Check our interview with fitness expert and Redefining Strength creator Cori Lefkowith.
Active in sports from an early age, Lefkowith’s athletic talent earned her a tennis scholarship to Boston University. Following graduation, she began working at her dream internship in a sports information office, but quickly realized that her true calling was to work directly with athletes to help them achieve their fitness goals. Immersing herself in research on diet and exercise, and combining lessons from her own fitness journey, Lefkowith soon created the Redefining Strengthprogram. As a certified personal trainer, her goal is simple: to help clients at skill levels develop a fitness routine that allows them to “work smarter not harder.” She regularly shares tips on this philosophy on her blog.
Redefining Strength has made a name for itself by creating exercises and challenges that are accessible to all individuals, whether they are a seasoned athlete seeking muscle definition or a grandmother needing more energy to keep up with her grandkids. The signature programs includeMaster The Deadlift, The 30 Day Pull-Up Challenge, The Booty Burner Challenge, The 6 Week Macro Shred Diet, 21 Day RStoration, The Arm Burners, and The 30 Day Killer Core.
Tell us a little about you?
I’ve been active all of my life. My mom took me out on the tennis court for the first time at the age of 3 since, as she says, it was more fun than playing Barbies.
Ever since then, exercise and sports have been a huge part of my life with tennis paving my way to college.
I earned a scholarship to play Division I tennis at Boston University. It was there I also fell in love with lifting.
After college, I quickly realized my dream job…well…wasn’t my dream job and started working at the front desk of a gym.
I then dabbled in both kettlebell sport and powerlifting (even becoming the Massachusetts/Rhode Island State Powerlifting Champion in 2011).
When I moved out to California, I knew it was time to start training people the way I wanted, which is why I created Redefining Strength.
I love the way that working out makes you feel. It’s so empowering and I wanted to share that feeling with the world!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Spunky, Loyal, Passionate
What is your background?
I’m a former college athlete who thought she wanted to stay involved in athletics by working in sports information at an athletic conference.
About half a year into my first job in the industry and realized I HATED it. I took the first job I could at a gym, working the front desk, so I could start learning more about the fitness industry.
From there I became a certified personal trainer and began training and teaching classes at the gym. I then worked my way up from customer service representative to sales manager and finally assistant general manager.
I took every opportunity I could to learn about every aspect of the fitness business knowing one day I hoped to start my own!
While working at the gym, I began writing about everything I learned. That blog eventually became the thing that launched Redefining Strength!
How did you get started in the fitness field?
Ryan, my now husband, helped me get my first ever job in the industry, working at the front desk of a corporate gym in Boston.
I was about a month away from the end of my internship right out of college…in what I thought was my dream job.
Ryan and I were out to dinner in Harvard Square when I got about two Long Island Iced Teas in me before I just bust out crying at the table.
I told Ryan I hated my job and I was devastated because it was exactly what I thought I had wanted to do with my life.
He asked me what I was passionate about.
It was then that I realized I wanted to help people feel the empowerment, the strength that sports and exercise provided me.
Ryan connected with an old friend and got me my first job!
What is the #1 thing you like about working in this field?
Helping people achieve more than they thought possible!
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
It sounds odd, but I would say opening my first Redefining Strength space. I basically took everything I had in savings to open it. That risk is really what launched everything and led to the growth of my online community!
I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t done that!
Now tell us about your Redefining Strength program?
I want to help people redefine what strong means to them. It can mean so many different things, I’ve worked to create programs for a variety of different needs and goals.
My workout cards are actual physical cards that allow clients to put together routines based on their needs and goals.
Whether they’re working to prevent injury, looking to lift more, run faster or simply get lean and strong, I provide them with schedules and workouts they can do to get results.
The cards TEACH you about how to train properly. I break down how to tweak moves to meet your needs and explain all of the WHY behind a proper training routine.
Currently I have three decks that I call the Card Pack. They are the Glute Camp, Arm Burners and Cardio Burners.
The Glute Camp will help you strengthen and tone your legs and glutes while preventing lower back, hip and knee pain. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist or just looking to get strong and toned, there is a series in the program to help you reach your goals!
The Arm Burners are…well…the perfect way to get strong, sexy arms you’ll be dying to show off. Whether you want to improve your pull ups or master the push up…or simply want tank top ready arms, there is a schedule for you!
Lastly the Cardio Burners are my newest edition. Improve your conditioning, blast fat, and even build full-body strength with these killer cardio workouts. Even if you have knee pain, I’ll show you how to tweak moves and work around your injuries!
Where we can learn more about it?
I have a special page all about the workout card packs – cardpacks.redefiningstrength.com!
What makes your program different from other programs?
Honestly? Me! Just kidding…but seriously with each of my programs, you get my support and the support of the entire Redefining Strength community!
It’s so much easier to get results when you have a coach and a great group there to support you!
My program is more than just a 30 day or six-week challenge. The program adapts as your goals change and you’ll understand WHY things are working. It’s not enough to do the right moves. We can’t just randomly string together exercises, I want clients to truly understand how to get the results they’ve always dreamed of!
Why did you decide to create this program?
Too often we think that by working harder and spending longer in the gym, we’ll get results.
But results come from training smarter, not just harder. And that’s why I created my card packs!
I wanted clients to have workouts that would meet their changing needs and goals that they could easily take with them anywhere no matter how busy their schedule.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I always get up and walk Kiwi with Ryan. We then have coffee, do some work then workout. After working out, I’ll eat a post workout snack to break my fast.
Then I’ll do more work, play some pool against Ryan (and unfortunately often lose…right now) and get back to work.
I usually eat a late lunch then after I may do some reading or listen to some podcasts in the afternoon to further my education.
We’ll take Kiwi for a walk again in the afternoon, do a bit more work and then have dinner.
After dinner, we’ll often watch some TV shows (I’m a binge watcher) and unwind.
What type of food or supplements do you recommend before and after workouts?
I train fasted, but usually use whey protein after my workouts. I often like adding whey to my cereal or oatmeal with almond milk even as a post workout meal!
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently for staying in top shape?
I wish there was a way to out exercise a bad diet. I’ve tried. There isn’t!
I think just like anyone, there are just days I don’t feel like doing things I know are good for me and eating well is too often the thing that goes for me when I get stressed.
However, I’m a firm believer in practicing what I preach so that always helps me stay on track!
I think it’s remembering WHY we really want to keep doing those positive habits!
What is your favorite healthy food?
My favorite healthy meal is from Bear Flag, a local fish restaurant. It’s a simple plate of blackened grilled salmon, rice and avocado. I add some Sirach and it is legit the best thing ever!
And your favorite cheat food?
Homemade Rice Krispy Treats with vanilla buttercream frosting and Burritos.
Favorite form of cardio?
Lifting weights faster haha I love using weights in my interval workouts right now!
Name one of your strengths?
I’m extremely dedicated, not only to what I do but to the people in my life. I make an effort to respond to every client that needs my help no matter what program they have!
How do you spend your spare time?
Playing pool, ping pong or walking Kiwi…I also enjoy reading new studies on nutrition and exercise…nerdy…yup!
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Oprah Winfrey – because that woman has done it all!
What are your makeup bag staples when traveling?
I don’t have one. The only makeup I ever wear is when I can convince someone else to do it for me!
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
I just created a certification and mastermind for trainers – the Strong Smart Cert. I’m hoping to have grown that further as I love helping other trainers build their businesses and inspire clients around the world!
And after holding Redefining Strength workouts in London, Edinburgh and Dublin this past year, I can’t wait to do a couple in Australia and New Zealand in the next year or so!
What’s next for Cori Lefkowith in 2019?
I’m really excited to grow the Strong Smart Certification and Mastermind. I just launched it earlier this Summer and I can’t wait to continue to connect and learn with other trainers.
We have a great group so far and it’s been wonderful talking about program design, assessments and modifying moves.
I also can’t wait to travel this fall to Louisville and Nashville! It’s my first time as an adult getting to go and…well…Ryan and I love our food adventures so there will be some great treats and drinks to be had!
Do you support any charities?
I’ve worked with Girls Inc in the past and attend any events I can right now I am currently working to create some of my own programs for girls in sports!
Three things you can’t leave home without?
If I’m traveling I always have a lacrosse ball, my booty band and extra contacts. I’m paranoid about losing one of my contacts for some reason so always bring at least one extra pair.
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
A long walk at the Huntington dog beach with Kiwi then a nice iced sea salt coffee while sitting in the sun, chatting with Ryan.
Later, playing some pool, eating some tacos and enjoying a margarita or three as we hang out and relax.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media can be a great tool if you see it as that. It can be the perfect way to find the support and community you need and want!
Where can we follow you?
I’m @RedefiningStrength on Facebook, IG, YouTube and Pinterest (I’m on Twitter too)
Quote: “Act as if!”
Song: Fort Minor – Remember the Name
Movie: The Green Book
Travel Destination: Palm Springs
Food: Ice Cream
Sports Team: St. Louis Cardinals…but mainly because it annoys my father in law.
Photo Credit: Duke Loren