What an incredible year it has been for many of us!
Sparta Chicks Radio will celebrate its 5th birthday in the next few months and it has been downloaded over 400,000 times since we launched in 2017!
So thank YOU.
Whether you’ve listened to one episode or all 175, 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 2021 are ~
5. Brooke Nolan on Confidence, Compassion & Comparison (in the Arctic)
Growing up exercise was a source of shame and embarrassment for Brooke Nolan.
And it was only in her late 20s that she discovered a love of outdoor adventure.
Fast forward a few years and in March 2020, Brooke found herself on the first all-female team to cross the Finnmark Plateau, which is an ice plateau in Arctic Norway.
The crossing was a journey of 250km 14 days that required the team to drag sleds weighing up to 50kgs up to 20km each day in temperatures as cold as -30.
Oh, did I mention? Before committing to this expedition, Brooke had never seen snow before, and certainly didn’t know how to ski!
Now we could have spent the entire episode talking about the expedition, but as I said, this was March 2021 and Brooke and her team were off the grid for 14 days.
When they left, Covid-19 was a blip on the radar.
By the time they returned, it had become a pandemic, borders were closing and it was a race to the airport to try and get a flight home, which ultimately took her over 4 months.
In this conversation, we discuss the importance of self-compassion, the struggle with comparing yourself to the athlete you were in the past and how the expedition changed her relationship with her body.
4. Tara Diversi on Swimming the ‘Ice Mile’
The next time you hop in an ice bath or stick a sprained ankle into a bucket of ice water, I’m sure you’ll think of this episode of the podcast with Tara Diversi.
Tara is a woman of many talents. A Sports Dietitian and an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Tara also has a degree in psychology and an MBA.
She is also an accomplished athlete and marathon swimmer, having completed (amongst many other things) the English Channel, the Gibraltar Straight, the Rottnest Island swim and the Palm Beach to Manly swim here in Sydney.
And she’s been able to combine her work and passion by supporting over 60 English Channel swimmers to achieve their goals over the years.
But the focus of today’s conversation is on her most recent, and coldest, challenge - becoming the first Australian woman to complete an Ice Mile.
That is swimming one mile (1.6km) in water that is 5 degrees or less.
To put that into perspective, ice baths used by athletes to help with recovery generally sit around 14 degrees.
So why does a woman who lives in tropical Far North Queensland set a goal to swim a mile in ice water?
Let’s find out.
3. Lucy Barnard on Year 4 of Walking the Length of the World
Lucy Barnard is attempting to become the 1st woman to walk the length of the world.
She set off in February 2017 from Tierra Del Fuego in Argentina to walk to Barrow, Alaska; a journey of 30,000km / 20,000mi across 15 countries that she anticipated would take about 5 years.
Lucy first joined me on the podcast in March 2018.
When I was preparing to speak to Lucy for that episode, I realised we share a unique connection; we both started our respective journeys - Lucy started walking and I published the first podcast - on the very same day in 2017.
That conversation turned into our first anniversary / birthday celebration and we agreed to catch up each year for an update on her progress!
In March 2021, Lucy returned to the podcast for her 4th visit to share how the expedition has unfolded in 2020. As you can probably imagine, it was not the year or the conversation either of us anticipated.
2. Erin Carson on Strength, Personal Power & Writing Your Own Story
Erin Carson is the strength coach to the stars of the endurance sports world.
Based in Boulder, Colorado she is the co-owner & operator of Rally Sports and is the head coach for EC Fit. Her clients include the dynamic duo of Mirinda Carfrae (3 x Ironman World Champion) and Tim O’Donnell (fastest American ever at Kona).
Aside from the World Champions she coaches, Erin also coaches everyday people - like me! I use Erin’s ECFit on Demand app for my strength and conditioning program.
She’s a visionary who is changing what it means to be a strong athlete and the best strength training for endurance athletes.
In this conversation, we discuss everything from her career as a basketball player, including playing professionally in Europe, through to why creating more energy (rather than strength or speed) is at the heart of her philosophy for endurance athletes.
Plus she shares why you can come last and still be victorious, and her experience through peri-menopause and menopause as an athlete in her 50s.
1. Selene Yeager on the Power of Cycling & Why Balance is Bullshit
Selene is a professional health and fitness writer who is also the author or co-author of 6 books including ‘Rusch to Glory’ about MTB champion Rebecca Rusch and the incredibly popular ‘Roar’ with Dr Stacy Sims.
Selene is also an extraordinary athlete in her own right.
She’s been a semi-professional athlete since her late 30s and has competed in everything from Hawaii Ironman to 7 day mountain bike stage races and 200 mile (that’s 320km) gravel classics.
And she hosts the popular podcast ‘Hit Play Not Pause” for active performance-minded women in their 40s and beyond.
In this conversation we discuss the power of cycling, the importance of storytelling and why balance is bullshit.