By KJ Philp, February 2016 Issue.
She’s a self-proclaimed “rule breaker,” a law school graduate and the president and head trainer at FitPro, LLC.
Meet Tia Norris, the author of “Talking Bodies,” Echo’s newly renamed health and fitness column. (Read Tia’s first column, “Three Things Your New Year’s Resolution is Missing,” here.)
Norris relocated from Ohio to Tucson for law school in 2009. She launched FitPro in 2012 and, after graduation, she moved to Phoenix in search of a community where her fitness business could thrive.
As a result, she’s been training out of Tangible Tanning & Fitness in Phoenix for two years, writing health and fitness advice, which she refers to as “self-meditation,” since launching her business in 2012.
Shortly after making all our New Year’s resolutions, Echo caught up with Norris, to find out more about her training style and her new column.
Echo: How did you make the switch from law school to personal training?
Norris: There’s an Aristotle and Legally Blonde quote that says, “the law is reason free from passion,” and I came to realize that I live my life based on my passions. I have way too many things that figuratively set me on fire to live my life without them. So, I decided to follow my passions into the world of fitness, and I started personal training in my second year of law school.
Echo: What is it about fitness/training that you are so passionate about?
Norris: Empowerment. Fitness is power. Muscles and exercises can be transmuted into the sword and shield you need for life. I love to pass on what fitness has given me to others. There are few things more satisfying for me, than to help my clients find their own power.
Echo: Describe the importance of fitness/training in your life.
Norris: It’s everything. It is me, to my core. Fitness is not about six pack abs or rippling biceps. Those things are nice by-products of fitness, but those things do not define fitness. Fitness is confidence, perseverance, discipline, dedication and raw, unbridled grit. Fitness has saved me from countless dark moments in my life and during difficult times, my fitness becomes a meditation for strength and courage. I keep my fitness strong and it keeps me strong.
Training is my form of artistic expression. The body is the greatest canvas in the world, to me. You can chisel, shape, sculpt and create any image that you see fit. It takes effort, dedication and persistence … to achieve a masterpiece but anyone is capable of tapping into this process.
Echo: Describe your style or approach to training/fitness.
Norris: I have high expectations for all of my clients. After all, it is my job to draw out more effort than the client could exert on their own. I do not expect perfection, but I demand effort, progress and consistent dedication from anyone that I train. I tend to be more strict than many trainers, but that is exactly why I have the reputation that I do – my clients succeed.
Echo: You’ve been writing health and fitness tips and advice for four years now – what prompted that?
Norris: A lot of the things that I’ve written for FitPro are actually more of a self-meditation. I think many of us have similar struggles … everyone deals with fear, self-doubt, laziness, isolation, lack of control and other common, but difficult, experiences. When I write something, it’s more of a self-soothing measure that [I publish] … with the sincere hope that people find common ground materials useful. It’s kind of like publishing my own inner dialogue between my “trainer self” and my “normal self.”
Echo: If you could debunk one personal trainer-related myth, what would it be and why?
Norris: There are no “magic” workout plans, or “quick fix” supplements that are going to transform you. You transform yourself. All of the sales gimmicks, supplement marketing and anything that makes a splash is probably false. That’s the beauty of it: Only those who keep showing up and keep working, day in and day out, are those who achieve true fitness.
Echo: What’s your favorite cheat day meal?
Norris: City. F*cking. Hall. STEAK.
Echo: What is the significance of your column’s title, “Talking Bodies”?
Norris: It fits in so many ways. Literally, all that I do centers on the body and how it looks, performs and operates. Figuratively, I like that it’s risqué.
Echo: What do you hope to bring to our readers through this column?
Norris: Real knowledge of what actually works in fitness – covering diet, exercise, supplementation and other related lifestyle factors. So, definitely lots of factual, hard data. But at the same time, I am a big believer in the abstract part of fitness, which includes persistence, grit, pushing through obstacles and, of course, positive thinking. That’s a summary of my training style: cold hard facts blended with intangible empowerment.
Echo: If you could give our wonderfully diverse audience one single piece of advice for 2016, what would it be?
Norris: Dream big! Anything is possible. Both the hero and villain in your life is yourself. You will either succeed or fail by your own hands. Believe that you can be great and you are on your way.