Rachel Mugridge is certainly not a woman to be messed with.
A rigorous 18-year-old dedicated to the art of Tae-Kwon-Do, renowned for being one of the most competitive forms of martial arts, has made her one of the sport’s leading practitioners here in Britain.
A fourth degree black belt under the International Tae-Kwon-Do Federation, Mugridge is a former world silver and British Gold medallist as well as previously holding the title of UKTA British Sparring Champion.
She has competed internationally for over a decade, and now incorporates her love of martial arts into her role as a personal trainer at the David Lloyd Centre.
Yet this success actually came about by accident, with her first tentative steps into martial arts not being entirely of her own doing.
“I actually never wanted to do it! My dad did martial arts for years, and when my younger brother started doing it I decided to give it a try and I’ve loved it ever since.
“My dad always wanted me to be able to look after myself, and Tae-Kwon-Do definitely allows me to do that.
“I now teach three classes a week, so as well as joining in with them I’ll do around 15 hours a week in the gym on top of that, just to supplement my training and keep myself in peak condition.
“I have eased off from competing recently though because I’m too busy teaching, but there are a couple of big tournaments coming up soon, that I’ll be training hard for with a view to getting back into the swing of things.”
Yet the biggest of all Tae-Kwon-Do competitions, the Olympic Games, is one that Mugridge will unfortunately not be a part of.
“I actually know someone who was selected for the trials, and the selection process is a very long and tedious process.
“While it’s something I’d love to be a part of, the whole process is simply too long-winded for me to seriously consider.”
Yet as one door closes, another opens, and Mugridge has now set her sights on furthering her career as a personal trainer at David Lloyd.
Having grown up immersed in a world of fitness and physical activity Mugridge believes that her place of work offers an ideal place for anyone to start getting fitter, especially given the decreasing fitness facilities available in the town now that Fitness First is closing down.
“It’s a fact that anybody walking into a gym for the first time feels a little bit self-conscious, no matter what kind of shape they’re in.
“I do a lot of contact and pad work with the women here because they don’t want to be going around lifting weights, and all of them really enjoy it as well as seeing the benefits.”