Ruben Tabares is the go-to guy for top athletes and high net worth types who want to take their training to the next level. David Haye, Amir Khan, P Diddy, Tinie Tempah, Danny Cipriani and John Terry are just some of the stars who have benefited from his radical programmes. We get the lowdown from one of the world’s most in-demand personal trainers.
How does a personal trainer end up on the speed dial of so many notable people?
It’s been a long route to where I am now. My fitness career began when I attended ballet school when I was seven, which I kept up for about four years. I then went to a sporty school and discovered that I had an aptitude for running, eventually becoming the European junior 400m hurdles champion. I’d always been fascinated by biomechanical injuries and made it one of my specialisms and, when I was at an athletes training camp, I started treating fellow athletes’ injuries. That success led to me being recommended to the boxer David Haye. I spent 10 days with him, just before his Valuev fight, and helped clean up his diet, fixing a cramping problem he’d had for a while. Things really took off for me from there.
You still compete in athletics. How do you find the time to do your own training and fit in training others?
A lot of it isn’t so much about finding the time as having the energy to do it. This is why good nutrition is so important. If you eat correctly, your body recovers more quickly and you have more energy.
Where in the world has your training taken you?
LA, Colombia, and the Philippines, the latter with Amir Khan. I regularly fly to Tel Aviv to advise a billionaire client I have there. I also spent time in Miami when I was training David. In fact, another notable client of mine – P Diddy – came from those sessions. He’d seen me doing some unusual exercises in the gym and he came over to ask about them. I ended up going to his house to meet his chef, his doctor, his chiropractor and so on. They had to be sure of me before they let me into his world. It was surreal at first but he’s a hard worker. He might have an image as a party boy but he was in the gym at 8am for every session. He actually offered me a job, traveling the world with him for a year, for a remarkable salary, but I had already made a commitment to David Haye and didn’t want to let him down. Diddy actually thought that my refusal meant I wanted more money so he kept upping the salary. It became very tempting.
Which sport would you say demands the toughest workout?
It’s hard to say but MMA (mixed martial arts), track and field and boxing are all tough. The latter might just have the edge in terms of complete athleticism. Also, crucially, boxers and MMA athletes have to endure people trying to hurt them while they perform, so that makes their sport tougher still.
What are the most common misconceptions people have about training?
That if you train hard, you can eat what you want. It’s simply not true. Our diet should be 75 per cent raw food, and 25 per cent cooked. Grilled fish, salads, fruit, lightly steamed veg – that’s what the body needs. People also expect fast results but patience is key. I’m training Tinie Tempah at the moment and we spent plenty of time strengthening his ligaments and joints before really hitting the weights. A year on and he’s in fantastic shape.
Why do sports stars need an additional trainer? What did you offer John Terry, for example, that he wasn’t getting from Chelsea’s multi-million pound training facilities?
With John, I was treating a specific injury. He’d tried everything else and, with my treatment, the injury hasn’t recurred. There’s this myth that a footballer’s legs turn to jelly after the age of 30 – my training can help them keep their speed and even increase it.
You also worked with Mickey Rourke – tell us about that.
He’s always kept in good shape – he was a former professional boxer – and he saw David and I training in the gym one day and told me he was ‘officially impressed’ by my training. He’s old-school, and says what he thinks, but I admire that. An amazing man.
What does the future hold for Ruben Tabares?
Busy times ahead. I’ve just opened a gym in the City called The Vault with my former hurdling partner, Jon Squirrel, another one near Chelsea and also a high performance centre. We’re taking it to the next level.
Personal training sessions start from £150 per hour. Go to www.rubentabares.com for more information.