Tough Girl Podcast

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

Melissa was first on the Tough Girl Podcast back in 2017 where she shares more about her life, how she got into fitness and doing ultra challenges, such as EPIC 5 (the what, the how, the learnings & the challenges faced and overcome).

This audio was taken from a Facebook Live I did with Mel in Melbourne from February 2019. This episode is broken down into 2 parts, with the first part focusing on ultra man and the second half focusing on her training for ultraman, we talk a lot about food, nutrition, and the mental and physical aspects of training. 

Melissa also provided lots of top tips and advice for you to help you train for your next challenge. 

Show notes


  • Melissa living in Melbourne, working as a mental health nurse, 34 years old
  • How she started doing endurance racing
  • Deciding to focus more on herself and making sure she was looking after herself 
  • Being inspired by her friend who did a triathlon 
  • How she fell in love with the sport
  • How she progressed in her running and cycling
  • Dealing with stress
  • Finding the right distance for you and why it matters
  • EPIC 5 - 5 Ironman in 5 days on 5 different islands (This was covered in the first Podcast episode)
  • Ultra-man Hawaii (Nov 2018)- what’s involved
  • No comparison allowed!!!!
  • The challenges on Day 1
  • Dealing with changes which happen on race day
  • Not worrying about things which are outside of her control
  • Working with a coach and having complete faith in them
  • Working on her running strength and getting back into the gym
  • Pace and feel training while running
  • Keeping going when she’s not in the mood
  • Keeping moving no matter what!
  • Not making day 2 bike cut-off 
  • Nutrition and still trying to figure it out
  • Cycling and vomiting for 4 hours….
  • Part of the fun is figuring out your body and what works for you
  • Dealing with not achieving the goal and how she deals with it personally (and why she doesn’t care about what other people think)


  • What is Uberman (33km swim - 633km bike - 240km run)
  • Where do you start with a challenge like this
  • Why it is not ridiculous in her mind
  • Reframing the challenge
  • Training for a challenge like this….
  • Having 8 months to train
  • Dealing with a week’s training at a time
  • Focusing on what you need to do now
  • Working full time and fitting in training
  • Waking up at 4.35am….
  • Going at bed at 8.30pm 
  • Trying to spend time with her husband
  • Having company while training
  • Night time routine and being a good napper
  • Being a vegan - How do you get your protein?
  • Chocolate and ice-cream…..
  • What she eats during the day and why
  • Go to naught snack (but no food is naught FYI!)
  • Vegan gels….
  • Do you like vegemite???!!
  • Focusing on real food while riding on the bike
  • Refuelling while swimming  - what she has and how feet zones work
  • Mental Preparation - how to get your head in the hame and why reflection is very important
  • Never taking her mental strength for granted
  • Visualisation…. and picturing the finish line
  • Vision boards….
  • Biggest challenge/what she’s most concerned about 
  • Managing sleep during Uberman and why she won’t know how it’s going to be until she’s in it
  • Why it’s ok not to know
  • 3 guys have done it in 6/7 days
  • No other women have completed it
  • 10th October start date
  • Can we track her during the race?
  • Follow along with Melissa  - she has a blog and does regular race reports.
  • Mel’s top tips and advice for you!!!


Learn more about Melissa

Follow her blog -

 "Slightly mental triathlete who is allergic to the sun"

Follow on Twitter @rangamel

Follow me on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL

May 28, 2019

Sydney resident Sarah Davis became the first woman to lead an expedition down the Nile River, one of the world’s longest and most dangerous rivers. 

Sarah’s expedition involved over 1,000km of rafting and 3,000km of kayaking through Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. 

Along the way, Davis, faced immense personal dangers, including a hippo attack, being arrested and detained by military police in Burundi and unexpected, life threatening river rapids in Tanzania. 

During the podcast Sarah shares more about the biggest challenge of the adventure which was getting to the start line, this involved almost 2 years of preparation while working a full time job and doing other small challenges. 

Sarah goes into detail about planning and preparation, and how she broke down the different areas of risk, she shares more about overcoming  her own personal fears and self-doubt to achieve this incredible human powered adventure!

Show notes

  • Growing up in the UK and being big into sport
  • Moving out to Melbourne, Australia 
  • How the idea came about
  • Why she decided to do this challenge
  • Taking 4 years out as a Personal Training
  • Figuring out what hasn’t been down before
  • The Desire Map (Book)
  • Expectations for the challenge
  • What is involved - the countries, the distance
  • The start of the Nile?
  • The blue Nile
  • The white Nile
  • The planning, the preparation and the logistics
  • Taking 2 years to plan - the how!
  • The money - how she paid for the challenge
  • Setting up a ‘gift registry’ instead of a marriage registry
  • The biggest challenge of the planning
  • The security and the safety aspects
  • Risk management
  • Getting insurance?
  • Dealing with stress
  • Quitting her job!
  • Mental preparation
  • 10 seconds of courage - Ted Talk Nadine Champion 
  • Training….
  • Confidence
  • Getting to the start line - leaving Sydney 26th September 2018
  • Getting out on the river for the first time
  • What where the days like
  • Hippo’s are not cuddly and friendly!!!!
  • The people she met along the way
  • Dealing with injury and mentally being ready to finish 
  • Problem solving and dealing with organisation daily
  • Missing out South Sudan
  • Winning Women
  • Wanting to write a book….
  • Homeless and jobless.
  • What’s going to be next
  • Final words of advice
  • New website coming soon!!


Social media

Website - 

Instagram @paddlethenile 

Twitter @PaddletheNile 

Facebook  @PaddletheNile  


May 23, 2019

Anna, is a British born adventurer, motivational speaker, influencer and author.

She was recently named by Condé Nast Traveller as one of the 50 most influential travellers of our time, and by the the Guardian as one of the top modern female adventurers.

She is also proud to be the UK Ambassador for Girl Guiding, and the co-founder of Adventure Queens.

During this podcast we learn more about the Kathmandu Coast to Coast challenge in New Zealand, how it came about, the challenge she had to face and what she learnt form the experience. Anna shares more about her life as an adventurer, her ‘survival’ work and her ‘soul’ work. She also shares more about her next challenge and why she has decided to take this on!

We have spoken to Anna in 2016 (running the length of New Zealand) and 2018 (cycling the Andes) you can catch up and listen to these episodes on the tough girl podcast!

Show notes

  • Where is Anna and what is she up to?
  • Why the past year has been ridiculous! 
  • Having Jamie running for 1 year in America!
  • Spending time in New Zealand 
  • Teaming up with Katmandu to do the Adventure Race  - Coast to Coast in New Zealand (243 km race across the South Island - Cycling, running & Kayaking)
  • Doing Kayaking for the first time!
  • How she met Holly Woodhouse 
  • The biggest challenges on the race…
  • Making a BIG mistake on Day 1!!!
  • The pain cave…
  • Tips and tricks for mental resilience and why you have to take it one step at a time
  • The biggest learning from doing the coast to coast
  • Why Day 2 was so amazing!
  • The logistics and the importance of the support crew
  • The next book!!
  • The life of an adventurer - the realities and the money
  • The soul work and the survival work
  • Being inspired by Seth Godin
  • Barefoot Britain - 100 Barefoot Marathons!
  • The spark of inspiration for this idea
  • What it’s like running barefoot!
  • June 2nd in the Shetland Islands
  • 5 month wiggles through the country
  • What to do if you want Anna to come and speak at your girl guides club (about 3 a week)
  • The logistics of the route
  • Anna’s Angels
  • Dealing with the pressure (which is self inflicted)
  • Filming a documentary about the run at the same time
  • Quick fire Questions….

Connect with Anna - Support & follow!

Website - 

Twitter - @AnnaMcNuff

Instagram - @Annamcnuff

Facebook - 

Get involved with Barefoot Britain  - 


May 21, 2019

After being diagnosed with epilepsy in 2015, Fran set out to walk the Camino de Santiago two years later, solo. Since then, she has worked more adventure into her life. 

In 2017, Fran founded Seize Your Adventure  to advocate for epilepsy awareness in the adventure community, and for the benefits of adventure for those with epilepsy and to demystify the condition and encourage others to try new things and challenge themselves. 

May 20th is the start of National Epilepsy Awareness week, and it is also the start of Fran’s next challenge: the '30 at 30 Challenge'  In her 30th year Fran plan to do 30 new adventures.

Some of these will be small, micro adventures (such as foraging for dinner or SUP in London) whilst others are quite daunting - one of the biggest being the Race to the Stones in July.

For each of the 30, Fran is hoping to work closely with the activity providers to spread epilepsy awareness. Fran also wants to invite 87 people to join in the adventures (because every day, 87 people in the UK are diagnosed with epilepsy.)

*Please note we are not medical doctors and Fran is sharing just her own personal story - this is not medical advice in any shape or form!!

Show Notes

  • Looking to do 30 challenges over her 30th year
  • Epilepsy and what it is
  • Being diagnosed in 2015
  • Having her first seizure
  • Being 22 years old and dealing with the not knowing 
  • Getting into hiking and adventure
  • The Camino de Santiago and deciding to do the walk
  • Managing adventure and epilepsy
  • What’s the right way to describe epilepsy
  • Telling people about her epilepsy 
  • Handling the added complexity of doing a challenge with epilepsy 
  • What was happening before she started the walk
  • Struggling with the language 
  • Why the hike was so much more than she could imagine
  • What was the biggest challenge while out on the Camino
  • Dealing with post trip blues
  • Coming back to not having a job
  • Talking about the money
  • Saving up money to pay for rent while she was away
  • What she did after she got back
  • Starting - Seize Your Adventure
  • Hearing from other people who also have epilepsy 
  • Deciding to start a podcast!
  • What you can expect from the podcast
  • 30 challenges before turning 30th
  • Training for the race to stones (100km race over 2 days)
  • Looking for size 5 trainers 
  • Working through a training plan
  • Mental preparation for the race….
  • Dealing with brain fog
  • Deciding to invite 87 people to come and join her on her challenges throughout 2019
  • The Dos and Don’t when someone is having a seizure 
  • Be kind
  • Final advice and tips 


Social media

Website - 

twitter @franict  

Instagram personal -  @frantictwalks 

Instagram podcast - @SYAdventurers 

May 14, 2019

In need of a break from her career as a dentist and needing to go on an adventure, Memnia signed up to take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Memnia only had limited sailing knowledge prior to the race and had never been out at sea for more than a few hours. For that reason she had originally only signed up for the first leg of the race, crossing the Atlantic, travelling from London to Rio de Janeiro (28 day at sea). 

During the crossing, she fell in love with the sport and the sea, so she carried on signing up for more legs. She continued sailing through some of the most treacherous weather systems and isolated areas of the planet, facing not only the extremes of weather, from boiling to freezing temperatures, but also life threatening situations. She sailed to Cape Town, Albany, Sydney, Hobart, till she reached her final destination, Airlie Beach, Australia - 5 months later. She has covered more than 18,000 Nautical Miles in total, becoming the first and only Cypriot to have sailed from the UK to Australia on a racing sailing boat. 

Today, Memnia splits her time between England and Cyprus, combining dentistry with her love of adventurous activities, including sailing, scuba diving, trekking etc. She has been invited on various stages to share her story, including TEDxNicosia and has evolved as a motivational speaker and workshop trainer, inspiring others through her unique experience to go after their dreams and to reconsider their own lives. She has just completed an all-female expedition (Led by Felicity Aston) trekking on iced river in the remote Zanskar Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir.

Show notes

  • Memnia introduces herself
  • Growing up in Cyprus 
  • Deciding to sail around the world
  • The unfortunate events that happened in her life which led to making this decision
  • Having no regrets
  • Thinking about doing the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race when she was 31
  • Deciding to take the first step and send in her application
  • How she funded the race 
  • Forget about her house deposit!
  • What training was involved 
  • The next steps
  • Her mindset and mental preparation
  • The challenges of being on the boat
  • What the start line was like!
  • Crossing the English Channel
  • What life was like on the boat
  • Figuring out which position suited each person
  • How the break down of the shifts worked
  • How you occupy time while on the deck
  • The power of thinking time
  • The route and taking part in 4 legs
  • Only planning on going to Rio… but ending up in Australia
  • Finding out she was the first Cypriot to sail from the UK to Australia
  • Having her story go viral & getting a sponsor for the final leg
  • Reflecting back on the journey 
  • The memories that stand our for her - the positive and the not so positive
  • Spending 5 months on the water
  • What happened after the end of the race… what was next
  • Being exhausted at the end and needing time to rest and recover
  • Deciding to make some changes to her life
  • Deciding on what makes her happy
  • Doing  a TEDx talk!
  • What Memnia has learned about fear
  • Coming back from an all female expedition with Felicity Aston
  • What she learned about leadership from Felicity
  • How you can following along with Memnia on social media

Social Media



Instagram: @memniatheodorou 

Twitter: @MemniaTh

Memnia also has a newsletter where she share monthly inspiration and motivation to "have the courage to lead the life you've always wanted” Sign up —>> HERE!!

May 9, 2019

We first spoken with Katie in March 2018, where she shared more about her transition from a model to adventurer, she goes into detail about the challenges she faced and overcame while doing the longest crossing of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap, and being the first woman to walk the entire length of the wall of China! 

Since then Katie has continued to fill her life with many more adventures. Despite her accolades, Katie would still not class her self as the 'typical adventurer type', as she admits she is frightened of everything and is inherently lazy by nature! Her default setting (that she has to constantly override) is to lay on the sofa with a cup of tea, dunking biscuits, watching the likes of Strictly and X Factor on the telly. Getting started is always the hardest bit.

During this podcast we discuss in more detail how the idea came about for completing the 1911 version of the Tour de France as well as the planning, logistics and go into detail about nutrition and having to consume 9,000 calories per day. Katie shares more about her gear, and why she loved being involved in the Silk Road Mountain Race.

Show notes

  • Learn more about Katie-Jane
  • Living in the French Alps
  • Examples of some of her challenges…. Walking the Great Wall of China,  cycled Africa, LEJOG, Fast packing the GR5 plus many many more!
  • Le Grand Boule - The Big Loop - how the idea came about and being inspired by a 1911 postcard of France
  • Making life harder for herself….
  • Deciding to do 5,500km  tour in 23 days….with no support
  • Where do you start with a challenge like this?
  • Mental preparation and overcoming the fears of what other people think of you
  • Not telling people about the challenge until stage 5
  • The first 5 stages?
  • Nailing her nutrition and how it changed the whole challenge
  • Eating 9,000 per day!!
  • Dealing with mouth ulcers
  • Sleep deprivation!
  • Deciding to follow a 36 hour day - instead of a 24 hour day! (Easy on paper - hard in real life!)
  • Recovering from the ride and getting ready for the next challenge
  • The Silk Road Mountain Race - what it is and why she wanted to do it!
  • Why does she think she finished….
  • Dealing with the cold
  • The medical kit and why she took everything she took
  • Finishing the race in 14 days
  • The smallest tent in the world and how it held up - 500 grams 
  • The biggest highlight from doing the race
  • Plans for 2019 and making new decisions
  • Going after her Mountain Leader and International Mountain Leader Qualifications
  • Heading to Iceland in July for a solo adventure
  • What Katie has learnt from going on adventures
  • The power of sharing experiences


Social Media


Instagram: @katiejaneendurance 

Facebook: @katiesenduranceadventures   


May 7, 2019

Anna was a 30-something accountant who dreamed of cycling, hiking and paddling her way around the world, she decided to start with her own country, Australia. But weighing in at 130kgs (285lbs), she’s would say herself that she’s not exactly the poster child for human-powered travel.

During the podcast we talk to Anna about her 3 different challenges, a 1,100-kilometre (700-mile) solo, self-supported cycle tour of the south west of Western Australia, a 1,000-kilometre (600-mile) solo thru-hike of the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia, and a 3,100-kilometre (1,000 -mile) solo, self-supported cycle tour through the Northern Territory.

After these practice run throughs, Anna end up in Melbourne, which is where she has been ever since. 

Due to a series of mistakes and bad decisions her life takes a turn and not in the direction she wants to go. Anna ends up being a 40 something single women, who is now living below the poverty line, with no family to rely on and no way out, she end up being homeless and going dumpster diving for food and survival. 

Anna shares more about how she views adventure and why she is still living her most adventurous life.

Show notes

  • Living 3 lifetimes in one
  • Planning to travel around the world
  • Life and living in Perth, Australia
  • Hating being sat behind a desk
  • Trying to figure out what she wanted to do
  • Loving to travel….
  • Wanting to make a change to her life
  • Not knowing what planning is….
  • 3 separate trips - “AWOL” (Away With Out Leave)
  • Deciding to get a recumbent bike/trike
  • What family and friends though
  • What the first day was like
  • Almost stopping before she started
  • “It’s too hard, it’s too scary”
  • Meeting road angels
  • Grey Nomads
  • Getting on the road for the first time
  • Knowing she had made the right decision and was on the right track
  • Not believing she would ever make it to the end
  • Dealing with her biggest challenge - Hills
  • Daily routine while out cycling
  • 8 weeks on the road and doing her trip her whole way
  • The negative voices in her head
  • Her weight
  • How completing her first challenge impacted on her self confidence
  • Changing her next challenge to a hike
  • Starting to work with a personal trainer
  • The challenges of hiking
  • “I’m not doing that”
  • What kept her going when she wanted to quit
  • Positive or negative? How she changed her mindset.
  • Training or practice trips….
  • The 3rd AWOL - Getting the train up to Darwin and cycling from Darwin to Porthedland (3100Km / 2000 miles)
  • Dealing with remoteness and why the challenge wasn’t easier
  • Things just kind of workout…
  • Ending up homeless in Melbourne and dumpster diving for food
  • What adventure means now
  • Having an interesting life even though she isn’t travelling
  • Dealing with stress? 
  • Not being desperate to leave 
  • Advice for other women who may be in a challenging situation

Social Media

Website -

Facebook @fatchickgoesawol