Liz Brock, 43, is a mom of three and seven years cancer-free. This October, she’s participating in her first-ever bikini competition at the 2021 Nashville Night of Champions in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Ever since she was a little girl, Liz has loved to be the center of attention. Getting to strut across a competition stage in front of a table of judges wearing nothing but five-inch heels and a bikini isn’t entirely out of her comfort zone.
The journey itself has been far from easy, however. Most days, Liz says training can feel like a full-time job. But it’s nothing her body can’t handle given what she’s already faced in the past.
Fighting for Her “Warrior Princess”
When Liz located a small lump underneath her breast in June 2013, she knew it was time to get checked. She has an extensive family history of breast cancer, and sure enough, the biopsy came back positive. The doctors at the Memphis West Cancer Center diagnosed Liz with stage zero breast cancer. A few days later, she and her husband found out they were pregnant with their second child.
Liz was told that treatment would involve terminating the pregnancy first, but that wasn’t an option for her. Instead, a team of doctors joined heads to figure out the safest way for her to carry to term while killing all potential cancer cells in the process.
“We waited until I was 16 weeks pregnant…when all the organs had formed,” she recalls. “We did a lumpectomy, and then a couple of months later, I began chemotherapy. I had four rounds of chemo and lost all my hair. It was crazy. I was walking around… this big, bald pregnant woman. [I] got a lot of weird looks.”
When April 2014 rolled around, Sammie Kate Brock came into the world healthier than ever. “We have nicknamed her our little warrior princess,” Liz says. “We say that everything I went through during that time, she went through it, too.”
“This is already me winning. I am 43 years old, [a] cancer survivor, mom of 3, and I have gotten my body to a place where I can confidently step on the stage in a little bikini. And I definitely consider that a win.”
Two months after her daughter’s birth, doctors performed a double mastectomy on Liz with immediate reconstruction. And she has been in the clear ever since.
“I was never worried,” she says. “Up to this point, I have had an unshakeable faith, because that is how strongly I believe in God’s plan for my life.”
Gearing Up for Competition
When Liz signed up for the bikini competition back in May, she had no idea what she would be getting herself into. The last five months have consisted of cardio workouts twice a day, weight lifting five days a week, and measuring her macros down to the gram.
To help her stay on track, Liz hired Cindy Caudy, a certified personal trainer, and co-founder of Next Level Training in Memphis. “It’s amazing the changes that I’ve seen take place,” Liz says. “It’s been so rewarding and so much fun to see these muscles that I knew I always had, but they were just hiding under some lovin’.”
In accordance with the rules of the National Physique Committee, judges will be critiquing bikini athletes on muscularity, condition, symmetry and balance, and presentation.
“You can win or lose a competition with your posing,” Liz adds. That’s why on any given afternoon, you’ll likely find her at home in her ballerina socks and five-inch heels, striking poses in front of the mirror every chance she gets.
Giving It Her All
It all comes down to 15 seconds — that’s how long competitors have to move through their entire posing routine. Liz is banking on her confidence and love for the spotlight to make her a solid contender for the top five.
But regardless of the outcome, she’s at peace knowing how hard she’s worked. “I feel super healthy. I feel fantastic in my own skin…and that really needs to be enough.”
Liz says training for this bikini competition has been harder than going through the cancer in some ways. But she’s enjoyed almost every step of it. As for her strength, she hands the credit over to her husband, Jason.
Without his continued love and support, Liz believes the journey would have been impossible
By Colleen May
Photo by Tindall Stephens