Jaclyn Cordeiro

Story by Karen Tinsley
Photography by Lomer Photography

Just minutes into our interview, we knew there was something very special about Jac Cordeiro.

With infectious energy and enthusiasm, she candidly shared her transformational journey from newly single mom with a spirit-draining day job to entrepreneurial dynamo and world-famous fitness model (appearing most recently on the January 2024 cover of Strong Fitness magazine).

The first steps of that journey began “as the youngest and only girl growing up with two older brothers. I wanted to play soccer, football and every other sport they played; I was always very athletic. Hanging around with boys 24/7, Job One was learning how to stand up for myself,” Jac recalls. “I also learned how to ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.” 

After graduating from St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic secondary school in LaSalle, Jac continued boxing, playing travel soccer and practicing Taekwondo. 

Then, she received her Bachelor of Science with Honours in Nursing and Master’s degree in Nutrition from the University of Windsor. Her career began in a downtown Windsor hospital Emergency Room. 

“Going from nursing student to providing immediate critical care was quite a leap; I loved the adrenaline rush,” Jac remembers. Then, the opportunity arose to study Oncology and End-of-Life Care, where “my focus was helping terminally ill cancer patients feel peaceful and comfortable along their journey.”

To cope with life’s everyday stresses and strains, Jac joined her local gym. She wasn’t expecting to fall in love with fitness, but she fell hard. 

“My idol, Monica Brant (a former bodybuilding competitor, model and fitness entrepreneur) inspired me to think about competing.” 

In the meantime, Jac had married and learned she was expecting her first child. Already well aware of the herculean efforts required to achieve peak body condition to compete, Jac promised she’d pull out all the stops.   

Five months to the day after her daughter Bella was born, Jac won 2nd place in the Figure category of the local Canadian Physique Alliance competition. 

Just a couple of months later, Jac was expecting again. And once again, she pulled out all the stops to compete 5 months after daughter Savanah’s birth (where she placed 4th in the Bikini category).

With a burning desire to win an overall title, Jac competed three more times; in 2017, she won Bikini Fitness, which led to the world of fitness modeling.

Then the pandemic hit. 

“I was now a single mom on lockdown, homeschooling my two daughters online. My own mom was diagnosed with cancer. Being away from the daily grind of my job made me realize how much I was feeling like my soul was in need of nurturing.”

Pondering how to pursue her purpose in new ways, Jac considered combining her professional healthcare training and expertise with her passion for physical fitness. 

And JacFit was born. 

The pivot from salaried health care worker to entrepreneur was a formidable challenge, but it appears that Jac’s a natural. What began as a simple fitness coaching company has flourished into a sought-after, full-service enterprise providing whole body, mind, and soul transformations.

“As a single mom, it was pretty scary giving up my pension and my safety net, but that made me even more determined to crush it!”

For Jac personally, it also involves a passion for giving back.

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, JacFit’s inaugural “Women Supporting Women” summit debuted on March 7th at the historic Windsor Club on Riverside Drive: a powerful evening of dynamic guest speakers, delectable cuisine, exciting prizes, networking opportunities, music and more. The event sold out in three days.

More than $20,000 was raised to support Build a Dream, a non-profit program aiming to encourage and empower female students to explore careers where women are under-represented, such as skilled trades and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professions, emergency response and entrepreneurship. 

Jac personally recruited an exciting lineup of guest speakers, whom she introduced and interviewed in a live talk show format. 

Every aspect of Women Supporting Women was designed to be true to every aspect of her brand, right down to the sumptuous plant-based menu. Jac shares, “I wasn’t raised on a plant-based diet but that’s my choice today and I do promote the clinically proven benefits with my clients. I wanted people to walk away from our event saying, “Oh, that was new; that was different; that was fun!”

The highlight of the summit for Jac?

“I woke up the day before the event with this strong feeling that ‘something’ was missing. Next thing you know, I’m thinking about Robin Eve Cloutier, who helped me get in competition-worthy shape. At the time I reached out to Robin, I didn’t possess the know-how to get my athletic body and strength back. I confided that I didn’t want to consult with anyone but the best. Even though I’d just given birth, Robin not only offered to help me; she offered her help without asking for anything in return.”

At that moment, Jac decided that Robin would be the inaugural recipient of the JacFit Queen of the Year Award.

“Nobody but Melissa, my right hand, knew. After closing my keynote speech, I looked at Robin, thanked her for everything and presented the Queen of the Year Award. It was such a heartfelt surprise! There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!”     

Plans to grow Women Supporting Women into an annual event are already underway. 

So, what’s next for this entrepreneurial dynamo? 

“My new skincare brand is in the works; I’ll be appearing on the Morning Show in Canada. I also feel strongly about stepping back onto the competitive fitness stage.” 

Jac concludes by saying, “I’m committed to being the best, most authentic version of myself. It’s just a matter of being true to yourself, being vulnerable and just letting go. That’s what being authentic is all about.” 

Add comment