Julie Rabbage is a personal trainer and Hatton boxing academy graduate, working in and around London. She tells Sundried how a stint in the US ignited her passion for fitness.
How did you find yourself in the world of fitness?
I came to be in the fitness world much later than some, and it was a career change for me. I never came from a sporty or athletic family so I was never encouraged to do anything as a child. If anything, I didn’t like sports as a child and really only took part in school sports classes. It wasn’t until I left home and went to the United States as an au pair in 1997 that I started getting into fitness. I used to do lots of walking and circuit style classes with friends. Over the years whilst working as a nanny I did several different workout videos at home.
In 2007, I moved to Greenwich in east London and started seeing a personal trainer myself and was attending kickboxing classes. I then found BMF (British Military Fitness) and I was hooked on getting fit.
I actually decided to retrain as a PT in 2010 after being in a horrible nanny job. I decided I wanted to do something different, something challenging, but something that combined my love of fitness with my love of being around babies. So I decided to focus on pre- and post-natal fitness.
Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.
Over the years I have taken part in several 10k races both with friends and with clients. I have also completed 10-milers and a couple of half marathons. For two years in a row I did Endure 24 with friends. The run itself is a 5-mile loop around beautiful woods. It is a team relay race, so one person from the team has to be running at all times, swapping after every loop. It was good fun and very social as we were camping, but running during the night with no sleep was tough. I plan on doing another half marathon at some point.
Do you follow a specific diet?
No, I don’t follow a specific diet, but I try to eat as healthy as I can. I try to limit eating carbs to just my training days and I also don’t like eating too late in the evening.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated?
All of my clients are different in terms of their ages and personalities, so I get to know them and what works for each of them. I have some clients who like to be pushed but not shouted at, others respond more to being challenged and pushed harder. I also try to make every session different so my clients never know if they are going to be working on hills or on the flat or on the steps. I also use a variety of different equipment and like to mix it up. I try to make the sessions fun, varied and challenging at the same time.
Talk us through your training regime.
Usually, my week consists of lots of walking, but I do BMF boot camp (this is a mixture of cardio and bodyweight strength and core exercises) at least once if not twice a week, plus I do their running club once, sometimes twice a week. I usually run with a client once a week, as she likes to do a 5k each Saturday. Depending on time and what classes I have done or not done I will go for my own hilly run or hill sprints session in the park. I try to fit a swim once a week too.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I enjoy reading and looking up new exercises or fitness techniques. I try to do a couple of different courses each year to keep on top of my training and to give me new tools to use.
How do you balance work and a social life?
It's sometimes hard to balance work and social life especially as I usually work Saturdays. I think that’s why I like BMF as that can be very social, and several of my friends do it also. So after class on a Sunday we usually go for coffee and catch up. We regularly do social events too, could be a meal or drinks or even a walk. I do always make sure that I keep Sundays as my day off.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Do something you enjoy. There’s no point doing something you don’t like or enjoy because you won’t get anything out of it and you are likely to quit.This could also include where you workout. Personally I don’t like working out in a Gym environment, it's so stuffy and usually crowded. I much prefer being outside. Everyone is different though.
- Try and give a 100% in your session rather than worrying about trying to fit in several sessions each week.If you commit and give everything to that session you will walk away feeling great knowing you worked your butt off.
- Try and focus on form and technique, this will help you get more out of each exercise and you will benefit more from it. Also it will stop you from getting injured. A lot of injuries come from poor form and technique.
If you could only give your clients one exercise, what would it be?
Wow one exercise, there are so many that are fantastic and really benefit you. But I think my favourite is probably the plank. Planks are fantastic for strengthening the core as they engage several muscle groups. They can also help improve your posture, strengthen your back and improve balance. Plus there are several variations of planks you can do to add intensity and to work different areas of your body.
What are your training aspirations?
I would like to do another half marathon at some point when I’m free of injuries. I would like to get 2 hours if I can. Also having loved watching the Triathlon on the Olympics this year, I would maybe like to give that a go. Although I’m not sure on the open swim bit!
Why work with Sundried?
Being a country girl, I love seeing the environment as it is. I love nothing better when I go home to go for a run or a walk across Dartmoor, so Sundried’s ethos behind the production and manufacturing of these fantastic products and the respect for the environment is why I support Sundried.