She has always been physically active, but in high school she noticed a correlation between the foods she ate and her physical fitness performance. She made a conscious effort to focus on her health by reading food labels and avoiding processed foods.
“Like many Americans, I want to live a healthy life void of disease and illness,” she said. “I eat well, exercise daily, drink a lot of water and plain green tea, indulge in a weekly massage and get eight hours of sleep.”
Through her role as wellness director for the YMCA of York and York County, she is passionate about improving the health of those living in the greater York community.
How did you become interested in fitness?
I honestly cannot remember a time in my life when I was not interested in fitness. I began training in Shotokan karate under my father’s direction in the mid ’70s when women didn’t really study martial arts. I was the only female who consistently trained in our dojo, therefore I needed to have as much energy as possible to keep up with the men. I studied biology at Dickinson College, and my interest in nutrition and physical activity increased.
How have your fitness routines changed over the years?
Over the last 29 years, my focus has changed. I continued martial arts training and teaching group exercise through my college years. My father suggested that strength training would make me stronger and better able to compete with the men who were always my opponents during martial arts tournaments … Over the last 10 years, my fitness routine includes a balance of strength, cardio and flexibility training and a
nutrient-rich diet void of processed foods. I have never felt better!
What are your personal fitness goals and how do you achieve them?
I have two types of personal fitness goals: disease/injury prevention and sport performance. I am competitive by nature, so training for a fitness challenge is almost always on my radar. I incorporate specificity training into my routine to improve my fitness level. For example, if I want to row faster, I increase my leg/glute strength to pull more water with each stroke. If I want stronger punches, I increase my tricep strength with body weight training and I practice hitting a heavy bag with more speed.
How do you include your family in fitness activities?
The default activity for our family is always something active. When our children were young, our activities always included physical activity: playing on a playground, riding bikes on the rail trail, swimming, hiking and just playing outside. I was a “mean mom” and implemented the no TV rule Monday through Thursday and limited screen time activities on the weekends. Our family vacations and weekend activities always included some physical challenge determined by the kids.
In your role with the YMCA, how do you promote health and fitness?
I oversee the Wellness Department in several YMCA branches, and supervise approximately 100 wellness professionals that include personal trainers, group exercise instructors and wellness coaches. My role as the chair of both the Eat Play Breathe York and Bring On Play initiatives gives me the incredible opportunity to promote healthy living skills to those who live, work, play and learn in York.
What advice do you have for starting a fitness program and sticking with it?
To begin a routine, plan it! Add exercise into your day by registering for a fitness class or scheduling a walk date with a friend, and then add that designated time to your calendar. Enlist the support of others to help keep you motivated and committed. Find a workout buddy so that you don’t have to go it alone. Join a group exercise class to develop relationships with other participants and the instructor. Hire a personal trainer to keep you on the track of your fitness goals.
About Cori Strathmeyer
Lives in: West Manchester Township
Family: Married to Brian, 26 years; four children: Brian, 23; Paige, 21; Brad, 20; Morgan, 17
Hobbies: Travel and outdoor physical activity challenges (rowing, hiking, biking)
Occupation: Wellness Director, YMCA Of York and York County
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