Case Study – Joanne Woodcraft

Joanne Woodcraft a 31 year old Nurse planned to complete a 250km Husky challenge for charity. To accomplish this she hired Clarice House Personal Trainer Nolan Sunnassee to help condition her for the event.

Joanne: I work in paediatric critical care unit at the Royal London Hospital and with 5 fellow colleagues. We have just completed a 250km Husky challenge across Norway and Sweden over 6 days, I was responsible for 5 dogs and each night camped in the temperatures down to -20.

Last year I completed the 3 peaks challenge in 25hours 15mins, following this I realised that I needed to be fitter and I needed help for the husky challenge. After speaking to Nolan i was impressed with his wealth of knowledge and how to train for my specific needs on the challenge. When I first started training I was obsessed that I needed to do cardiovascular work, however Nolan said he would be doing strength training with me. This was because the specific demands of the challenge needed upper body strength to help with steering the huskys, as well as a lot of back and leg conditioning for the long period of time we were standing. For the training Nolan got me doing exercises in the gym which I would not have dreamed of. These included pulling a sledge with 150kg load on it, up and down the middle of the gym whilst wearing my winter gloves! The training really helped as it was a fantastic experience but physically and mentally very hard, as where we were survival was the main objective.

If anyone would like to donate to improving parents facilities on the paediatric critical care unit please visit

Nolan: Jo’s task was very demanding and she did fantastically well in her exercise programme for the challenge. It is a misconception that many events and sports require high levels of aerobic capacity to be successful or to excel. If fact strength and conditioning is an understated and misunderstood training method that if executed correctly can produce outstanding results for every sport and activity. For Jo I had to strengthen her legs and back through large compound movements due to the 6-8 hours a day she would be upright holding the dogs. The grip over this period is also essential and her programme reflected this in the isometric (holding) contractions implemented into her workouts.

Joanne Woodcraft