International Women's Day: Meet Our Female Warriors

Today is a very important awareness day across the world, promoting women's empowerment and gender equality. Every year on March 8th, International Women's Day is an opportunity to celebrate the progress made by the women's rights movement, but also to reflect on the discrimination against women that still prevails worldwide. It's also a great time to highlight accomplishments made by inspiring women everywhere, and champion their achievements in the home, in the workplace, in the media, and in the sporting arena.

This year’s International Women's Day theme is ‘Inspiring Inclusion’. 

The theme encourages us to acknowledge the perspectives of women from every background, every culture, and every community. In particular, there is a drive to encourage more diversity and inclusion in leadership roles, as women are grossly underrepresented in these areas. 

We’re so proud to have so many incredible women supporting the Prep Kitchen brand, who demonstrate how women excel as leaders and motivators, and whose incredible achievements continue to inspire and motivate our customers. We spoke to some of them about their individual journeys: the women who have inspired them, the challenges they have faced, and the achievements they’re most proud of.

Read on to learn more about their success stories.

Sheli McCoy - Scottish CrossFit and Weightlifting Champion

Sheli McCoy is a mental and physical human powerhouse! She’s a competitor in CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting, and has previously been Scottish champion in both sports. She holds a BSc (Hons) and a Master’s degree, and is a qualified sports rehabilitation therapist and biomechanics/kinetics specialist. She’s also a British Weightlifting coach, personal trainer, and owner of 5 businesses! Sheli’s motto is ‘live longer, live stronger’ - she certainly lives by this rule herself, and her long list of achievements serve to inspire other women to push themselves and find their inner strength. She strongly believes in the concept of ‘women supporting women’.

“I want to make other women feel comfortable in my space. Women should support one another and help each other to excel and succeed.”

Sheli says that her mum was one of the biggest driving forces and inspirations in her life.

“Having such a strong and powerful female role model, showing me how to live and work hard, instilled in me a very strong work ethic and a will to succeed.”

Sheli has an amazing strength of character and positive attitude who has used challenging experiences to grow and become even stronger.

“Someone walked into my gym once and asked me, 'Sweetheart, is the boss around?’ It gave me great pleasure to be able to say, 'I’m Sheli McCoy, I’m the boss, and you’re standing in my gym'. It was a great moment.”

It’s disappointing that this level of ignorance and prejudice still prevails, but Sheli believes that people should just be guided towards a new way of thinking.

“I want to be celebrated because I’m a successful business person, not celebrated because I’m a female business person.”

Ultimately, Sheli said that women should embrace the challenges they face and meet them head-on, using them to grow mentally, emotionally, and physically:

“No single woman - or man - ever succeeded without adversity. Adversity was the fire beneath them! Give me adversity because I want to level up: without barriers and adversity we’d never know how strong we are.”

Sheli is living proof that adversity doesn’t need to define you; your attitude towards your challenges is within your control and you can use difficult experiences to evolve personally and professionally. We think she’s an amazing human being!

Katarina Johnson-Thompson - Olympic Athlete

Katarina Johnson-Thompson (KJT) is a multi-gold-medal-winning athlete, reigning World and Commonwealth Heptathlon Champion, who competed at the London Olympic Games in 2012 at the age of just 19. As well as her incredible sporting achievements, KJT is known for her friendly and approachable personality, which earned her third place at the 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. She was also named Sports Star of the Year 2019 at Stylist’s inaugural Remarkable Women Awards. She is an inspiration and role model for women and young athletes all around the world, but Katarina shared that a remarkable woman also inspired her on her own journey to athletic success and stardom. That woman is heptathlon gold medal winner Denise Lewis, whom Katarina met when doing an interview for the BBC in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics. 

Katarina shared her experiences as a female athlete with us - you can also see the interview in the video above.

“[Denise] trod the path for the rest of us to walk on. She has always been one of the original OGs of the heptathlon in the UK and has always inspired such pride in me. In my career she has been my fairy godmother, offering advice and being there when I needed her and for encouragement when I’ve needed help the most.”

Despite her own incredible and unquestionable successes, KJT shared that she has often faced forms of discrimination because she is a woman.

“I’m an athlete that has been competing for Great Britain for 12 years now and feel as though I know my work very well, but I do have random men try to ‘mansplain’ and tell me how to do my job. I usually just laugh it off and often see it as they are trying to help but sometimes it doesn’t come across that way and can really grind my gears!”

Sport is such a highly competitive field with extreme pressure to succeed. It can often feel as though you’re being left behind, or that you don’t have time to accomplish your goals. Katarina said that whilst timing is really important, you need to give yourself space.

“A big thing I wish I’d known when I was younger is that you do have time. I was really scared as a young athlete - I felt like I was running out of time, that it had to be now or never - but I look back and think I’ve done another 5 championships since then!”

KJT is no stranger to hardship and has overcome serious injury and is setting her sights on Olympic gold at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Katarina’s advice to other women and athletes is to just stay focused on your own goals, and don’t be daunted, even when the goal seems impossible.

“People have done it before and you can too - just stay true to yourself, stay on your path and work hard. It will lead somewhere and you will be better for it.”

We will be wishing KJT all the best and know that she’ll approach this goal with her usual strength and determination - she’s a winner in every sense of the word and we think she’s a total superstar!

Sapphire Goddard - CrossFit Athlete

Sapphire Goddard is a CrossFit athlete, gym owner, functional fitness specialist, and social media influencer with more than 25k followers on Instagram. Before her CrossFit career, Sapphire was a female leader for a UK Tag Rugby charity across Africa and in Romania, where she helped to promote sport in schools and break down cultural, societal and gender barriers. In this role, Sapphire faced discrimination from men who would spit at her simply because of her gender. Her strength and determination helped to challenge such discriminatory behaviour, paving the way for a more respectful environment for females in these countries, and leading to more women and girls playing sports. In past relationships, she also experienced both verbal abuse and physical violence.

“Overcoming discrimination and abuse was a journey of resilience and self-discovery. These experiences affected me, encouraging me to set boundaries and stand up against mistreatment. It began with acknowledging that I deserved better and recognising that I had the strength to break free from toxic situations.”

Therapy and self-care practices, such as mindfulness and journaling, helped Sapphire find inner peace and self-love, and the courage to pursue healthier, more fulfilling relationships. Sapphire has found inspiration from different female icons, including Serena Williams, Marie Curie, and Michelle Obama; however, the female who is her greatest inspiration is her younger self.

“The challenges she faced head-on with resilience and determination serve as a constant reminder of the strength within me. Witnessing her journey, marked by perseverance and courage, instilled in me a drive to strive for excellence and to be the best version of myself every day. Reflecting on her growth as a female inspires me daily.”

We think Sapphire can be proud of herself at any age! We're sure her younger self would be inspired by the amazing, inspiring woman she has become.

We hope that the insights from these strong and talented women have encouraged you to think about the challenges that all women still face in society today. However, their incredible achievements serve to illustrate the scope of women’s talents and strength, and we hope they’ve motivated and inspired you as much as they’ve inspired us.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at these other articles on our blog:

Chris Tang's 5 Top Tips to Kickstart Your 2024

Our Exciting Partnership with Katerina Johnson-Thompson

Posted in News on by Kerry Beeson BSc (Nut Med) Nutritional Therapist & Metabolic Balance Coach