Women Crushing Wednesday - Liz
Roots: Stamford, CT
Pin Drop: Westbury, NY
New Yorker Status: 11 Years
Occupation: Student and Planet Fitness employee
Most of us have a person who they look up to for inspiration and motivation. In the fitness world, that is usually an IFBB Pro, a CrossFit Games athlete, or even a famous Yogi. For me, I get my inspiration from the people around me who I see day in and day out in the gym giving it everything they have and leaving it all on the floor. Their dedication and drive fuel me more than they probably know. Because I know so many amazing women who do just this, I decided I wanted to do a weekly feature showcasing these bad ass ladies and allow you to learn a little bit more about them.
To kick it off, meet Liz Cazan. I was working out one day at my gym and I had seen Liz around as she actually works the front desk there. She came up to me and complimented me on the weight I was lifting and asked if I ever wanted to work out together. Of course I said yes and was super excited, since I usually workout alone. After getting to know her more and seeing how much she has progressed in the sport, I thought she would be the perfect person for my first #WomenCrushingWednesday
How long have you been lifting for and where do you train? My journey began 10 months ago in my local Planet Fitness. I'll readily admit that I'm still a newbie- it's just that I've finally figured out how all the machines function. Since I've recently begun to branch out, I started training at Bev's Powerhouse Gym in Syosset, NY.
Was there anything in particular that inspired or motivated you to start strength training? What keeps you motivated to stay dedicated to this lifestyle? Everyone's fitness catalyst is different, but my introduction to the lifestyle was based on a quiet dissatisfaction. I was always skinny and occasionally the envy of some classmates, but I didn't feel healthy or strong. Despite what society had determined, I decided to become stronger and healthier. That meant gaining weight and testing my limits every day. I can't even imagine a life absent my daily training sessions anymore and the results aren't merely rewards for the hard work- they're the greatest motivation of all. In my opinion, when the fitness lifestyle is fully embraced, it becomes self-perpetuating and immensely fulfilling.
Obviously gaining muscle is a major benefit of lifting weights, but have you received any other types of benefits that maybe you didn't expect? After a while, I came to understand the superficial benefits of lifting. I didn't anticipate the boost in confidence, though. It's liberating to stop watching the scale and start bettering your condition. It's also liberating to feel competent and strong (I think it's important for us girls to be independent mentally and physically). Basic fitness is a gateway to plenty of other confidence boosting hobbies such as martial arts, sports, and competitions.
Some women tend to stay away from the free weights and machines due to being intimidated by the fact that it is a male dominated part of the gym. Did you ever feel that type of intimidation? What advice would you give women who do feel that way? I've noticed a lot of my friends expressing similar sentiments to me at the gym. Most physically intensive occupations/hobbies are certainly a man's world. In my eyes, that's all the more reason to pursue them. Think about it this way: If you find something deeply fulfilling, no one (including yourself) should hamper your goals. As an added bonus, if your passion falls within the "man's world" you can also take the opportunity to empower other women and shatter some negative stereotypes. A social construct shouldn't stand between anyone and their goals - so the only option is to follow your dreams and ambitions to your fullest potential, wherever they lead. Following other fit girls on social media and making encouraging friends is also a great way to overcome any initial intimidation.
Do you have any short term or long term goals you would like to accomplish in regards to bodybuilding? Well there's the usual numerical goals: benching 225, squatting 3 plates, deadlifting 400. It's a long shot, but with time and dedication, truly anything is attainable. My more long term goals involve being fit enough for a (hopefully) future combat career in the military and living a healthy life. My focus is on being strong enough to tackle any adventure.
What advice would you give a fellow female lifter who is just getting started? My advice for fellow aspiring fitness ladies is to never accept any limitations. Society pulls us one way, but our hearts may pull us in another. It's easy to underestimate girl power when we've been mitigated our whole lives in that aspect. I would just like to remind every girl that she can be a warrior, a scholar, and a pioneer in any discipline imaginable. No dream is too bold; no obstacle is insurmountable. The journey through fitness is a constant teacher- every lift challenges not just your muscles, but your concentration and willpower. The applications of these skills are universal, so lifting will improve every part of life. The weights will never stop teaching you; if you're just like me and have begun your fitness journey, the trick is to always stay open to the lessons the gym can teach.