At some point in your fitness journey, maybe you've felt like Maaxx West did in 2014. After training consistently for years, Maaxx felt ready to put her hard work to the test by trying a competition—or two. Inspired by Dana Linn Bailey's example, she decided to compete in two contests a month apart: one figure, one bikini. She finished a respectable fourth place in the latter, leaving her in the best shape of her life and feeling hopeful about her potential. She began eyeing a third competition.
Maybe you've felt like she did, too, when a bad break turned those plans upside down. While at a private event during the Olympia Expo, a video team from another brand stopped by with hover boards and insisted Maaxx try one. But nobody told her to step off backward. She stepped forward, fell, and broke her left wrist.
As if a broken wrist wasn't bad enough, her medical care was botched. Things got so bad that Maaxx lost the use of her left hand and arm for eight months. She flew back to Sweden for corrective surgery, which required that the wrist be rebroken and reset.
"The doctors told me I would never do a push-up again, I would never do this, that, again," she recalls.
Maaxx wasn't ready to accept that answer.
Her Defining Moment
In life's most difficult moments, perseverance often matters most. In fitness, you've worked months, maybe years, with discipline and dedication to reach a place where you're confident enough to stand onstage in front of judges and audiences. And suddenly, it feels like all your progress vanishes. That's when you learn what you're made of.
Despite her dire prognosis, Maaxx kept right on training, limiting herself to lower body only until her wrist healed sufficiently for upper-body training.
"I never felt like quitting was an option," says Maaxx. "That's never an option for me with anything in life."
Part of what you're made of is where you come from. Her injury occurred in Las Vegas, but Maaxx grew up in Sweden. Her father played sports, and she started playing tennis at age 6. Tennis became an abiding passion of hers, as did dance. When she was 15, she was introduced to lifting weights through her then-boyfriend. The gym became her primary physical outlet at 18, when she abruptly quit playing tennis after having been immersed in the sport for 12 years.
In 2012, Maaxx moved from Sweden to New York City, where she worked for a large supplement company. That was followed by another change of direction: south, to Miami, where she began working with Mobi and Laila Khawaja of supplement maker Olympus Labs. The three of them partnered to rechristen the company Olympus Lyfestyle. Along with being a co-founder, Maaxx holds the title of chief content officer.
Living the Fitness Lyfestyle
Even though her wrist healed and she remained dedicated to fitness, Maaxx hasn't competed again after those first two contests. Instead, she remained focused on what got her through the injury: walking the walk and continuing to rack up one quality training session after another for weeks, months, and years on end.
"I love the lifestyle in general," she says. "My whole day in some way revolves around fitness."
No matter what, she always lifts weights, and she always does meal prep. And the results speak for themselves.
However, recently she has found the stage calling to her again. Maaxx, who is now 34, planned to bring things full circle by competing in the WBFF, which combines bodybuilding and fitness with fashion and beauty. But like the rest of the world, she caught another bad break with the arrival of a pandemic. Undeterred, she competed in their first virtual event and placed 3rd. She is now prepping for the next virtual competition in June.
"'Virtual' means I record my full videos with all my posing and take photos and submit," she says. "Then the WBFF shows it all on their website on a set date for anyone to watch."
The winners of the June event earn pro cards and the chance to compete in the Bahamas Worlds in August.
Why compete again at this point in her career? Maaxx says a big part of her decision is letting other people see the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.
"I'm all about feeling well and being happy," she says, adding that you don't have to be as dedicated as she is to enjoy the myriad benefits of fitness. "Everybody in the world should, at some point, try to live a little bit like this, if only to understand how good it feels to be fit. Once you experience that feeling and this lifestyle, you just want to continue doing it."