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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Nov 16, 2021
Aneela is passionate about encouraging people from all walks of life to ride bikes and she works with individuals, organisations and the cycling industry to encourage wider participation. She works tirelessly to increase diversity in cycling and mountain biking and firmly believes that mountain biking is more than a sport - she’s a champion of the wider benefits of mountain biking in building confidence, strength and resilience in everyday life.
With 20 years+ diversity and inclusion experience, Aneela is particularly interested in diversity and wellbeing; women in MTB leadership; diversity role models; young girls in sport and promoting mental health. She offers training and workshops; inspiring talks and presentations; diversity audits; participation and engagement activities as well as professional advice and consultancy.
  • 20 years+  Diversity and Inclusion experience in the public sector
  • Co-Chair, British Cycling’s new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group
  • 10 years+ running Go-Where Scotland
  • 5+ years professional MBL/Level 3 mountain bike guide
  • Board Member and Secretary of Tweed Valley Trails Association
  • Cycling UK Trail Inspector, and, Trail Maintenance Coordinator
  • Cycling UK Outdoor Expedition qualification 
  • Masters Degree, Equality and Discrimination, University of Strathclyde
  • Personal Fitness Trainer
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Aneela
  • Her early years 
  • Growing up in Glasgow
  • How her parents moved over from Pakistan 
  • Visiting Pakistan 
  • Her dreams as a little girl
  • Getting into mountain biking
  • Pivotal moments from being on the mountain bike
  • Taking friends out on the bike
  • Her journey of becoming a coach and leader
  • Giving people the opportunity to empower themselves 
  • Not having a great experience in childhood
  • Being the only women during the assessment and training
  • Being worried about being the only woman 
  • Being supported by her husband
  • Lost opportunities 
  • Having to have faith in herself
  • Battling again self doubt
  • Being encouraged by her tutor 
  • Having to prove herself in a male environment
  • Changes in the mountain biking industry over the past 10 years
  • Creating empowering spaces
  • Encouraging women to take the next step
  • The lack of role models and how it is chaining slowly
  • Encouraging women to become coaches
  • Being inspired by her friends 
  • The FNY Collective and what it stands for…
  • What the word fanny means in Scotland
  • Getting charity status and being able to look for funding
  • How many bikes…
  • Being an ambassador for Juliana Bicycles
  • The power of bikes 
  • Working to support refugees 
  • Working with Endura Sport 
  • Working on a film about - bikes, love and discrimination
  • “After the Storm” premiere at Kendal Mountain Festival 
  • Advice for other women for being brave
  • The power of knowing you are not alone
  • Advice to encourage women to try mountain biking
  • Being on a learning journey and why everyone has to start somewhere
  • #Ridemòr (mòr - big and great)
Social Media
Go-Where | Ridemòr - Scotland’s award-winning curator of guided & self-guided bicycle experiences.
Advocates for wellbeing, diversity & inclusion. #ridemòr #mòrdiversity
Instagram: @gowherescotlandmtb 
Facebook: @gowherescotland 
Instagram @mrsgowherescotland
Twitter: @AneelaMckenna 
MÒR DIVERSITY -  From diversity, inclusion and wellbeing to leadership and resilience training - we offer professional services to help unlock the human potential of organisations.
Website -
The FNY Collective - The FNY collective: a group of Badass women passionate about riding bikes and getting more women sharing the fun on two wheels. 
Website - 
Instagram @the_fny_collective
Nov 11, 2021
Erica Terblanche is an accomplished endurance runner and adventure racer and has won numerous iconic long-distance races all over the world, including the gruelling Racing the Planet 7-day Sahara Desert Ultra Marathon among many others.
Erica is a Life Coach and psychologist with a master’s degree in Positive Psychology. She is also the founder of Teach a Girl to Fish, Thrive Guru & Thrive Run Club. Her lifelong quest is to determine how we can over time shape and mould ourselves to become ‘the best we can possibly be’.
At heart Erica is an outdoor enthusiast with over 20 years of adventure experiences.
Erica in her own words on Adventure Racing:
“Adventure Racing was a wonderful vehicle for access to extreme adventures - and over a period of five years I experienced the most extraordinary adventures while running, cycling, canyoneering, river rafting, sea kayaking, and rappelling in some of the most wild landscapes in the world and often with less than an hour of sleep a day for races that spanned five days. 
This sport helped push my boundaries and has helped me to become an accomplished ultra distance trail runner, winning a number of the big 7-day stage races. 
I now live in Cape Town where I run Thrive Guru and Thrive Run Club. My intention with both is to get people moving and to help people build and live their best, most vital, most fulfilling and happiest lives.”
Erica is the Author of “Run for the Love of Life” which was published on the 4th of November 2021. 
Erica wrote the book to share her adventures, to motivate people to get up, get going and get out into nature. Erica wants people to know that they can do far more than they imagine they can. 
Erica wants the book to inspire people to take that very first step and to find their tribe - a community of people that will support them on the journey.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and sign up - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Erica and what she does
  • Being a keen advocate to encourage people to get into the outdoors
  • Living in Cape Town now
  • Starting an adventure company - Teach a girl to Fish
  • Studying positive psychology 
  • Being interesting in how we can come the very best of ourselves
  • Focusing on the outdoors
  • Finding out about her childhood, growing up on a farm and spending time outside
  • Catching her first fish at 6 years old
  • Learning not to be scared of the outdoors 
  • Having a lot of freedom from a young age
  • Bravery?
  • Being inspired by her fearless mum
  • Raising girl children differently from boy children
  • Knowing in your body that you are strong
  • Her passion for running and where it came from
  • Getting into running in her early 30s
  • Falling in love with Adventure Racing
  • Not being an athlete and going to the World Championships in Adventure Racing!
  • How women improve as races go on, especially coming into their own by day 3
  • Pushing her body to the limits and the lessons from the edge of the experience 
  • The races which really challenge her
  • Racing the Grand to Grand Ultra, USA. 275 km in 6 stages, over 7 days. 
  • Being unwilling to give up and being able to grit it out.
  • Racing as hard as she could and sticking to her own game plan
  • Women who run with wolves
  • Practical tips and tricks to help you keep going
  • Start slowly and finish strong
  • Tips for running in the heat
  • Why Erica loves the deserts and spending time in that space
  • Feeling empowered by the sunshine
  • The importance of Vitamin D (especially in the UK)
  • Dealing with Raynaud’s 
  • Menopause and how its impacted on running and adventure racing
  • The impact on Vo2 max
  • Being more deliberate about the supplements she takes
  • Being excited about the next stage of her life and wanting to be even more resilient
  • “Run For The Love of Life” - the goal and purpose of the book
  • Thrive Run Club and encouraging people to take the first step
  • Final words of advice for other women who want to get into running and live their best life
  • The power of community and finding your tribe 
Social Media
Personal - Instagram: @erica_terblanche
Business - Thrive Guru Coaching, Thrive Run Club and Teach A Girl to Fish.
Positive psychologist, transformative life coach, internationally accomplished endurance athlete, organisational change and strategy expert
Instagram: @thrive_guru 
Facebook: @thrivegurus
FB Thrive Run Club 
Teach a Girl to Fish - We take women on out-of-the-ordinary walking, biking and kayaking adventures.  If you enjoy being active and exploring beautiful places, especially near the big blue ocean, this is for you.  Our expeditions create the perfect conditions for you to unwind, to reconnect with nature and to rekindle your inner spark.
Facebook: @TAG2F 
Nov 9, 2021
Kisha in her own words:
“I grew up in Virginia, a gymnast and cheerleader, playing softball and soccer. I knew I was bound to do something special, but I didn’t know what.
When it comes to my career, I’m often called a ‘bad-ass.’ As the Managing Director of Portland's Artists Repertory Theatre, I feel at home on a stage in front of thousands of people. When it comes to spending time outside, however, I wasn’t what you would call an “outdoors woman.”
I didn’t camp. I didn’t spend hours in the woods. Yet, when I moved to Portland, I found a love I didn’t know existed: my love of hiking. Days spent exploring all of the swimming holes and waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest transitioned into my first solo trip to Reykjavнk, Iceland. 
I scuba-dived, hiked through Gullfoss, Skуgafoss, Hengifoss, and fiingvellir, and I HIKED UP AND THROUGH A GLACIER! Me! All 240 pounds of me. 
I became a superhuman on that trip. I’m a fat, Black woman with Lupus who hikes glaciers, mutherf*ckers! My outdoor exploration unlocked something in me. After that, I was unstoppable!
When I returned home, I wanted to hike all the time. I bought sturdy hiking shoes. I started reading outdoor magazines, watching Eco-Challenge and going into every outdoor store. I was inspired…but I never saw anyone that looked like me.
I didn’t let that stop me. I’ve been moving since, continuing to have solo journeys and proving to myself time after time that just because I look the way I do, doesn’t mean I’m not strong and powerful - nor does it mean that these adventures are not for me!”
“I’m undertaking my biggest challenge yet. I am hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. I am hiking to change the narrative. It matters to me to share my journey because not only did I not think I couldn’t do this as a child, but I never even knew stuff like this existed.
I know my story will have bigger resonance with others. I know I can be the representation I never saw. I want to offer an invitation to a journey of self-discovery and an introduction to a lifelong passion. 
And I hope we can do this together. — Kisha Jarrett”
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Kisha and what she does
  • The traditional lands of Portland
  • Moving to Portland 5 years ago
  • Growing up in a small town in Virginia
  • Not spending time in the outdoors
  • Falling in love with hiking 
  • Going on her first solo travel trip to Iceland
  • Climbing a glacier and feeling empowered
  • Being diagnosed with lupus 
  • Wanting to do all the things
  • Heading to Bali in Feb 2020
  • Why Iceland
  • Being told that she couldn’t do it. 
  • Becoming more aware of her body 
  • The pivotal moments
  • Taking the first steps into living a life of adventure
  • Google!
  • Looking different and not seeing herself in the media
  • Black Girl in the Woods
  • The dream of thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail 
  • Looking for exploration and a different type of challenge
  • Deciding not to do a solo thru hike
  • How the documentary came about 
  • Finding information about Native Land in USA
  • Native Land App 
  • Preparations for thru hiking
  • Finding gear to fit her body
  • Getting a pack fitted
  • Learning over the past year by doing
  • Thinking about impact planning
  • Financials of a thru hike 
  • Planning to hike in summer 2022
  • Needing to hike in an alternative manner 
  • Dealing with the setbacks from the first thru-hike
  • Processing and dealing with the experience
  • Feeling disappointed and moving forward
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Top tips to encourage you to start
Social Media
Black Girl In The Woods - chronicles Kisha Jarrett’s 1,200-mile journey as a Black, plus-sized woman with chronic pain thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail.
Twitter: @BGITW_doc 
Nov 4, 2021
Elise in her own words:
“To me, Alexandra David-Néel’s book My Journey to Lhasa was one of those books I just couldn’t get over. You know when you read a book or see a film and you keep thinking about it for weeks afterwards, it was like that. Except that with this book, I never stopped thinking about it. The book recounts the final six months of Alexandra's epic 14 year journey through Asia, her quest to reach the forbidden city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Against all odds, dressed as a poor pilgrim, she reached Lhasa in 1924.
12 years after reading this book for the first time, I was still wondering just how she managed to achieve what she did. 14 years of dealing with the cold, the wet, illness and of course the constant pressure and difficulty that came with being a female traveller in the early 1900s.
So, I decided to act on that idea that had always been in the back of my mind - to recreate Alexandra’s journey in some way, and to experience life travelling as a woman as closely as she would have done. I realised that the only way to truly do this, and to truly do her journey justice would be to do exactly as she did, taking with me only what she had. This meant NO modern day mountain equipment. So with my yak wool coat, a wooden backpack I made out of an old chair and an all-female team in tow, I set off in search of a special cave, the worlds third highest mountain and answers to questions I'd had for the last 13 years. 
After returning from this life-changing first expedition, I realised that the stories and achievements of histories female explorers like Alexandra should be celebrated and never forgotten. I've made it my mission to bring these stories back to life, to inspire this generation and the next the same way they have inspired me. In July 2019 I set off on my second adventure to the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland, to follow in the footsteps of Nan Shepherd, one of the UK's best known nature writers and mountain wanderers.”
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Elise/lise and how she would describe herself
  • Reading Alexandra David-Néel book "My Journey to Lhasa" at 16 years old 
  • Growing up in the country side and spending lots of time in the outdoors 
  • Not knowing what she wanted to do
  • Doing an art degree and wanting to be an artist
  • Starting to work at a travel company 
  • Starting Women with Altitude website 
  • Deciding to do the first trip at 28 years young
  • The planning and preparation process
  • Trying to find the old equipment
  • Figuring out the route 
  • The gear…. and why it was better than you think
  • Heading over to India for the start of the journey 
  • Being joined by a filmmaker (Emily) and a local guide (Jangu)
  • The magical moments from the trip  
  • Dealing with the altitude sickness and the cold 
  • Managing periods while on the adventure 
  • Spending a month in the mountains
  • Finding the cave where Alexandra meditated for 2 years
  • Tummo breathing 
  • After completing the challenge and heading home 
  • Dealing with anxiety, panic attacks and having a lack of confidence
  • Wanting to take on a new adventure 
  • Trying to highlight a woman from the UK - The Nan Shephered Trip
  • Who is Nan Shepherd
  • Her book - The Living Mountain 
  • Making a plan to go to Scotland
  • What her time in Scotland was like 
  • Being vegetarian and trying to eat like the 1940s
  • Not having any modern equipment 
  • What days were like
  • Dealing with the nerves before the trip starts
  • Journey number 3
  • Grace O’Malley the Pirate Queen of Ireland 
  • Dame Freya Madeline Stark DBE - Anglo-Italian explorer and travel writer.
  • Figuring out how much things costs and paying for challenges
  • Pitching the idea to TV channels
  • The women who have inspired Elise
  • Final words of advice
Social Media
Facebook: @womanwithaltitude 
Twitter: @altitudewoman 
Emily Almond Barr - Film maker
Instagram: @emilyalmondbarr 
Nov 2, 2021
Clare Rutter grew up in rural, coastal west Wales with childhood days often spent with her brother playing and exploring in nature, climbing trees, jumping hay bales, cycling the green and lush country lanes and time spent on the beaches exploring rockpools, playing in the sand and swimming in the sea. Everyday was a mini-adventure in Clare’s eyes which was only added to by joining the Brownies, the Guides and later the Scouts when girls were (finally!) permitted to join across all age sections. At age 6 and continuing through her participation in these youth organisations, Clare began her journey in paddlesport thoroughly enjoying kayaking and canoeing. 
Now, after more than 25 years spent in the Scouts, Clare has many ‘on the water’ hours paddling and has been on many Scouting adventures including working at a large, commercial Scout summer camp and activity centre, expeditioning in Africa, multi-day tall ship sailing, led the Welsh Contingent at a Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree and volunteered as a staff member at two World Scout Jamborees in both England and Japan. 
As studying for a degree, worklife and life in general took over; paddlesport unfortunately had to take a back seat. In 2016, Clare fulfilled one of her lifelong goals and moved abroad to Gran Canaria which in itself was an almighty adventure. Unfortunately, Clare experienced some kind of a medical episode whilst on her way home from work, passed out, hit the deck and entered a 30 minute unconscious seizure state. This episode resulted in a life changing traumatic brain injury. 
After several months with no signs of recovery from the resulting symptoms which included headaches/migraines, severe fatigue, insomnia, tics and balance and cognitive issues and declining mental health; Clare decided to give up her home in the sun and return to Wales for further neurological investigation and treatment and to have the support of her family and friends. Clare, at this point was mostly bed bound and used a stick to aid walking but returned to Scouting as illness allowed. 
Clare’s Brain Injury Team Occupational Therapist encouraged her into some further volunteering which, returning to her childhood roots, she undertook at a local outdoor activities centre offering land and water adventures including canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. 
A change in medication tackled Clare’s condition to the point where she could function better on a daily basis, could ditch the walking stick and experience better mental health. After a season at the centre, Clare was offered a full-time position which she gladly accepted and begun her journey towards training and qualifications to be a paddlesports Instructor on a permanent basis. 
A short time after the first Covid-19 lockdown, Clare was informed that she had been selected from multiple applications to be the first ever women’s paddling ambassador for Wales, a #ShePaddles Ambassador; a role to tackle the low numbers of females getting into and staying in paddlesport. Despite the lockdowns, Clare threw herself into the voluntary role and together with Canoe Wales and British Canoeing had an incredibly successful first year providing an online Welsh women’s friendly and welcoming paddling networking hub and providing paddlesport taster sessions to hundreds of females at #ShePaddles ‘On Tour’ events across Wales. 
Whilst still battling illness, known as Post-Concussion Syndrome, with her symptoms mostly masked, Clare is now a full time, qualified Paddlesports Instructor & Leader and regularly supports clients with neurological conditions, mental health issues and a range of disabilities enabling participation, enjoyment and progression in paddlesports utilising the outdoors as therapy and rehabilitation as she did. 
She’s also a guest speaker speaking at events sharing her motivational and inspirational brain injury story and is still heavily involved in #ShePaddles and #ShePaddlesCymru (in Wales). Clare is passionate about paddlesport and you’ll usually find her on the water in her spare time, committed to relearning, redefining and challenging herself and her abilities to prove that given some adaptations and self-belief that almost anything can be achieved. Aside from paddlesport, Clare also enjoys writing, camping, geocaching, photography and videography and enjoys sharing her experiences, challenges and adventures across her social media channels.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday 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 Clare
  • Growing up in Wales by the coast
  • Being a paddlesports instructor and a scout leader
  • Getting into swimming at a young age
  • Going into Brownies and then joining the scouts when girls were allowed in
  • Collecting all the interest badges
  • Wanting to join the police force and wanting to help people
  • Getting into paddlesports
  • Going to university as a mature student
  • Getting her level 2 youth work qualification
  • What it was like going back to university as a mature student
  • Her twenties working as a chef and in security
  • Her lifelong goal to live and work abroad in a hot sunny place
  • Starting to learn Spanish
  • Moving to Spain!
  • The reality of living and working abroad
  • Making friends
  • Having a medical episode in 2017
  • Being taken to the hospital
  • Finally getting to see a doctor and getting a CT scan done
  • Being housebound for 6 weeks
  • Not knowing what to do and thinking she was going to die
  • Struggling on for 9 months
  • Deciding to move back to Wales
  • Getting the support she needed
  • Using a walking stick to help her walk
  • Trying new medication and starting to feel better within 48hrs
  • Being encouraged to get into volunteering
  • Being encouraged and supported 
  • Being offered a full time job
  • Lessons from having a brain injury
  • Being back in the outdoors and spending time in the sea and river
  • Getting qualifications in paddlesports
  • Learning how to manage her fatigue
  • Wanting to encourage other women to get into paddlesports
  • #ShePaddles why it was created and what it does
  • Getting her life back together 
  • Trying to encourage more women and girls to get into paddlesports
  • thinking creatively and being supported by Canoe Wales
  • Creating a FB Group for women 
  • Getting into paddle boarding (SUP - Stand Up Paddle board)
  • Needing something to look forward to 
  • Supporting women who don’t have gear but still want to have ago
  • Having a supportive boss - 
  • Practical tips and advice for women and girls to get into paddlesports
  • The She Paddles Effect
  • Final words of advice - why there is always an opportunity you can create or take advantage of
Social Media
Personal Website: 
Facebook: @clarerutter.DBA 
Facebook groups: Women's Paddling Community and #ShePaddlesCymru  
Hashtags: #ShePaddles #ShePaddlesCymru
Twitter: @clare_rutter 
Other Resources:
Oct 28, 2021
Kwesia grew up in Deptford, an inner city area of South-East London. Along with many of her friends, neighbours and peers, she experienced a great deal of challenges that come with living in an area, and with people, who have been neglected, excluded and marginalized.
At 17, Kwesia found herself homeless, moving from sofa to sofa. Her life was chaotic, often harsh, without any meaning and lacking a clear sense of direction or purpose.
At her lowest point, Kwesia received an opportunity to become apart of a British Exploring Society’s expedition to the Peruvian Amazon Rain-forest. Grabbing the opportunity, Kwesia spent 3 weeks in a remote part of the jungle, with no phone, and no contact with the outside world, with a group of individuals she barely knew.
It was a life-changing experience for her.  She experienced the beauty of nature, there was no judgement, just new friendships, new energy, a chance to be herself, to experience new energy and to think about new opportunities.
On her return to the UK, Kwesia wanted to give back to her community, she wanted to connect with young people like herself, and inspire them to spend time in nature, to give them new opportunities and new experiences away from their life of poverty and hardship.  
Kwesia created, City Girl in Nature. This was her way to share her love and passion for the outdoors, and her belief that everybody should have the chance to be healed, to be nourished, and to live a life filled with abundance.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who Kwesia and what she does
  • Being based in South East London
  • Growing up in Deptford
  • Being homeless at 17
  • Not getting on well with her mum
  • Struggling to get support and the challenges of finding housing
  • Not having a place to call home
  • Dealing with inner city trauma 
  • Having to be resilient from a young age
  • Going to college and working as a football coach
  • Getting the opportunity to go to the Amazon with the British Exploring Society
  • Not having any experience of the outdoors
  • Being open to learning and connecting with others
  • Going on a practice weekend and getting to meet other members who were going on an expedition
  • Heading out to the jungle!
  • Being sponsored 
  • Concerns about going on the expedition
  • What camp life was like
  • Being apart of a “fire” group 
  • The lessons learned from the expedition
  • Being a leader 
  • Taking a while to process what happened on expedition
  • The power of spending time in nature
  • Speaking at the Adventure Mind conference
  • Being featured in Belinda Kirk’s book - Adventure Revolution
  • Trying to figure out how to give back to her community
  • Her Youtube Online Series 
  • Speaking with Rhiane from Black Girls Hike
  • Getting out into nature 
  • Top tips for women and girls for getting into the outdoors
  • Why its important to find what you enjoy
  • How can people support and get involved with City Girl In Nature
  • Final words of advice to share with you. 
Social Media
Instagram: @citygirlinnature 
Twitter: @citygirlnature 
Donate/Support City Girl In Nature - 
Oct 19, 2021
Jessie in her own words:
“It would be a lie to say that I have always been aware of the climate crisis, because I haven’t. Frankly, that is the problem.
Whilst always enjoying spending time in nature whether that be up at our allotment or walking on the wilds of Dartmoor right on my doorstep, it was only a few years ago that I became aware of the dire straights our climate is in.
It was at this moment that like many youth activists, I began to realise that I really had no choice but to fight for it. This didn’t mean that it necessarily was something I wanted to do, because most young people just want a care free experience as they grow and develop, and activism is certainly not these things. However, I felt a duty to do this, because the vast majority of adults around me and in society were choosing not to.
It was then that I decided to create People Pedal Power and cycle to COP26 both as a personal challenge and as a way to bring the many individuals concerned about the Climate Crisis together. As a way to highlight the power and joy that is created when people come together to create change.
I am a youth activist who cares deeply about the power of people to create change and this is exactly what I want People Pedal Power to do. The idea to start the movement came from my fears that more inaction would come from this upcoming COP. I knew that we didn’t have time for this to occur, as this summit has to be the one where real change is created, if not by our leaders but by the power of individuals creating collective action. As can be seen from the youth climate movement across the world, individuals really do have the power to create change, and so I decided to harness this!
I also believe in the immense power that words and storytelling have in helping us as individual to learn, understand and ultimately engage in the climate crisis. I have been trying to do this for the past 2 years with my monthly newspaper columns and other writing projects which discuss the climate crisis from the youth perspective.”
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Jessie
  • Being interested in the environment 
  • Being aware of the climate emergency 
  • Wanting to make a difference 
  • Being on a learning journey 
  • Delaying with climate anxiety and climate grief
  • Is the climate a concern for young people
  • Why it’s a split issue
  • Wanting to find your tribe
  • Growing up and being supported by her family
  • Studying for A’Levels at 6th fort
  • What does being a Youth Climate Activist mean
  • How Jessie is driving change
  • Being passionate about writing
  • Hearing from the youth
  • Growing up in the 2000s
  • What is - People Pedal Power
  • What is COP (Conference of the Parties)
  • COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland 
  • Adults putting profits before people.
  • Wanting to get the youth voice into the political sphere. 
  • Partnering with the Adventure Syndicate
  • How the partnership is going to work
  • Creating a cargo bike relay 
  • Why it’s not just shouting about what’s wrong
  • Why the moment is going to be joyful and highlighting the issues and the way forward
  • How the movement has evolved
  • Getting into cycling and loving the journey 
  • The route and the logistics of cycling from Devon to Glasgow
  • Making sure to factor in mental rest 
  • Riding 570 miles and hoping the training has paid off
  • Concerns about the journey and thinking about the impact of the weather
  • Dealing with all of the unknowns about the challenge 
  • How it’s going to work once she’s arrived in Glasgow 
  • Working with Eco-Schools 
  • Wanting to bring more of a youth perspective to the summit
  • Tough Girl Podcast Extra episode coming on the 13th November to follow up with Jessie and her journey.
  • What does Jessie want to happen over the next few weeks.
  • Good luck to Jessie!
Social Media
People Pedal Power - Demanding Climate action and greener more accessible transport.
The Adventure Syndicate is a collective of extraordinary cyclists who happen to be women and who aim to challenge what others think they are capable of.
Instagram: @adventuresynd
Oct 12, 2021
Kirsty in her own words:
“I’m a mixed-race freelance mountaineering and climbing instructor from the west coast of Scotland. I love being able to introduce and share so many of the incredible Scottish environments, whether it’s the mountains in full winter conditions or a beautifully still sea with views out to the Hebrides. 
Climbing in all forms is pretty much my life but earlier this year I also started mountain biking and roller skating, which are both great fun and very different! 
Outside of work and play, I’ve been a member of Oban Mountain Rescue Team since 2013. I’m a callout manager and the Training Officer on the team, and love being able to give something back to the mountaineering community. 
I’m the founder of Our Shared Outdoors, an organisation set up to tackle and change the lack of diversity in the outdoors and promote underrepresented groups. I’m really passionate about making outdoor communities as accessible as possible to everyone, because it should be!
I’m also a panellist on On the Outside podcast, where we discuss outdoor news in the UK with a panel of diverse outdoor enthusiasts.”
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday 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
Show notes
  • Who is Kirsty
  • What she does
  • Her passions and interests
  • Moving up to Scotland when she was 9 years old
  • Getting to spend time in the outdoors as a child
  • Her dreams as a little girl
  • How she got into outdoor instructing 
  • Doing work experience at an outdoor centre 
  • Becoming a volunteer during the summer holidays
  • Getting an outdoor education apprenticeship 
  • What was involved in being an apprentice 
  • What she loves about her job
  • Mixing her passion for the outdoors with her job
  • Deciding to join the Mountain Rescue Team as a volunteer 
  • What the call out manager does
  • The stresses of the job
  • Wanting people to be as prepared as possible for the outdoors
  • Being a founder of Our Shared Outdoors 
  • Changing the narrative 
  • Call to the Mountains Film (Jan 2020) 
  • The women who inspire Kirsty
  • Advice for women who want to start doing their qualifications
  • Summer and Winter Mountain Leader Training 
  • Why we need to go and do it
  • Being a panelist On the Outside Podcast 
  • The barriers that stop people going outdoors
  • Struggling with equipment and finding kit to fit
  • The changes over the past 10 years
  • How the statics haven’t changed in 30 years
  • Having a 10% female membership….
  • Why women are less likely to wing it
  • Support for women who have children 
  • Dealing with skill fade
  • Kirsty’s favourite walk/hike up in Scotland
Social Media
Personal -  Instagram: @kirstypallas 
Facebook: @kirstypallas 
Our Shared Outdoors - An organisation working to redefine the outdoor narrative to become inclusive to all.
Join our community by sharing experiences #oursharedoutdoors 
Instagram: @oursharedoutdoors 
Facebook: @oursharedoutdoors 
On the Outside Podcast Launched Summer 2021 - is a UK based news-panel podcast sharing diverse views on outdoors news.
Instagram: @ontheoutsidepod 
Facebook: @ontheoutsidepod 
Oct 5, 2021

Lindsay is a coach, author, speaker, and lifelong athlete. She is an Olympic gold medalist, a three-time World Champion, five-time World Cup medalist, and a National Rowing Hall of Fame inductee.

Lindsay lives in Florida, where she daily seeks to mentor, inspire, and improve the lives of others by sharing her knowledge of health and wellness along with her journey of self-discovery from ultimate defeat, to Olympic gold.

Think of any sport, and Lindsay played it growing up. She was a driven athlete, good student, and happy teenager. But when she went to college, everything changed. She quit basketball, gained weight, and skipped classes. Her drive was gone. 

After a sleepless night and fateful turn of events, Lindsay made the decision to become her best self. She discovered rowing, and the sport became her outlet for transformation. 

In just one year she became an NCAA Division-I All-American; in four, she broke a world record and won her first World Championship. 

Within six years, Lindsay won Olympic gold. 

In Better Great Than Never, Lindsay shows you how to seize your full potential by removing self-imposed limitations. She demonstrates how to embrace every step, good and bad, to find greatness. 

For Lindsay, life isn’t about winning. As long as you learn throughout your journey, you can never lose.


New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 

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Show notes

  • Being based in Miami Beach Florida
  • Working in Ocean Rescue
  • Being an athlete and an educator
  • Dreaming about the Olympics…
  • Being very sporty from a young age and playing a whole variety of different sports
  • Graduating from high school at 17
  • Going to the University of Virginia 
  • Stumbling across rowing in her junior year at rowing
  • Not feeling confident at playing sports at college level
  • Being tall at school and feeling awkward while growing up
  • Falling in love with rowing 
  • Why there is always something that you can be improving in
  • What motivates Lindsay 
  • How sports psychologists played a role in her rowing
  • Learning from every opportunity 
  • Being self reflective and being intrinsically motivated
  • What does it take to achieve at these high levels
  • What training was involved 
  • Her first day or rowing practice
  • Learning to be accountable to ourselves, our equipment and to one another
  • Why sleep was the most important thing
  • Wiring a book about her story and being able to reflect back on her journey 
  • Staying injury free for 7.5 years
  • Removing as much stress as possible 
  • Keeping detailed training logs
  • Sleeping for 10 hrs a night and taking naps during the day
  • Starting rowing January 2002 and winning medals a few years later
  • Even through it was hard, it was fun
  • Knowing what her role was in the boat
  • Being the connector 
  • The Beijing Olympic Games
  • Why it’s just another race
  • Go out and do what you do 
  • Doing extra deep breathing to relax
  • What it was like sitting at the start line
  • Why nerves on the start line are a good thing
  • 6 mins - 6 secs
  • Getting into a flow state and just feeling
  • Reflecting back on the journey 
  • the luxury of being an athlete
  • Where you can find Lindsay on the Socials
  • Having a middle name “Dare”
  • Advice for other women who want to dare to be great
  • Why her advice is Patience
  • Staying Patience, Positive & Determined throughout the process
  • Finding the one thing and to do well


Social Media


Instagram: @LindsayDareShoop

Youtube - 

Book:  Better Great Than Never: Believing It's Possible Is Where Champions Begin 


Sep 28, 2021
Jenny Valentish has been devoted to dancing around the void for many decades, first in the pub and then the boxing ring as a kickboxer. Jenny is the author of the acclaimed Woman of Substance: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment and her new book, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else: Why Some of Us Push Our Bodies to Extremes.
About the book: There is a part of human nature compelled to test our own limits. But what happens when this part comes to define us? 
When journalist Jenny Valentish wrote Woman of Substances, a book about addiction, she noticed that people who treated drug-taking like an Olympic sport would often hurl themselves into a pursuit like marathon running upon giving up. 
What stayed constant was the need to push their boundaries. Everything Harder Than Everyone Else follows people doing the things that most couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t. By delving into their extreme behaviour, theres a lot that us mere mortals can learn about the human condition. 
The athlete using childhood adversity as grist for the mill. The wrestler turning restlessness into curated ultraviolence. The bare-knuckle boxer whose gnarliest opponent is her ego. The dancer who could not separate her identity from her practice until at deaths door. The bodybuilder exacting order on a life that was once chaotic. And the porn star-turned-fighter for whom sex and violence are two sides of the same coin. 
Their insights lead Jenny on a compulsive, sometimes reckless journey of immersion journalism.
* CONTENT WARNING - Drugs, Sex, Self Harm, Cutting Weight, Eating Disorders, Obsession, Suffering, Addiction.
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 Jenny?
  • Growing up in Slough
  • Being a journalist and an author
  • Writing her 4th book - Everything Harder Than Everyone Else
  • Being interested in the mental side of endurance 
  • Her starting point for the book
  • The link between addiction and endurance racing
  • Asking the question - how far can I push myself
  • Pushing your body to the extreme
  • The anticipation of entering a race and the anticipation of getting a drug to get high
  • Getting a sense of validation from other people
  • Why balance is over rated?
  • Having obsessions from childhood
  • How her obsessions changed when she got into her teens and early twenties
  • Finding kickboxing, and training 5x a week
  • Finding a positive obsession
  • Starting to research the book 
  • Finding people who would trust her
  • Why am I doing this thing - which puts a lot of pressure on my body?
  • Super elite athletes and their link to past suffering in childhood 
  • The Dark Side of Top Level Sport: An Autobiographic Study of Depressive Experiences in Elite Sport Performers 
  • Suffering as an adult athlete and being able to push through the pain
  • Why certain sports attract certain personalities 
  • The rise of women taking up strength sports
  • The feeling of POWER and women wanting to take up physical space
  • Social Media Project - #YouLookLikeAMan 
  • Her journey in kickboxing
  • Taking on her first amateur fight
  • What it was like being in the ring….
  • The fear of getting back into the ring
  • Wanting to be a threat in the ring
  • The ability to suffer
  • Learning How to Suffer with the Queen of Pain: My Conversation With OCR Super-athlete Amelia Boone
  • Over exercising and using sport as a way to sanction diet and what you consume
  • The Recovery I needed - By Amelia Boone 
  • Book: Women of Substance: A Journey Into Drugs, Alcohol and Treatment 
  • Self care?
  • Knowing your Why 
  • The next book!
Social Media
Instagram: @jennyvalentish_public 
Twitter: @JennyValentish 
Sep 25, 2021
Verna is the founder of Native Women Running, a Hoka Global Ambassador, she serves on the Running Diversity Board, and represents several organizations: Red Earth Running Co, UltraRunning Magazine, and Native Women's Wilderness.
Verna in her own words: 
“My name is Verna Volker and I am from the Navajo Nation. 
My clans are Tódích'íi'nii (Bitterwater) nishlíi, Hashtl'ishnii (Mud People) bashishchiin,  Ta'neeszahnii (Tangle) dashicheii, and Tó' áheedlíinii (Water Flows Together) dashinalí. 
I grew up in the Dzilnaoodilii area of New Mexico, but currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota with my husband and four children. I work as a second grade teacher.
In 2009, I started my running journey to lose weight, but it has turned into a quest to find out who I am internally. 
This journey has taken me from a newbie runner to a marathoner and recently to an ultra-marathoner when I finished my first Ultra 50-mile race. 
My desire is to use my running to inspire others.”
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
  • Introducing herself in Navajo
  • Who is Verna 
  • How the outdoors played apart of her life growing up 
  • Loving sports but not being into running
  • Why Verna got into running
  • Signing up for her first Half Marathon in August 2009
  • Struggling with her weight
  • Falling in love with running
  • How her running journey progressed
  • Putting herself first and not feeling guilty
  • Having a 4th child
  • Becoming an early morning runner
  • Waking up at 4.15am…. to go running
  • Having female role models at the start of her running journey 
  • Native Women Running - Founded on Jan 23rd 2018
  • The lack of visibility for Native women runners
  • Not seeing women who looked like her
  • Using the power of instagram to create change
  • How Native Women Running has evolved over the past 3 years
  • Inter-generational trauma and the power of running to heal
  • Creating a call to action - MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women)
  • May 5th - National Day of Awareness for MMIW
  • Using running to heal trauma
  • The murder of native children and finding the reminds of native children in residential schools
  • Connecting with a running community
  • Coping with the trauma 
  • Being resilient and being in a leadership position
  • Why it’s ok to detach yourself from social media
  • Magical moments while running
  • Deciding to run her first ultra marathon 50k in 2018
  • Running a 50 miler in October 2019
  • Why the ultra journey has been mental
  • Seeing her little girl at the finish line
  • Training and planning for ultra runs
  • Meeting her coach via Instagram
  • What a typical training week looks like
  • Keeping motivated to go running when not in the right frame of mind
  • Training for her next 100K (62 miles) race
  • Mental tips and tricks for running an ultra
  • Dedicating miles to lost love ones
  • Teaching 2nd grade and how working for Hoka is becoming a full time job
  • Advice for women who want to get into running
  • The power of being patient with yourself 
  • Taking the next step to running an ultra
  • What hozho means
  • Final words of advice from Verna
Social Media
Instagram: @hozhorunner4 
Native Women Running - Visibility, inspiration and community of native women runners on and off the reservation/reserve. Community. Inspiration. Motivation. Visibility.  #nativewomenrunning 
Instagram: @native_women_running 
Facebook: @nativewomenrunning 
Sep 23, 2021
In the spring of 2018, at the age of 57, Kathy Elkind walked the Grande Randonnée Cinq (GR5) with her husband of 27 years. The 2,286K (1,400-mile) journey starts at the North Sea in The Netherlands and goes through Belgium, Luxembourg, and the whole length of France through the Alps to end at the warm Mediterranean in Nice.
Kathy always longed for an epic adventure, but the time was never right. 
Finally, her children had flown the nest, and she had shifted from a fertile body to a not fertile body – What could this new body do? 
It was the perfect time for a quest: to pause, reflect and explore. Could her marriage sustain and thrive on a long walk?
After two months on the GR5, they entered the mighty Alps—five weeks of alpine views, mountain refuges, and exertion. Her walking became more than meditative; she fell into an ethereal pace where she became the air and the landscape. In her own words: “Life was not about me. It was about the beauty of the world. This truth was what I had longed for but did not know.”
At home, she stepped into the last third of her Life, more in love with her husband, accepting the unknown, knowing her power, and brave enough to write a book one step at a time (she has dyslexia and did not learn to read until I was in 7th grade).
Kathy has come to believe it’s necessary for women entering the last third of their life to experience a quest or challenge. It can be anything they love – going to 25 art museums, swimming or dancing 50 days in a row. There is a unique challenge for every woman.
Kathy is an Eating Psychology Coach, a Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion, and owner of Elkind Nourishment. 
Kathy helps women feel their emotions instead of eating their emotions and feel comfortable in their bodies. She is writing a memoir about her adventure.
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 Kathy and what she does
  • Wanting to go on a big adventure
  • Finding the right time to go travelling
  • Wanting to take a pause in life
  • Being married for 27 years 
  • Stepping into the next phase of her life
  • Being exposed to the outdoors from an early age
  • Never having the guts or the time to do a big thru hike
  • Struggling with overeating 
  • Having trouble with reading and struggling in school
  • Using food to numb emotions and to calm her nerves 
  • Struggling with shame and food 
  • Becoming a teacher and raising her kids
  • Becoming an eating psychology coach
  • Paying attention to the emotions underneath and learning to be with them
  • Studying self compassion 
  • Being mindful
  • Placing your hand on your heart and chaining your voice
  • The power of speaking to yourself and being gentle to yourself
  • Learning how to be compassionate to yourself
  • The GR5 Trail 
  • Making the decision to go on the hike
  • Going through menopause 
  • Moving from running to walking 
  • Planning and preparation before the trip
  • Making the adventure your own
  • Deciding to bike the 1st week in the Netherland
  • Starting the GR5 at the end of April, beginning of May
  • Doing a preamble in Italy for a few weeks before
  • Wanting to slow down 
  • Listening to her body and using her intuition 
  • Learning how to sleep in a different bed every night
  • Being concerned about hiking in the Alps and dealing with the elevation
  • Staying mindful and being in the present
  • Connecting the rhythm of your breath to your walking pace
  • The magical moment and the beauty of the walks 
  • The lessons learned from walking the GR5
  • Ready to do some backpacking and camping
  • Feeling strong and powerful
  • Writing a book about her experience 
  • The impact of the walk on her marriage
  • Knowing each others strengths and weaknesses
  • Daily Routine on the walk
  • Top tips for taking on the GR5
  • Adjusting back to normal life in America 
  • Final words of advice for other women who want to go on an adventure 
  • Why it’s never too late
  • The power of brainstorming 
Social Media
Instagram: @elkindnourishment 
Facebook: @elKindNourishment 
Sep 21, 2021
Houda grew up in the Netherlands and she first came into contact with kickboxing at the age of 11. 
She soon found out that kickboxing was her passion, Houda trained hard and spend all her time in the gym, training 6 days a week. Due to her passion and perseverance, in 2005, Houda became the Dutch Youth Champion.
At university Houda choose to study Sports Management and Movement. 
Houda was inspired as a young girl by her coach – and she wanted to be the inspiration for other young children.
With her knowledge and experience in top-class sports and her social-pedagogical background, Houda knows how to reach girls and get them moving – literally. By sharing her story, Houda makes young people feel relevant and that they are capable of more than they think.
Her mission is to give coaches the tools to make sports more accessible for girls. She believes it is important that every individual can play sports according to their own needs. 
Houda is passionate about equality and diversity in sports and has worked with Nike on their “made to play campaign”. Nike's words are clear: children should play. Not just some kids, but all kids. Not just some girls, but all girls, including girls who wear hijab.
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 Houda
  • Why sport is her life
  • Coming from a sporty family
  • Being inspired by Bruce Lee at 8 years old
  • Getting into kickboxing at 11
  • Falling in love with kickboxing
  • Her journey in kickboxing
  • Training for her first match
  • Becoming the Dutch Youth Champion
  • Becoming more confident 
  • Wanting to prove a girl could fight
  • Starting to wear the hijab at 14
  • Going to study sports at college
  • Being the only girls wearing the hijab
  • “It was not easy, but I had the power to do it”
  • Wanting to keep going with the kickboxing
  • Being in a car accident at 21
  • Spending a lot of time in recovery 
  • Dealing with the first big disappointment in her life
  • Having nothing else apart from sports
  • Trying to figure out what to do next
  • Working with young girls but wanting to inspire the whole family 
  • Wanting to make a big impact in the world
  • Having her own personal development program
  • Working towards lots of goals
  • Wanting to change the representation of girls and women in the media
  • Being a teacher of resilience 
  • Giving the children tools to help build resilience
  • The power of being positive 
  • Wanting children to believe in themselves
  • Teaching children how to say no
  • Why you attitude is very important 
  • The power of having a growth mindset 
  • How to deal with negative thoughts
  • Planting seeds in young minds
  • Having people believe in you
  • The pressure on girls to look/act a certain way
  • Needing the help and support from others
  • Wanting to educate other coaches
  • Being inspired by her mum
  • Being 1 of 6 children
  • How her parents support her dream
  • Working with Nike - Made to Play Campaign
  • Creating a play book for coaches to use to help them work with girls who wear a hijab 
  • Starting a Youtube Channel 
  • The importance of smiling and having fun
  • “Your start says nothing about your finish”
  • "If you have a dream and you want to achieve your dream, then you need to work for it and believe in it” 
Social Media
Instagram: @loukilihouda 
Sep 18, 2021
Katie is an endurance athlete, charitable ambassador, author and world-record holder.
Katie has completed five Ironman triathlons, cycling across the country, completed a 325-mile river swim, run 100 miles nonstop in under 20 hours, and also spent 70 days at seas while rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean. 
In 2010, Katie set a World Record for being the youngest person to row solo across ocean rower. Katie is also the only American to row solo from Africa to Guyana, in South America. 
In 2020, Katie became the 1st person to run nonstop 138-miles nonstop across Maine in 33 hours, raising $26,000 for a clean water project in Tanzania. 
In preparations, Katie became the 1st woman to run nonstop across Vermont and New Hampshire. 
Katie has been awarded the Elite Female Athlete of the Year for 2020 by the U.S. Coast Guard.
On June 21, Katie announced her latest challenge, Run4Water. Which involved running 11 ultra-marathons for 11 consecutive days. Katie started her 341-miles journey in Ohio and ran from Cincinnati to Cleveland.  
Throughout her adventures, Katie isn’t just seeking to make history. She is also raising money for safe drinking water projects around the world.
Give Water today - 
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 Katie
  • Why she raises money for clear drinking water
  • Helping over 25,000 people
  • The importance of service and giving back
  • Studying environmental science
  • Growing up around the Great Lakes
  • Getting into swimming at young age
  • Where her love of adventure comes from
  • Keeping up with her 2 older brothers
  • Role models
  • Doing her first marathon at 18
  • Wanting to do an ironman
  • Not being competitive at school and doing the easiest gym class possible
  • Setting a target to run 1 mile
  • Joining the Coastguard in 2018
  • Why running ultras is one of the toughest challenges
  • Finding her limit….
  • Doing endurance for fun
  • Strategy for the 138 mile run across Maine
  • Race your own race and be in tune with your body
  • Fuelling her body during endurance challenges
  • Getting her calories in via liquids
  • Using Tailwind Nutrition 
  • Taking a supplement called Sports Legs 
  • Needing to get enough sodium in
  • You’re going to hurt
  • The mental challenges during the race
  • Hating the first 5 miles
  • Why it gets easier the longer you go
  • Feeling best at 50/60 miles
  • Getting into a flow state and moving on autopilot
  • Needing to block out the pain
  • Not wanting to do permanent damage
  • Pain that is an injury and pain which is muscle fatigue
  • Dealing with an Edema (swelling of the hands and/or feet)
  • Rhabdo (Rhabdomyolysis) - Myoglobin is released from the muscles when they break down and is excreted into the urine. This can cause a red or cola colour of the urine.
  • Book: Just Keep Rowing: Lessons from the Atlantic Ocean by the Youngest Person to Row It Alone  
  • Being a different person after the Atlantic Row
  • Having a strong enough why - you can figure out the how
  • Dealing with setbacks and the low moments
  • When the easy option is to quit
  • Not wanting to live a lifetime of regret
  • Finals words of advice and why it’s ok to feel afraid
  • Why fears are welcomed
Social Media
Instagram: @katiespotz
Facebook: @hellokatiespotz 
Twitter: @katiespotz
Sep 16, 2021
Jcy is a trail runner, bike traveller, fixed gear rider, bike polo player and Most importantly... An Outdoor lover!
Jcy was born in Hong Kong, she then moved over to the UK where she lived for 22 years. When she was young, Jcy was not into sports or being active, but that all changed when she started getting into cycling and began commuting to and from work. 
Jcy moved back to HK in 2016 and continued commuting via bike, she also joined lots of sports clubs to make new friends. 
Running was something she’d always hated and tried to avoid. However, after hurting her arm, her only option was to run!
During this episode Jcy shares more about her journey into trail running, how she progressed from running 2.4k to the metro station, to her first 24km trail race, then a 50k race and onto running 100 milers all within 4 years. 
Jcy loves the uphill, hates the flats and hates going downhill. 
Learn more about her training, her tips for dealing with tough times while out on the trail and why she never gives up, even when she comes in last place.
Jcy will inspire you to give tail running a go, and to step outside your comfort zone. 
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 born in Hong Kong 
  • Being rebellious as a teenager and dropping out of sports
  • Moving back to Hong Kong in 2012 
  • Wanting to save money by cycling to work 
  • Cycling in Hong Kong as a commuter
  • Getting comfortable with the traffic
  • Joining sports clubs to make friends
  • Why the trails are concrete
  • Getting introduced to trail running
  • Changing from cycling to running
  • Her first time running
  • Being in so much pain, not being able to walk the next day
  • Running her first 24k race
  • Getting dressed up for races
  • Being a smoker
  • Loving the freedom of running
  • Having the time to reflect on her life
  • 2016 - her first 50k race
  • Coming in last place and it taking over 12hrs
  • Returning 3 years later and coming in 2nd place
  • What changed over the 3 years
  • Quitting smoking
  • Running her first 100k
  • Happy food
  • Recovery after a big race
  • Being humbled by a challenging 100k race which took over 24hrs
  • Dealing with heatstroke in her first year of running
  • Having 3 goals with regards to a finish time
  • Working with a running coach in 2019
  • What a typical training week looks like
  • Getting up at 5/5.30 am to go training
  • Running the same route over and over again
  • Hating running downhill
  • Managing the fear of running downhill
  • Learning house dance
  • The 9 Dragons Ultra Race HK 
  • Being inspired by Magdalena Lewy-Boulet 
  • How to follow Jcy online
  • Final words of advice for other women who want to get into trail running
  • Go out and enjoy the nature!
Social Media
Instagram: @jcy 
Sep 14, 2021
Nahla is a social change maker, a transformative coach, a podcaster, an accidental adventurer and a speaker. 
As the founder of the CIC Sunshine People, every year she takes on a new challenge and every year she discovers something new about the power that kindness has on people.
We first spoke with Nahla in February 2020 where she shared more about how she started off doing challenges and how it evolved over the years. During that episode Nahla shares more about her 2018 challenge of cycling  3,000 miles across America, as well as her 2019 walk from Swanage, Dorset to Gretna Green in Scotland. A 500 mile journey visiting schools and promoting kindness on the way, through speaking, workshops and sunshine people events. 
In 2020 Nahla took on her biggest challenge to date riding 5,000 miles on an ElliptiGO Bike across the UK while writing “KINDNESS” in massive Strava Art! This challenge would also see Nahla gain a World Record for the furthest distance travelled in a single journey on an Elliptical cycle.
Nahla has recently finished writing her 3rd book - “The Accidental Adventurer: just how far can kindness take you” - which will be released on November 1st 
About the book: The Accidental Adventurer is not only a journey of adventures but a journey of life, with all its rawness, vulnerability and most of all connections. Nahla Summers never intended to become an adventurer but after a life event that changed who she was as a person she discovered that the adventures were helping her find herself not again, but for the first time. This book demonstrates the extraordinary power of the mind when everything else fails. 
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 Nahla
  • Her past adventures 
  • Her most recent challenge in 2020
  • The start of 2020 
  • Making changes and adapting to a new plan
  • Trying to find a new route in the UK
  • Why connection is more important than money 
  • Having to think outside the box
  • How the new kindness challenge idea came about
  • Figuring out the logistics of the journey 
  • Making changes while out on the road
  • Cycling 50 miles per day over 4 months
  • Not having to have it perfect before the start
  • What an ElliptiGO bike is
  • Riding it for the first time
  • Needing to practice!
  • Going up hill on an ElliptiGO
  • Emma Timmis - Riding an ElliptioGo across Australia
  • Starting the challenge on 1st August 2020
  • Training and getting fit for the challenge
  • How it worked day to day
  • Having a support vehicle to start with 
  • Going solo
  • Being supported by Hilton Hotels
  • Organising accommodation as she went along
  • Dealing with stress during a challenge
  • “Well it is what it is” and needing to deal with it
  • Breathing properly 
  • Going back to her purpose and her reason why
  • Getting on a vitamin plan to boost her health and wellbeing
  • Show your support by doing an act of kindness for a stranger
  • The power of kindness and the importance of kindness in society 
  • Saying hello and connecting with people
  • The message of Sunshine People
  • Free Listening by Urban Confessional
  • The Crisp Packet Project - 
  • Starting a podcast! The Culture of Kindness Podcast by Nahla Summers (New episodes every week on a Sunday) 
  • Writing a new book! The Accidental Adventurer - Live in November 2021
  • Social media being used for the best
  • Kindness Day UK - November 13th 
  • Advice for being kind to yourself
  • Planning the next challenge - A World First…..
Social Media
Instagram - @sponsorkindness 
Twitter - @sponsorkindness 
Facebook - @sponsorkindness 
YouTube @SunshinePeople 
Past episode - Feb 2020 - 
Sep 11, 2021
Prerna has gained climbing experience from around the world, but her focus is the Himalayas. As an aspiring alpinist, she has delved into all aspects of climbing, from high mountains and frozen waterfalls to hard sport grades and bouldering. 
She is actively working to foster a strong climbing culture and community in India with an emphasis on introducing more women to the sport and the outdoors through the organization Climb Like A Woman (CLAW). She also plays a key role in the community-led initiative Piti Dharr Ice Climbing Festival
Climbing gives her the courage to chase after all things that seem hard, whether they are scary routes or stereotypes, which is a lesson she loves sharing with others along the way. 
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
  • Loving the outdoors
  • Spending her summers outside
  • Her dreams as a little girl
  • Being a collector of skills and hobbies
  • Her route to climbing 
  • Going to university and finding climbing
  • Studying English Literature 
  • Trying to figure out what to do next
  • Being a tomboy and exploring her feminine side
  • The climbing culture in India
  • What it’s like being a woman climber in India
  • Connecting with other women in the sport
  • The growth of climbing gyms in the last 5 years
  • Arranging an all women’s climbing meet up which is now an annual event
  • Feeling strong and powerful from climbing
  • Planning to climb Mt. Denali
  • Dealing with self doubt
  • Having a shoulder injury and needing surgery
  • Pioneering ice climbing in India
  • The journey on becoming a professional guide
  • Focusing on quality and skill development
  • Her first expedition to a 6,000m peak
  • Having the ability to push herself physically 
  • Being able to handle the suffering
  • Looking for new opportunities
  • Wanting to become a well rounded climber
  • Trying to get sponsored projects 
  • Spending 5 winters creating an ice climbing community
  • Wanting more people to try ice climbing
  • Creating a new niche in climbing 
  • Why complaining doesn’t do anything - you have to take action
  • Future dreams for climbing
  • Being inspired by other women
  • Final words of advice for women who want to get into climbing and the outdoors
  • Why you should do the things that scare you
  • How overcoming fear can be empowering
Social Media
Instagram: @thepahadigirl 
Sep 10, 2021
I was delighted to be interviewed by Zoe for her new podcast HeadRightOut. 
Here is our conversation which we recorded on the 8th September 2021 (2 days before my 40th Birthday)!
I hope you enjoy!
Words by Zoe:
“A powerful conversation with Tough Girl Challenges founder and Tough Girl Podcast host, Sarah Williams. 
As friends, we easily cover multiple topics across our conversations. These include how to meet fear head-on and deal with it; why Sarah is inspired by two specific female role models/mentors and the moments in her life that nearly broke her. 
Interestingly, she elaborates on how those darkest times taught her the most and benefitted her in ways she could never have imagined. 
There are references to many long-distance trails, in the UK and overseas, with the Appalachian Trail being lauded by Sarah as the most life-changing for her, personally. 
A female adventure epic.”
More info about the HeadRightOut Podcast:
In the HeadRightOut Podcast, Zoe Langley-Wathen talks to midlife women about stretching comfort zones and facing fears. They will highlight each guest’s HeadRightOut Moments and challenging the norm, mostly in the outdoors.
Feeling fearful about trying something adventurous? 
Listen in to a hub of vibrant, honest and motivational audio content, designed to encourage women to head out of their comfort zone within the outdoors. 
Featuring both the everyday and longer, planned challenges, Zoe invites stories from resilient women about facing their own HeadRightOut Moments, despite potential personal barriers. 
With the aim to inspire and empower midlife women to question and remedy their own levels of resilience, Zoe knows first-hand the power of facing fears after beginning long-distance hiking, solo at the age of forty. 
With life-long benefits to physical and mental health, particularly in supporting a positive peri-and post-menopause experience, she believes all women should be encouraged to try new things. 
Though aimed at midlife women, all ages and genders can benefit from the impact of the messages offered.
Show notes
  • Intro from Zoe Langley Wathern
  • What get’s discussed during the episode
  • Recording on the 7th September 
  • Welcome to the Headlight Out Podcast
  • More about Sarah and her past challenges 
  • The Tough Girl Adventure Series 
  • How we met in 2015
  • The area I’m interested in 
  • My why - being interested in self development 
  • Working in banking at 24
  • Wanting to do extreme things like running marathons, and tough mudder
  • Needing to make some changes in my early 30s
  • Taking time out to go travelling in 2013/2014
  • What is my Why? What do I want the next 20/30 years to look like?
  • Not having a plan
  • Having time to think while being in South America 
  • Starting Tough Girl Challenges
  • Moving from blogging into podcasting
  • Building everything from scratch
  • 7 years of consistency and handwork
  • Showing up everyday
  • Sunday night blues
  • Feeling anxious and stressed about the week ahead
  • Re-finding myself 
  • Having deep reflection time while been on the Appalachian Trail
  • Not having a purpose for many years
  • Starting to know myself and loving myself
  • Other peoples judgements of me
  • Having to live with myself
  • Spending time with myself
  • Finding outdoor medicine
  • Why the outdoors is great for problem solving
  • Why are women scared of going on adventure 
  • Needing to be constantly aware
  • Why fear is not just one thing
  • Young girls being conditioned from a young age
  • My role model
  • Meeting Rosie Swale Pope in Turkey
  • Being inspired by Roz Savage 
  • The power of social media
  • The adventure world for women
  • The amazing and inspiring women in the world
  • The power of women voices 
  • Removing the middle man from the equation
  • Taking control of the narrative and the stories that we tell
  • If you can’t see if - you can’t become it
  • How do they do it
  • Women’s voices for the win
  • Being inspired by Gary Vaynerchuck
  • Thinking long term
  • 1000 episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast
  • Be patient and show up every day
  • The Slight Edge by - Jeff Olson
  • The power of being consistent
  • Thinking about my legacy
  • Sharing a wealth of information
  • Wanting young girls to follow their passions
  • Zoe turning 50 this year
  • Turning 40th on the 10th September
  • Feeling very happy and content
  • Feeling the privilege of ageing 
  • Designing this life that works for me
  • Being in a good space and being excited about the next decade
  • The Tough Girl UK Adventure Series - celebrating the 6th year anniversary of the Tough Girl Podcast
  • Birthday Bonus episode every 10 years
  • Looking at the National Trails in the UK
  • How I want to celebrate my 40th…..
  • A few dogs stopping by to say hello!
  • Fears… and handing them
  • Reframing fears…
  • Building up a good tool box of how to handle tough situations
  • Having a Head Right Out Moment….
  • Messing up in 2015 and over training
  • Wanting to get to the start line of the Marathon des Sables, fit and strong
  • Drawing a line in the sand and proving to myself I could do this
  • Learning from failure
  • How to connect with me -
  • Thank you 
  • Happy 40th and welcome to mid-life
  • Finishing with a quote
Social Media
Instagram: @headrightout 
Facebook: @HeadRightOut
Sep 9, 2021
Emma Kingston is an outdoor adventurer, author, teacher and self-confessed map geek who lives in Bristol - the UK’s first designated Cycling City. She has ridden, walked, swam and camped in the South West for over 20 years and her knowledge of the area is enviable. Specialising in mountain biking, she has travelled extensively around the rest of UK, Europe and further afield in search of ever more flowing singletrack. 
Emma took up bikepacking when she realised it meant that she could stay out and ride her bike for longer, take the time to explore interesting places off route, and eat an outrageous amount of ice cream. 
In the summer of 2021, she released her first book 'Bikepacking England' which contains 20 great multi-day off-road routes around the country and proves that you don’t have to go far to have a memorable adventure.
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 Emma
  • Her passion for the outdoors and adventure 
  • Being into her cycling
  • Focusing on having fun
  • Her relationship to the outdoors
  • Being afraid of heights at a young age
  • Going on family adventures
  • Exploring more of Wales on mountain bikes
  • Growing up in Bristol and being able to escape the city
  • Being inspired by her parents
  • Making the transition to solo adventures and expeditions
  • Being more into team sports such as hockey and ultimate frisbee 
  • Pushing her limits and building resilience
  • Making decisions for herself
  • Heading to Wales to bike pack for the first time
  • Concerns before the trip
  • Feeling confident and prepared on the bike
  • Why it was a case of getting on and doing it
  • Why you should go on a solo adventure
  • Trusting in her own capabilities
  • The stories we tell ourselves
  • Being scared?
  • Feeling safe while on the road
  • How the book came about and the process of writing it. 
  • Having local adventures and creating new memories 
  • The type of routes included in the book
  • Getting practical advice
  • Sleep systems for Bikepacking
  • clothing layers
  • Food while on the bike
  • GPS and route planning 
  • Will there be a second book?
  • Why you don’t need to suffer on adventures
  • Future adventure dreams
  • Final words of advice to encourage you to get on your bike
  • Look at the barriers that are holding you back
  • Don’t apologies for being a beginner
  • “You are so much more capable than you think you are”
  • Roll with the bikepacking and see where it will take you
Social Media
Instagram: @emma.outdoors
Twitter: @emma_outdoors
Buy the book:  Bikepacking England 20 multi-day off-road cycling adventures 
About the book
Bikepacking England by Emma Kingston contains 20 great multi-day mountain bike adventures across England.
Explore ancient holloways and hunt for fossils in Bridport and the Jurassic Coast, tackle the stiff climbs and spectacular singletrack of the Dark Peak, discover stunning coastal scenery on the Isle of Man or Exmoor or traverse the rolling countryside around the Ridgeway and Chilterns – every corner of England has a different experience to offer.
Each route includes all the information you need to help you plan your ride, points of interest along the route, food recommendations and accommodation options, in addition to stunning photography and overview mapping. Downloadable GPX files of the routes are also available, including optional routes and shortcuts. This book is full of practical tips and advice for both experienced bikepackers and those who want to try it out for the first time, including lots of information on wild camping.
Let Bikepacking England inspire you to get out there on your bike with your tent and enjoy the best bikepacking adventures that England has to offer.
Sep 7, 2021
Vera in her own words: 
"My cycling journey really began four years ago when I was lured into riding a tandem for a charity ride under the false promise that as the stoker, I didn’t need to pedal and could just drink prosecco and enjoy the views. This turned out to be a lie, as I had to work very hard, but I caught the cycling bug! A year later I bought my first road bike and joined my local cycling club as a way to build my solo cycling skills and meet new people. 
During the first lockdown in 2020 when we could no longer cycle in groups, I was forced to plan and follow my own routes and become a more independent cyclist. I also longed for a cycling community, which led me to starting my Instagram page  where I wanted to share my love of cycling with others and also to find a more diverse community of cyclists, something I had been missing in real life.
I was awarded the Ultra Distance Scholarship aimed at increasing representation of BAME cyclists in ultra distance racing. This incredible opportunity has provided me with the resources and support to prepare me for my first self-supported endurance cycling race this summer. The lack of ethnic diversity in ultra-distance cycling has prompted me to document and share my journey with others in the hope that more women and BAME people are encouraged to give this type of cycling a try. 
Cycling has given me a sense of belonging. It has also helped me manage my mental health, reduce my anxieties and build my confidence. Getting into endurance cycling has made me more self-sufficient and independent, and taught me how to persevere when things get tough; all valuable life lessons that have been useful both in and out of cycling. 
My hope is that by sharing my honest experiences of my journey in cycling, that it will encourage others, particularly black women, to have a go at it too.”
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 Vera and what she does
  • Thinking of herself as a new adventurer 
  • Starting to discover adventure
  • Being a member of Women of Colour Cycling Collective (WCCC) 
  • Working to increase the representation of Black Women in adventure and engineering
  • Growing up in Malawi 
  • Not doing sports or physical activity after her gap year
  • Coming to the UK for University 
  • Moving to Cardiff for a Graduate Job
  • Joining a work football team
  • Doing a charity tandem cycle ride with her boyfriend (became future husband)
  • Starting to cycle commute to work 
  • Joining a cycling club and buying her first bike
  • What to do if things go wrong
  • The practical steps taken to overcome worries and fears
  • Wanting to do a self supported race
  • Looking for a new challenge before her 30th birthday
  • Setting up her instagram account
  • Learning about the Ultra Distance Scholarship 
  • The brilliant start to 2021
  • Training and planning for the race
  • Having 6 months to go from zero to hero
  • Being coached by Alison Wood 
  • Figuring out wild camping and sleeping outside
  • Food and nutrition and fuelling for the race 
  • Developing a stomach of steel
  • Working with a sports psychologist 
  • Dealing with negative self talk
  • The start of the race
  • Celtic or Celtic!
  • Meeting Jenny Graham at the start
  • Dealing with the rain and the challenge of getting out of the car
  • Wanting to complete the race in 10 days and make the finishing party
  • Getting warm, getting dry and eating food before making a decision
  • Deciding to try
  • Listening to your body and making the right decisions at the right time
  • Magical moments from the race
  • The amazing supporters and dot watchers
  • Knowing by day 7 that she would be able to make it to the finish line
  • “You’ve not come so far, to only come so far”
  • Getting to the finish line and having mixed emotions
  • Not reaching her limits and maybe there is more
  • Adventure blues?
  • Booking in another race ASAP
  • Recovery afterwards
  • How her body adapted during the race
  • Documenting the ups and downs of her cycling journey 
  • Final words of advice for other women 
  • The power of setting a deadline and why you should sign up for something
  • Can’t or won’t?
Social Media
Sep 4, 2021
This One Wild Life: A Mother-Daughter Memoir launched in April 2021. 
“Includes research on the shy child, parent-child bonding, social media issues, and the benefits of outdoor activity and nature immersion.
Disillusioned with overly competitive organized sports and concerned about her lively daughter's growing shyness, author Angie Abdou sets herself a challenge: to hike a peak a week over the summer holidays with Katie. They will bond in nature and discover the glories of outdoor activity. What could go wrong? Well, among other things, it turns out that Angie loves hiking but Katie doesn't.
This One Wild Life explores parenting and marriage in a summer of unexpected outcomes and growth for both mother and daughter.”
A view in Elle Magazine says "Anyone who has ever been pushed to do something outdoorsy because it was good for them - or who has been the parent doing the pushing - will find this sweet tale about a growing and changing parent-child relationship all too familiar.”
A life long athlete, Angie loves writing about sport and the many lessons it teaches. 
Angie is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University.
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 Angie
  • Living in British Columbia, Canada
  • Being a writer since 2006
  • What Angie was like as a child
  • Loving books from a young age
  • Being a competitive swimmer and swimming for 4 hrs a day
  • Learning the lesson of showing up every day 
  • Setting an early alarm…
  • Balancing swimming with everything else as a teenager
  • Being in a serious car crash at 29
  • The impact of that experience 
  • Knowing it would be better to try and fail rather than never try
  • Processing the aftermath of the crash 
  • Journaling throughout her life
  • Book - Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life By Natalie Goldberg 
  • Book - The Artist Way By Julia Cameron  
  • Writing down her goals
  • How the wilderness played a part in her life
  • Having a negative experience with social media
  • The power of nature
  • New Book - This One Wild Life
  • Feeling guilty as a mum
  • Her mother daughter relationships
  • Her relationship with her daughter 
  • The difference between a child who is introverted and a child who has social anxiety 
  • How motherhood changed her life
  • Having to make choices
  • Asking herself what kind of mother does she want to be
  • Being available for her kids
  • Girls, confidence and social media
  • Screen time for children
  • The benefits of doing hard things
  • Climbing a peak a week and how the goal changed
  • The challenges of hiking with a child
  • Learning from each other
  • Learning how to be a leader and how to be confident in nature
  • Where does her drive and ambition come from
  • Doing a solo 12hr challenge
  • Thinking about the car accident
  • Reminding herself that life is a gift
  • Being present on social media
  • Listening to her body while using social media
  • Stop doom scrolling and put the phone down
  • Final words of advice for other women 
  • Why there is always time for a 30 min walk outside
Social Media
Twitter: @angie_abdou 
Sep 2, 2021
Dr. Hajjah Sharifah Mazlina Syed Abdul Kadir is a lecturer at the Faculty of Sports Science and Recreation, Universiti Teknology MARA (UiTM). 
She successfully ski-sailed across the Antarctic, from the South Pole to the Hercules Inlet from Dec 9 to 30, 2004.
The 1,100km-long journey took her 22 days to complete.
She reached the North Pole in 2007 and Greenland in 2011.
In 2019 she was back at this South Pole, this time as the leader of the All Women Expedition to Antarctica (AWETA) team. Which involved completing the “last degree” 60 nautical miles (69 mi/111 km) from 89 degrees to 90 degrees. 
Dr. Hajjah Sharifah Mazlina Syed Abdul Kadir created her very own psychological concept called M.E.P.S. 
M = Mental (power and strength of mind), E = Emotion (including spiritual aspects as well), P = Physical (ability and endurance of the body), S = Social (ability and intellectual). A concept that focuses on mental strength, getting out of your comfort zone and maximising your own potential. The MEPS Concept has helped over 300,000 people to date.
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 full time job as a sports psychologist
  • Having a focus on women empowerment
  • Being a confident and active person
  • Loving sports and being involved in multiple activities
  • Doing her first degree in physical education
  • Going to Canada to do a Masters in Psychology 
  • Creating the MEPSS Concept
  • Wanting to create a balanced human being
  • Needing to put the concept into practice
  • Being a mental training coach in the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia
  • Starting work as a lecturer
  • Needing to go somewhere extreme to challenge her limits
  • Coping with the cold
  • Needed to put a plan in place in order to achieve this dream
  • Needing to learn new skills for dealing with the cold
  • Training 5hrs each day - both weights and cardio
  • Needing to build her endurance
  • Pulling tyres at night when it was cooler
  • Doing her research 
  • Going to Norway for training
  • 2004 South Pole Expedition
  • 1,127km in 22 days - from South Pole back to base camp
  • Being a Muslim women in Antarctica
  • Food and nutrition in a cold extreme environment
  • Dealing with the cold
  • The biggest challenge she faced while on expedition
  • Why the North Pole was the most challenging expedition
  • Dealing with frostbite on her face
  • Telling her mum about her goals
  • Needed to ask for a sabbatical from work
  • Starting with Google 
  • Creating a proposal with all the information 
  • Working to inspire young girls and women
  • Creating a time capsule
  • Doing a talent search all over Malaysia
  • Being called the “Ice Queen”
  • Looking for 5 key qualities 
  • Looking for good human beings
  • Getting the team together to do the last degree in Antarctica
  • Planning her online motivation program
Social Media
Instagram: @sharifah_mazlina_aweta
Aug 31, 2021
Jessica in her own words: 
I am a British non-fiction writer living on a hillside in North Wales, where I write with candour (and, hopefully, a dash of humour) about improbable things; UFOs, the United Nations’ use of clowns to resolve conflict, and, most recently, the rigours of childbearing.
I grew up in Shropshire and, at first, dabbled with sports and adventure writing — I played international lacrosse, was one of the fastest unaffiliated runners in the 2011 London Marathon, and once cycled 5,000 miles across sub-Saharan Africa. 
My career in journalism began as a reporter for the London Evening Standard’s gossip column, although I was not good at it, rarely knowing who anyone was. I moved to foreign affairs in East Africa. There, I notched up datelines (often in a flak jacket, this time) from across the continent, Bissau to Burundi, Congo to Madagascar, and met my future husband, a photojournalist, whilst covering the civil war in Somalia.
Within five years, I'd won a number of prestigious awards for my investigative features, including a Frontline Club Award, and was a regular contributor to the Guardian, TIME and Newsweek, for whom I wrote about topics including Islamic militancy, piracy, sexual violence and human trafficking.
In 2016, pining for the British countryside, I moved with my husband to Llangollen in North Wales, a decision made in part because it had the tightest contour lines we could find within an hour’s drive of a decent airport. I am now a mother to two small boys, and spent much of their formative years writing a book about motherhood – the postnatal period, to be precise – and submerging myself in the icy waters of the river Dee, which courses through the valley below our house. 
Jessica’s first book - AFTER BIRTH: What nobody tells you – How to Recover Body and Mind and is available in all good book shops.
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 Jessica and what she does
  • Being sporty at school and playing Lacrosse for Wales
  • Being good at running, but putting too much pressure on herself
  • Deciding to flee London and heading to Africa
  • Partying, getting drunk and trying to snog boys!
  • Finding regular work with the Evening Standard
  • Celebrity parties and finding out the gossip
  • Keeping costs down and running everywhere
  • Running a Marathon in Kenya on a nature reserve
  • Finding what she wanted to do
  • Making the decision to move to Nairobi and why it was easy 
  • Feeling lost after university 
  • Not knowing many people at first
  • Having savings and making editor connections before leaving
  • Being enthusiastic and very determined
  • Cycling 5,000+ miles across Africa for TUSK 
  • The route through Africa
  • Missing female companionship during the cycle ride
  • Teaming up with Centre Point 
  • Being under pressure to arrive at places
  • Needing more downtime
  • Spending 4 months on the road - cycled for 5/7 days visit a place and then carry on
  • Meeting her husband on a trip to Somali 
  • How her priorities changed
  • Making the change to having babies and getting married
  • Continuing to write and share stories
  • Having her first baby and not being prepared
  • Dealing with the loss of physical activity 
  • Using running to stay sane
  • Going for a swim in the River Dee in November
  • Starting to feel more like herself again
  • Balancing work and babies
  • Focusing on your own physical and mental recovery
  • Taking 2 years to feel strong again
  • Giving women better information 
  • Using words like vagina
  • Not prioritising herself enough 
  • Follow Kari Bo for Pelvic Floor Exercises
  • Learning how to retrain the bladder
  • All the stuff you shouldn’t do after having a baby
  • Giving women the information they need to make informed choices
  • Antony Lo 
  • Supporting women with prolapse
  • Cold water therapy and dipping in the River Dee 
  • Final words of advice for women who have just given birth
Social Media
Instagram: @jessicajanehatcher 
Facebook: @jessicajanehatcher 
Twitter: @jessiehatcher 
Book: AFTER BIRTH: What nobody tells you – How to Recover Body and Mind is available in all good book shops.
About: While there is a wealth of advice for new mums on caring for their babies the same is not true for postpartum health. Fulfilling this vital need, After Birth is the ultimate postnatal primer for women facing changes to their bodies after having a baby. 
Addressing issues great and small­ - from hair loss and stretch marks, to bladder and bowel leaks, painful sex, diastasis recti and mental health - researcher and writer Jessica Hatcher-Moore brings together straight-talking advice on preparation for childbirth, healing, and recovery in the weeks, months and even years that follow. She also offers insights for partners, whose role is often overlooked at this critical time.
Blending knowledge from the full spectrum of modern and traditional therapies with honest experiences from mothers, here is balanced advice with no agenda. Taking a broad look at what we can do for ourselves at home, and also when to seek expert help, After Birth will reassure, inform and empower women to reclaim their post-birth bodies.
Aug 28, 2021
Dr Sarita Robinson is Deputy Head of the School of Psychology and Computer Science at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Sarita is one of the world’s leading academic researcher in area of survival psychology and so is often referred to as Doctor Survival. Survival psychology focuses on how people respond in disaster situations – everything from a terrorist attack to a ship sinking.
Sarita has spent over 15 years researching people’s reactions to disasters. She focuses on trying to work out why some people are more likely to survive than others in emergency situations (and what we can do to improve our chances of survival).
Sarita is keen not to rely on dusty books to inform her academic research and so has undertaken some hands-on survival training. This means Sarita has had some hair-raising adventures, including completing training in Helicopter Underwater Escape, Fire-Fighting and Coastal Survival. 
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
  • What Dr. Sarita Robinson does
  • What her childhood years were like
  • Being the daughter of 2 mental health nurses
  • Struggling throughout her school years and feeling left behind
  • Being diagnosed at 17 with dyslexia 
  • Enjoying the more individual sports 
  • Developing her own coping strategies
  • Doing Psychology as an A’Level
  • Going onto university 
  • Being inspired by The Poseidon Adventure Movie
  • Why some people are more likely to survive than others 
  • The importance of having an optimistic outlook
  • Fight - Flight - Freeze - How we respond to threats
  • Being in a survival situation
  • Spending 5 years on her PHD on Survival Psychology
  • Being in a hotel fire in Turkey
  • Needing to keep your brain in a good place - especially in longer term survival situations 
  • CPU - Central Processing Unit of the brain
  • Why people do unusual things during a life threatening situation 
  • Why the brain falls back on pre-learned behaviours 
  • Training for emergency situations
  • The power of prepping and preparing for emergencies 
  • Why trainings is important - “skills & drills”
  • How training boosts your confidence and in turn your optimism 
  • The power of “What If”
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and  Post Traumatic Growth (PTG)
  • Practical steps to building resilience 
  • The importance of building your body - exercise, sleep, hydration, nutrition
  • The connection between the body and the mind
  • Enhancing your optimistic thinking
  • Moving away from learned helplessness 
  • The power of social support and social networks 
  • What toxic positivity is and devaluating what someone else is going through
  • The poison of resilience and why resilience is not always the answer
  • Why the resilient thing ca n be to walk away 
  • Coping with the pandemic and how 2020 was
  • Dr John Leach - Senior Research Fellow in survival psychology. Book: Survival Psychology (1994)
  • Is there a difference between men/women gender (social construct) / sex (biological) in survival 
  • Why more girls and women died during the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami 
  • Why preparation is everything  
Social Media
Facebook: @drsurvival.robinson
Twitter: @DrSurvival 
Aug 26, 2021
Abbie Barnes is the founder and director of Spend More Time In The WILD, an organisation that seeks to inspire and empower individuals to get outside for the benefit of mental and physical health, whilst building meaningful connections with the natural world and each other.
Through the project she produces weekly videos on YouTube following her adventures and challenges all around the world.
Abbie offers walks and events, talks and workshops, runs the One WILD Life podcast, manages a thriving online community space, and is currently in the throws of preparing to ski solo across Greenland in the spring of 2021. 
By sharing her story - Abbie hopes to raise awareness about mental health and chronic pain in the adventure world. 
Abbie has hiked many of the worlds greatest trails, loves frothy coffee, wildflowers, and dogs.
*CONTENT WARNING - During this episode, mental health and suicidal feeling are talked about. 
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
  • Meeting Abbie 
  • The goal of Spend more time in the Wild
  • Sharing more bout her mental health journey and dealing with chronic pain
  • Wanting to change lives
  • Introducing Little Bobby (the dog!)
  • Spending time in the outdoors when she was growing up
  • Being passionate about the natural world
  • Getting into film making at 13
  • What palm oil is and why she wants to raise awareness about it
  • Her mission to get palm oil labelled on products (which was made the law in the EU in 2015)
  • Raising awareness about the damage being done by palm oil
  • Producing her first film and speaking in the EU Parliament 
  • Figuring out her purpose and being propelled forward
  • Going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro after her A’Levels
  • Struggling with her mental health and being in a dark space
  • Training up as a Personal Trainer and identifying a passion for working with people
  • Picking up the camera again in 2018
  • Encouraging people to own who they are and their stories 
  • Learning new language around mental health 
  • Using the outdoors to tap into the best version of herself
  • “I am not my mental health but it is a part of me”
  • Creating “Spend More Time in The Wild” in 2016
  • Wanting to backpack all of the UK’s National Trails
  • Getting 3 National Trails in and having a realisation
  • Identifying that part of her suffering was coming from lack of connection
  • There has to be more than just nature
  • Talking to the camera about how she was feeling 
  • Being mentally unwell and needing to pull out of the National Trails Challenge
  • Finding it hard to look back and struggling to remember what happened
  • Not being able to connect memories to reality 
  • Going backpacking with her mum
  • 2017 - starting the year  being in a dark, depressive state
  • 2018 - Having a shift in her energy and moving to part time work at the gym 
  • 2018 was when WILD really happened 
  • Struggling with her mental health everyday
  • Learning to cope and finding her own ways of working with it
  • Starting a WILD community challenge during Covid
  • 2020 The year of community and connection
  • Doing a Million Miles for Mind
  • Forest for Hope 
  • Getting up to speed of where Abbie is now
  • Using the tools that she’s learnt
  • Why mental health is not a weakness
  • An exciting new cycling project!
  • Deciding to cycle JOGLE via each National Park and walking to the highest point in each park
  • A 2,000+miles journey to highlight the importance of getting outside
  • Starting in September and planning to cycle for approx 50 days
  • Being supported by Anna while on the road
  • Wanting to go on a solo polar expedition
  • Spring 2022 - A solo unsupported expedition across Greenland 
  • Wanting to discover her human potential 
  • Dealing with chronic pain from nerve damage in her shoulder
  • Always being in pain
  • You can’t apologise for who you are
  • Turning the dark and difficult into something which manifests meaning and purpose
  • Seeking help and trying to figure it out
  • Planning for the bigger trips
  • Having all the ideas!!!
  • Having a friend, Craig do the project management for the JOGLE trip
  • Number crunching, training and resting
  • Paying for JOGLE and wanting to keep the costs down
  • Meeting Anna at the beginning of 2020
  • The Abbie & Anna Show 
  • Final words of advice to encourage you to spend more time in the wild
Social Media
Instagram: @abbiebarneswild 
Facebook: @spendmoretimeinthewild 
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