Taylor Norris is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of LIT Method, the company behind the proprietary Low Impact Training workout designed to build bodies, not break them. Taylor and her husband, Justin Norris, are the visionary creators of the patent pending LIT Strength Machine. With more than a decade of experience in the health and wellness space, Taylor is among a small group of female fitness founders touting a diverse resume of technical, artistic, and sports medicine expertise.
With a background in product design and branding from Parsons School of Design, Taylor has always been energized by the idea of using design and innovation to help people feel and function at their very best. Together with Justin’s work in sports medicine, business administration, and raising capital growth, they have introduced a scalable and sustainable Low Impact Training model changing the way people approach fitness.
After struggling with a series of recurring injuries of their own, the Norrises noticed a pattern of frustration and a fear of re-injury among patients and athletes in traditional rehabilitation settings. Known for their promise of ‘no running, no jumping, no weights,’ the husband and wife duo used rowing and resistance bands to design an alternative training philosophy for delivering results, not injuries. With their success in the private training sector and clinical settings, Justin and Taylor trademarked the method and opened a flagship studio in West Hollywood in 2016.
In 2018, the husband and wife duo began developing the patent-pending LIT Strength Machine to bring the signature LIT in-studio class experience home and empower anyone from recreational rowers, to aspiring or professional athletes, to anyone struggling with an injury. Launched officially in May 2020, the all-in-one rower, reformer, and strength trainer offers 500+ low impact exercises including rowing, barre, strength training, physical therapy, and Pilates.
LIT’s method and machine caught the eye of some notable investors in April 2021. Jay-Z, Jay Brown, Larry Marcus, and their Marcy Venture Partners firm, as well as five-time MLB All-Star Adrian Gonzalez, invested in Taylor’s longstanding vision for changing the way people approach fitness.
Featured in Self Magazine, Forbes, InStyle, Women’s Health, GQ, People, and more, Taylor is committed to ensuring ‘inclusive innovation’ remains at the heart of LIT’s mission. As the holder of multiple trademarks and patents, she and her husband have inspired a method and a movement designed to help people at any age, physical disadvantage, disability, or circumstance, build and sustain their long-term health and well-being.
For Taylor, the true legacy of her work and of LIT is in accessibility — in making personal training, physical therapy, and injury prevention more accessible and effective for all.
Where did the idea for LIT Method come from?
My husband, who is also my Co-Founder and Co-CEO, had a life threatening injury with his arm when he was a teenager. He was an all-star athlete in high school and this was an incredibly devastating circumstance for his future. While he was in physical therapy, he really noticed how often the plan for being physical after injury is rooted so much in what “you can’t do.” One of the few things he could do without worrying about re-injury was to use resistance band training.
After we met a decade ago, we started experimenting with what kinds of low impact exercise training programs we could design for people with similar challenges or who were really starting to fear re-entering physical activity.
So much of our Low Impact Training (LIT) Method came from iterating combinations of personal training, physical therapy, and injury prevention. We coupled rowing with resistance bands and our community just really started taking off. We went all in on this idea of “How can we teach people to build their bodies, not break them?” And that’s what it became — a method, a machine, and a movement for doing that.
My background is in product design and personal training. Justin’s background is in personal training and physical therapy. We really figured out a way to complement each other and create this comprehensive program that, more than anything, prioritizes longevity and feeling good over looking good.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
We are early risers. We start with an espresso or two and we have a good system going over here. On some days, when we are teaching on LIT On-Demand, before doing that, we’ll be answering emails, communicating with our development team in another time zone, and trying to put out any fires that may have started overnight. By 8:30AM, we’re in the studio teaching at our LIT flagship studio. That’s an in-person class that streams everywhere for our digital memberships. So by 9:30AM, we’re in tech mode again. LIT is a wellness and tech company. None of our products need to be plugged in. In fact, we’ve created this product ecosystem to make it as simple and streamlined for people to strengthen their bodies as possible. So a lot of my mornings are spent discussing customer service needs, improving the app, iterating on our next launch with our UX team. The beautiful part of using the LIT Strength Machine is that you can put any device on the tablet holder or you can use the machine on its own without a class as well. It’s designed to have this minimal footprint and to evolve with you. So if you get a new iPhone or iPad, you don’t have to upgrade the machine.
But the other part of running this business is that we’re raising money and managing a full team. We have investor pitches. We have the studio operations team, our LIT certified instructors, and then the direct to consumer portion as well. We launched the LIT Strength Machine in 2020 — after two years of prototyping and improving it based on real in-person studio members and their feedback. Incredibly, because we had been doing that since 2018, we were pretty prepared when the pandemic hit. We had already had this home model in the works and these days, when we’re doing our pitches, meeting with prospective clients and customers, and explaining the benefits of the brand and the machine, it’s all about breaking through the noise in the fitness industry.
What we’ve delivered is a first of its kind all-in-one rower, reformer, and strength trainer. But so much of our day to day is making sure people know that this option is out there for them. They don’t have to have an elaborate home gym. This one piece of equipment is for any fitness level, for pilates enthusiasts, for rowers, and for people who want to have little to no impact on their joints.
So all this is to say our days are never the same! Part of them is spent on fine tuning messaging and public relations. Part of it is about teaching. Part of it is about team management. And part of it is that critical product development that is really my wheelhouse and where I get the most passionate about what we’re doing.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I love this question. This is where we excel. Justin is all about function. Truly. Because he’s been injured, because he’s trained countless people with a variety of needs and challenges, he just gets it. He knows to think five steps ahead about what a person might be afraid of, and about what small tweak we could make to put their mind at ease and give them greater confidence. And because I went to Parsons, I’m all about form. It needs to be sleek, minimalist, sophisticated, and effective. We will never release anything that isn’t on brand or that doesn’t meet both of our standards for form and function. So we start with those filters.
And then honestly, we have fun. Like I said, we were first using resistance bands and a standard water rower. We were taking these bands and tying them to things and trying to figure out what we could do to replace three things that typically cause injury: running, jumping, and weights. So in our house, we were just iterating. Honing in on what we thought would make each version of our own bands and then eventually our own rower with a resistance band training system built in that much better.
We’re lucky that we’re married because there is that shorthand there. We share an office and we share a life. So if we have those lightbulb moments that pop up, usually the other one is there and we can just go back and forth with what to do. It’s pretty phenomenal to have that built-in brainstorming partner just there beside you at all times. And I think the reason we can bring our product and programming ideas to life so effectively is two fold: One. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we work with that knowledge and without judgment of the other. Two. We have a fantastic team. Our instructors, our ops, everyone really believes in what we’re all here to do together.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I don’t know that it’s officially a trend, but I would say that since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve really seen people take greater hold of how they want to feel. My husband always says this is about emotional fitness — and that’s a sentiment that has come from our experience of feeling very fulfilled by being able to help people start their day feeling stronger and more confident. I think that the pandemic has put a spotlight on things we were overlooking about our mental health and we have all taken a closer look at community, at what taking care of our bodies can do for our minds, and it’s a pretty incredible silver lining to this ongoing crisis. So I’m actually hoping that’s not a trend — and that COVID was a catalyst but not the end point for that.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Oh, I think I know when someone else is better suited to do something — which is to say I know when to ask for advice or when it’s something I can and should be moving forward with on my own. It’s possible that someone might think it is more of a perspective than a habit, but I would say that this isn’t something I was always good at. It actually is a habit I’ve created and sustained — and it’s something I think serves both the company and myself very well when it comes to efficiency and productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Understand your supply chain. Act of God events can happen more often than you think — and they can be compounded by other crises. I don’t know how many people in our position could have fully predicted the ongoing obstacles that would come with the intersection of a pandemic and climate change, but these are things that affect everyone. So on a granular level, it’s that supply chain note. And on a broader level, it’s making sure you understand that you cannot run any company — let alone a wellness and tech company — in a vacuum, right? You have to be aware of what’s happening in the world, how it is impacting your customers in and beyond the walls of your business, and you have to operate accordingly. Which is to say more simply: Everything is connected — and the sooner you realize that in business, the further you’ll go.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I don’t know why people don’t like uni. What’s the deal? Uni is good. Period. Full stop.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I think I do a lot of listening and reading. I’m always very curious about how people in our shoes have navigated running a company and growing a brand. We were at a Goldman Sachs conference and I was very impressed with the Co-Founders of FIGS. Learning how other people problem solve is incredibly valuable to understanding that there is more than one path to success. I highly recommend being curious — and listening more than you speak.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Easy. People. The answer is in people.
First, picking the right team. Like any company that grows, we’ve had changes, but there are people who we’ve had with us for years and who really understand what the long term vision of LIT is. And now those people are training the next generation of our team. So it’s very validating — it’s very fulfilling to know that a beloved instructor who is out there every day improving people’s lives when they are getting LIT is the same person who is imparting that confidence, that optimism, and that education to another person who will grow this community.
This is a business, for sure. But it is a community. So when we talk about growing it, I always think of my husband’s personal story. When he was in that physical therapy clinic, he watched a man — an electrician — who had been injured on the job, electrocuted actually. Despite being told everything he could not do with his hand, the guy worked toward and ultimately found that mobility in his fingers again. At a certain point, Justin was scheduling his appointments around when that guy was coming in because he felt so motivated by this person who was getting stronger against all odds. He was coming in for PT, but he was coming in for that community. And I think we’ve always kept that in the back of our minds. Even if you’re online — it feels like this tremendous sense of personal growth we can offer people, but it’s in the midst of emotional and physical growth of the community those people are a part of building as well.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In our very first studio, the night before we opened, the whole place flooded. At the time it was pretty devastating. Obviously there was a lot of manual labor to repair the damage and remove the moisture — and it was incredibly humbling. We overcame it by telling ourselves that adversity was going to be a prerequisite for a lot of this. We never saw ourselves as only a studio and not a product — so to have a setback before we were even in phase one of our brick and mortar was rough. But it was a reminder that none of this is symmetrical or linear — and that’s fine. So I don’t know that it’s about overcoming it, so much as planning for problems or even anticipating that kind of adversity going forward.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I mean — we had some good sushi recently. So yeah, I got that uni that I know to be truly delicious.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google Drive and Slack are pretty remarkable in terms of the cohesiveness they offer a team.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Blue Ocean Strategy. Everyone should understand the inherent value in creating new demand — especially when you’re helping people with their physical and emotional well-being.
What is your favorite quote?
Oh, I have a bunch. Honestly, this is too broad of a question because different quotes are relevant to different needs. But in general, I think I’ve always loved that quote from our former President. Obama. “It’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.” For me, that’s what it’s all about.
- The best strategy is picking the right people — and knowing that growing a business is, at its core, about people. Yes, you’re growing a business and a brand — but first and foremost, you’re growing a community.
- Be aware of what’s happening in the world, how it is impacting your customers in and beyond the walls of your business, and operate accordingly. More simply: Everything is connected — and the sooner you realize that in business, the further you’ll go.
- Be curious about other founders and listen more than you speak. You’ll quickly realize there are a variety of perspectives out there, not to mention paths to success.
- Success is not symmetrical or linear — and that’s fine. Planning for problems and anticipating adversity will help you accept and navigate the challenges better.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.