Vicki Anstey

  • Award-winning Founder of Barreworks Studio
  • SAS Who Dares Wins Finalist
  • Multi-discipline Athlete
  • Harlequins Foundation Ambassador

Vicki Anstey

Background

Vicki is 43, a leading fitness expert and founder of London’s original Barre and Ballet studio, Barreworks. She starred on Channel 4’s ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ as one of the first females to participate and reach the final stages.

Vicki has been a keen athlete for over 15 years, she has run 5 marathons in different countries, participated in a number of gruelling cycling sportives as a complete novice and now sets her sights on a World Record ocean crossing in a 24ft rowing boat!

She is determined, incredibly strong willed and motivated, not to mention pretty fit! She is an advocate on the speaking circuit and via a variety of media for women’s resilience, grit and determination, inspiring others to exploit their genetic potential (physical and mental).  

Oh, and she has two beautiful dogs; Olive & Ebony who take up her time when she's not working, training, eating or sleeping!

Career

Vicki founded Barreworks, the UK’s first dedicated Barre and Ballet Studio in the UK, over 10 years ago. She has a dedicated following in South-West London and trains a vast array of clientele from ‘everyday’ individuals to elite-level athletes and everything in-between. She believes that every sport and every individual keen to improve their performance or movement patterns can learn a tremendous amount from the discipline of ballet and barre. Vicki won ‘Female Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the RBRA Business Award in 2019.

Vicki is also co-Founder of The Business of Fitness. A unique coaching programme that guides fitness professionals through the process of establishing their own thriving fitness business.

Since her participation in SAS: Who Dares Wins (as one of the first ever women to reach the final stages), Vicki has become an advocate for women’s resilience, grit and determination.

Vicki’s inspiring personal story and journey to success in business and physical adventure have made her a sought after personality on the speaking circuit and she regularly records podcasts, writes for blogs and guest columns in a wide variety of media.

She delivered her first Ted Talk ‘Why Fear Is A Choice’ in 2020.

In September 2019, Vicki became the first women's Harlequins Foundation Ambassador.

Vicki was recently announced Best Female Entrepreneur at the 2019 Richmond Business Awards.

Race Motivation

“Wow, that’s incredible!” is the phrase I most commonly hear when I tell people that next June I’m going to row from San Francisco to Hawaii unaided. Quickly followed by “I could never do that…".

Not even 2 years ago, I would have had a similar response. It would have struck me as the kind of thing only a professional rower or someone who had been doing sports their whole life would undertake. Probably someone with the genetic make up of an Olympian and missing an amygdala.

But what I have discovered is that we ALL have more potential than we think. We ALL have fears, it just comes down to how you choose to deal with them. Yep, that’s right…I believe fear is a choice.

I learned that I could choose a different life in spite of feeling crippled by the fear of the unknown after a relationship that lasted over half my life. I learned that I could choose to walk a ladder across a 300ft ravine in spite of a paralysing fear of heights. And I learned that my fear of deep water would in itself become the biggest risk to my life if I didn’t find a way to control it.I had turned my life around from being a tired, unhealthy advertising exec in my twenties to the Founder of a fitness business in my thirties. I possess no particular talent, I am not the strongest, the fittest or the fastest. But I have learned that effort counts for double. Hard work, determination and a gritty refusal to give up have got me to places I never could have dreamed of only a few years ago.

I turned short, lethargic runs into marathons and a dislike of road cycling into participation in some pretty tough cycling sportives around the world. Just pure stubbornness to complete every training session and get to the end line.

In 2018, I participated in Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins. Competing with 24 other recruits to undertake some of the most physically and mentally punishing tasks imaginable. I was a 40 year old woman, with a fear of heights and water, who (as much surprising myself as anyone who knows me) voluntarily forward abseiled down 200ft cliff faces and plunged herself into ice holes high up in the frozen lakes of the Andes. One of the first ever women in the UK to reach the final stages and to endure ‘Resistance to Interrogation’.

SAS training offers no recognition. No positive reinforcement at all. You learn to rely on the power of your mind. When you begin to push the boundaries of what you think you are capable of, it’s an incredibly powerful driver to simply do more. There is a deeply cathartic and liberating feeling that comes from suddenly understanding yourself a bit better. Knowing where your body can take you and then finding out that your mind can take you even further.

I want to share how, as a 40+ year old woman, I rediscovered my power. How I used that new-found power to open doors and say YES to things. How those experiences changed my life one by one and how remarkably easy that process is if you just choose to take one step in the right direction.

You don’t have to train with the SAS or row an ocean to live your life freely and bravely, but you do have more power than you think and EVERY single journey starts with just one step.

My ‘why’ for joining the incredible Girls Who Dare and rowing 4,000km of stormy ocean is to continue my journey of self-discovery, but through that (and using extreme experiences to illustrate) show others that they are also more capable than they think. Encouraging them to wait before they automatically count themselves out of being able to do something and just take a minute to imagine that they could, if they weren’t afraid.

What would you do if you weren't afraid? I’d row an ocean...

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Vicki Anstey

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