By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Elizabeth Barth is a driving force in women athletics

By CHLOE RAMBERG, staff reporter


A simple bet made between teammates launched Elizabeth Barth into the world of competitive body building.

Barth has completed her bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Central Washington University. To help finance her master’s degree here, she works as the strength and conditioning coach for all of Central’s female athletes.

“I love challenges,” Barth said. “Bodybuilding is harder than a Division I sport, and I love being pushed to new limits daily.”

Izzy (as she likes to be called) is an athlete in a sport not commonly pursued by women.

She has been a body-builder for the last three years, winning three first-place trophies in statewide competitions. She is working toward competing in a national event, which will make her a professional body builder if she wins.

Her career as a body builder began after making a wager with a teammate when Barth was a sophomore on the University of Idaho volleyball team.

Always having a competitive spirit, Barth and a fellow volleyball player made a bet about who could make it on the cover of Oxygen Magazine first.

Although neither Barth nor her teammate have accomplished this goal yet, it was what compelled Barth to begin competing in body building.

“It’s something I got into and just fell in love with,” Barth says. “That’s what makes it worth the pain.”

The pain includes endless hours in the gym, a diet consisting of mainly lean meats and vegetables, and a somewhat-lacking social life.

Because of a contract laid out by Barth’s coach, she is not allowed to share her exact meal and workout routine. Barth hired a body building coach from California who guides her in workouts and meal plans as she prepares for a show.

Barth and her coach have the opportunity to pick which contests she will compete in. She generally chooses ones that are at her skill level, while giving her decent competition.

For now, Barth receives a sparkling tiara and a trophy when she wins competitions.

“You don’t get the big bucks until you turn pro,” Barth said. “It’s more about status for me right now.”

When she’s in the gym, she’s not wearing a pair of sweats and a ratty old t-shirt. She’s in top-of-the-lineLululemon workout gear and pristine white Nikes, looking like she just stepped straight out of a fitness magazine.

Her golden straight ponytail sits on top of her head, hanging almost to the middle of her back. Her makeup looks like it has been professionally done, complementing her copper-colored eyes.

Even through her clothes, her body is sculpted and her muscle tone is obvious. In her hand is a gallon jug of water, with a straw sticking up through the lid.

Barth walks through the doors with a sense of purpose, and all eyes turn to look at her. When she enters the weight room, most of the guys eyeball her, seeming to wonder what she’s doing in there.

She starts her workout by squatting 315 pounds at four sets of six repetitions. The weight she adds on to her squat rack shocks the guys watching, who generally dominate the weight room.

When she’s lifting just as much if not more than them, their eyes quickly return to their own weight sets with at least some level of appreciation for her strength.

But Barth pays no attention. Her focus is solely on her own workout and her goals.

“It takes a slightly obsessive personality to be a body builder,” Barth said. “I’m up and training before the rest of the world, usually five in the morning, and working harder than most can imagine.”

Barth not only found a passion in the weight room at Central, but also the love of her life. After transferring to Central from Idaho in her junior year, a fellow male body builder, Brandon Fromm, caught her eye in the gym. Barth approached him, making the first move, and began asking him about his workout routine.

Two years later, they are engaged to be married.

The couple attributes their successful relationship to their shared values and commitment to a grueling sport.

“I understand the type of discipline this sport takes,” Fromm said. “She’s very dedicated to what she’s trying to accomplish, she’s not just looking for a fleeting good time on the weekend.”

Fromm was immediately attracted to Barth’s willpower and determination to succeed, but also because he thought she was gorgeous.

The pair is commonly seen working out together, playfully competing against each other. Barth’s many hours in the gym make her comfortable laughing and joking around with the men.

As the strength and conditioning coach, her job requires exercise prescription, strength training,conditioning specific to the sport and weight room supervision.

To her athletes she’s known as “Drill SergeantIzzy.” Barth stands tall with her shoulders back, watching her athletes closely. She has an air of intimidation that demands respect and makes her athletes want to push themselves to a level they didn’t know they had.

“She’s tough, she’s really tough,” says fastpitchplayer Jordan Zurfluh. “But she knows what she’s doing and she wants us to succeed.”

She bounces around the weight room in Nicholson Pavilion in her Central gear, pushing them to work even harder.

Even when her athletes aren’t looking, she seems to be in 10 places at once.

“You’re in here to sweat,” Barth yells to her athletes.

And she’s not joking. By the time the athletes leave the weight room, it looks like they’ve just climbed out of a pool.

Barth is looking forward to her future plans. Besides a fairy-tale wedding, she’s working on a master’s degree and graduating in June 2014. Her ideal job would be in California as a Division I women’s strength and conditioning coach.

“I’m constantly in motion,” Barth said. “That’s the way I like it.”



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