Health and fitness guru Cora Kasperski opened Laguna Fitness in the seaside town of Laguna Beach 15 years ago, and has never looked back. Now, she’s moving the business into a brand-new space right down the road, complete with a new class for your “boom-boom.”
What first drew you to fitness—have you always been passionate about health and fitness?
I was born in the Philippines, and while health was always important in my family, fitness wasn’t a part of our culture. My first husband was a Marine and he took me to the gym and taught me the basics of weight training. I wouldn’t be here without him or my friend, Yoli, who was the first girl I saw with muscles. I wanted to be like her.
When did training become a career path; what ultimately compelled you to pursue fitness professionally?
I was doing other things, but always had the idea of being a trainer in the back of my mind. I was living in Laguna Beach when a gym full of equipment became available. I did what it took to make that happen, and that was my start.
Talk about Laguna Fitness. Why Laguna Beach?
Laguna Fitness was my dream come true, and Laguna Beach is the most beautiful place to live in the world. I feel blessed to be doing what I am doing in my very own gym, here in Laguna Beach, surrounded by the water and my friends.
What all does Laguna Fitness offer?
We offer personalized training of all sorts, with a special focus on weight or resistance training, cardiovascular fitness and diet management. You have to have all three to get the results you want. It takes time and discipline, but people get results at Laguna Fitness. I guess that’s why I am still here after 15 years.
How has Laguna Fitness evolved during its 15 years in business?
As a business, we have expanded and gotten bigger, with more clients and services. But I think the key is what hasn’t changed. We help people get results through personalized, one-on-one focused training. Sure we have fun here, but there is nothing more fun than looking in the mirror and liking what you see.
Tell us about the new location.
We are already in our new location at 1999 South Coast Highway, at the corner of South Coast Highway and Diamond. If you drive by, you can’t miss us. There is a huge photo of me in the window. Former body-building champion Shawn Ray has even signed up to train with me at the new Laguna Fitness. He is a former champion of the 1991 IFBB Arnold Classic, a top-tier event. Importantly, he placed in the top five at the Mr. Olympia competition for 12 consecutive years, from 1990 to 2001, two of those being first runner-up finishes. In signing up, he said: ‘You [Cora] are just what I need to get me off the couch!’ He has been retired for several years and is now ready to find his way back to fitness.
Has your intention with the new location changed?
In what ways will it differ from Laguna Fitness? We offer a couple of new classes during the weekend. Our most popular is Bootay&Bubbles, a super-focused class on your boom-boom. We work very hard, but it is fun, and at the end of class, everybody has a couple sips of champagne. Sometimes, we then go grab a healthy lunch too. It is our own version of Sunday Funday!
You’ve worked with a lot of clients in your personal training career. What separates people who get the best results from those who struggle to attain the same success?
Discipline and consistency. A lot of people come to me with the best intentions, but those that do the work and learn how to say, ‘no,’ to certain habits in food and alcohol can really progress quickly. If you don’t follow those simple rules, you will not see the results you want.
Describe your approach in working with clients. What are your most effective tools in helping clients reach their goals?
I love and adore my clients. I give them all of me, and if they give me back the effort I ask for, we usually become great friends. My best clients are here two to three times a week, and they put in other time when they are out there living their lives. You need to do something every day to keep yourself fit.
Best motivational tips?
Work out someplace where it is easy to laugh and have fun while you give it your all. We have a lot of fun here. We work hard, yes. But we laugh hard, too.
Take us through a sample diet/fitness regimen.
They are all different, because I customize them to each client. But basically, I ask you to eat five times a day and rotate your workout so that you are lifting and doing cardio five or six times a week. You can have one day of rest.
How big does mentality factor into fitness—both in your work and in your life?
People think I am a bit of a discipline freak, but it is the only way to succeed. Let me put it to you this way: I love Monday, because that means we are back at it. I hate having days off. Weekends screw everything up!
What is the one fitness question that you’re consistently asked?
For women: ‘How do I get a rounder, boom boom?’ For men: ‘How do I get better abs?’
In watching your clients work to achieve better overall health, what have they taught you?
I learn from my clients every day. The most important lesson is that everybody wants to be at their best, and anything that keeps you from your best needs to go. Never lose sight of the things that matter most.
What is the biggest reward of your work? How do you approach challenges?
My biggest reward is seeing people reach their goal. It is so exciting for me and for them. We are a team, and I win every time they look in the mirror and smile. It also feels good when clients come back to me after taking time off. And when noted fitness celebrities ask for my help. In addition to Shawn Ray, Terry Hairston, a former Mr. America, is also training at Laguna Fitness. That is exciting for me and it makes me feel good being around people who are doing their best to get fitter, one work out at a time.
1999 South Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651 ~ 949.939.2672 | LagFitness.com