What an incredible year it has been for many of us!
Sparta Chicks Radio will celebrate its 3rd birthday in the next few months and it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times during 2019 and has now passed over 215,000 downloads.
So thank YOU.
Whether you’ve listened to one episode or all 130, thank you for being part of it - for your support, for sharing the podcast with your friends, for leaving such heartfelt reviews, for your messages and emails and SMS, for letting me know how the podcast has helped you.
That support of this project means more than you can ever know.
So thank you for coming along for this wild ride with me!
To celebrate an incredible year of stories and strength, I thought it was the perfect time to countdown the 5 most popular episodes of the year.
So let’s not wait any longer ~
The 5 most popular episodes of Sparta Chicks Radio in 2019 are ~
5. Tiffany Winchester on Donuts, the Imposter & Ultra-Endurance Cycling
“I didn’t consider myself a cyclist for a really long time because I wasn’t a cyclist. I was this chick on a bike who generally sucked compared to all the people she was riding with”
Tiffany Winchester is an ultra-endurance cyclist, with a love of doughnuts, who was at the time we recorded this conversation, preparing to ride the Paris-Brest-Paris; an iconic 1,200km endurance cycling event in France later in 2019.
Tiff finished her first bike race as a child and then took a “25 year rest week” from almost all forms of exercise.
It wasn’t until her 30s that she started walking and hiking (“procrasta-hiking” as she calls it) as a way to clear her head and clarify your thoughts while working on her PhD.
After a brief with trail running, Tiff was introduced to the world of cycling 3 years ago - and hated it at first!
Her relationship with cycling has been bumpy; so much so, she decided to stop racing for mental health reasons.
However, she has since found her ‘happy place’ in the incredibly gruelling world of ultra-endurance cycling (all while balancing a family and full-time work).
4. Jess Fox on Resilience, Goal Setting & Proving Yourself
“Winning that Silver medal…came out of nowhere for me. I’m so proud of myself to have raced like that. But afterwards, I really felt that I had to prove myself because I felt that people might think it was a fluke…”
Jess Fox was just 18 (and 3 months out of High School) when she qualified for the 2012 London Olympics.
She left those Games with a Silver medal and, in hindsight, admits she felt the need to prove herself and to show that her result in London wasn’t a fluke.
Of course, it wasn’t a fluke - in fact, it was just the start of an incredible career!
A 2 x Olympic medalist (Jess also won Bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics), Jess is now the most successful canoe slalom paddler - male or female - in the history of the sport!
In this fun conversation, we discussed the power of writing down your goals and seeing them on a daily basis, how she deals with her own internal expectations as opposed to the external expectations placed on her by the media and the public, and why you should welcome conditions that aren’t ideal in training.
And I should mention - since recording this conversation, Jess has secured her place on the team to represent Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games!
3. Renee Kiley on Inspiration, Goal Setting & the Fear of Failure
If you fear something, you need..to take a deep breath and try and figure out why it is that you’re feeling this fear..
In November 2013, Renee Kiley joined friends to watch the Noosa Triathlon. And life hasn’t been the same since.
At the time Renee was an overweight, unhealthy, pack-a-day smoker. Yet the race reignited Renee’s childhood love of competitive sport. And despite not having ridden a bike or swum laps since she was a kid, Renee set a goal to compete in the Noosa Triathlon the following year.
She did that, and more.
In March 2014, Renee lined up at the start of her very first triathlon; a Sprint distance triathlon. And less than 3 1/2 years later, Renee raced for the first time as a professional triathlete.
Many people involved in endurance sports have undergone dramatic transformations; from losing weight, quitting smoking and overcoming major health issues.
But I was curious how Renee was able to take her performance and achievements to the next level and became a professional athlete in a sport she didn’t know even existed only a few years ago.
So I asked 🙂
2. Samantha Gash on Inspiration, Impact & ‘Run India’
There was nothing in my early DNA that said I would do what I’m doing now…so I really believe people can do whatever they want. Their past experiences don’t have to define or limit them.
It’s easy in this day and age to think that one person - that you - can’t make a difference. But Samantha Gash has proved that wrong, time and time again.
In her first ultramarathon in 2010, Sam became the first female and youngest person to complete the Racing the Planet 4 Deserts Grand Slam, running 4 ultra marathons across the driest, windiest, hottest and coldest deserts on Earth.
That was followed in 2011 by a 222km non-stop race through the Indian Himalayas.
It was during that run across the Himalayas that Sam decided to use her running for a greater purpose.
Since then, she’s run 379km solo, non-stop across the Simpson Desert in Australia as well as the length of South Africa’s Freedom Trail (almost 2,000km) to raise funds and awareness for the work of Save the Children.
Then in 2016, as an ambassador for World Vision, Sam set out on her most ambitious project to date; running across India.
Over 76 days, she ran 3,253km from the west to the east of India and, in the process, raised close to $200,000 to fund 6 programs to improve access to education for children in India.
In this conversation, Sam and I discuss why disappointment is not a terrible emotion, why she says she isn’t addicted to running and doesn’t need to call herself a runner, why she cringes at the word 'inspiration' and what it means to be truly committed to a goal.
1. Dr Stacy Sims on How to Work With Your Body, Not Fight Against It
“Almost everything you know about…developing training programs…are based on the schedules of men…”
Dr Stacy Sims is an environmental exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at the University of Waikato in NZ.
She’s an incredible athlete in her own right too, having competed at the Hawaii Ironman in Kona as well as the Xterra (Off-Road Triathlon) World Championships in Maui.
And she’s the author of an important book called Roar: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health and a Strong, Lean Body for Life.
At the core of Stacy’s work is the concept that women are not small men.
It seems obvious, I know!
Yet the majority of sports science research - and a result, the majority of what we understand about the best way to train, eat, drink, race and recover - has been done on men.
Even the common training program structure of 3 weeks of training followed by 1 week of recovery is - you guessed it! - based on research done on men, without any regard for the hormonal changes experienced by women throughout each month.
I honestly believe (and I have started telling anyone and everyone who will listen to me) Stacy’s book is required reading for all women, as well as for anyone who works with women (coaches, personal trainers, group fitness instructors, pilates instructors, yoga instructors, Physios, massage therapists etc).