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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Aug 4, 2021
Hannah "The Destroyer" Jennings is a Strength & Mental Process Coach.
For over the past 10 years Hannah has been lifting weights and building an unstoppable mental process to ensure she performs at her best in both competitions and in life. 
Hannah has competed at State, National, and World Level Championships. She has been the West Virgina State Lightweight Women (LW) Strongman Champion and holds the World Record in the Mouser Block Press (LW category).
Hannah is a coach who helps female athletes to bust past mental blocks and to level up. She helps women understand what having the right mindset and building strength can truly do for them. 
Hannah has a Masters in Sport Science with a background in Powerlifting and Strongman. 
“Once the mental process is in place training and life take on a new meaning. The fear, insecurity, self doubt, and frustration are gone and confidence and strength take its place.”
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Hannah and what she does
  • Growing up in a large family 
  • Growing up with 7 brothers and 2 sisters
  • Getting into strength at 15 years old
  • Wanting to get stronger for soccer
  • Role models during her teenage years
  • Being inspired by her older sister and Joan of Arc 
  • Going from homeschooling to high school
  • Wanting to become a vet
  • Getting into lifting competitively 
  • The journey to competitive lifting 
  • Dealing with injury
  • Loving how lifting made her feel
  • Starting in powerlifting
  • Making the transition into strongman
  • Feeling powerful and badass
  • What’s involved in powerlifting and strongman
  • Loving the squat
  • The mental side of competitions - before, during and after
  • Dealing with nerves
  • Focusing on her mental process 
  • Breaking it down into smaller steps
  • Handling negative self talk
  • How her confidence has changed
  • Training with periods
  • Am I lazy or tired?
  • Top tips for recovery
  • Why sleep is so important
  • What to do when hitting a strength plateau
  • Learning the art of Patience 
  • Nutrition and fueling her workouts
  • Working with a meal prep company 
  • Common themes around mindset
  • Future dreams and goals
  • Performing feats of strength 
  • Myths around strength
  • Changing the mindset of women and encouraging them to lift weight
  • Advice for women who want to start lifting 
  • The power of getting on a program and stick to it for 4 weeks
  • Keeping yourself accountable
  • The benefits of working with a coach
  • Where her nickname came from
  • Turning the negative to the positive
  • Final words of advice to help with your self confidence and self belief 


Social Media


Instagram: @hannahthedestroyer

Facebook: @hannahjennings16


Aug 4, 2021
Sam Ortiz (she/her) is a plus size, Latinx, rock climber, mountaineer, and adventure photographer based in WA state. Sam is the founder of Climb Big, a group she started to make climbing more accessible to fat folx after struggling to find a place in the outdoors, herself.
Sam hosts meet-ups with other female and non-binary plus size folx to offer a safer space to share her outdoor skills and discuss tips on finding gear for plus size bodies.
Sam has done plus size modelling for outdoor brands like REI, Eddie Bauer, and Alder Apparel.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Sam and where she is based
  • Growing up in Kentucky
  • Growing up with 2 older sisters
  • Growing up near the Red River Gorge
  • Not feeling welcome in the outdoors
  • Finding her footing in the outdoor world
  • Not seeing people who looked like her 
  • Her dreams as a little girl
  • Getting into photography through high school
  • Being drawn to the outdoors
  • Trying to figure out her place in the outdoor
  • Applying for AmeriCorps
  • Going to Juneau, Alaska
  • Being surrounded by nature 
  • Giving herself permission to be person she thought she could be
  • Proving to herself that she could do hard things
  • Deciding to try and climb the mountain
  • Being ok with failing and knowing that she can come back and try again
  • How her journey in rock climbing started
  • The importance of having fun
  • Deciding to sign up to the AmeriCorps program 
  • Graduating college and knowing what she didn’t want to do
  • Signing an 11 month contract
  • Climbing her first mountain and what it meant
  • The next step in her journey 
  • Moving to Washington State
  • Choosing to do another year of AmeriCorps
  • Her love affair with the outdoors
  • Lessons learned from the outdoors that have been applied to everyday life
  • Learning and developing new skills for the outdoors
  • The power of having a mentor
  • The Mountaineers 
  • Being an Ambassador for Pacific Northwest Outdoor Women 
  • Fat Girls Hiking 
  • Starting to host meet ups for Climb Big 
  • The issues with gear for plus size/fat climbers
  • Wanting to show other women that their body is capable 
  • Breaking down the barriers for fat and plus-sized people in getting outside
  • Bennett Rahn - @bennettrahn 
  • Dr Meghan Banker @pdxoutdoorchiro 
  • Dreams and goals for Climb Big
  • Being inspired by Mirna Valerio - @themirnavator 
  • Jenny Bruso - white queer fat femme writer & hiker taking body liberation outdoors. @jennybruso
  • Unlikely Hikers - A diverse outdoor community, hiking group & podcast for the underrepresented hiker @unlikelyhikers
  • Asking companies for gear that they are not making
  • Creating a Climb Big Community on Facebook 
  • Final words of advice from Sam 
“You are allowed to take up space, you are allowed to go at your own pace, you are allowed to do something and to really make it your own, even if you don’t see anyone else who looks like you doing it. That there is such beauty in deciding that you want to do something and going after it. And you are allowed to do that, you are allowed to try, and you are allowed to fail while you do it as well. You don’t always have to succeed and that’s ok. You’re allowed to fail and to try again, and try again. And it doesn't mean that you, aren’t good enough and you are not worthy, it just means you are a beginner and it’s ok to be a beginner, so you are allowed to fail.”
Social Media
Find Sam on Instagram @SamOrtizPhoto
At Climb Big, we’re interested in making rock climbing and the outdoors more accessible to fat folx.
The barriers for plus size adventurers are huge, including a lack of representation and access, not to mention an incredibly limited selection of the gear and clothing that are necessary for safety in the outdoors.
Climb Big Website - 
Find Climb Big on Instagram @Climb.Big 
Join the Climb Big Community group on Facebook 
Aug 4, 2021
In 2018, Denise Mueller-Korenek set the world record for paced bicycle land speed, traveling at an average of 183.932 MPH, becoming the fastest cyclist on earth. 
Denise smashed the previous record of 147.7 MPH set in 1995, and in doing so, became the first and only woman in history to hold the world record, which was first established in 1899. 
Denise also has multiple other athletic achievements to her name, including:
  • US Women’s Human Powered Bicycle Record holder (non motor paced) at 70.6mph (Sept 2019)
  • 15 National Cycling Championships (Mt. Biking, Road & Velodrome)
  • Ironman and Half Ironman finisher (2013)
  • 2 x Jr. World Championship medalist in Mt. Biking in Italy (Downhill & Cross Country)
  • Completed over 50 half marathons in 29 states + DC
  • Completed over 9 marathons on 4 continents, including Antarctica (2013) & The Great Wall of China (2017)
Denise is an inspiration to all cyclists, and continues to push the boundaries of what is humanly possible. Listen to Denise on the Tough Girl Podcast. 
New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out! 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Being based in San Diego in California
  • Her claim to fame
  • Being an athlete her entire life
  • Her passions and interests at a young age
  • Coming from a high achieving family
  • Getting her first bike
  • Entering her first 100 mile charity race with her dad
  • Riding from San Fransisco to San Diego
  • Meeting her Cycling Coach John Howard
  • Role models in the sport
  • Her dreams of becoming a professional athlete
  • Creating vision cards
  • Dealing with performance pressure/anxiety 
  • 1991 - Going to the World Championships to Italy as a Junior
  • Deciding to leave the sport
  • Making the transition out of the sport and what happened next
  • Meeting her husband and having children 
  • Running a family business
  • Keeping healthy but not challenging herself physically
  • Being inspired by the women at the gym
  • Signing up for her first Marathon
  • Building on each success
  • Dealing with anxiety related to extreme competition
  • Looking for the next challenge and next opportunity
  • Being the first female to go after the land speed record on a bike
  • Needing to become a National Champion
  • Doing hypnotherapy 
  • What the land speed record is
  • What’s going through her head at that speed
  • Why there is nothing apart from that moment
  • Dealing with the dangers and managing the risks
  • Having trust in her team
  • Physical preparation and being in the shape possible to take on this challenge
  • Setting a new goal - Running half marathons in every state of America
  • Having a gratitude board
  • Advice around setting goals
Social Media
Twitter @FireCycle 
Instagram @FireCycle 
Facebook  @FireCycle
Aug 4, 2021
Jessica is a Detroit-born Ugandan-American who got her start with traveling when she was just four years old, and in October 2019, she became the first Black Woman to travel to every country in the world. 
Jessica is a cultural ambassador, writer, photographer, travel expert and entrepreneur, whose work is about changing the travel narrative and making the travel space more inclusive. She is the founder and CEO of The Catch, a lifestyle brand featuring goods acquired during her global adventures. 
Jessica is committed to raising cultural awareness and encourages people to think positively about other countries and the world at large, so that we don’t miss out on opportunities to have amazing experiences with our neighbours. 
In March 2019, she was named one of the 30 Most Powerful Women in Travel by Conde Nast Traveler. 
Jessica is currently working on her first book, to be published by National Geographic in May 2022.  
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out! 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Being a liver and lover of life
  • Being known as the first Black woman to travel to all 195 countries in the world
  • Being a Global Citizen
  • Growing up in Detroit, Michigan 
  • Travelling a lot as a family
  • Going to Canada when she was 4
  • Wanting to become a lawyer when she was younger
  • Getting into travel and wanting to be an entrepreneur 
  • Working and living all over the world
  • Figuring things out on her own
  • Turning 25 and spending 9 months travelling
  • What draws her to travel
  • Being curious about the world and finding beauty in the mundane
  • Magical moment with people while travelling
  • Planning and paying for the travel
  • Making space for travel 
  • Being location independent and working for herself
  • Doing a Go Fund Me and raising $28,000 
  • Dealing with burnout from travel
  • Visiting Iraq
  • Having a home base in Detroit
  • How 2020 made Jessica appreciate stillness
  • Top tips for women who want to travel more
  • Why you should just go
  • Corey Lee @CurbFreeCorylee 
  • Char @travelingblackwidow 
  • Her biggest challenge while travelling 
  • Swimming with Wales in Tonga
  • Visiting high risk countries….
  • Travelling with open, positive energy
  • Travel routines and what a typical day looks like
  • Writing a book about her travel experiences 
  • 100 stories - 100 countries being published by National Geographic in 2022
  • Dealing with Covid and not being able to travel
  • Visiting the last country 
  • Completing her challenge!
  • Spending time in Uganda
  • Enjoying solo travel
  • Wanting to settle down at some point
  • Practical advice for women
  • How to follow along with Jessica
  • What’s behind the website name…
Social Media
Instagram: @jessicanabongo 
Facebook: @thecatchmeifyoucan 
Twitter: @thecmiyc
Aug 4, 2021
During this episode, I reflect back on the final 6 months of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. 
I share more about my next challenge - the Tough Girl UK Adventure Series. Plus answer a variety of questions from patrons and members of the tough girl tribe. 
I share more about what I’ve been up to during the covid months, how my goals have changed. I reflect on some of the smaller challenges, such as the #MarchDailyMile challenge with Inov-8, the 12hr walking challenges, doing 30 days of Yin Yoga and walking the Sandstone Trail (55k) in 1 day!
Follow along with - The Tough Girl UK Adventure Series is sponsored by Cicerone #ChallengeWithCicerone.
Learn more about Cicerone - visit their website 
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • More info about today’s episode 
  • Looking back over the past 12 months and looking forward to the next 6 months
  • The purpose of these episodes 
  • Stopping to reflect on what’s been achieved
  • Reflecting on May/June 2020
  • Representation, diversity and inclusion
  • FB post - 5th June 2020
  • “Words are not enough - actions have to be taken to make change happen.”
  • The actions I’ve been taking to improve the diversity on the Tough Girl Podcast
  • How it works with the TGP  and having to preload content
  • August 2020 - milestone month - 50,270 downloads in 1 month….
  • The power of the stories being heard around the world
  • August 2020 - starting back at the gym with a PT
  • Taking the time to think about what else I could/should be doing with my life
  • Looking at doing -  Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) by Public Works at Middlesex University 
  • Women’s Adventure Institute - working on the vision 
  • Having Rosie Swale Pope come to stay for my birthday in September
  • 3rd Lockdown in January 2021 and dealing with the UK Winter
  • Feeling sad in February 2021
  • Trying out the new Inov-8 Terra Ultra G270 Trainers to test out 
  • Running in March #MarchDailyMile Challenge and having a purpose
  • May - Walking with Ellen Piercy  #CheshireChallenge doing the Wirral Circular Trail 
  • June - Yin Yoga 60hrs online course - not finished yet!
  • July 24th walking the Sandstone Trail (55k) in 1 day 
  • Having the vaccine!
  • Thinking about the 6th Year Anniversary of the Tough Girl Podcast - 4th August 2021
  • Looking at potentially challenges I could do in the UK…
  • Reaching out to the Cicerone about sponsoring the Tough Girl UK Adventure Series
  • Plans for August - Walking the Anglesea Coastal Path with Alex Mason
  • Going to Run Fest Run (27th - 29th August 2021) with 2 tribe member 
  • Winchester being the start of The Pilgrims Way 
  • Heading home for my 40th Birthday 
  • Heading up to Scotland - going to stay with Vici Royle in Scotland
  • Plans for September
  • How busy the past 2 weeks have been, and being included in 3 books
  • Ask An Adventure: Live Adventurously, Be Creative By Alastair Humphreys 
  • The Story Powered Speaker By Norman Bell 
  • Run Like A Girl By Danielle Brown
  • Money and patrons  2021 - 259 active patrons 
  • Debt, Saving up for a new laptop, putting money into an emergency fund, saving for the Dprof
  • Working with Protein Rebel 
  • Collaborating with Hazel Oakes - Muralist and Illustrator 
  • Facebook Live for the Tribe - 4th August 6pm
  • The Tough Girl Podcast total downloads 1,782,000 - Will we reach 2 Million by the end of the year…
  • Has the podcast reached a plateau? Releasing 3 episodes a week in August and September 
  • Being interviewing on other people’s podcasts 
  • Am I approachable? 
  • Answering Patrons & Tribe Questions
  • Podcasting advice and benefits of podcasting
  • Advice for supporting the Tough Girl message
  • Final Summary
Social Media
Instagram: @toughgirlchallenges 
Facebook: @ToughGirlChallenges 
Twitter: @_tough_girl
Take a listen to the solo reflections episodes which I’ve done over the past few years. 
7th Aug 2020 - Sarah Williams - Reflections on 2019 & and the start of 2020. 
4th Aug 2019 - Reflections on 2018 and the start of 2019. Plus plans for Tough Girl Challenges. 
30th Dec 2017 - Reflecting on 2017 and the plans for 2018 
30th Dec 2016 - Reflections for 2016 & Plans for 2017
Aug 3, 2021
Milbry C. Polk (BA, honors) Radcliffe College, Harvard University, has lectured in more 150 schools, universities and public affairs organizations.  She co-founded and was executive director of Wings WorldQuest, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women at the leading edge of science and discovery.  She also founded and directed programs for the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the American Indian. She was Vice-Chair of the Conference on Affordable World Security (Newseum, March 27-28, 2012).
Among her writings are Women of Discovery (Library Journal award Best Books of 2001 and School Library Journal, Best Books); Egyptian Mummies (Margaret A. Edwards Award best books); editor, The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad; and Reviews and Contributing Editor of The Explorers Journal, 1998-the present.  She co-founded with Imagination Celebration, and wrote yearly curriculum for nine years for The Art of Exploration, a program for the Public Schools of Ft. Worth, Texas. 
She led or participated in expeditions to Prince William Sound, Alaska; the Western Desert of Egypt (National Geographic); Yemen; Southern Sudan; Saudi Arabia; Iran; Pakistan; John River, Alaska; Nepal; Brazilian coast; Greenland; Baffin Island; Devon Island; India (American Museum of Natural History); Chinese Tibet; NW Greenland, and the Andaman Sea.  
Ms. Polk's honors include: The Sweeney Medal, The Explorers Club, Capt. J-E Bernier Medal, Royal Canadian Geographic Society (2015), Anne Morrow Lindbergh Award (2011); Alumnae of the Year, Madeira School (2011), Environmental Leadership Award, Unity College;  Womens' ENews “Leader of the 21st Century”, Who's Who, Women of the Year Award; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Fellow of The Explorers Club and  Fellow of Wings WorldQuest. She is on the Board of The Explorers Club, serves on numerous Advisory Boards and served for ten years on the Board of Governors of the National Arts Club.  
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Introduction
  • Her background
  • Being born in Oxford, UK and growing up between Europe, Egypt and America
  • Becoming a photo journalist in the 70s & 80s
  • Working with Margaret Mead 
  • Thinking of doing a PHD at Oxford
  • Figuring out what she truly wanted to do 
  • Following the route of Alexander the Great
  • Starting to put together expeditions and selling them to magazines
  • Working in the Middle East & Asia
  • Wanting to be an explorer from a young age
  • Using her initials to apply for a guiding expedition course
  • Life as a photojournalist
  • Respecting the local culture
  • Taking photos of Yemen
  • How exploration has changed over the past 40/50 years
  • The importance of curiosity 
  • Getting married and getting pregnant
  • How life changed after having a baby
  • Being introduced to women explorers
  • Nicole Maxwell
  • Book: Witch Doctor's Apprentice, Maxwell, Nicole, 1990  
  • Having a library of 1,500 books on women explorers and adventurers
  • Going to find women explorers from India
  • Wanting to create a Women Explorers Library
  • Wanting to keep the collection of books together
  • The importance of learning women’s stories
  • Being driven by your passion
  • Reading everything and being fascinated by history
  • How Wings WorldQuest was started
  • How it evolved
  • Starting to focus more on education
  • Women of the Deep, Explorers Club
  • Why it’s an exciting time to be a young woman
  • Joining the Explorers Club in 1994 as a Fellow and now being on the board
  • Working with Adventure Canada
  • Going outside her comfort zone
  • Doing adventures/expeditions without technology 
  • Needing to be careful 
  • Keeping positive during tough situations
  • Building a fellowship of women
  • Women supporting women 
  • Future expeditions 
  • Adventure Science - #domorewithyourfitness 
  • Writing book reviews and writing a book on her great grandmother
  • New book - Women of the Arctic 
  • Babes & Death
  • Women on pilgrimages 
  • Going back to Oxford to do her PhD
  • Needing to update her website 
  • Final words of advice 
  • Figuring out your passion
  • Why there is no such thing as failure
  • Listen to your inner self 
  • Kristin Gates 
Social Media
Wing WorldQuest - WINGS was formed in 2003 to identify and support the discoveries and accomplishments of women explorers and scientists and to inspire the next generation of problem solvers.
Website - 
Instagram - @wingsworldquest
Facebook - @WINGSWorldQuest 
Twitter - @wingsworldquest
Jul 29, 2021
Nuran in her own words:
“Lover of road trips, the great outdoors, and all things natural; I feel truly free and content in the mountains.
After giving up my corporate job in 2015, I embarked on a 7-week road trip through Europe with my two children in tow to visit friends and family. The kids were 3 and 6 years old at the time and I had no idea when I might go back to work, so wanted to make the most of our summer together. 
Since my husband wasn’t able to join us due to work commitments – and because I’m not one for sitting at home during the summer holidays, I went on my own. 
Little did we know that what started as a spontaneous idea, would soon turn into the regular highlight of our year.
Our road trip adventures have taken us across Europe and we fell in love with the Alps and the Scottish Highlands. This summer we are hoping to explore the Italian Dolomites not least because I really want us to try a Via Ferrata hike there.
I’m a huge believer in “trying out new things” or “just going for it”. 
You can’t truly know what you are capable of without trying it. This is especially amazing to witness with children when they’ve achieved something for the first time! With experience comes trust and self belief; these are the values that I try to instil in my kids.
As Thomas Fuller once said, “All thing are hard difficult before they are easy.”
Therefore, I’ve just launched my adventure & travel blog “" where my mission is simple: I want to inspire mums to adventure solo with their kids; through adventure/travel tips & advice, itineraries and green & healthy lifestyle guides. I want to give them the confidence to experience this joy with their kids, make wonderful memories and grow adventurously together.”
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Growing up in Germany to Turkish Parents
  • Being based in South East London for the past 15 years
  • Having 2 kids, aged 7 & 11 years old
  • Spending time outdoors while she was growing up
  • Doing lots of sports in her teen years 
  • Loving adventure and taking the opportunities to try something new
  • Deciding to go sky diving last minute on a business trip!
  • Why you should seize the moment and take advantage of the opportunities
  • Having children in her early 30s
  • Deciding to make a change in 2015
  • The life/work balance 
  • Having 7 weeks off with the kids
  • Wanting to do something fun
  • Deciding on a road trip to Germany 
  • Her role models when she was younger
  • Planning and preparation for the first road trip
  • Figuring out the loop
  • Structure of the day
  • How to entertain the children
  • Loving audio books
  • Dealing with meltdowns
  • How it worked being solo 
  • Magical moment 
  • Getting into rock climbing
  • Growing with her children 
  • Overcoming challenges while on the road
  • Deciding to start blogging to inspire other mums to go on adventures with their kids
  • Incorporating adventure into her everyday life
  • Starting gardening in 2020
  • Training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge
  • Following a training plan based on HR
  • Working on her fitness and endurance
  • Kate Sielmann - Mountaineering & Trekking Coach
  • Fitting her training in around her family 
  • Mental training…
  • Being prepared with food and water
  • Final words of advice and top tips
Social Media
Instagram - @growadventurously  
Facebook - @growadventurously
Jul 27, 2021
Megan in her own words:
“I’m Megan (she/her) and I live in Portland, OR. I’m on a mission to inspire people to live their life without limits. I want to show people that you can do, be and live however you want AND that you can change your mind about what that means any time you want. Your mind has the power to climb whatever mountains your facing and I’m here to help guide you.
I fell in love with rock and mountain climbing 4 years ago and struggled to find my place at first. Instagram played a huge role in helping me step into my power when I started following other plus size adventurers. I want to increase representation of plus size people in the outdoors, especially in leadership/guide roles. I want to see more people who look like me in marketing from outdoor gear companies. And I REALLY want to get better technical gear for bigger bodies so we can keep doing all the things outside safely (and even fashionably? What a dream).”
Dr. Megan Banker practices from a Health at Every Size model meaning she teaches her patients how to improve their health without focusing on weight. Megan is a co-founder of Climb Big, an initiative to increase representation of plus size rock climbers.
“My body is not an object for your actions or feelings to be directed.
My body is not a thing that receives action or inaction.
It does not exist for your fantasy, ridicule, attitudes, judgements, lust, admiration or hatred.
My body is a subject. It is. It does. It moves. It breathes. It experiences. It loves. It is so much more than an object.
My body is a subject.”
- Shared by Megan on IG - 3rd April 2021.
Content Warning: We talk about bullying and dieting at a young age.
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • 31 years old, Living in Portland, Oregon
  • Being a plus sized climber
  • Growing up in Central California 
  • Being the oldest of 3 girls
  • Growing up in a bigger body
  • Starting swimming at 4 years old
  • Going to an academically intense prep school
  • Taking up rugby in college
  • Deciding to become a Doctor…
  • Reflecting back on her teenage years
  • Being put on a diet at 8 years old
  • Yo-yo dieting 
  • Living in a bigger body 
  • Building self confidence through sport
  • Why rugby is such an inclusive sport
  • Stepping into her power as a bigger bodied woman
  • Loving the physicality of rugby
  • Joyful movement
  • Getting into hiking in her late 20s
  • Moving to Portland after Grad School in 2015
  • Joining Meet Up to connect with others
  • Gaining new skills in climbing 
  • The Mazamas 8 week Course (Portland) 
  • Solo hiking and wild camping for the first time
  • The biggest challenge Megan has had to face in the outdoors
  • Being competitive with herself
  • Putting pressure on herself
  • Fat is not a feeling
  • Becoming her own best friend
  • Being kind to herself
  • Not having a good experience while Snowboarding
  • Feel the feelings
  • Balancing the stresses of life
  • Meeting husband
  • The power of role models
  • The women who inspire Megan in the climbing and hiking space
  • Unlikely Hikers - A diverse outdoor community🌲, hiking group 🥾 & podcast 🎧 for the underrepresented hiker 
  • Jenny Bruso -  @jennybruso 
  • Sam Ortiz - @samortizphoto  INFJ 🦖PlusSize Latinx Mountaineer🗻Founder of @climb.big Adventure Photographer 📸She/Her 🏕 Sharing beginner tips for new hikers   
  • Mirna Valerio @themirnavator 
  • What PDX stands for
  • Words she would have wanted to hear when she was younger
  • Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder 
  • “Choose to be brave”
Social Media
Climb Big Website - A community for fat and plus size rock climbers. Stories, Events & Education 
Jul 22, 2021
Krystal Salvent is all things fitness and fun who started cycling in 2018 when preparing for America’s Most Beautiful Ride, a 100-mile ride in and around Lake Tahoe, NV to help fund research for Leukemia and Lymphoma. That same year she moved from New York City to Colorado in the chase of more cycling adventures.
“Bikes have allowed me to journey, adventure, and give back but also build a community.” says Krystal. This is why she is a co-leader with Black Girls Do Bike Denver to help promote cycling among a community of BIPOC women, femmes, and girls in Colorado. 
Krystal is an ambassador of OUTRIDE, a non-profit focused on providing evidence-based cycling interventions to improve social, emotional, and cognitive health in youth. 
Since moving to Colorado, she has experienced some of the most exhilarating times on the bike, connecting with other athletes, who like her, want to let everyone know that they TOO love to ride bikes. Her excitement for a future when it's safe to group ride has her more excited and motivated than ever.
When Krystal is not riding bikes, you can find her hiking with her pup, Latte, and snowboarding.
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 Krystal
  • What she’s involved in
  • Being with 2 puppies
  • Not growing up with bikes
  • Bikes as a form of transportation
  • Not seeing bikes as a sport
  • Being an athlete from a young age
  • Growing up with 4 brothers
  • Being inspired by track stars and wanting to be a runner
  • Wanting to move her body
  • Getting into cycling through spinning
  • Moving to NYC and getting involved in the fitness industry
  • Taking her “spinning” outside
  • Being born on 9/11
  • Team In Training - Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Learning how to ride a bike outdoors
  • Main concerns and considerations from moving from a stationary bike to riding outdoors
  • Being overly ambitious
  • Being supported and encouraged
  • Getting uncomfortable 
  • Being inspired by everyday athletes 
  • Making the decision to move to Denver, Colorado
  • Black Girls Do Bike: Denver 
  • Riding 100 miles per week during covid and getting back in training mode
  • Getting into mountain biking 
  • Growing the community and the magical moments
  • Training and looking for a coach
  • Spending time in the saddle
  • Moving on from dentistry 
  • A typical training week
  • Rest and recovery
  • Having a shower beer!
  • Figuring out food and nutrition while riding
  • Slow climb or fast descent?
  • Getting back on the bike after a crash
  • Being an Ambassador for Outride
  • Being a role model for her nieces and nephews
  • Final words of advice to motivate and inspire you 
Social Media
Instagram: @krystalsalvent 
Twitter: @krystalsalvent 
Black Girls Do Bike: Denver - Promoting cycling among our community of Black women, femmes, and girls in Colorado. 
Instagram:  @bgdbdenver 
Jul 20, 2021
Rosie Stancer has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to expeditions of increasing severity. Her endeavours have earned her a high public profile in the UK amongst living explorers.
On each of the expeditions, Rosie undertakes research – meteorological, environmental and physiological. Data from the latter is processed into published scientific papers with a view to helping both athletes and other expeditioners content with the challenges of their undertakings. 
Since her first expedition, Rosie has always championed the need for any endeavour to forge a wealthy legacy of learning, sharing and inspiring others.
Rosie’s expeditions include:
1997 THE ALL WOMEN NORTH POLE RELAY  - First all women team to reach The North Pole, A world 1st.
2000 MILLENNIUM WOMEN’S SOUTH POLE EXPEDITION  - Rosie was a member of the 5 women team to reach The South Pole. They were the 1st all-women team to do so. World 1st.
2003 SNICKERS SOUTH POLE SOLO - Rosie embarked alone on a solo expedition of 1,000k  with no resupplies & a sledge of 120 kilos to the South Pole. She smashed all previous speed records reaching the Pole in 43 days. (fastest previously some 64 days).
2007 MARS NORTH POLE SOLO - A record-breaking Expedition which had never before, nor since, been bettered. Rosie skied, climbed & swam across the frozen arctic ocean, alone for 84 days, setting another world record as the longest and furthest solo expedition to the north pole by any woman.
2011 Rosie explored the sea ice around Broughton Island in the high arctic, with award-winning photographer, Martin Hartley, in an area densely populated with polar bears. She spent time living with the Inuits, learning their ways of coping with climate changes & the modern-day challenges.
2018 Rosie led her team of women and two ex-military men through the more remote and less trodden dunes of the Wahiba sand. The expedition was undertaken as a training exercise in navigating, survival and cameleering in anticipation of A forthcoming major expedition through the length of the Interior of the fearsome Taklamakan desert in China, the country’s largest giant-dune desert, second in size only to the Sahara. 
2019 A sledging expedition the full length of the frozen Siberian Lake Baikal, the largest, deepest and oldest fresh-water lake in the world. This was a ‘Solo’ & unsupported endeavour, undertaken jointly with another teammate but with both starting at opposite ends then ski-ing the furthermost southerly, westerly, easterly and northerly points of the lake. A total distance of some 675 km. The represented the first and longest full crossing undertaken solo by a woman, Rosie’s most recent ‘first’.
Rosie holds the Explorers Club Medal, The Mirror Pride of Britain medal and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and is Vice President of SES – Scientific Exploration Society.
CONTENT WARNING - We talk about the self-amputation of toes with a penknife. 
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 Rosie?
  • Being an explorer of the poles and deserts
  • Wanting to share stories to motivate and inspire others
  • Being inspired by Liv Arnesen
  • What Rosie was like as a little girl
  • Being brought up by nannies and going to prep boarding school at 7 in Scotland
  • Not having dreams to go to the poles
  • Being aware of opportunities and going after them
  • Applying for the first all women expedition to the pole
  • Going though a year long selection process
  • Friends and family and what they though of her dreams
  • Being supported by her husband
  • The advantage of being part of an all women polar team
  • Sponsorship and raising funds
  • Getting out to the North Pole for the first time
  • What people need to know about the poles
  • Why the Arctic is more dangerous 
  • Mental preparation for the first polar expedition
  • What’s in your head and your heart and your “ying” strengths
  • Gaining mental confidence and mental resilience
  • Resilience and flexibility
  • Solo Expeditions and being sponsored by Snickers and Mars
  • Preparation for taking on a solo challenge
  • Working with researchers and academics
  • The importance of staying positive
  • Being fascinated by fear and how you cope with fear when you are on your own
  • How her fears changed whilst out on the ice
  • Having a fear of failure 
  • Why it’s about the journey
  • Self amputation of toes…. whilst solo on the Arctic
  • Dealing with extreme temperatures of -60 and getting frostbite in her toes
  • Dealing with pain
  • Getting up full of positivity and optimism
  • Coping with isolation
  • Dealing with the adventure blues
  • How motherhood changed adventure 
  • Lessons learned from expeditions
  • What day to day life is like now
  • Future expedition planned for August 2021
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Training to be fit like an animal
  • Words that Rosie lives her life by
  • Final words of advice
Social Media
Website -
Instagram - @rosiestancerexplorer 
Jul 15, 2021
Dora is a Running Coach for Nike UK and has launched Ultra Black Running - a community of Black Women and Non-Binary people to explore and experience the world of trail running. 
“I’ll do everything I can, to make sure trail running becomes more diverse and work towards overcoming any barriers we may face”
Dora is a youth mentor and works on self-development programmes to encourage young people to engage in sport based initiatives.
Listen to Dora on the Tough Girl Podcast! New episodes go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out! 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Why running is a really useful life tool
  • Starting running in 2013
  • Getting into running via boxing 
  • Getting into boxing via a friend
  • Starting to take training seriously
  • Finding her tribe
  • The struggle with starting to run
  • Pushing herself to see how far she could run
  • Doing her first 10k
  • The importance of going back to you why
  • Having people to help hold you accountable
  • Struggling with the label of being "a runner”
  • Going to a run club for the first time
  • If you run, you are a runner
  • What happens at a run club
  • Feeling part of a team
  • Becoming a running coach
  • Leadership in Running
  • Studying Sports Coaching at University
  • Deciding to take on The Speed Project! 
  • Running from LA to Las Vegas 
  • Being part of a team of 8
  • Doing intense training
  • Running in Death Valley
  • Fears and concerns before the race
  • Getting through tough sections
  • Her role in the team
  • The push to the finish line and celebrating the end!
  • Needing a new challenge…
  • Deciding to the Speed Project a second time!!
  • Her favourite distance to run
  • What a typical running week would look like
  • Training for life
  • Running the Virtual Race to the Stones (100k in 7 days) 
  • Getting out of the door in the morning
  • Having to be tough on yourself to get things done
  • Foam rolling & stretching….
  • Advice from her physio around active recovery
  • Founding Ultra Black Running in July 2020
  • Wanting to do something for Black Women
  • Getting into trail running
  • Starting to fall out of love with running
  • Feeling overwhelmed and anxious
  • Wanting to share the joy with other people
  • Waning to create a space for Black Women and Non Binary people
  • Encouraging others to get into trail running
  • Her dreams and thinking 5 years in the future
  • Wanting to continue doing the work she is doing
  • Loving South African House music
  • Follow Dora on Spotify
  • Final word of advice to encourage other women to get running 
Social Media
Last Pick Athletics Club (LPAC) was created by and for individuals who want to change the way they look at exercise and fitness.
Website - 
Ultra Black Running - Celebrating and championing Black women and Black non-binary people in Trail running and beyond.
Instagram @ultrablackrunning
Jul 13, 2021
Charlotte graduated from University with a BA in Drama and Classical Archaeology and a MA in Social Anthropology (Specialising in Visual Anthropology). 
During her MA she lived and filmed with a community of Maya deep in the Central American rainforest for her research and discovered, what the archaeological remains of Belize, hold for the Maya people of today.
In 2019, she was named the Scientific Exploration Societies River Foundation Explorer for Health and Humanities 2019.
With this award she returned to live with the Maya of Central America to produce educational resources in their native language, explore the surrounding jungle for ancient Maya archaeology and deliver dental hygiene workshops.
She is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of The Explorers Club. 
In addition she is an author and educator, currently working remotely from a small volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean.
When she is not exploring, she enjoys boxing and weightlifting.
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Charlotte
  • Spending time in Central America
  • Living and teaching in the South Atlantic Ocean 
  • Growing up in the countryside 
  • Her dreams as a little girl 
  • Not knowing what she wanted to do with her life
  • Deciding to study Drama and Classical Archaeology
  • Doing her Masters in Social Anthropology (Specialising in Visual Anthropology). 
  • What is Anthropology?
  • Deciding to spend time with the Maya people
  • Organising her first expedition at 23 years old
  • Wanting to study the Ancient Maya culture
  • Planning and funding the expedition 
  • Making some mistakes on the first expedition
  • Spending a month with the Maya people and what that entailed
  • What a typical day was like
  • Gender roles and how they are changing
  • The importance of family and friends 
  • Eco Tourism and the community
  • The languages spoken
  • Working in the film industry and wanting to keep her options open
  • Applying for an expedition to Kenya in 2018 as a filmmaker
  • Magical moments with wildlife while in Kenya
  • What happens with regards to filming and the role of film co-ordinator
  • Advice for aspiring filmmakers
  • The challenges of filming in the heat
  • SES Rivers Foundation Explorer 2019
  • The financial awards available 
  • The 2nd expedition to the Maya in early 2020
  • The logistics of planning for a larger expedition
  • Hearing about Covid via the radio while being in the jungle
  • Working with the children and writing down the myths and legends from the culture
  • Working with local members of the community on special projects
  • The loss of the local language
  • Trekking through jungle and swimming in water caves
  • What does adventure and exploration mean 
  • Tips and advice for women who want to do more solo adventures 
  • The importance of being prepared
  • Giving talks in girls schools and giving advice for girls who want to get into the sciences and engineering
  • What’s next for Charlotte
  • Being interested in Medical Expeditions
  • Final words of advice
Social Media
Instagram @charlotteaustwick
Twitter @casa1009
Jul 8, 2021
Preet in her own words:
“I’ve always been ambitious and enjoyed pushing my boundaries. I had limited knowledge of polar travel when I decided I wanted to do a solo Antarctic expedition. 
I wanted to inspire people to believe in themselves. Nobody starts as an expert, everybody starts somewhere, you learn as you go and the more you learn, the closer it brings you to your goal. I started on google reading about polar expeditions and now I’ve completed training and expedition in Norway and Greenland, ready for my next step to Antarctica.
I’m an Army Physiotherapist and I love adventure and finding new ways to push my limits. 
After playing tennis full time as a teenager training in the Czech Republic, I moved back to England at 19 to pursue a different path and to gain my degree in Physiotherapy. This will remain one of my biggest achievements as I came back to the UK with minimal GCSEs and no A-levels. 
I completed my first half marathon at the age of 20, this progressed to ultra marathons and I’m now training for a 700 mile solo, unsupported expedition in Antartica.
This expedition will make me the first Asian female to complete a solo journey on the continent. 
Hopefully it will inspire so many other people, it aims to inspire future generations in achieving whatever they desire and pushing boundaries. It is a solo expedition but i want to bring as many people on the journey with me as possible.”
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Preet?
  • Seeing an advert for the army and deciding to sign up
  • Playing professional tennis from 14 years old
  • Not enjoying tennis anymore and deciding to leave the sport
  • Feeling as though she was behind all her peers at 19
  • Making the decision to go to university
  • Getting advice from a variety of different people
  • Female role models
  • Not feeling very academic 
  • Wanting to inspire her 9 yr old niece
  • Her progression in running from a half marathon to ultra marathons
  • Doing a 30hr endurance event
  • Spending time in South America
  • Doing Marathon des Sables  
  • Mental resilience and mental grit
  • Focusing on what she can control
  • Talking to friends
  • The power of writing things down
  • Where the dream of going to Antarctica came from
  • Starting with the research, getting on google and reading blogs
  • Connecting with Louis Rudd MBE (record-breaking polar adventurer) 
  • Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions 
  • Needing to gain more winter experience
  • Deciding to book a trip to Iceland to get glacier experience 
  • Booking onto a polar training course
  • Money and paying for trips
  • Asking people for help
  • Team Army 
  • Getting her first sponsor
  • Dealing with cultural norms and pressures of expectation
  • Being labeled a rebel
  • When are you getting married?
  • The power of eduction
  • Wanting to break down barriers
  • Following a physical training plan and working with a coach
  • Being sensible with her training and not wanting to peak too soon
  • Final words of advice to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone
Social Media
Instagram - @polarpreet 
Facebook @polarpreet 
Go Fund Me - 
Jul 6, 2021
Maria Coffey is the author of twelve internationally published, award winning books, the co-owner of an adventure travel company and an adventurer in her own right.
Growing up in England, Maria always dreamt of having a freewheeling life, with no real idea of how she could make that happen. In her twenties she fell in love with an elite Himalayan mountaineer, Joe Tasker, and her adventures became vicarious ones, as she waited at home during his long expeditions. When Joe disappeared on the NE Ridge of Everest, in 1982, Maria was devastated. “His death blew my life apart,” she says, “but ultimately it jolted me alive.” A few years later she moved to Canada. She met a man who shared her dream of travelling the world, and together they began to make it a reality.
Shortly after marrying Dag, Maria wrote her first book, Fragile Edge: Loss on Everest, an account of her relationship with Joe Tasker and her own journey to Everest in the wake of his death. The writing was pure catharsis, an untangling of emotional knots in her past so that she could move into the future. Originally published in 1989, Fragile Edge became a classic in mountaineering literature and has won several prizes. Years later Maria wrote Where the Mountain Casts its Shadow: The Dark Side of Adventure, about the emotional toll of climbing, which won the Jon Whyte Literature Prize at the 2003 Banff Festival and a 2004 National Outdoor Book Award. She completed what she calls ‘an unintentional trilogy’ with Explorers of the Infinite, an examination of the link between adventure and spiritual experience. For these three books she was awarded the 2009 American Alpine Club’s H. Adams Carter Literary Award.
In the meantime Maria was publishing books about her exploits with Dag. Throwing up secure careers, they became expedition kayakers and a writer/photographer team. They paddled through the Solomon Islands, down the River Ganges, up Lake Malawi, and around Vancouver Island. They travelled the length of the coast of Vietnam on local boats and bikes. Dag, who is a large animal vet, did seasonal work in rural areas of Wales and Ireland, and they were head-hunted by a US travel company to develop international kayaking trips. In between all this kaleidoscopic activity, their home base was a tiny island in British Columbia, from where they commuted to the nearest town by kayak.
In 2000 they set up Hidden Places, a boutique adventure travel company, taking small groups of like-minded travellers to remarkable corners of the world. When they weren’t leading trips, they were still exploring themselves. After Dag had a life-changing experience with an elephant in Rajasthan, they established Elephant Earth, advocating and fundraising for elephant conservation and welfare in Africa and S.E Asia.
After Explorers of the Infinite was published, Maria took a break from writing. She is now back in her author’s skin, working on a memoir about choosing to be an adventurer instead of a mother. In the growing body of literature about the childfree choice, her book will fill an important niche, giving the perspective of an older woman – Maria is in her late 60s - who has led, and is still leading, an extraordinary life.
When they are not travelling, or sailing aboard their tiny boat, Maria and Dag divide their time between downtown Victoria, BC and a medieval village in Catalonia, Spain.
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Maria?
  • Moving to Canada in the 1980s
  • Giving up her teaching career in her early 30s to lead a life of adventure
  • Writing 12 books and being the co-owner of an adventure travel company 
  • Her early years and having a very sheltered childhood in Wolverhampton
  • Being the youngest of 3 
  • Having different dreams from an early age
  • Being inspired by Alice in Wonderland
  • Going to Liverpool University 
  • Finding a teaching job 
  • Trying to figure out how to have a life travelling the world
  • Longing for a bigger life
  • Being drawn to people who were leading adventurous lives
  • Getting involved in the mountain climbing community 
  • Falling in love with a big mountain climber called Joe Tasker
  • Dealing with grief and loss when there is no body
  • Being supported by the adventure community
  • Not knowing how to rebuild her life
  • Wanting to live intensely 
  • Having a near drowning experience at 21 in Morocco
  • Deciding to move to Canada on a teacher exchange experience
  • Meeting a Dag and sharing the same dream
  • The life as a supportive partner to an adventurer
  • Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure  
  • Becoming super independent 
  • Getting married to Dag
  • Taking a year out to go travelling on a massive adventure in 1981
  • Role models and figuring out how to make a freelance lifestyle work
  • Being a pioneer in expedition kayaking 
  • Planning Vs being flexible 
  • Being determined to be on the river
  • Creating Hidden Places in 2000
  • Heading to Vietnam in 1994
  • Being adaptable to changing plans
  • Becoming part time kayak guides by accident 
  • What adventure means to Maria
  • Choosing to be an adventurer instead of a mother
  • The childfree choice
  • Looking for a publisher
  • Turning back to writing after taking a break
  • Final words of advice
Social Media
Instagram @insidehiddenplaces 
Jul 1, 2021
Soraya believes in taking a holistic approach to making the world a better place, and writes about sustainability, nature and adventure travel. Soraya is Lonely Planet Sustainable Storyteller 2021 and founder of the All The Elements – a community working to increase diversity in the UK outdoors.
Soraya in her own words:
In 2014, I left my ‘dream job’ to make a difference. I kickstarted my new career by studying sustainability for business. As a reward to myself for handing in my dissertation, I went wild camping and canoeing on the Mississippi river. This trip was far more than an adventure holiday – it was a re-connection to nature. I want to help you to be more mindful in what you do and to understand that individual decisions can make a positive impact on our planet. When I'm not travelling, writing or creating net-positive artwork, you'll find me tackling diversity in the UK outdoors, organising all-women sailing trips exploring plastics and toxics in our ocean and walking my labradoodle Rory.
Listen to Soraya on the Tough Girl Podcast - New episodes go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Soraya
  • What her childhood was like 
  • Having a passion for horses
  • Going to university to study law
  • Pivoting her career into sustainability
  • Not being happy in her dream job
  • Figuring out her purpose
  • Wanting to study sustainability for business
  • What does sustainability mean to Soraya
  • The One Planet MBA - University of Exeter 
  • Adventure and sustainability 
  • Why adventure has to have a purpose
  • Why are we going to these places?
  • How are we communicating what we are seeing?
  • Travel with a lower impact
  • Getting involved in the adventure community
  • Being inspired by Ben Keene  
  • Rebel Book club 
  • Love Her Wild 
  • The Yes Tribe 
  • Adventure Uncovered 
  • Explore at the RGS 
  • Starting to travel on her own in 2016
  • Taking a trip to the Sahara desert 
  • Canoeing on the Mississippi with Dave Cornthwaite and Emily Penn 
  • Liking to have shared experiences while adventuring 
  • Losing the fear
  • The Sail Britain Voyage 
  • Not always being artistic, but always being creative
  • Wanting to be able to paint and draw
  • Drawing while on expedition 
  • Heading to Vancouver in 2018
  • The challenges to tacking plastic
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Breaking the challenge down
  • Black Lives Matter 
  • How can we create change?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • Making informed decisions
  • All the elements which was set up in August 2020
  • The importance of role modelling
  • Stepping into the light
  • The many aspects to diversity 
  • Bringing everyone together 
  • Sharing her story online and feeling uncomfortable at the start
  • Taking on a new project with her mum and dog (Rory)
  • Deciding to walk the South West Coast Path 
  • Final words of advice
  • Working out what is important to you 
  • Not worrying about what other people are doing
Social Media
Personal Website - 
All The Elements - A network to support everyone working to increase diversity in the UK outdoors #diversifyoutdoorsuk.  
Facebook @sorayaearth 
Twitter @sorayaearth
Jun 29, 2021
Mina was born in the UK and moved to Nigeria when she was five years old. Mina had a carefree childhood growing up in Northern Nigeria with siblings, before deciding to move back to the UK at sixteen to continue her education. 
Mina shares more about this challenging time in her life, from losing her mother at eighteen years old and having to work three part time jobs to support herself as she continued her education to become a Doctor.
Mina talks about her reasons for deciding to join the army and how she incorporated fitness into her already busy schedule. Mina talks about her passion for running and why its such a big part of life, she talks about training, jegging and taking on her first marathon and what she has learned along the way, and why she has kept on running even after being diagnosed with Lupus (autoimmune disease) a long-term condition that causes joint pain, skin rashes and tiredness. 
If you are passionate about running then this is the episode for you to listen to, Mina will inspire you to take your first step and to sign up for a marathon, whether that’s taking on a fast flat marathon like the Berlin Marathon or deciding to head to New York City to experience a running atmosphere like no other. 
Listen to Mina now on the Tough Girl Podcast - available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud & iheartradio.
New episodes go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out.
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please visit Monthly and annual options available. 
Show notes
  • Being born in Newcastle 
  • Moving to the North of Nigeria at 5 years old until 16
  • Being the middle child
  • Being able to walk to school and living in a very peaceful area
  • Spending a lot of time outside
  • Moving back to England at 16 for her education
  • Wanting to be a Doctor from a young age
  • Her journey to joining the military in the UK
  • Being independent from a young age
  • Working 3 jobs while being in full time education
  • How it all changed in her 3rd year at University
  • Being accepted into the Army 
  • Being able to focus on her studies full time
  • Broken sleep and studying for University
  • Kindness of strangers who helped her
  • Not getting the A’Level grades she needed
  • Losing her mum at 18  
  • Going back to college for another year and getting offered a place at Southhampton
  • How fitness and maintaining her health during stressful times
  • Finishing university and focusing on her military fitness
  • Learning how to run and focusing on swimming
  • Being taken outside her comfort zone
  • Being stubborn and not liking to be told no
  • What drives her
  • Learning to be comfortable in her own skin
  • Starting to love running
  • Deciding to run her first marathon to raise money for charity
  • Signing up for the Berlin Marathon 
  • The benefits of going on long runs
  • Being diagnosed with Lupus
  • Jeffing - walk/run 
  • Figuring out her run training and focusing on her pace
  • The Hanson Marathon Method 
  • Happy memories from the NYC marathon
  • Telling her story to inspire young women
  • The Namu Project
  • Visiting Internally displaced people (IDPs) at camps in Nigeria
  • Crochet with plastic bags
  • Maintaining her positivity when there is so much to do 
  • Needing to impact one person 
  • Taking her children to the IDP camps
  • How the charity is coping doing Covid
  • Wanting to teach basic breast examination to women
  • Final words of advice to motivate and inspire
Social Media
Namu Project - “Namu" is Hausa for "ours". A charity working towards alleviating poverty through training, education and empowerment.
Instagram - @thenamuproject 
Instagram - @justdoing.m.e 
Jun 24, 2021
Kat spent her early years in France and England, and has lived and studied in the Middle East (Syria, Egypt) prior to studying medicine, Kat gained a BA in Arabic and Law.  
During this episode Kat shares more about why she decided to change careers to become a Doctor and the challenges she overcame to make her dream become a reality, from going back to night school to get science A’levels to dealing with imposter syndrome.
Kat shares more about her recent challenge of spending 18 months living and working in the remote and isolated Bird Island, in South Gerogia, which is only accessible via a 4 day boat journey and what it was like coming back to a different world to the one she left behind in October 2019. 
Kat shares more about being part of a small team and community, how the expectations compared to reality and the lessons she has learned from that experience. We learn about the wifi and living situation, food, money and what she did in her down time. This is an insightful and open conversation about this unique experience.
Kat is also a keen endurance runner and has completed many ultra races from the Spartathlon race in 2017 where she ran from Athens to Sparta! Kat has also done the Dragons Back Race in 2017, plus the Grand Union Canal Race 2016 - where she placed 2nd female, and the Centurion 4x100mile "Grand Slam" 2014 - where she was the first female. Kat shared more about her passion for running on the Tough Girl Podcast episode 367. That episode was released today (24th June) at 7am UK time. By hitting the subscribe button you won’t miss out on any bonus content!
New episodes go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time!
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Show notes
  • Who is Kat
  • Coming back from Antarctica to a different world 
  • Not wanting to become a Doctor
  • How medicine was a second career
  • Moving to France when she was 12/13
  • Studying Arabic and Law for her first university degree
  • Heading back to study medicine in 2007
  • Working in Malaysia and Egypt
  • Going back to night school to get science A’Levels
  • Going into medicine at an older age
  • Dispelling the myths about being a Doctor in Antarctica
  • How the job came about 
  • Being ready to commit 2 years of her life
  • 6 months of training with the British Antarctic Survey 
  • Being single and taking the opportunity that came available 
  • Heading to South Georgia, Bird Island
  • Wanting to live and work in a small team in a small community
  • Expectations V Reality
  • Being on call all the time
  • Helping each other out with the running of the station
  • Downtime and learning how to weld
  • Wifi and connection with the outside world
  • Setting up a running club 
  • Team dynamics with a group of strangers who may or may not get on with each other
  • Having her own room for the 7 months of winter
  • Feeling guilty about not being in the UK and not being able to help with the pandemic
  • Missing cuddles and physical contact
  • Romance?!
  • Best memories from the trip
  • Money - not having to pay for rent and food 
  • Would she go back?
  • Salads, cheese, fresh fruit & vegetables
  • Advice and top tips for those people wanting to go to Antarctica 
Social Media
Instagram - @katganly 
Twitter - @katganly 
Jun 24, 2021
Kat is a keen endurance runner and has undertaken many of the Toughest Endurance Races - from running across the Sahara Desert in Morocco while competing in the Marathon des Sables. Or challenging her body to take on 4, 100 miler races in the UK - which is known as the Centurion “Grand Slam” which she did in 2014 and placed as first female. 
Every year since Kat has looked to take on a new running challenge which would test her from the Dragons Back race in 2015 - where she got her first DNF, to taking on the Grand Union Canal Race race in 2016 -where she placed 2nd female.
Not to be deterred by her DNF in 2015, Kat took onboard the key lessons she needed to work on, trained hard and heading back to face the race in 2017, where she finished with a smile on her face. 
With her 100 mile race times, Kat qualified for the Spartathlon ballot in 2017.  When her name was pulled out the hat she was in shock, she didn’t think she’d be taking on the 250km timed race from Athens to Sparta quite so soon! 
The race takes place in the September of every year in Greece. It is one of the most challenging ultra-distance races plus it has a very unique history. 
Kat will be sharing more about her different ultra races, how she got into the world of ultra running, the lessons she has learned along the way, how she trains, what she eats to fuel her challenges as well as talking in detail about her mindset, staying resilient and overcoming setbacks and failure. 
There is also a Tough Girl Extra BONUS episode with Kat - where she will be sharing more about her life as an Antarctic Doctor (Oct 2019- March 2021 - South Georgia, Bird Island and RRS James Clark Ross) - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. This goes live at 11am TODAY!!
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time.
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Her first experience of running 
  • Deciding to enter the 2010 Brighton Marathon 
  • Hearing about the 2013 Marathon des Sables 
  • Why she decided to enter…
  • Deciding to treat herself as a gradation present  
  • Wanting to take on a 100 mile single day race
  • Discovering the Centurion Grand Slam Event (4 - 100 mile races in a calendar year) 
  • Making friends in the long distance running community
  • The Dragons Back Race 2015
  • Dealing with failure and having her first DNF
  • Turning failure into a challenge
  • Deciding to run the Dragons Back Race in 2017
  • The Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR), UK, Birmingham to London, 148 miles 
  • Being able to enter the ballet for the Spartathlon Race 
  • What’s involved in the Spartathlon Race and why it’s so hard
  • Getting a trainer and following a training plan while working full time as a Doctor
  • Her motivation for training
  • 2018/2019 preparing to go to Antarctica
  • Mindset from making the change from a multi stage race to a single stage race
  • What’s the next thing which is a bit harder?
  • Breaking down the challenge to make it more manageable 
  • Keeping focused on the present and not looking too far ahead
  • Recovery in between races when taking on 4 - 100mile races in a year
  • The benefits of gentle walking and taking time away from running
  • Planning her training before getting a running trainer
  • Running 6/7 days per week, plus long runs at the weekend
  • To get faster you have to run faster
  • What happened in the 2015 Dragons Back Race
  • Not being able to recover between day 1 and day 2
  • Dealing with failure and the lessons learned
  • Top tips for people who want to enter the Dragons Back Race
  • The importance of hill training and navigation
  • Eat on the ups
  • Eating while running and go to nutrition
  • Working with a trainer and the mental side of preparation for the Spartathlon Race
  • The benefits of proper, focused training
  • Missing a session….
  • The Spartathlon Experience
  • Needing assistance at the end
  • Feeling relief at the end of the race
  • Feeling deflated after getting home from Greece
  • Top tips for runners
Social Media
Instagram - @katganly 
Twitter - @katganly 
Jun 22, 2021
Alvina was brought up in a traditional Navajo running family and she has always loved to get outside in nature and run, she dreamed about being a competitive runner when she was younger and pursued this dream by heading off to Arizona State University to compete for them.
Alvina has made it to the Olympic trials three times in the marathon and the 10K distance. She runs a 2hr 22 min marathon time. 
Alvina is a Registered Dietitian, and has a Masters Degree in Health Administration. In November 2020 Alvina gave birth to a healthy baby girl. 
During this episode Alvina shares more about her passion for running; how she trains, what she eats and how motherhood has impacted on her running. Plus the women who inspire her. Listen now!
New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out! 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Alvina introduces herself by her clan in her traditional Navajo culture
  • Explanation of her introduction
  • Becoming a mother in November 2020
  • Growing up in a small town on the Navajo Reservation
  • Life as a new mother to a baby girl
  • Just about getting enough sleep
  • The naming of her child with a traditional Navajo name
  • Being a high risk pregnancy
  • Sharing more about the Navajo Culture
  • What her childhood was like and her connection to nature
  • Growing up in a running family 
  • Having a coming of age ceremony 
  • Having a female mentor and being taught how to be a strong Navajo Woman
  • The importance of running to the East every morning
  • Thoughts while running and enjoying her run time
  • Knowing that she wanted to be a runner from a young age
  • Making the transition from running for pleasure to being more competitive
  • The Olympic Trials in 2008
  • Not being a super start in college 
  • Working with a Native American running coach Mike Daney
  • Focusing on the 2012 Olympic Trials
  • The importance of a coach 
  • Being a small town girl
  • What a typical training week would look like  (120 miles weeks, speed work, hills)
  • Doing more strength training and helping to reduce injury
  • Diet, fuelling and nutrition while training
  • Making sure she got enough iron
  • Getting blood work done every 3 months
  • The hardest aspect of training and how she approached it
  • Changing her mindset and how her mindset evolved as she got older
  • Working with a sports psychologist
  • Running while pregnant
  • Having a difficult labour and needing to take 6 weeks off
  • Increasing her milage gradually and getting back into shape
  • Working on rebuilding her ab strength
  • The hardest challenge mentally with running and pregnancy
  • Needing to focus on herself and the health of her baby
  • Being surrounded by good people
  • The women who inspire her
  • Rachel Sneider @rachschneid18 
  • Michele Reyes @micheleinthemaking 
  • Final words of advice
  • Be patient and be consistent 
Social Media
Instagram @aybegay 
Jun 17, 2021
As our world grows ever smaller and more connected, it’s easier to travel, but harder to find true adventure but at twenty-eight years old, Lucy is at the forefront of modern exploration. 
From high mountains, rainforests, to the Arctic, she has plotted a thrilling, inimitable path. Made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society at age twenty three and on the council for the Scientific Exploration Society as a result of her expedition achievements. 
Lucy's expeditions have taken her all over the globe and she now shares her love for this world with others by both guiding expeditions to the Arctic and sharing her own adventures on film.
Lucy in her own words:
“I am a strong believer that when we put ourselves in challenging situations, whatever that may be, that our character grows and we become better people as a result. Given the current climate of how those in power are acting and how mental health and obesity problems are on the rise, we could all do with stepping outside our comfort zone and doing what we previously thought impossible.”
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Being called an adventurer!
  • Her job and what she does
  • Spending time in the Arctic, Jungle and high mountains
  • Her parents
  • Her early years, climbing trees and being creative
  • Losing her mojo in her teenage years
  • The term ‘expedition’
  • Applying to join a scientific expedition in Svalbard at age 18
  • Trying to figure out what’s next
  • Her next steps to make adventure her career
  • Going to York University to study film and TV production
  • Trying to gain new skills over the next 3 years
  • Connecting with individuals via the Royal Geographical Society 
  • Spending 1 month in the jungle at 22 years old
  • Saying she wanted to be an adventurer for real in 2015
  • Living in the jungle for a month
  • Being stalked by a jaguar
  • Dealing with the dangers of the jungle
  • Deciding to head back to the jungle in early 2020
  • Wanting to do citizen science 
  • Kanuku mountain range in the Amazon jungle of Guyana
  • Micro plastics in the jungle…. 
  • Having 3 weeks for the expedition
  • How the expedition evolved and changed
  • Documenting the journey 
  • Her process for planning expeditions
  • The initial idea
  • The struggle of getting detailed maps
  • Advice for sponsorship and why you need to tell everyone about it
  • The challenges of covid and getting sponsorship
  • Getting physically ready for the expeditions
  • What a typical weeks looks like training
  • Mental training before and during expeditions
  • Calculating risks
  • Spending 2 weeks in a tent on Denali at -40 degrees
  • Moving into acceptance 
  • Peeing in the tent!
  • Periods on mountain expeditions
  • Charging electronics - Goal Zero 
  • Practical tips for dealing with the cold
  • Why you need to empty your bladder before bed
  • Favourite piece of gear
  • Why you should be bothered.
Social Media
Website - 
Instagram: @lucysheps 
(New) YouTube Channel: LucyShepherd 
Facebook: @lucysheps 
Twitter: @lucysheps 
Jun 15, 2021
Lavina Mehta is a 43-year-old award-winning Personal Trainer and mum of three who has been awarded an MBE for services to health and fitness during Covid-19 in October’s Queen Honour’s List. 
Over lockdown, she provided free twice-daily virtual workouts with her family, aimed at keeping people of all ages healthy and mentally positive from home. Her slogan was to “Exercise for Sanity not Vanity” and she also provided a free Feel Good 21 Day Workout Plan.
Lavina’s free specially designed virtual chair workouts for Seniors, in English and Gujarati, with her 73-year-old mother in law featured on national TV and radio and inspired thousands of elderly members of the community to get involved. She continues these to give back to the disproportionately affected British Asian communities and help the elderly and vulnerable stay fit, physically and mentally. 
Lavina continues providing free home workouts & videos over the pandemic. She also uses her concept of Exercise Snacking for her daily Feel Good Fitness Advent Calendar workouts through December on her Instagram. 
She appears regularly on TV and radio passionately promoting the health benefits of exercise to treat, prevent and reduce risks of common chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. She is also a big advocate of the mental health benefits of exercise.
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Lavina
  • Where she was brought up
  • Doing normal school sports
  • Her dreams as a little girl
  • Thinking about being a teacher
  • Having a passion for Art
  • Deciding to go down a managerial route
  • Using art to help with mental health
  • Her focus on education
  • Lack of Asian role models in the fitness space
  • Deciding to become a Personal Trainer
  • Having a mild medical scare
  • Joining a gym with work
  • Getting into strength training and falling in love with it
  • Studying in the evening after the children were asleep
  • Wanting to learn more about the body 
  • The benefits of strength training and why everyone should lift weight
  • The mental health benefits of lifting weight
  • Opening up to the world of social media
  • Needing to be patient with regards to getting results
  • Supporting people of all ages during lockdown. 
  • Wanting to help people and doing 15min live workout on Instagram
  • Exercise Snacking
  • Time, motivation and costs
  • “Exercise for Sanity - Not Vanity”
  • Doing exercise from home
  • Feel Good Walks - just get out - even for 10mins
  • Getting adequate rest and recovery
  • The benefits of stretching
  • Why rest is key
  • Wellness in terms of lifestyle
  • Nutrition and feeding your body during workouts
  • Helping her mum write her book - Feel Good With Food
  • Using food as well as medicine
  • Not believing in the word “diet”
  • Enjoying food and not cutting out any food groups
  • Peri-menopause and menopause 
  • Feel good fitness prescription
  • Covid and mental health and the challenges of 2020/2021
  • Workouts for women and men online
  • Seniors Session with her mother in law 
  • Final words of advice to help you feel good again
Social Media
Instagram - @feelgoodwithlavina 
Facebook - @feelgoodwithlavina  
Twitter - @feelgoodwithlavina
Jun 10, 2021
A lover of all things outdoors, Cathy is an explorer, mother, wife and USA Operations Lead at global drone-based inspection company, CyberHawk - and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
Back in 2014, Cathy led a climbing expedition to a remote part of East Greenland, establishing four new, never-before-explored routes. 
Cathy passionately believes that these kinds of life-changing experiences don’t just fall into your lap - you have to work hard for them. 
Expeditions are born from a book full of notes and ideas, endless nights of planning, and more spreadsheets than any outdoor-lover cares to imagine.
Australian-born and adopted-Scot, Cathy currently splits her time between Colorado and California, where she’s learning to both snowboard and surf, while spending time with friends and family. 
It’s safe to say that she’s really taking advantage of every opportunity life throws at her.
Listen to Cathy on the Tough Girl Podcast! New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out! 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Cath?
  • Currently based in Denver, Colorado, USA
  • Living in Scotland for the past 20 years with her husband and children
  • Working for CyberHawk using drones 
  • Growing up in Adelaide in South Australia
  • Spending time in the outdoors and climbing trees at a young age
  • Leaving Australia to go to Canada in her early 20s
  • Meeting her husband in Canada and moving to Scotland
  • Starting climbing in her mid thirties after having her 3 children
  • Making progress in climbing 
  • Having an accident and spending 9 months in recovery
  • Building her confidence back up
  • Finding people to climb with 
  • Venturing outside to climb
  • Not giving up when challenges happen
  • Dealing with fears and building confidence
  • Deciding to head to East Greenland in 2014
  • Wanting to climb in a remote and challenging location
  • Needing to find a team and get people on board
  • Starting with the research
  • Struggling to find women to come and climb
  • Spending 5 weeks in East Greenland
  • Planning the new routes
  • The tent sent up and what base camp was like
  • Feeling confident but apprehensive
  • Paying and funding for the expedition
  • Being supported by Tiso 
  • Figuring out the food requirements for 5 people for 5 weeks
  • Human waste and dealing with poo!
  • The wildlife considerations from crows to polar bears
  • Her physical preparation and working with a personal trainer 
  • Being part of a “fit-family”
  • Reflecting back on Greenland and the lessons learned
  • Being careful of the people who you surround yourself with
  • Being open to the learning 
  • The next challenge…. and wanting to head to South America
  • Final words of advice to encourage other women to take the next step
  • The power of talking about what you want to do 
Social Media
Website - 
Instagram - @cathyalldred 
Twitter @cathyalldred 
Jun 8, 2021
Before summiting Everest, Tima had climbed 18 high mountains around the world including 6 out of the 7 summits (highest mountain on every continent) and became the 1st Arab woman to climb Ojos del Salado, the highest active volcano in the world. With her passion for exploring and redefining limits, mountaineering came as a second nature to her. Staying true to her wanderer spirit, she aims to continue leading an adventurous lifestyle and never stop climbing.
Tima grew up traveling the world collecting bungee jumps and memories of nature and extreme sports. She pursued her licenses in both skydiving and advanced scuba-diving as she made both the skies and the oceans her playgrounds. But, for her, nothing compares to being on the mountains. When on Elbrus, her first summit, Tima knew that this was not yet another hobby; but a natural and essential aspect of her life- just like breathing. It’s where her soul sparkles and her light shines. It’s where she feels she is the best version of herself. And so, it was no surprise that after Elbrus, she decided to focus on mountaineering.
The once-finance professional working in a multinational firm, gave up her career ladder for the love of mountains. Life changing decision is an understatement as she threw herself in a new path she knew barely about. Yet, she explored and excelled and later ventured into entrepreneurship by launching two startups while still climbing around the world. 
When she’s not on a mountain, Tima, founder of Mountain Gipsy and a professionally certified coach, believes that her mission is to give back to the world what the mountains gave to her. As such, she works with people from all backgrounds and circumstances to develop an invincible mindset so they can achieve their most ambitious goals by becoming more resilient, creative, confident, and courageous. 
Moreover, she dedicates her time to support and raise awareness for essential socio-economic topics that are shaping our world. She’s an advocate of children, youth, and women’s rights, and an activist of environmental issues. She works with various organizations to equip children, youth, and women with the means to follow their passion, develop their leadership skills, and carve their own path for a better future. In parallel, driven by her love of nature, Tima campaigns on environment issues such as climate change, deforestation, and waste recycling.
Tima’s priority remains being in the outdoors and going for any adventure that life has to offer.
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Her mission for Arab Women
  • Going back to her childhood
  • Being into sports and wanting to try everything
  • Thinking it wasn’t for her 
  • Turning 19 and getting into scuba diving and sky diving
  • Enjoying extreme sports and living on the edge
  • Feeling the most alive when she was under pressure
  • Never thinking she would climb mountains
  • Being Nomadic and wanting to explore more of the world
  • Going travelling with her family to Nepal at 14
  • Deciding to go and climb mountains at 23
  • Making her dream come true
  • What her first steps are
  • Why you need to be determined and serious about wanting to climb mountains
  • Climbing Mt Elbrus - the highest mountain in Europe
  • Not knowing what she was getting into….
  • Deciding to focus exclusively on mountaineering
  • Not reaching the summit on Mt. Aconcagua 
  • Dealing with failure in the mountains
  • Learning to control her confidence 
  • Making a promise to herself
  • Working as an accountant and climbing mountains
  • Having a vision board
  • Getting the deposit for Mt. Everest from her family
  • Heading to Mt Everest in 2019 and becoming the first Lebanese Woman to summit the mountain
  • Going to Kilimanjaro with 8 young women
  • Wanting to use her platform to give back to others
  • Struggling to find role models in mountaineering 
  • Going against society and the expected norms of society
  • Being very focused on what she wants
  • Confidence and being supported by her parents 
  • Dealing with sickness while out in the mountains and coughing up blood
  • The push to reach the summit of Mt. Everest
  • The practicalities of the journey 
  • Why every move counts at high altitude
  • Being stuck in the bottleneck on Everest for 2hrs
  • Deciding to go to Lebanon after the blast (2020)
  • Working for an (NGO) - Non-Government Organizations
  • Training for the mountains and figuring out what works for her
  • Working as a mindset coach
  • Values….
  • The power of gratitude
  • Planning her next climbs in Nepal & Africa
  • Final words of advice for women who want to get into the mountains
Social Media
Instagram - @mountaingipsy 
Facebook - @Mountaingipsy
Jun 3, 2021
Angela started running at the age of 53 as part of a series of ‘small steps’ she took to improve her health and quality of life.  A friend then introduced her to the world of ultra running and she become fascinated with what the human body can achieve when asked.
Since then she has completed events of varying distances including 50 miles, a 100 mile race and the 190 mile Northern Traverse and a number of 24 hour races as well as taking up cycling and swimming.
A former surgeon, Angela has a passion to inspire others to take their own ‘small steps’ to adopt healthy lifestyle choices throughout life and has set up a social enterprise to encourage and motivate people to improve their future health.
Prior to medicine Angela had a first career in the computer industry but in her early thirties she went to medical school and retrained as a doctor. Thereafter she undertook surgical training and specialised in trauma and orthopaedics. She developed a special interest in older people and hip fracture. She combined her skills from both careers throughout her practice to improve services for patients. Among other roles, she has been a Trustee with an Age UK charity and chaired a Local Authority Health and Wellbeing Board. Each of these roles gave her different perspectives on issues affecting us as we age but a predominant concern is the level of long term health problems people develop through life.
Angela says that age really is just a number and, with increased life expectancy, it’s really important that we change our expectations of older age and remain healthy and continue to pursue our dreams and ambitions. 
Setting ourselves goals of one sort or another can help give us purpose and a sense of achievement.
In September 2019, to raise awareness of the need to look after ourselves, Angela challenged herself to run from John O’Groats to Land’s End, ‘the JOGLE’, a distance of 875 miles. Overcoming extreme weather and injury, she found herself re-framing her expectations on the run.
Completing the JOGLE in 18 days, 10 hours and 3 minutes, at the age of 60, Angela set a new Guinness World Record as the oldest female to do so.
Angela has three children and three little granddaughters for whom she hopes she is a worthy and positive role model.
‘You’re never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream’
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. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Angela
  • Having 2 careers, first in the computer industry and then becoming a Doctor in her early 30s
  • Developing an interest in trauma in older people
  • 2006/2007 losing 3 close family members within 4 months of one another
  • Throwing herself into work and becoming unfit and unhappy
  • 2009 dealing with personal illness and needing to make a change in her life
  • Taking - Small Steps
  • Taking up running at 53 years old and being introduced to ultra running
  • Learning how to cycle and swim and doing triathlons
  • Being fascinated by what the human body can do
  • 190 mile Northern Traverse  
  • Losing her husband to a brain tumour 
  • Wanting to find a way to help others
  • Setting up a social enterprise to encourage other people to take their own small steps to improve their own quality of life
  • Wanting to change the perception of ageing
  • Going for Old Community Interest Company to help improve the quality of life for all of us as we age (Company Number: 11481424)
  • Starting with walking
  • Renewing social contacts with old friends
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • How can I make it fun? How can I make it enjoyable?
  • Progressing with her running!
  • Joining a running group for mature ladies
  • The Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge - 30 summits over a distance of 48 miles and climbs 17,000 feet (77km, 5182m).
  • Lakes in a Day - 50 miles, 4000m ascent  
  • Mental resilience during tough times
  • JOGLE - 875 miles running from John O’Groats to Lands End
  • Dealing with the bodies response to trauma
  • Running 40 miles a day in training
  • Running 74 miles on the first day of JOGLE
  • Supplementation
  • Food and snacks to fuel the JOGLE run!
  • Dealing with adverse weather conditions - of heat and a North Atlantic Storm!
  • Costs of JOGLE 
  • The challenge of gathering the evidence for Guinness to prove the World Record
  • Advice for women who think they are too old to take on a new challenge
  • Why you are never too old to set a new goal or a new dream
  • Having to make the social enterprise dormant due to covid
  • Taking on a new challenge for her 62nd birthday! 
  • Running the 62 highest lake district peaks back to back in 62 hours on the 6th June 2021
  • Feeling anxious about the upcoming challenge
  • Racing the Montane Lakeland 100 at the end of July  
  • Advice and top tips for other women 
Social Media
To find out more about Angela and The Running Granny:
Instagram @therunninggranny 
Twitter @running_granny  
If you’d like to make a donation to support Angela’s social enterprise:
Jun 1, 2021
Amira in her own words: 
“My name is Amira I’m 28 years old and I’m from Bolton. I’m a Muslim British Indian. I currently work at a Spa retreat, and when I’m not working you’ll find me somewhere in the mountains or on an adventure. I’m the founder of The Wanderlust Women Group which is a hiking and adventure group for Muslim women. My aim is to break down the barriers and stereotypes of the niqab and to break down misconceptions of Muslim women. The niqab to me is liberating and dignifying. It gives me strength and freedom. I wear the niqab as a personal act of worship and I deeply believe it brings me closer to god.”
Amira shares more about her passion for the outdoors, why she spends time outside and how she is encouraging other Muslim women to get outdoors and try hiking. 
“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do.” 
“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”
Listen to Amira on the Tough Girl Podcast. New episodes go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time. Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out
Show notes
  • Who is Amira
  • Living in Bolton
  • Combing her passions for photography, videography and the outdoors
  • Doing community based work with other Muslim women
  • Being the oldest child and getting to travel a lot
  • Not wanting to do anything in her teenage years
  • Being encouraged by her mum to go hiking 
  • Going solo travelling and backpacking after college
  • Getting to explore more of England
  • Finding her own route into the outdoors
  • How her mum found more people to go hiking with
  • Being a “good scared’ about going solo travelling
  • Deciding to go on a road trip around England
  • Planning a trip to Paris which then expanded to more of Europe
  • Studying art & design at university
  • Being questioned about her decisions
  • How the name for Wanderlust Women came about
  • Researching and answering questions about her safety
  • Lessons learned from being on her own
  • Trying to find out who she is
  • Needing to get out of her comfort zone
  • Wanderlust Women and how it came about
  • The benefits from joining the group
  • Encouraging women to sign up for new challenges and adventures
  • Why the outdoors is for everyone
  • What the niqab is and what it means to her
  • Advice and tips for Muslim women who want to solo hike
  • Finding appropriate clothing to wear to dress modestly
  • Syndeed Clothing 
  • Food while hiking
  • Magical moments from the mountains
  • Doing the 3 Peaks Challenge in the UK
  • Connecting with God when outdoors
  • Needing a pause and spending time in nature
  • Wanting to do more in the outdoors
  • Dealing with anxiety on Ben Nevis
  • Bucket List Dreams
  • Who her Muslim role models are
  • Don’t let your fears get in the way
Social Media
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