She earned her nickname, KMax, while playing team sports in high school. The name is fitting; it matches her upbeat energy and conjures an image of a yoga-pants-clad superhero. “I feel like it’s my personality, a lot more of who I am than Karen,” Maxwell says. “I’m literally the youngest Karen I know.”
Maxwell grew up in Oregon and Washington state, then moved to Los Angeles to play Division One softball at Biola University. She stayed in L.A. after college, working as a stage and screen actress before discovering her love of indoor cycling. Soon she was working full-time as an indoor cycling instructor, a position that combined her love of fitness with her background in theatrical performance.
“I got into fitness and started teaching indoor cycling spin classes, and I just found that all of my experience with performance translated so well to teaching fitness," she remembers. "Especially with indoor cycling, because you have a stage, you have lights, you have a microphone, and you’re like, ‘I’m the DJ — I get to put together music and tell whatever story I want to tell today.’”
While in L.A., Maxwell met her future husband, a screenwriter who was waiting tables on the side. Four and a half years ago, he was offered a management position at Matsuhisa, the restaurant chain owned by world-famous sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa, in Denver.
Moving wasn't easy for Maxwell — “I would just say 'West Coast for life' for me,” she confesses — but it came with unanticipated career opportunities when she was asked by CycleBar to teach at its fourth studio in Denver.
“It was almost like an opportunity to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, because when I moved here, CycleBar was just opening up," Maxwell explains. "And I came out to help it open up and to teach classes. There was no boutique fitness in Denver like that four years ago, but when you look around Denver now, every street corner has every modality of fitness possible.”
“I was teaching so many classes, and traveling, and then I became a mom. And that’s what pushed me toward CBD. I’m 41, so I became a mom a little bit later. You quickly realize that you need a certain amount of energy to maintain being a fitness instructor, working full-time for corporate and also being a mom,” she says.
At first she used CBD to help her sleep, “but then I was like, wait a second, is there anything that’s like CBD for fitness people — that’s more performance-oriented, you know, for athletes, for fitness instructors, for anyone who is on the go? Where is that CBD?”
Maxwell partnered with Denver-based America’s Finest CBD to formulate Kinisi Performance, a line of products for athletes or anyone on the move. "It's engineered for the active lifestyle and anyone who is active," she says. "I'd say it's great for athletes, it's great for people who work out, it's great for parents." Kinisi Performance offers three fitness-oriented CBD products: a pre-workout water additive, a muscle-relief recovery salve, and a daily stress-relief tincture.
Kinisi Performance is not the only CBD line geared toward fitness or athletic performance, but unlike most brands, which focus on post-workout relief, Kinisi also offers a pre-workout product: MOVE. “In the performance world, CBD is usually used for recovery," Maxwell points out. "Like a rub or a balm or patches, or whatever it might be for recovery. We have those items, too — our prep and our balm — but what’s not on the market is this pre-workout, nano-emulsified water additive.”
She jokes: “All my instructors call it 'unicorn milk.' It’s like this white, milky substance that you drop in your water. They all call it unicorn milk because they say it’s magical.”
Nano-emulsified MOVE is absorbed into the bloodstream quickly and helps users feel energized and focused. Maxwell recommends taking the additive before a high-intensity cardio workout like cycling or running.
Unlike some CBD sports drinks, MOVE contains no caffeine or sugar. "I just don’t think you need all the extra additives," Maxwell says, "and it can just be pure CBD, something that’s healthy for you and good for your body.”
Ultimately, Maxwell hopes that Kinisi Performance and her own story will inspire girls — including her daughter — to take care of themselves.
“Yeah, I used to work in film and television in L.A., and I have stories for days — but at the end of the day, I’m a fitness instructor who is a mom and a wife," she concludes. "I just want to really take care of my body and make sure I’m setting a good example of how to take care of yourself. Not just physically, but mentally. And I believe that the Kinisi line and products go hand in hand and support that lifestyle."
Kinisi Performance products are available at most CycleBar studios and online.