This week, we had the pleasure of chatting with Liz Rozman, the founder of the app @Sweatabl. She talked to us about how she started her business, the community she’s building, as well as her self-image and self-care routine.
Janice (JL): Liz, please introduce yourself, tell us about your journey and how you got to where you’re at.
Liz Rozman (LR): Hello! My name is Liz Rozman; I’m from Ottawa and during the day I work as a Junior Civil Engineer for a construction materials company. My business partner & boyfriend, Rob, is a football coach from Montreal who has coached in the CFL and at the university level.
I was transferred to Toronto in 2016 because of my job and I am so thankful for it! At first, the majority of my time outside of work was spent alone because Rob was first in Montreal and then Edmonton for football. However, the fitness and wellness community here motivated me to break out of my apartment gym bubble and explore new types of workouts and studios that I would have never even thought to test out before.
I began working as an energy exchange employee for multiple studios, became a contributor for an online wellness magazine and met so many inspiring people in the community who have become very close friends of mine.
Both of our routines have changed immensely over the past couple of years. Rob is still coaching football; however, when he is here in Toronto during the off-season, we love to spend our spare time exploring the Toronto wellness industry, hosting fitness events throughout the city and working on our business.
JL: Can you tell us about Sweatabl and what was the motivation and inspiration to have made this business?
LR: Our company, Sweatabl, is a free health and fitness app available on The App Store today! Sweatabl helps connect you with the hundreds of free fitness opportunities held throughout the GTA area. You’re able to filter the results of free classes by type of workout, location and date so that you can find exactly what fits your schedule. The second section of Sweatabl is where you can discover free workout downloads created by local personal trainers. These workouts are instantly downloaded onto your phone for you to take to your at-home gym or an open gym. We want to help anyone who is looking to try something new, spice up their workout routine, meet new people or find a fun way to hang out with friends, at no extra cost.
The idea for Sweatabl came about when I was exploring the fitness industry after moving to Toronto alone and noticed that there were so many studios and trainers who were offering community workouts, trials and free events in order to see what they’re all about. I had become quite good at knowing when these workouts were and was constantly sharing them with friends since they were so much fun! Originally, I thought of creating a blog which would highlight these free classes but after speaking with Rob, we decided to run with the idea and create a product that people can access anywhere. After that, we spent over a year developing Sweatabl to be what it is today. Our launch in July 2019 was a huge success and we are so happy to work on bringing community fitness to everyone’s phones on a daily basis.
JL: That’s so great to hear and so smart. I’ve been talking to a lot of folks in our community about working out and how to create the perfect space for a home workout. Do you have any guiding tips and tricks?
LR: Our biggest tip would be that you absolutely do not need to invest hundreds of dollars to create a home gym that you love! Find pieces of equipment like long bands, a 20-30lb kettlebell and small booty bands that can each be used in multiple ways and for many different exercises. Another tip would be to see if that the studios around you are renting out equipment. Some facilities have very cost efficient plans where you pay per month and deliver a few key pieces of equipment to your door.
JL: Can you describe your community to us and what are some of the awesome things you’ve learned about since the launch?
LR: At the beginning of 2020, we started hosting several free Sweatabl Community Workout classes in various studios throughout the city so that we could introduce ourselves and meet our users face to face. These events gave us the chance to really understand our community and see it grow before our eyes.
We’ve learned that our community is fearless! They want to try new things, put themselves out there and live a balanced healthy lifestyle. We will definitely be continuing our events post-quarantine to meet as many people as we can – so be ready!
JL: That’s so great! I would say our community is fearless too and they love trying new things, particularly in the wellness and self-care space. During these strange times, can you tell us about your self-care routine and what you enjoy most in those rituals?
LR: My self-care routine has absolutely flourished during self-isolation! I have realized how taking care of myself physically can have such a positive effect on my mental state. I have been using face masks (Cocokind and Fre Skincare are my holy grails) multiple times per week, hair masks (Coco & Eve) on a weekly basis and have put in work to develop my at-home manicure skills. Completing these little tasks used to be very low on my priority list; however, they’ve made me feel more in control and put together during these uncertain times.
JL: That’s super impressive. I have friends who had to take their gel nails off and that was super traumatic. As humans, our connections between our mind and physical body can vastly differ from person to person. For someone in the fitness industry, your sense of body image and strength must have changed so much on your journey. How have your sense of body and mind connection grown and evolved over the years? What have you learned?
LR: Growing up, my body and mind were as disconnected as they could possibly be. On one hand, I had always played sports, enjoyed physical activity and genuinely wanted to be strong. At the same time, I would look at myself in the mirror and be ashamed of who stood in front of me. For over a decade, I decided that I would do anything it took to look a certain way – that included everything from extreme dieting to laxatives to over training to waist trainers. It took several years (and many setbacks) but I am so happy that I have started to appreciate my body for what it can do. I’ve learned that you cannot hate yourself into a version that you love. Start by genuinely accepting yourself for where you are today, find a fitness routine that you actually enjoy, and the rest will work itself out.
JL: I think every person can relate to wanting to look a certain way. Thank you for sharing that. I love that quote of yours “you cannot hate yourself into a version that you love”. Any other favourite quotes to leave with us?
LR: Try again, fail better.