Liz Craven on the CWW stage2Photo by: Tracy Lee PhotographyLiz Craven is a “pocket rocket” who made her debut on the Canberra Wise Women (CWW) stage back in February 2016. The theme for the evening was 'Believe' and Liz had everybody in the audience believing in themselves and their untapped physical strength.

Liz is a Powerlifter and is currently ranked as Australia’s Number One Powerlifter, across all weight classes and genders. Liz also has the honour of being the first Australian to score a 'Wilks' of more than 500. This formula (named for its creator, Robert Wilks) measures the ratio between body size and strength. Liz's high score tells us her pocket size (52kg) is capable of lifting astronomical weight!

Her Belconnen-based business, called The Strength Syndicate (TSS), teaches others how to be strong and healthy. The TSS website describes the business as being supported by "international level coaches and athletes, with the best powerlifting environment and equipment in Canberra." Liz has spent ten years coaching and her business has grown to see her employ other coaches. Her and her team pride themselves on "quality and performance”.

In December 2016, Liz won the Oceania powerlifting competition. Here Liz broke an impressive SIX World Records in squat, deadlift and overall totals. At the Oceania’s Liz squatted 153.5Kg, benched 85Kg and deadlifted 180Kg, all at a bodyweight of 51.7Kg!

This strong and savvy businesswoman has simple advice for others wanting to build their strength and lifting performance. "Focus on good form at first and build up slowly. If you keep improving, avoid injury and work hard, chances are that one day you might just turn around and be the strongest ‘motherfreaker’ in the room!"


What's happened in your business/career since you were on the CWW stage?

So many amazing things have happened! Many of my goals have been achieved! In June, I went to Texas to compete in the world championships and won an overall medal. In October, I moved my coaching business out of the shed at home, and in to commercial premises in Weetangera. With two other coaches, Clair Angel and Schae Zarew, I’ve opened The Strength Syndicate. The scope to teach many more people the benefits of being strong, has vastly increased! Yyaaaaasss!!! I’ve had more opportunities to run and take part in seminars that share my expertise. I love teaching people how to get strong. It’s my favourite thing!


Liz Craven competes at WorldsPhoto by: 9for9 MediaHow do you keep yourself motivated?

Whenever I reach a goal there is always another waiting. To me, motivation is a myth. The idea of motivation doesn't last. What happens is I have a vision or idea of what I'm going to do or be, then I do everything I can to make that a reality. Many days I am completely unmotivated and would rather hang with my family or friends and eat hot chips and drink beer, but I know that won't get me my goal. So, I get up and go to the gym. I also love lifting and challenging myself so that helps. But, really, motivation is just building a habit of turning up whether you want to or not. Something good I heard recently is the people who are at the top of their game, are not just the people that have worked hard, but rather the people who have sacrificed the most.


How did you get started?

I actually just started to try to get strong after having my daughter. My idea was I was going to train about 4 clients out of my garage, train myself and just cruise. Turns out, that's not what makes me happy.


How do you develop and maintain your connections and network?

I'm very social so that comes naturally. I also run most of the powerlifting stuff in Canberra so that keeps me in contact with many people. Fellow coach, Schae, is young and even more social, so she keeps us in contact with many different groups.


How do you keep yourself organised and on track?

Not so well. I found a business partner in Clair who is great at that. I'm good at coming up with things and Clair is awesome at making sure they happen. That's important - always pick business partners who are good at the things you're not!


About Kristen Holzapfel
Kristen Holzapfel is a 39 year old Canberran who left her social work career in 2014 to begin her own pet-sitting business - Canberra's Friendly Petsitter. In February 2016, she released her first book, "Selfless: a social worker's own experience of trauma and recovery." Kristen was a Canberra Wise Woman in April 2016 and is now one of their feature writers.