Jaclyn Cordeiro on Striving for Progress, Not Perfection

by Carla Henderson

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Our newest Oxygen Ambassador, Jaclyn Cordeiro, is a force to be reckoned with. She grew up with two older brothers and quickly learned the term “survival of the fittest” in her household. Cordeiro also played every sport she could: soccer, Taekwondo, boxing and more.

She attended the University of Windsor, earning a bachelor’s degree in science and honors in nursing.

“[When] I ventured into the world of weight lifting, I immediately fell in love,” Cordeiro says. “This newfound love helped me through the stress of nursing school and kept me focused on my life goals.”

Competitive Mindset

Cordeiro competed in the Canadian Physique Alliance figure category — here’s the kicker — just five months after giving birth to her first child. Shortly after that competition, Cordeiro found out she was pregnant with her second.

“I figured there was no better way to get my ‘pre-baby’ body back,” she says. “I decided to compete again and continued on to compete three more times in the natural division as a bikini fitness CPA plant-based athlete.”

Cordeiro’s most recent competition was the Natural Toronto Pro Qualifier December 2021, and she placed first in both open and masters category, qualifying to compete at a pro level.

Pass the Plants

Cordeiro takes her nutrition very seriously. After giving birth to her second child in 2012, she developed a few food intolerances, particularly meat and dairy products.

“I made mental notes after eating meals and quickly came to the conclusion most were from animal-based foods,” she says. “I experienced excessive GI bloating, skin irritation and an overall feeling of chronic inflammation.”

After lots of research (one book she really liked was How Not to Die by Michael Greger, MD) she gradually made the transition to a plant-based diet by eliminating red meat and diary. Last to go was white meat.

“The benefits of how I felt were astounding; more energy, able to maintain my ideal weight, quicker recover time from training, resolved digestive issues and bloating and the list goes on,” Cordeiro says. “I never looked back, it is the best decision I have made for myself to date.”

A Message From Mom

“Being immersed in the fitness industry as a transformation specialist coach, fitness model,  fitness writer and influencer can be a very demanding position to be in,” Cordeiro says. “but not as demanding as being single mother to two young girls.”

It’s a balancing act. Cordeiro includes her daughters in all her fitness competitions, invites them to train with her and encourages their own physical interests.

“I include them because I want them to see the hard work and dedication it takes to achieve goals,” she says. “Exposing my daughters to the entire process allows them to understand and respect what I do for a lifestyle.”

Like life, there’s also a balance when it comes to body positivity and fitness.

“We have conversations about all the aspects that go into fitness. We talk about the difference between being skinny and being strong and fit,” Cordeiro says. “I make it a priority to educate them about all the positive and negative aspects of fitness and encourage them to their insight.”

She teaches her daughters to eat functional whole foods that support our body’s needs, to exercise daily and support others — especially women. She has a chalk wall in her home that includes all of her family’s  favorite mantras, like “Progress not perfection” and “Better than yesterday” or “MIND, BODY SOUL.”

JACLYN CORDEIRO (Photo: West Studio)

JACFIT

JACFIT was created at a time when the first pandemic lockdown hit. Cordeiro wasn’t able to meet with clients in person, so she created an online/virtual approach to coaching.

“My six-week transformation challenge program includes; a flexible nutrition plan with a focus on plant-based/whole foods and a training plan that can be done in the comfort of their home environments,” Cordeiro explains. “My focus is to break down barriers and gain the trust of my client during the six weeks, specifically during the 15-minute virtual check-ins, to achieve results that clients never thought were attainable.”

QUICK QA

Favorite post-workout snack: Tofu, sweet potatoes and roasted chickpeas with lots of hot sauce!

Favorite pump-up song: Da Da Ding (feat. Gizzle) GENER8ION

Favorite mantra: Progress not perfection

Favorite binge-worthy TV show: Emily in Paris. 

Cardio or lifting? Lifting, all day everyday.

What’s one thing ALWAYS in your gym bag? AirPods and DripFit belt.