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
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts










All Episodes
Now displaying: June, 2020
Jun 30, 2020
Sally Gunnell is an Olympian who won Olympic gold in the 1992 400-meter hurdles and took gold at the 1993 World Championships in the 400-meter hurdles.
Sally is the only woman ever to hold four major track titles concurrently – Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth! Since retiring from international athletics, Sally has gone onto become a  television presenter, keynote speaker and wellbeing advocate.
Sally shares more about her early years, her passion for running, how she has overcome setbacks and the ebb and flow of motivation. We talk about wellness, meditation, nutrition, daily routines and why confidence is everything!
Listen to Sally on the Tough Girl Podcast!
Show notes
  • How Sally would introduce herself
  • Learning more about her childhood
  • Getting into running 12 years old
  • Joining Essex Ladies
  • Being inspired by the Olympics at 14 years old
  • Being inspired by female role models
  • Why it was about the journey
  • Training for the 1992 Olympics
  • What training looked like
  • The ebb and flow of motivation and maintaining it
  • Why confidence is everything in the world of sport
  • Dealing with setbacks and self doubt 
  • The mental side of training 
  • The power of the mind
  • Having to put the work in 
  • The Olympic Race for gold in 1992
  • The gold medal!
  • The sacrifice involved to achieve olympic gold
  • The transition moving on from being a professional athlete
  • How much exercise plays a part of her life now
  • Dealing with the menopause 
  • Running the London Marathon in 2006 after her 3rd baby
  • Sports Day Challenges!
  • Tips for wellbeing
  • What happiness is for Sally
  • Meditation
  • Food & Nutrition 
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Sally’s Run Club
  • Final words of advice 
Social Media
Facebook @sally.gunnellobe
Instagram @sallygunnell
Twitter @SallyGunnell
Sally’s Run Club
Jun 25, 2020
Elisabet is a Swedish ultra running athlete, who is also a two time winner of the toughest footrace on the planet - the Marathon des Sables - which she won in 2015 and 2017. 
We first spoke with Elisabet for the Tough Girl Podcast in 2015 when she shared more about her earlier life, working as a management consultant, how she got into running and what it was like winning her first big race. 
A lot has changed in the 5 years since we last spoke; Elisabet has remarried, sold her old running business and is now living in Norway and studying sex & relationship therapy. While still coaching her running clients. 
During this episode, we find out what’s been going on! We talk about dealing with pressure, going through a divorce, meeting a new man, leaving the UK to move to Norway. Plus changing her diet to plant based, and why she is wanting to transition out of competitive running. 
Listen to Elisabet on the Tough Girl Podcast Extra! 
Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out on any new episodes!
New Episodes every Tuesday at 7am UK time, with bonus episodes on a Thursday at 7am UK time!
Show notes
  • Catching up with Elisabet
  • Who is Elisabet
  • Making a living from running since 2015
  • Working as a management consultant in London
  • Changing jobs in 2014 and starting to train more for running
  • The impact from winning the Marathon des Sables in 2015
  • Taking the risk and daring to jump!
  • Finally leaving the corporate world in 2016
  • Reflecting back on 2016
  • The new challenges she had to face
  • Dealing with the pressure to perform
  • Racing and winning races all over the world!
  • Separating from her husband and trying to sell the business
  • The start of 2017
  • Not wanting to let anyone down
  • Coming 4th in MDS in 2016 - being 2 mins off the podium
  • Getting super focused and removing distractions from her life
  • Winning the MDS in 2017 
  • Focusing on what she can control 
  • Putting in the work and feeling confident
  • Focusing on the mental side of training
  • “The Queen of the Desert Ultra” - Lesson in Badassery
  • Top tips for running in desert ultras
  • Being flexible and being able to cope with the unexpected 
  • Walking and hiking during ultra races
  • Fast packing/hiking adventures in Nepal and Sweden
  • Doing the Everest Trail Race 
  • Meeting her husband
  • Changing to a plant based diet
  • Moving over to Norway
  • Deciding to study - Sex, Health & Relationships!
  • Being your authentic self
  • Learning to be kinder to her body
  • Struggling to find the motivation to race 
  • Taking the time to reflect during Covid
  • The second half of 2020
  • Final words of advice for making changes in your life
Social Media
Website - 
Facebook @elisabetbarnes
Instagram @elisabetbarnes
Twitter @elisabet_barnes
Jun 23, 2020
Sunny started leading multi-day backcountry trips in the mid-2000s as a student at Harvard College.  She went on to obtain an MBA from Harvard Business School and pursue a career as a management consultant while simultaneously expanding her climbing and mountaineering skill set.  
At the end of 2015, Sunny decided to leave behind the business world in order to focus full-time on climbing and running mountains. 
Today, she is a professional mountain athlete with multiple speed records on Aconcagua, the Annapurna Circuit, and in the Colorado Rockies.  
Sunny is a Wilderness First Responder and an AIARE Level II avalanche professional.  
Listen to Sunny on the Tough Girl Podcast as she shares more about her life and the amazing adventures she has had around the world.
Show notes
  • Who is Sunny 
  • Not being into sports 
  • Growing up as a couch potato
  • Getting into running and not enjoying it
  • Building up her running to marathon distance
  • Deciding to run a 100km ultra race 
  • Studying politics as an undergrad 
  • Loving adventure books
  • Female role models
  • Being inspired by her mum
  • Finally falling in love with running
  • Looking for a new adventure!
  • 36hrs to run 100km….
  • Working in a corporate job for 5 years
  • Making the decision to quit her job and go in a new direction
  • Making the transition to a full time adventurer
  • Dealing with unhappiness and making changes to her life
  • VanLife!!!
  • Climbing Aconcagua in 2014 solo & unsupported!
  • Sexism while climbing mountains
  • Deciding to start AWExpeditions to empower women
  • Completing the 360 challenge in Aconcagua - 104km run around the mountain and up to the summit and then backdown… 47hrs & became the first woman to do it!
  • The mental element of the challenge
  • Dealing with uncertainly and the unknown obstacles and challenges
  • Training for challenges
  • Dealing with failure
  • Challenging days in the mountains 
  • Holding the speed record on the Annapurna Circuit in 2017
  • Running in boots
  • Funding her lifestyle 
  • The Summit Scholarship 
  • Final words of advice - “Stop wishing - start planning”
Social Media
Website - 
Facebook @sunnystroeeradventure 
Instagram @sstroeer
Travel Company  @dreamlandsafari 
AWExpeditions - Mountaineering expeditions and high altitude treks for women, by women.
Website - 
Instagram -  @awexpeditions
Jun 18, 2020
Alex, 36, is a multi-discipline adventurer, since 2015 she has hiked over 9,400 miles across America and New Zealand on the Pacific Crest, Appalachian and Te Araroa Trails. Alex has cycled around 4,000 miles across Australia and Indonesia, she’s also climbed up to 6,500m on Mera Peak in the Himalayas and has rowed across the English Channel. 
During this podcast Alex shares more about her most recent adventure rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. She talks about the preparation, the challenges, dealing with sea sickness and adventure blues and what she hopes to achieve in the future. 
As always Alex gives lots of practical advice and tips to help you achieve your dreams and goals.
Listen to Alex on the Tough Girl Podcast!
Show notes
  • Who is Alex
  • What adventures and challenges she's done
  • Getting the idea for rowing an ocean in 2016
  • Team mate wanted on explorers connect 
  • Dealing with doubt - can I do this….
  • Why the timing the first time wasn’t right
  • Rowing the Atlantic as a training row..
  • Signing up for 2 rows!
  • Partnering with Oxford Brooks University to continue the research 
  • Getting a taste for Ocean Rowing by rowing the English Channel
  • Dealing with injury and sea sickness…
  • Funding the rows
  • Getting sponsorship
  • Qualification and skills needed on an independent row
  • Starting rowing on the 5th January 2020
  • Final weeks of preparation
  • Starting from Lanzarote
  • Being on the Ocean!
  • The power of team work to get the boat ready
  • The realities of life on the boat
  • Being ill for the first 2 weeks with sea sickness
  • Rowing 2hrs on 2hrs off
  • Pooing and periods on the boat
  • Moving from a 4 person crew to a 3 person crew
  • The memories and moments which stand out
  • Not believing it’s been achieved
  • Dealing with adventure blues, Covid and planning for the next row
  • Changes to future plans
  • adjusting to a new normal
  • Getting a part time job with Tesco
  • Working with Jo Bradshaw 
  • Final words of advice   
Social Media
Instagram @masonalexandra
Facebook @alexmasonadventurer
Youtube @AlexMason
Rowing - Monkey Fist Adventures - Mixed crew rowing the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in 2020 as team Brain Waves. Supporting research into Parkinson’s Disease and PTSD
Website - 
Instagram @_monkeyfist
Facebook @monkeyfistadventuresltd
Twitter @_monkeyfist
Jun 16, 2020
Danielle in her own words…
“I've always had big dreams for my future. Even though I didn't always have a clear idea of what that success would look like, I knew that whatever vocation I eventually settled into I was going to be good at it. Failure was not an option.
My plans came crashing to a halt when I was struck down with a disability as a teenager that severely effected my mobility. I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a rare and very painful condition in my feet. At a stage in your life when you're figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life, this was a challenging but I came to realise that whilst you can't control what happens to you, you can control your response to it.
Determined to live life on my terms, I looked around for a sport that didn't involve lots of running around or walking and took up archery on my 15th birthday. This was the first step on a journey that saw me rise to Paralympic glory, dominating my field for over eight years. During this time, I also proved doctors wrong by successfully juggling a law degree and achieving first class honours.
Three years after taking up the sport, I stepped straight into the international circuit as World Number 1 and had soon accumulated a number of titles, including that of Paralympic Champion in Beijing 2008. Always striving to improve, I transitioned onto the able-bodied team. In 2010 I became the first Para athlete to represent England in an able-bodied discipline where I won the gold medal in the team event. London 2012 was the tournament I was most excited about and I worked incredibly hard, committed to retain my Paralympic title in such a prestigious setting. The proudest moment of my life was receiving my gold medal in front of that home crowd at London. The support of the entire country was overwhelming, but it was also the first time that my family and friends had ever seen me compete internationally and this made standing on the podium a very special moment.
Archery was such a big part of my life and I was fully committed to making the team for Rio and trying for my third gold medal, but life has a way of throwing up setbacks when you least expect it. In 2013 I learned that I had failed to classify under the new rules and that I could no longer compete at Paralympic events. I started archery because I was fed up of all the limitations imposed on my life and archery helped a disillusioned teenager come to terms with having a disability. In one moment everything I had worked so hard for was gone, just because I didn’t tick a box. 
I wanted to discover what it took to be the best in the world, and I got there because I always believed I would. Now I am moving onto other exciting projects and challenges, where I am determined to be as much of a success as I have been in my sport. This time I get to help others achieve their ambitions and goals through my work as a speaker, trainer and coach.”
Listen to Danielle as she shares more on the Tough Girl Podcast.
Show notes
  • Who is Danielle?
  • What life was like growing up
  • Having issues as a teenager
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Dealing with pain
  • Why role models are so important
  • Lack of role models in the media
  • The struggle of not knowing 
  • Being desperate to get back into sports
  • Archery!
  • Progressing quickly in her sport
  • Performing better under pressure
  • Dealing with setbacks in international competition
  • Needing to rethink her mindset
  • The link between confidence and pressure
  • How Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics changed her life
  • Having a mental meltdown and dealing with it
  • “What if I’m not good enough”
  • The power of other people’s belief
  • Going to university to study law
  • The transition to the able bodied team
  • Getting the training right and figuring out a routine
  • Dealing with pain all the time
  • The London 2012 Para Olympics
  • Coming down to the last arrow…. in an all GB Final…
  • Working with Sports Psychologists and coaches
  • Training in NLP
  • Changes in classification rules
  • Deciding to start her own company
  • Making the next decision in her career
  • Following her passions and translating that into a career
  • Why inclusion matters
  • Not wanting to offend people
  • How to have difficult conversations
  • Writing her first book —>>Be Your Best Self
  • Final words of advice 
Social Media
Instagram @daniellebrownmbe
Facebook @daniellebrownmbe
Twitter @Danibrownmbe
Be Your Best Self
Jun 11, 2020
Nicky first came on the Tough Girl Podcast in 2018 where she shared more about her early running career and completing the Double Ramsay Round and becoming the fastest women to do so!
Nicky held the women's records for all three Rounds simultaneously until 2016, and is the holder of the overall record for the double Bob Graham Round and the only person ever to complete doubles of the other two Rounds.
Nicky is passionate about running and during this episodes she shares more about her training and preparation, running the perfect race, as well as touching on nutrition, dealing with mind games and participating in the Barkley Marathon in 2019.
Find out more about Nicky from our first interview - 
Show notes
  • About Nicky
  • Her passion for running
  • Ultra Tour Monta Rosa 2018
  • When a race goes to plan
  • Deciding to go faster at the half way point
  • Eating while running
  • Not trying new foods anymore!
  • Using gels
  • Using poles on climbs
  • Planning for the perfect race
  • The Barkley Marathon 2019
  • The hoops you have to jump through to enter the race
  • The mind games….
  • The preparation for the Barkley
  • Doing research on the race
  • Keeping everything the same 
  • Not knowing what time the race would start
  • Not being able to switch your mind off
  • Not knowing what time it is day or night
  • No Spot trackers!
  • Why you are racing the clock and not other people
  • Taking us back to the start line
  • Making the decision to drop out of the race
  • Reflecting back on the race
  • Dealing with brain fog and when your brain isn’t working
  • Planning to do the Barkley again 
  • Writing an essay…
  • Doing the Double Paddy Buckley Round 2019 
  • Running with other people
  • Advice for doing the Double Paddy
  • Quick Fire Questions
Social Media
Twitter @NickySpinks
Instagram @NickySpinks
Watch Last Woman Standing - Barkley Marathon 2019 

Nicky has been supported for several years

by inov-8 and is a proud Ambassador. 

Follow inov-8 here: Twitter @inov_8

Instagram @inov_8

Facebook @INOV8run

Jun 9, 2020
Sensi Graves is a professional kiteboarder, entrepreneur, speaker, kiteboarding instructor and writer. In 2007, she tentatively signed up for a kiteboarding lesson in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and immediately fell in love. Just two years later, she applied to be a kiteboarding coach, relocated to the East Coast, and started collecting accolades. The Hood River, Oregon, local regularly places in the top three at some of the biggest international kiteboarding invitationals, garners continuous coverage in kiteboarding magazines, and leads women's kiteboarding retreats worldwide.
In 2012, Sensi launched her eponymous swimwear label, Sensi Graves Bikinis, to meet the demands of her sport. The Mission - To empower women to get out there and do what they love by giving them the confidence they need and swimwear they can rely on. The values: create an awesome product, empower women in sports & protect the environment. 
“This big, beautiful life is meant to be lived and we do so with an open heart, an adventurous spirit and a smile on our faces. When all else fails, we laugh and have a margarita.” - Sensi Graves
Show notes
  • Who is Sensi
  • What life was like growing up
  • Moving to San Diego to go to college
  • Learning how to kite board
  • Falling in love with the sport
  • What kiteboarding is
  • Deciding to become a professional
  • “Eat, sleep, dream - Kiteboarding”
  • Surrounding herself with people who were on the same path
  • Making money from kiteboarding
  • Starting her own bikini company
  • Gaining confidence in kiteboarding
  • Dealing with imposter syndrome
  • Keeping going after set backs
  • Why you don’t always need to keep on pushing
  • Celebrate the effort, celebrating trying.
  • Re-visit your WHY
  • Why there isn’t a typical day or week
  • Learning systems and how to allocate out time
  • Getting her morning routine dialled in.
  • Top tips and getting sponsorship
  • The power of relationships
  • Dealing with challenges and setbacks
  • Encouraging women to get in the water
  • Equality in the sport
  • Keeping motivated
  • How can we actually make a change
  • Sharing stories and highlighting the stories of women
  • Final words of motivation
Social Media
Website - 
Instagram @sensibikinis
Facebook @sensibikinis
Twitter @sensibikinis
Jun 2, 2020
Elle is a Fitness Professional based in the UK, with a degree in Exercise Science and over a decade of experience in Sport Development, Leisure Management, Personal Training and Group Exercise. 
Elle in her own words -
I've come to understand that my skills lie in sharing insight, providing input, relating to others and quite often, playing 'devils advocate'. My passion is in learning, sharing that learning and listening to the stories of others. No matter what role I have undertaken, there has always been as aspect of people and community - from working in Sport Development looking after education programmes for London based Fitness Professionals to my own space on the internet - - where I bring together my strengths, skills and passion in the fitness industry.
Elle’s goals - 
“Create a community which inspires and motivates people to live an active, healthy lifestyle whilst fostering empowerment through conversations which add value and allow for informed choices”
Show notes
  • Who is Elle and what she does
  • Growing up as an only child
  • Getting into sports at a young age
  • Being encouraged to do all the extra curricular activities
  • Getting into running and athletics
  • Losing all motivation for exercise and sports for a few years
  • Following her passions at school and university 
  • Getting back into sport and being active
  • Having a lack of motivation to do exercise
  • Getting motivated to do exercise now
  • Her passion for teaching
  • Starting to blog in July 2012 after being inspired by the London Olympics
  • Starting to work with Nike
  • Not being much of a talker
  • How her blog evolved over time
  • Figuring out blogging as she went
  • Getting qualified as a personal trainer
  • The realties of being a blogger and personal trainer
  • What a typical week looks like
  • What really matters
  • What the priorities are
  • Creating structure in a week
  • Advice and tips for women who want to get into Personal Training
  • Figuring out what you want to do and what the best qualification would be 
  • Elle’s running story
  • Advice for running your first 5k 
  • Mental tips for keeping on going
  • Getting into cycling
  • Cycling to Paris over 3 days - riding 100 km per day
  • Learning how to be part of a team
  • The RedBull Time Lapse - 25hr Challenge
  • Getting the team together and the challenges of getting to the start line
  • Learning who she is when sleep deprived and hungry
  • Putting a race plan and strategy together
  • How the RedBull Time Lapse worked
  • Dealing with sleep deprivation 
  • Goals and races on the bucket list
  • Final words of advice 
Social Media
Instagram @ellelinton
Facebook @simpelle
Twitter @X_eLle_S