“For me, freedom – and therefore success – is in the small things in life” – Pradeep Mathews
Pradeep Mathews (29) from Canada runs his own practice for physical therapy and personal training in Amsterdam West. By focussing on a balance between rehabilitation and strength training, Pradeep bridges the gap between the two different sides of being a personal trainer. Pradeep’s philosophy is all about shooting hoops and building a community with health as a core value.
So, are we correct to assume you’re always in shape because of your line of work?
‘I wish I could say that’s the case. But I’m a human first and a personal trainer second. So health is very important to me and I think that building healthy habits is key to this. Working out and doing sports are part of my lifestyle. But I also love to sit in the sun and have a beer and a pizza like everyone else once in a while. But yeah, fitness is a big part of my life.’
What are your favorite ways to exercise?
‘As a kid, I grew up playing sports like football and basketball. I always wanted to play sports professionally, but when I got older I realized this was probably not going to happen. I still wanted to stay fit and in shape, so I kept exercising. If I have to pick one specific sport it’s basketball: all day, every day.’
When did you know you wanted to turn your love for sports and exercise into a profession?
‘In high school I took a lot of science courses and eventually ended up studying exercise science. I put a lot of work into this course and received high grades. I realized I actually care about this stuff, plus there’s a field of work and I’m actually good at it. It pushed me into this direction. I took more courses and kept being open to new opportunities. And finally it led me here, which I’m very happy about.’
What is your main focus? Personal training or physical therapy?
‘I do a bit of both. What sets me apart as a personal trainer is the fact that I have a background in physical therapy. A lot of people with injuries don’t feel very comfortable coming to the gym. I try to close that gap between rehabilitation and strength training. I also like training people myself and pushing their limits. I know a lot of hands-on techniques to improve the body’s ability to train and heal. It’s nice that I don’t have to do either one or the other. That’s the best part of being self-employed: I don’t have to choose between two things I like.’
What is it you enjoy most in your job?
‘I really like the combination of rehabilitation and PT. I work with a lot of athletes that have torn ACLs. These clients go through a 9 month trajectory of 2 to 3 sessions a week. It’s really hands-on; it’s more than just the physical aspect. Clients go through ups and downs: they can’t shower or get up the stairs by themselves. They need assistance for all these things. So the thing that makes my job so cool is that I have to be a little bit of everything and not just be there for them on a physical level. I also have to examine a person’s mental well-being and act as a sort of coach for them. That makes it really rewarding.’
Can you tell me a bit more about how you started Deep Physiotherapy?
‘During my studies in physiotherapy, I did a minor in PT. For this program, a 200 hour internship at a gym was mandatory. After the internship, I started working there full time, teaching classes and such. Then people started reaching out to me after the classes, asking to book me one-on-one as a personal trainer. Little by little those requests started to increase and that’s when I decided to give it a shot and register my business at the Chamber of Commerce. It started as a side hustle, but became profitable and now it’s my main source of income.’
How do you make sure you always have work?
‘My client base is actually very strong. I also work as a physical therapist at USC and the experience of the clients is very important, both there and in my own company.. We even try to refer clients we can’t help to the right place, as a service to them. We put the client first, not our egos.’
What is success to you?
‘To me, success equals freedom. It’s not about having a big house or fancy car. When I lived in Canada, I used to drive every day. I happily traded that in for Amsterdam where I ride to work on my bike every day. For me, freedom – and therefore success – is in the small things in life. I also like to travel to new places every year whenever I want to. Being my own boss definitely helps me being able to do this.’
For you, what would be a dream job or assignment to get hired for?
‘I would love to open up a small studio together with one of my friends. Small, but with enough equipment and maybe a small garden with some dogs running around. Having friends come over on the weekend for a barbecue and shooting some hoops. This would be my way to incorporate sports into people’s lives. A gym, sports center and physiotherapy place with more of a community feel. We would promote health and well-being. That’s the goal for now.’