Royer, founder of killHERcore, is dedicated to a life of fitness and wellness. Photo: Team Wingate

“When you look good, you feel good,” says Cynthia Royer, 35, founder of killHERcore. A Brooklyn native, Royer is brown-skinned, rocks a short haircut and has the physique that might just motivate you to run to the nearest gym. Royer comes across as a free-spirited, confident Black woman who’s comfortable in her skin and dedicated to wellness and a healthy way of living. It’s hard to imagine the trauma and depression that she went through to reach this point.

A few days before Father’s Day in 2014, tragedy struck in one of the worst ways imaginable. Royer’s father killed her grandmother and uncle before taking his own life. For a while, Royer was tight-lipped about the details of her experience. “I was ashamed of my story,” she says. “Just coming from a Black community, hearing that [my] father committed suicide and took the life of [my] family — it was really hard. At the time, that type of stuff was taboo to talk about.” Thankfully, Royer had an outlet that could at least help mitigate some of the myriad emotions she was dealing with. “The only thing that helped me fight my depression, helped me get back on my feet and stay sane, was fitness,” says Royer. 

She didn’t turn to fitness as a way to “get her mind off of things,” as many people do. She didn’t want to distance herself from the memories of her father. Instead, Royer sought to embark on a journey that honored their time spent together. “We were always working out together, always at every park and just outside spending a lot of quality time,” she says. “It was what he provided for me bonding-wise. [Fitness] saved my life.”

In the years following her father’s passing, people from the neighborhood would naturally gravitate toward her, always seeing her outside and working out. They took notice of what she was doing and saw her consistent progress. Soon enough, people were asking her if they could tag along for workouts. But there was one lady in particular who Royer remembers asking for help getting abs. “I came up with a routine and said, I’m gonna kill her core,” says Royer. “Kill her core” was a catchy saying for an ab workout, but these three words turned into something much more significant.

In 2018, after a lot of push from her community, Royer founded killHERcore, a Brooklyn-based fitness business and brand. KillHERcore provides a handful of fitness-related services: group training, personal training, nutrition programs and general health-related consultations. For all that Royer aims to assist clients with from a physical standpoint, she’s equally (if not more) invested in the mental component. “With killHERcore, I’ve done a lot of mental health events,” she says. “I teach people the importance of physical and mental health; it’s not just one or the other.” She’s put together workshops, done public speaking through her brand, and provided mentorship for people seeking guidance.

Royer (second from left) is pictured at a backpack giveaway with the local fire department. Photo: killHERcore

Britni Lonesome, a customer-turned-friend of Royer, was introduced to killHERcore through a mutual friend. At the time, Lonesome was dealing with bouts of depression of her own when her friend suggested she join them for a killHERcore workout. Lonesome describes working out with Royer as a “really dope experience.” Royer’s commitment to her customers isn’t just limited to when they’re working out together. “Even when I was missing some gym time because I was depressed, [Royer] was still checking in on me outside of the gym,” says Lonesome. “Royer is really a great example to everyone around her and our community, for sure.” 

Additionally, Royer sells killHERcore fitness and wellness products: apparel, sea moss gel, homemade juices and smoothies, vegan soap and more.

Royer has experienced quite a bit of success in the past five years since launching killHERcore. And while she’s currently running a one-woman show, she speaks highly of the support she receives from her community. Many people and businesses approach her with partnership inquiries. This is why she’s always so eager to give back. “I’m a humanitarian, so I value humans and I value life as a whole,” she says. “So, it’s not just me. It’s anybody who wants to be a part of this who has an idea; let’s push it, let’s do it!”

Royer is excited at the thought of continuing to expand her brand. But her excitement about growing is aimed right back to her community. “If I can continue to go around in different neighborhoods to uplift them… that’s just what I’m here to do,” she says. 

Royer has her hand in many endeavors, from backpack and clothing giveaways to partnering with a juice bar and more. Her passion for doing good work and relentless drive to keep going no matter what starts in her gut, her core. She says all of her interests and business pursuits fall under the umbrella of killHERcore.

“Your core is your foundation, your core is your structure, your core is your stability,” she says. “If that’s not in place, just like with my story and testimony, then you really don’t have anything. I had to create a killer core to be here today.”

If you want to shop killHERcore’s products, visit here. To stay in the know with any updates, follow their Instagram here.

Curtis Rowser III is a Brooklyn-based writer and digital media creator. He recently earned a master’s degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University and is currently completing his master’s...

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