means I cut out close to 10 minutes of grunting and writhing on the ground. See how much I care about y’all?

Muscular endurance? Check!

Conditioning? Check!

Mental toughness? Check!

This workout had it all, and it broke me like a bad habit. Well done, Nadine – there is a small corner of my mind that will wince in pain whenever I hear the words burp, pee, or any combination of the two.

Status: BROKEN

The Super Uber Mega Ultra Important Missing Ingredient EVERYONE Needs More Of

Could you eat (insert a delicious food that makes your stomach go “WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”) everyday?

Could you eat (insert a food that burns your buttcheeks and you wish that you could wipe it from the face of this Earth) everyday?

I don’t know many things, but I do know that I’d fight a bear and a tiger at the same time for a Cinnabon and could eat one everyday. Ask me to do the same with arugula or beets and eventually I’d end up trying to jump off a cliff. I imagine the scenario might play out similarly for you, minus the whole bear and cliff thing.

We do what’s fun and what we enjoy.

We avoid what sucks.  As flawed as that can be at times, that’s how we roll.

But what if we applied this same mindset to our training and diet?

What if we did we did more of what we liked & loved and less of what we didn’t?

A Case Study In Fun

Kimberly Mills is one of my favorite Facebook friends. She’ll randomly update me with her progress and life happenings, but the reason why I dig her so much is because I can tell that she is living one hell of a life. In her messages she rarely uses periods, only exclamation points ranging from 1-18 depending on how excited she is.

Kim sharing her amazing story in the July/August issue of Experience Life magazine

She works with a trainer, but each set and rep of her training program isn’t locked down and set in stone; she has a ton of fun both during and outside of her official sessions. In fact, and I affectionately call her a special kind of sick because of this, she joined the 10,000 burpee challenge where she does 100 burpees a day for 100 days – definitely not my cup of juice, but if fun were money she’d be making it rain 24/7/365, and that’s more important than anything else.To say that she is loving fitness would be the understatement of the century.

 A few weeks ago my friends Andrew Griffin, JC Deen and I got together and trained in a completely different way than we usually do. There was air humping. There were faux English accents, and we swung hammers  in a very manly fashion – I can’t think of a time when I’ve had more fun during a workout (I managed to hit some PRs because of all the awesome energy as well.

Since then I’ve completely revamped the way that I train, doing only exercises that I love to death or I think are cool and want to learn, because…

If you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong!

No matter if you want to be ripped like old pictures after a  bad breakup or turn yourself into The Incredible Hulk, it’s gonna take awhile to get there, so why not enjoy as much of the process as possible?

Fun is a prerequisite to success.

The road is long and there will be many times when you get frustrated, pissed off and want to ragequit. Try to bypass the fun step and the odds of you giving up before making it to where you want to be are pretty high.

I just put on my Miss Cleo turban, so I can now accurately predict your future – the less fun you have, the less permanent the results. For all my gamer nerds out there, don’t grind to get to the end game without stopping to actually enjoy all the quests and people you meet along the way.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you don’t find some way to milk as much fun & enjoyment as you can from the delicious teat of life then you’re missing the whole point.

Some people enjoy the thrill of constantly chasing after a new strength PR. Some enjoy learning a new movement and after months of small successes finally getting it. Some enjoy getting their swole on all day every day. Then there are those who aren’t having fun unless they’re raiding Death’s refrigerator and eating all his sammiches by the end of their workout.

If you like yoga, do yoga.

If you like jogging (and can do it without hurting yourself), go do it every now and then without worrying about muscle loss or strength regression – worrying will do more harm then the running ever could.

I don’t care what you do as long as you love it. Just make sure that what you’re doing is leading you closer to your goals – it’s hard to have fun making no progress.

There is ALWAYS room for good ‘ol fashioned tomfoolery – one workout or meal will never make or break your assault upon the gates of Castle Awesome, so stop treating it like it will.

Need some ideas? Grab your spoon, because here’s an entire bowl full of ideas for you.

Workout Funjections

Homie Fun

Get a training partner or two and just let whatever madness happens happen. Everything is more fun with homies.

Procrastinator Fun

Perform 2-3 sets of 1-2 exercises at the end of your workout.


A1) Leg Press – 2 x 20
A2) Dumbbell Hammer Curls with optional bicep kiss – 2 x 10

“Oh hi there” Fun

Choose an exercise that you love and intersperse it throughout your workout, staying 4-5 reps below failure.


A1) Deadlifts – 2 x 5
A2) Tricep Pushdowns – 2 x 8
B1) Dumbbell Rows – 3 x 10
B2) Tricep Pushdowns – 3 x 8
C1) Goblet Squats – 3 x 8
C2) Tricep Pushdowns – 3 x 8

Pump Fun

Get your main strength movement (bench press, overhead press, squat, deadlift, chin up, etc) out of the way and then pump your muscles to oblivion and beyond for the rest of the workout.


A) Barbell Back Squat – 3 x 5
B1)  Barbell Hip Thrust – 2 x 30
B2) Chin Ups – 2 x AMAP (as many as possible with good form)
C1) Bodyweight Back Extensions – 2 x AMAP
C2) Dumbell Squeeze Press – 2 x 20
D1) Barbell Curl – 1 x 15
D2) Seated Row – 1 x 15

“I love everything!” Fun

Pick 4-8 exercises that you love the hell out of and do only those for your workout, varying the sets and reps for each.

“Zomgwtf!” Fun

Fill this workout with exercises that have haunted your soul since the beginning of time, or ones that you rarely do and want to get better at.


A1) Single Leg Deadlift – 3 x 8 each leg
A2) Pullups – 3 x 8
B1) Dumbbell Walking Lunges – 3 x 10 each leg
B2) Dumbbell Military Press – 3 x 10
C1) Dragon Flags – 3 x 6
C2) Heavy Dumbbell Holds – 4 x 15 seconds

Minimalist Fun

Pick 1-2 exercises and perform 5 sets of each, varying the rep ranges.

A1) Barbell back squat to box – 2 x 3
A2) Barbell bench press – 2 x 5
B1) Barbell back squat to box – 2 x 8
B2) Barbell bench press – 2 x 10
C1) Barbell back squat to box – 1 x 20
C2) Barbell bench press – 1 x 15

Survival Fun

Set a time limit (5-30 minutes is a good range) and see how many rounds of an exercise circuit you can perform.


A1) Pushups – 10
A2) Burpees – 10
A3Dumbbell Row – 5 each arm
A4) Single Leg Hip Thrust – 5 each leg
A5) Jumping Jacks – 15


Smash stuff over and over again until you feel like stopping.

Food Funjections

There can be only one!

Eat one nice, hearty meal for the day – that’s it (don’t go out of your way to try and eat as many calories as possible, though).

Treat yo self!

 Have a food that you absolutely love…everyday.

All day

Eat a food that you love…with every meal