From Professional Basketball to Bootcamp Drill Sergeant: Meet Patrick Cole

This 6’4” / 193cm Philly native has been a sporting fixture at trivago for nearly four years. Not only commanding in height, but when instructing, Patrick’s voice can be heard bouncing off walls counting down what is seemingly the longest and most painful 10 seconds ever recorded. While it would be a stretch to describe the classes as “fun” – they are, however, extremely satisfying. And after a few, many find themselves committed because they are determined to take shorter breaks or complete a full circuit on the advanced level or to jump higher than the last time. Either way, his classes depend on the individual and are as challenging as you make it.

I’m a participant in both his classes so it was a nice change for me to put the focus on him. After about 20 minutes of us talking about Jordans (Patrick’s favourite shoe) and giggling about his class’ Spotify playlist, he finally sat down and answered a few of my questions.

Life at trivago: I know you come from an athletic background, but can you share with the rest of the readers?

Patrick Cole: I used to play professional basketball. I played in college and then passed on an opportunity to play in the NBA [laughs]. I then went on to play professional basketball in a European league for about three years before I transferred to a lower league here in Düsseldorf. But even in that league I was travelling a lot and spending my weekends on a bus and that life wasn’t really for me. So, I retired from basketball.

Lat: Is that when you started to train?

PC: Yes and no. I was always into training and before I made it one of my main focuses, I was doing plyometric training with children-

Lat: Sorry, what’s plyometric training?

PC: Fast twitch muscle training so it’s a lot of jumping and sprints.

Lat: Ok, sorry continue…

PC: So, I’ve always held a personal trainer certificate, first getting it in the US, then getting qualified in Germany (plus all the German licenses to go with it). When I was still playing basketball, I was personal training out of a gym then when I stopped playing, I became a freelance trainer.

Lat: Now you’ve been at working at trivago part-time and you also lead some classes; which ones?

PC: I teach bootcamp which is a high-intensity, interval training and vibration plates – which is basically squats [laughs] and other static positions.

Lat: [also laughs] I do both of your classes and while bootcamp has become a relatively common and recognisable fitness class, vibration plates might not be as popular. Can you explain what one could expect from your vibrations plates class?

PC: The vibrations plates class takes place on a machine that vibrates your whole body. While scientific proof is still being decided; it’s said that doing exercises on these machines can be better for your body. For example, getting low and doing a squat on a vibration plate can increase flexibility because the vibrations force your muscles to contract and relax which help improve the length of your muscle – hopefully leading to better flexibility.

Lat: How long have you been teaching these sports and how is it that you introduced them to trivago?

PC: Almost four years now. I was already teaching bootcamp at another company and at the University of Duisburg when I was asked to roll it out here. At that time, trivago was trying to increase their sports roster for employees and were adding classes such as yoga and other high-intensity activities.

Lat: What can one expect at one of your classes?

PC: Lots of fun and good music [laughs]. Bootcamp is basically high-interval training so you’re doing circuits of exercises. It’s constant movement with short breaks. People hear “bootcamp” and feel a bit intimidated but while the class is high-intensity, you are encouraged to go at your own pace. There’s no judgement in my classes and sure, the first class will be the hardest but every class after that is a bit more rewarding as with regular training, improvements are noticeable.

Lat: What are some of the health benefits?

PC: Cardiovascular training – getting your heart rate up and then getting it to drop strengthens your heartrate system. With the interval training, you’re burning fat cells plus you have the muscle-building affect from both bootcamp and vibration plates. I always try to tell people how to use the right muscles and what they should feel to make sure they’re using proper form.

Lat: What are some of the results you’ve seen among your peers and what are the results they’ve seen in themselves?

PC: I’ve seen – especially with regular training – people’s form improving. For example, being able to hold positions a bit lower or get deeper in a push-up, and being able to stay up longer in a plank. I’ve also seen improved mobility and others just “feeling” better. I’ve had people come to me with their weight-loss stories. With training and better care with meals, a guy here lost 15kgs in three months. People have also come to me lamenting that their life is over when I need to cancel a class [laughs].

Lat: What’s your dedication level to actually training yourself?

PC: Well, I came from an athletic background and the thing that’s important to me and has helped me, is to always have a goal. My past goal was to play basketball and that’s the reason why I worked out. But since I don’t play anymore… I don’t necessarily have training goals. Actually, for a video I had to shoot, I had to gain five kilograms of muscle so I worked out to achieve that goal. But if I don’t have a goal, I don’t necessarily workout. [editor’s note: lucky him]

It’s important to have a goal when you work out. Whether it’s to “feel” better, tone, or gain muscle everyone should define a goal before working out.

trivago people can join Patrick every Monday at 17:15 and Wednesdays at 13:00 for bootcamp and Fridays at 12:00 for vibrations plates.

More about Patrick here

All photos by Sabina Woller

Florian Krushel

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