Celebrity Trainer Derek Pratt Finds Healing In Fitness
From Division 1 football to coaching the best in show biz.
From Division 1 football to coaching the best in show biz.
Actor, model, personal trainer and fitness mogul Derek Pratt boasts a life-long affinity for maintaining a healthy body and mind. Holding himself accountable with strict work-out regimens and positive-thinking practices on a day-to-day basis, the 29-year-old gym guru promotes a balanced lifestyle and a “just do it” mentality in an effort to exist as a virtual support system across his various social media platforms. Now training famed clients including the Italian-Japanese artistic director and long-time V collaborator Nicola Formichetti, NBA superstar Andre Drummond, leading wrestler Flip Gordon, and actor Jake Allyn among many others, the multi-talented athlete provides highly respected insight on the art of staying fit, an expertise he initially cultivated throughout his childhood playing on sports teams.
Having grown up in an athletically inclined family—his mother a personal trainer and his father a former division one athlete—Pratt has always valued fitness as a focal point for mental stability throughout his life. Involved in the sports trifecta of football, basketball, and baseball at a young age, Pratt was unknowingly discovered by one of Massachusetts’ top preparatory scouts for the Pingree School while on the field in eighth grade, and once enrolled as a freshman, the young athlete was already dominating the school’s athletic programs as captain of the football team. “There were two captains who were seniors going into the season,” Pratt recalls. “Our coach said there was one more spot open going into camp and one more person is going to earn that spot. I was a four-year varsity captain of my high school football team, which had never been done.” Making history the second he stepped onto the esteemed school’s field, Pratt then went on to play on the varsity lacrosse and basketball teams, leading the latter to victory as captain from his sophomore year on.
By the end of his junior athletic career, Pratt had amassed a sizable amount of football scholarships from division one schools across the country; however, due to a tragic blow to his knee on the field, nearly all of those awards vanished before he could make a decision. “I had 32 division one scholarships that I had taken away from me when I blew out my knee,” he says. “It was one hell of a school day. My coach made me call every school that offered me a scholarship, and I ended up going to the University of Maine.” Striking luck in an unfortunate situation, Pratt went on to play on the same collegiate team as his father, even sporting the same number on the back of his jersey for each game. “It was kind of fate in a way that I ended up at the same school my family started at, and I was able to make a name for myself there.”
After two years of on-the-field triumph, Pratt endured a multitude of contact-induced concussions, the last of which put a forcible halt to his football career. “Multiple doctors were telling me that if I didn't stop playing, I would die on the football field due to head injuries,” he says. Faced with the reality of a life-or-death situation, Pratt shifted his focus to working out in an effort to heal both his body and mind. “I decided to go in the other direction and get obsessed with fitness in a way to heal my injuries,” he says. “It turned into another type of school for me. I got really interested in all the different kinds of workouts, and I would take what I learned growing up from my mother, as far as workouts and fitness goes, and implement that knowledge into my routines.”
“I think fitness is a great way to keep people structured in their life,” says Pratt. “It helps you to be more consistent and hold yourself accountable.” A saving grace for Pratt, both mentally and physically, working out provides an unprecedented foundation for his stability and consistency, personal pillars which he holds at the forefront of his endeavors. “Fitness is what keeps me centered,” he explains. “It keeps me in a routine no matter what because modeling and acting are sporadic, and it's not like I'm doing that Monday through Friday every single day, but fitness turned into a full lifestyle for me. It’s not just about looking good; it's about being healthy and being on a consistent regimen every day. Whether it's during the world health crisis or it's just a normal day in the world, my routines really stay the same. It’s a guarantee every day.” Inspired by the discipline working out provides him with, Pratt now extends that same experience of personal growth and positive thinking as a personal trainer in Los Angeles.
On training with Nicola Formichetti, the legendary creative director and fashion editor responsible for a plethora of V’s most memorable covers, Pratt reveals he’s impressed with the creative’s diligent approach to fitness. “Nicola is honestly the most fun person I've ever trained,” he says. “His body right now is incredible. He works so hard, and he makes my job so much easier because he eats healthy when I'm not there. It's really a 24-hour commitment if you want to make changes to your body. He's literally either juicing at night or eating a very clean dinner, and his body shows it.” A fitness role model for us all, Formichetti's dedication is a prime example of Pratt's ability to instill an unmatched drive for success in each of his clients.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Pratt recognizes the potential for a universal decline in mental health and strives to instill positive messaging into his public presence. “First and foremost, it's really important for people to keep a positive outlook on each day and really try to focus on the positives because it's so easy to focus on the negatives right now,” he explains. “As long as people are focusing on the good, I think that's a great way to stay happy.” In putting his beliefs to practice, Pratt provides a few recommendations on how to maintain positivity in these trying times: “I recommend starting your day with a few happy thoughts,” he advises. “Every morning I wake up and I read some motivational quotes. I read some things that make me happy, but also make me motivated to start my day right. On days that I'm feeling extra sluggish, I will go on YouTube and I'll watch a motivational video, something to really push positivity in front of me.”
Ultimately, Pratt's goal is to be a source of knowledge and support in these times of uncertainty. “I’m out here trying to help everybody,” he says. “I want to help people have that mental strength first because once your mind is good, I think you can apply that in every other aspect of your life.” In addition to thinking positively, Pratt details several, easy-to-follow, at-home workouts across his social media accounts for people to follow while social distancing. Affirming that everyone is capable of achieving their individual fitness goals in these times, Pratt leaves with one final, metaphorical note: "Everyone is capable of flying. You just have to believe in yourself."
Head to Derek Pratt's fitness Instagram to keep up-to-date with his quarantine workout regimen and to build a positive mindset while abiding by stay-at-home orders