NORMA MAXWELL | OWNER + COACH
Norma is a CrossFit L2 Trainer, Functional Nutrition + Wellness Coach, RYT 200 Yoga Instructor, and the author and creator of Smashing Midlife™. Her passion is coaching functional movement (CrossFit) for health and longevity. She loves to educate and mentor all of her clients through holistic lifestyle change and help them shift from lifestyle habits that are hijacking their health, well-being, and happiness to those that build them up and help them live from their strong, healthy core.
More About Norma
What is your athletic background?
Virtually none until I was in my 40's. In 2010 I discovered yoga and became an instructor in 2013. When I was 48, I stumbled into a CrossFit gym looking for a yoga class--at the time, I had not heard of CrossFit. I didn't know what I was getting myself into but never looked back and at 55, I am the strongest, healthiest, and happiest I have ever been due in very large part to the CrossFit modality of fitness. Within one year, it literally transformed my health.
Why do you coach CrossFit?
When I started CrossFit, I was on cholesterol medication, 25 lbs overweight, and told by my doctor that "it was not a matter of "if" I would have a heart attack, but "when" because both my mother and grandmother had multiple heart attacks in their 50's. I was told I would be on cholesterol medication the rest of my life because it was "hereditary" and that the remaining symptoms of my autoimmune (fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, and depression) were to be expected--especially "at my age."
However, within one year of consistently attending CrossFit classes, I was taken off all medications except one for my thyroid, dropped all the excess weight, and reversed the vast majority of my autoimmune symptoms. When I had my physical at the end of the year, my doctor said she couldn't believe my results. I had gone from an imminent risk for a heart attack to a less than 1% chance--and the only thing I had changed was the addition of CrossFit into my life.
I became a coach shortly after my 1 year physical because I understood the impact this modality of fitness could have on anyone over the age of 40 from my own experience. I realized the story we've been sold to expect early decline is straight garbage, and if I wanted to help others find their health and wellness in a sea of misinformation, I would need to do something about it. I immediately pursued my CrossFit L1 training and founded a 40+ CrossFit class at the gym I attended.
I created a 40+ class because I wanted to make sure CrossFit was something that would not intimidate someone who was a bit older and perhaps a bit more deconditioned than what was typically found in a CrossFit gym back then. I set out to make sure people would have welcome access to a modality of fitness that would help them reduce decline and begin to pursue optimal wellbeing. Soon my class was filled with people from the age of 40-70--and they continue to thrive! Coaching this population has become one of my life's greatest joys. It is a privilege I am grateful for every day.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about CrossFit?
The biggest objection I hear from people is "I am too out of shape to come to the gym!" It is just like saying, "I am not healthy enough to go to the doctor." When you walk through our doors, it doesn't matter to us if you have never lifted a dumbbell or done a single push-up in your life! We will meet you exactly where you are physically and emotionally and help you get stronger, healthier, and happier one step at a time. Before you know it, you'll look back and not believe how far you've come!
What inspires you to train and improve daily?
The comprehensive nature of CrossFit has quite literally has saved my life. Every day I breathe in health, vitality, and wellness, I know I owe much of that to the physical and mental fitness my training provides. I am always surrounded by people who are miles in front of me in terms of their strength and abilities, as well as those who are just beginning their fitness journey. I am equally inspired by both because it takes a warrior mindset to pursue health in this world--from wherever you find yourself today. It doesn't matter to me if you are maintaining and growing your strength and fitness consistently already, or just starting out--either way, you're a warrior.
Warriors are my people--and yes, they absolutely inspire me every single day!