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, 2022
Apr 28, 2022
Helen Butters is a Sunday Times Bestselling author, keynote speaker, communications & engagement expert, qualified performance coach with NLP, and a member of the National Council of Psychotherapists.   

In 2016 she followed her dream of rowing across both the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with a team of 3 amazing women and gained a Guinness World Record and an Honorary Doctorate.   
A lot of people ask Helen how she coped with the level of endurance rowing, 2 hours on and 2 hours off 24 hours a day.  What got her through, was a positive mindset and understanding how to keep it that way, in times of immense stress 
Adventure and business have many similarities.  
Helen uses her row across the Atlantic as a backdrop, and adopts a unique, interesting, and amusing approach that sets her apart from many motivational speakers.  Helen is extremely relatable as she’s not a professional athlete: She’s a mum with a busy career who has many barriers that could have stopped her from undertaking a big adventure.  Helen has many examples of how attendees have been inspired to look at life using new perspectives, become more attentive to their own talents which in turn has caused many to leave her talk feeling prepared and motivated.
Helen qualified as a performance life coach in 2019 with the aim of helping others to live a more fulfilling and satisfying life both professionally and personally. She works collaboratively with her clients to find meaning, understanding and solutions: empowering them to come up with the answers. 
She is passionate about the ethos of coaching as a powerful positive discipline and uses flexible effective tools which enable her clients to turn their belief into reality.  She has a specific interest in the power of mindset and has put together a mindset reset programme for clients.
Helen will be swapping 40-foot waves for the Pyrenees as her next adventure will see her cycling 1000 miles through 4 countries from Maggie’s Leeds to Maggie’s Barcelona in April 2022.  Helen and her team will be raising money for Maggie’s Yorkshire. 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
Visit and support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Helen
  • Wanting to row across the Atlantic Ocean
  • How she met Janette Benaddi
  • "If you plant something in your head that you actually want to happen, your brain subconsciously looks for those opportunities. And when opportunities arrive, that's when you instantly say yes."
  • How grateful she is that she said yes
  • Speaking with Melanie Sykes
  • Getting a No from her husband and Yes from their children about rowing
  • Involving her children in everything
  • Feeling safe with the team despite the risks and dangers
  • Making sure to use all the expertise and that the right people were in place
  • Being good at communicating and building relationships
  • Coaching as her new career
  • Helping Niki Doeg to stay motivated
  • Being strong and positive on the boat
  • Doing mental training in preparation for the row
  • Doing mindset reset and anchoring techniques
  • Crying and holding back her feelings
  • Feeling unhappy when she shouldn't have been
  • The need to prepare mentally before the adventure
  • Having an adrenaline hangover
  • Not getting help and how she struggled mentally for 18 months
  • Using her experience to help other rowers before and after their journeys
  • Her journey into coaching
  • Becoming a qualified performance life coach
  • How self-expansion excites her
  • Believing that everyone should have a coach and why it is important
  • Mindset reset and what is it
  • Teaching people deliberate thinking
  • Jealousy and its positive effects on people
  • The story of her cycling journey for Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre
  • Fundraising event for Maggie's
  • Cycling from Leeds to Barcelona in April
  • Having no prior cycling experience
  • Worrying about her physical fitness
  • Meeting people along the way
  • Raising money for people experiencing complex grief with children and families
  • Final words of advice


Social Media




Instagram: @butters_and_beyond



Yorkshire Rows


Instagram: @yorkshirerows 

Facebook: @yorkshirerows2015

Twitter: @yorkshirerows 


Apr 26, 2022
Michelle Moore is an award-winning leadership coach, author, speaker and educator voted as one of the UK’s 50 Most 'Influential Women in Sport’.

Based on a twenty year’ career in senior leadership roles across sport, government and education, her pioneering work and coaching and leadership programmes have transformed the lives of professionals, young people, athletes and the culture of many organisations.

Winner of the 2016 UK Precious Award for ‘Outstanding Woman in Sport’, a Football Black List award and an esteemed national Change Maker award. Michelle is a globally recognised executive on leadership, race equity and sport for development.

A sought after experienced speaker and moderator hosting events and delivering keynotes for The University of Cambridge, The NBA, and UNICEF UK. She has chaired events at the United Nations and presented to the House of Lords. Michelle makes regular appearances for top tier media outlets including BBC Radio 4, TRT World, Channel 4, BBC World Service Sportshour and been featured in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The Independent. Michelle is a regular contributor on BBC radio.

Michelle combines her campaigning roles with board positions for SportsAid, a Sport England Talent Inclusion Advisory Board member and is commissioner for The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket. She is a senior honorary associate lecturer at the University of Worcester.

Michelle’s book Real Wins was published November 25 2021, by John Murray Press, Hachette UK. 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
To support the Tough Girl Podcast and learn more about becoming a patron please visit
Show Notes
  • Who is Michelle
  • Her work in the world 
  • Using sport to address inequities 
  • Supporting individuals in their leadership journey 
  • Helping people to transform themselves and their communities 
  • Being based in London 
  • Working as a former teacher and having a love of education
  • Learning more about Michelle’s early years 
  • Growing up as a twin in the 70s
  • Being at athlete and being encouraged by her mum to do sports
  • Being a Black woman of mixed heritage
  • Being surrounded by love and culture and sports
  • Future dreams and ambitions
  • Wanting to be the best athlete she could be
  • The lessons learned from sports
  • Dealing with losses
  • Showing up every week to train
  • Wanting to be of service and to make a difference
  • Leaving athletics behind after going to university 
  • The challenges at university
  • Having an honest conversation with herself 
  • Using sport to develop leadership 
  • Changing your mindset around fear
  • How we achieve success which is defined by ourselves
  • Why we need to ask ourselves better questions
  • Learning to practice self compassion
  • Write the newspaper headline for tomorrow
  • Why we are not our thoughts
  • Why you have more power and control than you realise
  • Definitions of success and how they have changed 
  • Figuring out strengths and talents
  • Wanting to talk to young people about well-being
  • Why the biggest competition is always yourself
  • Living in the moment and being present
  • Going through the process of writing her book
  • Attracting different opportunities into our lives
  • Why you should be successful at a job if you’ve been doing it for 10 years
  • Why 20% was good enough
  • Creating her own leadership seminars 
  • Backing herself
  • Turning up and being me
  • Focusing on what I can control
  • Writing for herself 
  • How to connect with Michelle
  • How to support Michelle and why it makes a big difference
  • Final words of advice 
  • Wanting to be seen, heard, valued and respected 
  • Why the small things are important 
Social Media
Twitter: @hellomoore 
Real Wins is an urgent call to action from one of the most influential women in sport. In her unflinching style, Michelle Moore seeks to redress inequality at all levels and shows us how to channel our inner Serena Williams or Raheem Sterling to challenge stereotypes and tired assumptions. 
Through this timely, eye-opening insight into her experiences both on the track and in the boardroom, Michelle shows us how to face our fears, build resilience and find our own unique leadership style. She shares stories from athletes, leaders and many other inspiring people, as she redefines the relationship between identity and success for both individuals and organizations. 
Giving you the practical strategies of self-awareness and resilience to run your own race, Real Wins will empower you to take responsibility for your own prejudices, actions and ultimate success.
Apr 21, 2022
Jill is an underwater explorer, writer, photographer, speaker, and filmmaker. 
A pioneer of technical rebreather diving, she has led expeditions into icebergs in Antarctica, volcanic lava tubes, and submerged caves worldwide. 
Jill is the first Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. 
Her memoir, INTO THE PLANET, has been lauded by the Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times. 
Her children’s book THE AQUANAUT is a Blue Ribbon Selection for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. 
Jill is a Fellow of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences, Women Divers Hall of Fame and the Explorers Club, which awarded her with the William Beebe Award for ocean exploration.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Jill
  • Loving water since she's a baby
  • How she got into diving
  • Becoming a lifeguard at 16
  • Taking a Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual communications design
  • Talking about her expeditions
  • Icebergs and cave diving
  • Exploring the B-15 iceberg for 60 days
  • Leading the dive team
  • Writing and producing the documentary film for National Geographic
  • Qualities a good cave diver should have
  • How dangerous cave diving is
  • Having a scary experience while underwater with a scientist
  • Her best piece of advice to deal with fear
  • How she dealt with and processed trauma
  • Processing and overcoming challenges with her husband
  • Having supportive mentors and colleagues
  • Being a woman in the diving industry
  • Becoming the Explorer in Residence at The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
  • Not having female mentors as a kid
  • Wanting to go to schools across the country and give talks about diving and exploration
  • Having a growth mindset
  • Writing her book Into The Planet
  • Jill and her husband's podcast Into The Planet Podcast
  • Impact of technology and natural world changes on the environment
  • Her passion to increase awareness about the big issues we face
  • Top tips and advice
  • "Be willing to step into the darkness to do something that you've never done before. Trust me, your eyes will adjust to the light, and that's when you stand on that threshold of true opportunity to become an explorer."
Social Media
Instagram: @jillheinerth 
Facebook: @jillheinerth 
Twitter: @jillheinerth 
Apr 19, 2022
Abi is a white, neurodivergent and fat writer, artist, cyclist and student nurse.

 She recently featured in Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling 2021 for her working promoting fat lib in cycling.

Abigail was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Chloe Bramwell who said:
"Abigail shows that cycling is open to everyone. Not just only women, but LGBT women, too. Her work embracing body positivity has made me change my relationship with my own body. I make healthier choices for myself because I love my body rather than to punish it. I admire her vulnerability and strength in showing how she sees herself. I admire that she holds the cycling community to account by expecting accessibility for everyone. I admire her for showing that cycling is for us all.”
Abi is the co-author of her first book all about cycle touring ‘Gears for Queers’. 
She lives on the Fife Coast with her partner Lea and cat Boba. She can normally be found riding her bike, cooking vegan feasts or obsessively playing The Sims!
"I believe that if people see a diversity of bodies on bikes and trikes, more people will feel like cycling is for them. I feel so happy when we get messages on social media from people who have got on their bikes again after reading our book or blogs. In the future I’d love to organise a big fat cycle tour!” - Abi Melton 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
To find out more about supporting the Tough Girl Podcast and becoming a patron please visit
Show Notes
  • Who is Abi in her own words
  • Here passions and interests
  • Publishing her first book in June 2020
  • Being a 1st year student nurse
  • What is neurodivergency
  • Examples of neurodivergency and how it’s impacted Abi throughout her life
  • Challenges with communication 
  • Using masking as a technique to appear normal
  • Her early childhood and growing up in Norfolk
  • Being the eldest child
  • Living by the coast
  • Going to holiday camps and wanting to try everything available.
  • Being an avid reader and wanting to be the hero of the story
  • Wanting to be going out and having adventures
  • Not having a lot of opportunities 
  • Her late teenage years and her early 20s
  • Struggling with her mental health for 16 years onwards
  • Going to Edinburgh University to study English Literature
  • Why she stoped riding bikes 
  • Becoming more self conscious 
  • Not knowing how to travel or go on adventures 
  • Meeting Lea 
  • Woman on the Edge of Time: The classic feminist dystopian novel - By Marge Piercy
  • Going on an accidental mini-break to Brighton 
  • Deciding to go on a cycle adventure in Europe
  • Fears and concerns before heading out on the cycle adventure 
  • Feeling anxious about fitness levels 
  • Going with a partner and handling tough situations while on the road
  • Magical moments while travelling and the places that stand out
  • Being vegan and gluten free and trying to find food to eat 
  • Budgets and paying for the trip
  • Having a supportive family
  • Mental health while travelling
  • Writing the book - “Gears for Queers” and how it came about 
  • Going on a 2nd cycling tour
  • Planning their 3rd cycle tour
  • Going back to university to study to become a nurse
  • Following your passions and dreams
  • Being featured in Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling 2021
  • Wanting to promote adventure for everyone
  • Advice for women who want to go cycle touring
  • Enjoying having a purpose for cycling 
  • Not cycling for fitness or weight loss
  • How to connect with Abi
  • Final words of advice 
Social Media
Instagram: @gearsforqueers 
Facebook: @gearsforqueers 
Twitter: @gearsforqueers 
Book: Gear for Queers
Apr 14, 2022
Omie in her own words:
“I’m a keen swimmer and swim teacher, having worked in the leisure industry since 2013. In my teaching role I've worked with a variety of different ages and abilities both in the UK and abroad.
I have been exploring the issue of diversity in aquatics and the leisure industry with my own project titled, ‘If 71% of the world is water, how can we feel at home if we don't know how to swim?’. 
I currently work for the Black Swimming Association in community engagement and communication and volunteer in my spare time for Pride in Water, and work as a volunteer swim host for Mental Health Swims in the London region.”
“Swimming has given me so much – employment, friendships and both physical and mental health benefits.”
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Omie
  • Her work and love for swimming
  • Getting into swimming from a young age
  • Her love for teaching people
  • Not being able to join a swim club
  • Swimming competitively for her school
  • Role models who inspired Omie growing up
  • What she wanted to be 
  • Being academic at school
  • Talking with non swimmers
  • Teaching people how to swim
  • Wanting to make people feel as comfortable as possible
  • The joy of swimming
  • Loving outdoor swimming
  • Swimming in London
  • The support of the outdoor swimming community
  • The stress of swimming in pools
  • Advice and tips for outdoor swimming
  • Go with experienced people when it’s your first time
  • Why you need to be prepared
  • Working for the Black Swim Association
  • Working on a research project with the University of Portsmouth regarding Bone Density
  • Engaging with community leaders across the UK
  • Mental Health Swims and being a swim host
  • Working with Patagonia in 2021 on the Outsiders Project
  • What’s changed in swimming over the past few years
  • Plans for 2022 and wanting to go with the flow a bit more
  • Managing her mental health and putting herself first
  • Needing to talk about other stuff apart from swimming
  • Enjoying reading and writing 
  • Needing a creative outlet
  • Connect with Omie on the socials 
  • Final words of advice
  • The power of community 
  • Being surrounded by people who are proud of you and support you
Social Media
Instagram: @omiedale 
Twitter: @omie_dale 
Apr 12, 2022
Abhejali Bernardova (44, Czech Republic) of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team completed an extreme ultra-triathlon from Dover to Prague, during which she covered a total of 1111 km across the 3 disciplines: 34 km swimming, 895 km cycling, 182 km running. It took her 7 days, 12 hours and 5 minutes. 
She started on Monday September 13 2021 at 3am from Dover. In very challenging conditions, with the wind at force 5, she swam the English Channel in 15 hours and 33 minutes. The only other successful crossing on the same day was a 5-person relay team. It was her last chance to swim this year and the swim had already been postponed a few times. 
Restrictions did not allow her to stay in France, so she had to take a detour back to Dover and then take a ferry to France. She then cycled from Calais to her hometown of Cheb, near the Czech/German border. 
The cycling leg, which took her 4 days, was approximately 900 kilometres through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. She arrived in Cheb on Saturday afternoon, then ran 182km to Prague, arriving on Monday afternoon. Her daily average was 220km cycling and 2 marathons running. 
The Czech athlete successfully completed her first English Channel swim 10 years ago. In 2018 she became the 1st Czech, the 10th person in the world, 4th woman and the 1st person from a landlocked country to complete the Oceans Seven*, seven difficult long-distance swims around the world. She is also the only Czech holder of the Triple Crown** of long-distance swimming. 
With her ultra-triathlon she aims to connect people and places and inspire others to break down and cross barriers in their own lives. If she can go from the UK to the Czech Republic under her own steam, then we really are closer to each other than we realise, we just put up unnecessary walls between us. She also tries to inspire others to overcome their own limits and show that these limits are often self-created. 
 (*) Oceans Seven include: English Channel, Gibraltrar Strait, Tsugaru Strait, Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, North Channel, Cook Strait – all solo, non-wetsuit. See also:
(**) The Triple Crown includes: English Channel, Catalina Channel, around Manhattan. 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and sign up - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Her love for swimming in the ocean
  • Wanting to share her adventures 
  • Her childhood and growing up in the Czech Republic 
  • Learning to swim in Russia
  • Not coming from a sports family 
  • Hearing about the English Channel
  • Starting meditation at 18 years old with Sri Chinmoy 
  • Wanting to know herself better
  • Wanting to step outside her comfort zone
  • Going to university and getting into running
  • Going after longer and longer distances
  • Running a marathon doing laps
  • “I can do more”
  • Swimming the English Channel in 2011
  • Getting into flow while swimming
  • Completing the Oceans 7 Challenge in 2018
  • Coping with the cold water
  • Taking cold showers in the morning
  • Being scared by sharks
  • Beautiful moments while swimming
  • Advice for going further with swimming 
  • Tips and advice for recovery
  • Sleeping for 7 hrs a night
  • Being a Peace Ultra Runner 
  • The Peace Run 
  • Loving the 24hrs races
  • When it gets difficult on the 24hr races
  • Deciding on a new challenge
  • The logistical challenges of putting the plan together
  • Being dependant on the weather for the swim
  • The training involved to get physically ready for the challenge
  • How her body has changed from 34 to 44
  • Needing more time to recover
  • Finishing in Prague
  • “I can do it - I have already done it”
  • Use your imagination even while training to tell yourself you can do it
  • Why you should DREAM BIG!!! 
  • Future dream challenges
  • Adventure blues….
  • Thank you to Abhejali
Social Media
Instagram: @abhejali
Apr 7, 2022
Rebecca Lowe is a freelance journalist from London who specialises in human rights and the Middle East. 
In 2015-16, she cycled 11,000km solo from London to Tehran. 
Her first book, THE SLOW ROAD TO TEHRAN, documenting her year-long journey, paints a living portrait of the Middle East through its people, politics and historic relationship with the West, and challenges much of the perceived wisdom about this region of the world. It was published in March 2022 by September Books in the UK and MVG in Germany.
During her career, Rebecca has written for the Guardian, BBC, Independent, Huffington Post, Economist, Sunday Times Magazine, Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Spectator and IranWire, as well as numerous travel, music and sports magazines. 
From 2010-15, she was the lead reporter at the International Bar Association, where she focused on human rights and the rule of law, and in 2018 she contributed to the adventure travel anthology THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS: TRAVEL STORIES THAT MAKE YOUR HEART GROW, published by Summersdale. 
Rebecca is a Fellow at the Royal Geographical Society and holds a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University and an MA in Journalism from Stanford University, where she was awarded a scholarship.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
To find out more about supporting the Tough Girl Podcast and becoming a patron please visit
Show Notes
  • Who is Rebecca
  • Being a journalist for over a decade
  • Becoming interested in the Middle East 
  • Deciding to quit her job and cycle from London to Iran
  • Becoming a new mum while finishing off her new book
  • The challenges of motherhood and juggling work
  • Being adventurous and having an independent spirit
  • Being into sports and playing with the boys
  • Where her interest in the middle east came from 
  • Always wanting to become a writer 
  • Explaining what the Arab Spring is (2010- 2011)
  • Her journey with cycling 
  • Trying to find a bike via sponsorship
  • Learning to cycle with Panniers
  • Packing everything!!
  • Not feeling prepared before the trip
  • Learning how to deal with new situations
  • Getting into her cycling rhythm
  • Going from West to East
  • Feeling overwhelmed by undertaking big challenges
  • Concerns and fears before starting the journey 
  • The challenges of being a journalist while travelling
  • Taking precautions before the trip 
  • The benefits of being a woman in the Middle East
  • What it was like day to day
  • Having a budget of £15 per day 
  • Trying to avoid the heat
  • The wonderful food!
  • Learning different cultures 
  • Getting to the end of the trip and being ready to finish
  • Dealing with punctures
  • Arriving into Tehran and getting to the finish line
  • Missing the Uk 
  • The lessons learning from time spend on the road
  • Feeling more confident and being able to cope with new situations
  • Connect with Rebecca
  • Final words of advice 
  • Start slowly and push those boundaries
  • Why you can go on Big Adventures
  • Mantra and powerful quotes
Social Media
Instagram: @reo_lowe 
Twitter: @reo_lowe 
Apr 5, 2022
Kumbi in her own words:
“I’m Kumbi, a fun loving adventurous woman. I was born and raised in Zimbabwe and came over to England to study nursing when I was 18.
I love all things outdoors, from climbing, hiking, camping, cycling.
I am a senior nurse in the NHS, and I have been very thankful that I have the ability to go outdoors and destress. 
It is one of the places that I am able to practice Mindfulness, which has kept me grounded through some of the most challenging times that I have experienced during this pandemic.
I hope to share my love and inspire others to explore and be adventurous!”
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
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Show Notes
  • Who is Kumbi
  • What she does and her love of the outdoors
  • Being an outgoing child
  • Spending time in the outdoors
  • Wanting to be a lawyer
  • Her current role in the NHS
  • Looking at health inequalities
  • Making the move to the UK
  • Growing up speaking English
  • Her university days and not having a car
  • Going back to the start of the pandemic
  • Being redeployed to 111 (Non emergency help line in the UK)
  • Needing to have a break between work and home life
  • Getting back into climbing again 
  • Becoming a member of Extreme Sports Central 
  • Making the transition from the gym to climbing outside
  • Joining the British Mountaineering Council (BMC)
  • The Women's Trad Festival 
  • Overcoming fears while climbing
  • Learning to be kind to herself
  • Breaking problems down step by step
  • Looking at diversity in the sport
  • “Climbing is for all and everyone is welcome”
  • The role models and women she looks up to 
  • Learning to be kind to herself
  • Climbing goals for 2022
  • Magical moments in the outdoors
  • Type 2 and Type 3 fun
  • Being a speaker at Kendal Mountain Festival
  • Wanting to be a role model
  • Final words of advice
Social Media
Instagram: @here_climbs_krumbles