Tough Girl Podcast

The Tough Girl Podcast is all about inspiring and motivating YOU! I will be interviewing inspirational women from around the world, who’ve faced and overcome difficult challenges and situations, they will share their story, their knowledge and provide advice and essential tips for you to overcome your own personal challenges. Please check out the Tough Girl Challenges website - and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
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Now displaying: April, 2019
Apr 30, 2019

Born and raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sara is a passionate climber who spends her weekends and holidays exploring the mountains of her homeland mapping out new boulder fields and establishing first ascents. With the help of her husband, Sara has assisted in establishing almost 100 new boulder problems in the UAE and has outlined 200 more boulders ready for developing.  Sara is currently working with her husband on creating a UAE bouldering guidebook.

In an era when outdoor sports are diversifying and becoming more inclusive, Sara wants to provide inspiration for those, like herself, who have had little representation in the past, and to highlight to Arab women that they need to play an active role in how their country's outdoor sports scene develops. 

When she is not practicing law or exploring the mountains, Sara spends her time empowering young Arab women to pursue a career in law, and has recently been invited to speak on TEDx about this topic further.     

Show notes

  • Who is Sara
  • How the past 2 years have changed her life
  • What life was like growing up in Dubai
  • The emphasis on fitness specifically horse riding
  • What happens when you get older
  • Why outdoor sport aren’t encouraged
  • Why it all changed for her 4 years ago
  • Studying Law in the UK
  • The bad weather in the UK!
  • Loving the discovery of climbs
  • Wanting to create a bouldering guide book for the UAE
  • Why she decided to join the climbing club
  • What she found most challenging at the start
  • Dealing with her fear of flights
  • After graduating and moving back to Dubai and trying to pursue climbing again
  • The challenges of climbing 
  • Being a role model for other women
  • Why aren’t there more Arab women climbing ?
  • How do women get into the climbing scene in Dubai
  • The mountain project 
  • The best spots to climb in the UAE
  • Overcoming the impossible
  • Her role models in climbing
  • What’s next for Sara
  • Night climbing in Dubai
  • Building her website at the moment
  • Final words of advice 
  • Encourage other women especially in the climbing space
Apr 25, 2019

In 2018, Laura rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic ocean, unsupported, in a team of four other women. The challenge took 43 days to complete and when the crossed the finish line in Antigua they were the fastest female team in 2018.

“A shopaholic, beauty salon owner - turned minimalist in training endurance athlete" 

Laura was part of the tough girl - 7 women - 7 challenges in 2017 and we followed her row around Great Britain, a rowing journey of 1,800 miles in a mixed team of four, which took 56 days to complete. We interviewed Laura 6 times throughout 2017 and Laura shared the whole journey with us, from having the idea, to turning this dream into a reality, the ups and the downs, the challenges faced and what she learnt along the way, she demonstrated resilience, determination, focus and a strong belief in herself and showed everyone what goes into making your dreams a reality.

During this podcast episode, Laura shares more about what it was like to fulfil her ambition of rowing across the Atlantic ocean, she shares more about the training, the team, fundraising and the realities of being out on the water in such an extreme and challenging environment.

Show notes

  • How Laura changed her life at 30
  • Trying to buy happiness and not finding it 
  • Getting rid of stuff and filling her life with experiences
  • Becoming a runner and doing ultra marathons
  • Where the idea for rowing across the Atlantic came from
  • Where is the Atlantic again?!
  • Seeing the opportunity to row around GB
  • Putting a video out on the internet asking to join a rowing team to row the Atlantic
  • How 30 mins and making one decision changed her future 
  • Why she kept on going after this dream and how being stubborn helped her
  • Fundraising £100K to row the Atlantic
  • Joining a new team and team dynamics
  • Going to work for Rannock Adventures and becoming part of the Ocean Rowing community 
  • 8 months of planning and preparation
  • Having dedicated jobs
  • How she balanced everything and why she just had to get on with it
  • Getting up at 5am!
  • Rowing on Sunday’s for 2 hours on a rowing machine 
  • Putting her rowing machine in interesting places
  • Rowing in the challenging situations
  • Getting out to the start line 2 weeks before the start
  • Trying to balance the extreme emotions she was feeling 
  • Being able to relax when she was rowing on the boat
  • The biggest challenges over the 6 weeks
  • The challenges of team dynamics
  • Goals for the crossing the Atlantic - safety and winning and how that helped with decision making
  • Dealing with headwind….
  • The mental side of rowing 
  • “Just get on with it”
  • The breathtaking and astounding moments!
  • Why the scary moments were also the highlights as well!
  • Why rowing the ocean wasn’t what she expected
  • Day 37 when her mind gave up and she didn’t want to do it anymore
  • Crossing the finish line and reaching Antigua
  • Transitioning back to “normal life” after the adventure
  • Plans for 2019 and looking for some little adventures in the UK

Social media

Website -

Instagram - @lauratryuk  

Facebook - @lauratryuk  



Apr 23, 2019

Caroline Van Hemert, PhD, is a biologist, writer, and adventurer whose journeys have taken her from the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean to the swamps of the Okavango Delta 

In March of 2012 she and her husband (Pat) set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe.  Together, they survived harrowing dangers while also experiencing incredible moments of joy and grace -- migrating birds silhouetted against the moon, the steamy breath of caribou, and the bond that comes from sharing such experiences.

During this podcast, Caroline shares more about her love of nature and birds. Plus,why she decided to embark on this adventure, she talks through the planning, logistics, finances, the challenges faced and what she learned from this experience. Caroline has also published her first book about this challenge - The Sun is a Compass. 

Show notes

  • Caroline introduces herself
  • Growing up in Alaska
  • Studying for her PHD - birds and bird beaks!
  • How she met her now husband, Pat
  • Getting married in 2008 at a cabin they build in South East Alaska
  • Where the idea came from for this challenge
  • Coping with a variety of different challenges from her PHD to family illness
  • Working as part of a team with her husband and being focused on the logistics
  • Getting the maps out and starting to plan!!
  • Telling friends and family about the challenge….
  • Why she starts telling people - accountability
  • The power of lists
  • Coping with the unknowns during planning
  • Hard core stats 
  • Having 1 year to plan and prepare
  • Money?
  • the Arctic!
  • Starting at the beginning
  • Bellingham - the start line and being overwhelmed
  • When reality set in 
  • Getting back to nature
  • An overview of the trip and the different segments
  • Dealing with the physical transitions 
  • The biggest challenge and why it was a mental challenge
  • The impact of adventure on relationships while out in stressful environments 
  • The one moment which made it all worthwhile
  • Getting back to “normal” life
  • Her transition into motherhood 
  • Advice and tips for other women  - “Don’t be afraid to DREAM BIG”
  • Her NEW book - The Sun is a Compass
  • 10 years studying a scientific mystery…

Social Media


Instagram @sunisacompass 

Facebook  @carolinevanhemertauthor  

Apr 18, 2019

During this podcast we catch up with Leanne Spencer who we first spoke with in June 2018.

Since we last spoke Leanne and her partner Antonia have gone on to complete the world toughest ski race - the arctic circle race in Greenland. We learn more about the reasons behind the challenge, how they trained and prepared, what it was like when they were over there, the challenges they faced, from going to the toilet to dealing with the stress and anxiety from the race. They share top tips and advice which you will be able to apply to your own personal challenge. 

Leanne are Antonia are super down to earth, very friendly and have a wealth of experience to share! Enjoy!  But be warned listening to this episode will encourage you to go after your own personal challenge! 

Leanne Spencer

Leanne is an award-winning entrepreneur, Six Signals® Coach, double-bestselling author and TEDx Speaker. Along with Antonia, she is the co-founder of Bodyshot. Leanne regularly speaks to audiences all over the UK on topics around fitness, health, wellbeing, burnout and corporate resilience. Leanne is an advocate for gender equality.

Antonia Bannasch

Antonia is a health and fitness expert and Six Signals® Coach. Antonia loves health, fitness, skiing and challenging herself. Personal interests are in supporting charities that are searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Show notes

  • How the seed got planted to do the Arctic Circle Race
  • Racing in the Rat Race Coast to Coast in Scotland
  • Wanting to get away from running and cycling
  • The power of google..
  • “Let’s challenge ourselves and learn how to cross country ski!”
  • Wanting to raise funds at the same time
  • 18 months to plan and prepare
  • Learning how to ski on roller skates!
  • Feeling of fear and starting to feel uncomfortable
  • Struggling to find the hours to train during the day
  • The challenges of fundraising while running a business
  • Costs involved from doing a challenge like this
  • Antonia on fitness and how she added to her fitness routine
  • Hacking movement into their day
  • Active transport
  • Raising funds for Alzheimer's Research UK
  • Top tips for raising funds
  • Being in a partnership - the pro’s and the cons’
  • Heading over to Greenland
  • Dealing with pre race nerves
  • Race strategy and wanting to finish the race
  • Dealing with the challenges of the changing weather and trying to regulate your body temperature
  • The structure of the race and how it works
  • How do you pee? 
  • Reflecting back and what was the biggest challenge that they had to overcome
  • The kindness of other people
  • Wanting to stop after day 1
  • How to cope with anxiety during an event
  • Providing emotional support for your partner during challenging times
  • Reflecting back on the challenge - the worlds toughest ski race
  • Top tips for the Arctic Circle Race
  • What was the best piece of kit?
  • Mantra’s or counting?
  • Best item of food?
  • Bodyshop Performance
  • Podcast  - Remove the Guesswork
  • Next challenge for 2021 - The Iceman Polar Challenge….


Social Media

website -

Instagram - @bodyshotperformance  

Twitter - @BodyshotPT 

Podcast - Remove The Guesswork 

The Remove the Guesswork podcast is for busy professionals who want to improve their health, fitness and wellbeing using the latest science and technology to cut through the noise and get better results, faster. In each 30 minute episode Leanne will talk with some of the leading names in the health and wellbeing industry about the latest innovations, interview people who have transformed their health to find out how they did it, and share her own personal story of chronic stress, burnout, career change and subsequent lifestyle transformation. Other popular topics include personalisation; optimizing human performance; work/life blend; the importance of recovery; finding consistency; thriving not surviving; becoming a health warrior; biohacking and intelligent training. 


Apr 16, 2019

Sara is an Adventurer at Heart. She is a woman who believes in truth, inspiration and hope in life. Sara believes that we all have the power within to become our best self and Live Life Boldly. 

During this podcast Sara shares more about the challenges she has faced, how she overcame them and why getting back to nature helped her. Sarah shares more about hiking and guiding in the Grand Canyon and how she recently supported Shawn Cheshire in her world record to become to become the fastest blind woman to hike Rim to Rim to Rim (42 miles in 24 hrs 15 mins)

Sara also shares why age is just a number and why she is joy junkie.

By listening to this episode you will be motivated and inspired to go after your own personal challenges

*Please be aware during this episode we do talk briefly about rape (we don’t go into specifics).

Show notes

  • Sara introduces herself 
  • Being born and raised in a small town, with 2 brothers
  • Being a teacher and getting married at a young age
  • Moving to California
  • Being cheated on by her husband for over 14 years
  • Spending time out in nature
  • To think or not to think
  • The time it took before she started to feel the benefits in her life
  • Being an intention setter
  • The two pivotal moments in her life which helped her to move forward
  • Staying present and why grounding is so important
  • Providing support for her boys
  • How past experiences helped her to cope
  • Find the people who will support you 
  • Coaching and becoming a Wilderness First Aid Responder at 42
  • Why age is just a number
  • Hiking and guiding in the Grand Canyon 
  • Helping bling Paralympic - Shawn Cheshire break the world record for going - rim to rim to rim in the grand canyon (42 miles in 24 hrs 15 mins) 
  • What she learnt from this experience
  • Starting her life over after her marriage was over
  • Red heels!
  • Not being defined by her situation and why it’s important you create your own life
  • Climbing Mt Whitney
  • Living life and living boldly - living by choice
  • Being a joy junkie
  • What’s going to be bringing her joy over the coming months
  • New book coming out soon!
  • Say hi to Sarah in Arizona at the Grand Canyon - not the big Canyon!
  • Final words of advice for you & why the time is now!
  • Wanting to go to Africa to build homes and schools

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @saraschultingkranz  

Facebook @liveboldly 


Apr 9, 2019

Chrissie Wellington is the world's No 1 female Ironman triathlete, a four times World Champion. In 2009 she was voted 'Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year' and in 2010 was awarded the MBE. She is the undefeated champion of Triathlon, having won thirteen Ironman titles from thirteen races. She set a new World Record of 8 hours19:13 at Quelle Roth Germany in 2010. 

Chrissie has displayed unprecedented levels of stamina, strength and competitiveness in becoming Ironman World Champion in only her second event at Ironman level. Her victory in Kona, Hawaii in 2007 finishing five minutes ahead of her nearest rival was described as the 'biggest upset in Ironman history' and 'a remarkable feat, deemed to be near impossible task for any athlete racing as a rookie at their first Ironman World Championships'. 

During this podcast we talk more about her early life, growing up, changing her career direction, going on a 2 year gap year, the reasons behind why she started running and how it evolved into triathlon. Chrissie also shares more about her life now as a mother, making the transition from a professional athlete and why she’s so passionate about getting people moving.

Chrissie is Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at Parkrun. 

* please note during this podcast we do talk about eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia - we do not go into specifics but rather talk about the how and the why

Show notes

  • How she would describe herself
  • being passionate about self mastery 
  • Growing up in Norfolk
  • Being focused on academic excellence
  • Being an active child and joining the local swimming club
  • Leaving university and not doing any sport
  • Graduated from University of Birmingham and wanting to take a break
  • Taking a 2 year gap year and travelling
  • Looking for validation and signing a law contract in London
  • Starting to question her decision to go into law
  • Working out what she was passionate about
  • Wanting to drive positive change
  • Telling friends and family that she was no longer going to be a lawyer 
  • How her running journey progressed
  • Having a desire to control her weight and relapsing into an eating disorder. 
  • Starting to fall in love with running and deciding to run the London marathon in 2002
  • The evolution into triathlon
  • Aiming to go faster in her 2nd marathon and beat her time of 3 hrs 8 mins
  • Getting hit by a car 2 weeks before her 2nd London Marathon
  • Being injured and deciding to take up swimming
  • Doing her first super sprint race in 2004 at Eton
  • The importance of role models and being encouraged to try new things
  • An accidental athlete?
  • Being shaped by so many different factors and different life experiences
  • Taking a sabbatical from her job and heading to Nepal 
  • Having a capacity to endure
  • Making the decision at 30 to become a professional athlete
  • Mental resilience and mental determination and why Nepal was so pivotal 
  • Cycling 1200km from Tibet to Katmandu, Nepal and going via Everest Base Camp
  • What happened at the Ironman World Championships in 2010
  • Why out of adversity there can be positive experiences
  • Making the hard decisions
  • Making the transition from professional athlete and moving on to the next stage of her life
  • Being a role model and inspiring others
  • Her daughter Esme
  • Why she is focused back on running
  • What park run is and what her role is
  • Publishing her autobiography in 2012 - “Life without Limits”
  • For training advice check out her second book - to the finish line
  • Find word of advice to motivate and inspire you 

Social Media 

Website - 

Twitter- @chrissiesmiles 

Park Run 

Apr 2, 2019

Alice took a year long sabbatical from work and since then has walked 1300km across the Te Araroa South Island in New Zealand, wild camped on the Great Wall of China and walked for 10 days along the Tokai Nature Trail in Japan. 

During this podcast Alice shares more about growing up, not being sporty but loving the outdoors, how a car accident helped to motivate her to make a change in her life, how she planned for her time off, as well as giving advice and tips for you on enjoying the simple life, hiking and dealing with challenges as they come up. 

Show notes

  • Who is Alice
  • Growing up in the Malvern Hills
  • Not being great at sports but loving the outdoors
  • Spending time in Cornwall
  • Navigating through Dartmoor…
  • Wanting to spend time in the mountains and found it harder as she got older
  • Not finding her thing while at university
  • Deciding to take a sabbatical work 
  • Being in a car accident in Norway 
  • How she came to the decision to take a sabbatical
  • Reflecting back on the car crash
  • Deciding on which hiking trail to do 
  • Why the Te Araroa trail stood out
  • Having 6 months to plan the trip and taking into account the seasonal nature of the challenge
  • Not doing much hiking before heading off to New Zealand
  • Not knowing how much of the trail they would do 
  • Having 60 days to complete the South Island hike 
  • Enjoying the simple life of the trail
  • Routes and daily life on the trail
  • Navigation
  • Guthook App
  • The biggest challenge while on the trail
  • Getting lost in the fog
  • Why they wanted to focus on the South Island
  • Heading off to Japan to hike a small section of the Toki Nature Trail
  • The languages challenges in Japan and why google translate was amazing!
  • Camping on the great wall of china…. with gunfire going off at night!
  • Being happy in her job and just needing to make a few changes
  • Having the time to reflect on their lives
  • Spending time outdoors
  • Going back to work after so much time off
  • Doing the Cape Wrath Trail in Scotland
  • Why you should do a sabbatical
  • Practical tips and advice 
  • Support from friends and family

Social Media

Instagram is: @Alicebond0