Meet the Personal Trainer: Kaz Verstraete

By Paulien van Embden | 01 Mar 2022 | Testimonials

1. Can you introduce yourself? 

Hello, I’m Kaz (@kazverr), 29 years old, living in Bruges (most of the time), and graduated as Master in Corporate Finance back in 2017. A lot of people where enthusiastic about this degree, telling me it would open a lot of doors. Yes, I told them, but not the doors I want.

As a young guy of 18 years old, I really didn’t know what to study, and I choose something broad. So after graduating, I tried several corporate jobs, but they all felt like a prison to me. My mind was always drifting away: dreaming about the mountains, training & sports. 

The latter has always run like a thread trough my life. Skating, basketball, cycling, skiing and snowboarding, hiking,… In 2013 I discovered the sport that would push my life in the best direction possible, triathlon. In the past few years, I learned about proper training and racing, had several top 10 finishes in Belgium, and qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mooloolaba (Australia), and was qualified for Ironman Hawaii in 2018 but I didn’t take the slot. The final 2 years I have found my true self with trail running: the sport that allows me to combine my passion for endurance sports, with my other love: Switzerland. 

In 2019 I decided that sporting for myself wasn’t enough. I wanted to work with people and for people. Passing on my enthusiasm and love for sports to others. Therefore I decided to follow my passion. So here I am, presenting myself as NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and currently studying for the NASM Performance Enhancement Specialization module, as well as taking the trainer B triathlon course of the VTS. 

I created my own triathlon and endurance coaching company "Never Not Moving" and combined this activity with working as parttime ski & snowboard instructor during winter in Valais (Switzerland).

2. Why did you choose PCA for your education ?

I choose PCA after calling with Karl Van Biervliet. He had a similar profile as myself (Triathlete, Master in Economics, but later really successful as a coach & entrepreneur). So I contacted him one day to hear about his life story. He strongly advised me to do the NASM course, in order to gain a thorough understanding of the human body. So Karl, if you are reading this, thanks a lot for the advice! It might have been the best recommendation I have got. 

3. What did the NASM accreditation bring you ?

The NASM accreditation brought me a profound understanding of the human neuromuscular system. Obviously I didn’t have an academic background on the human body, and endurance athletes often wear blinders: we like to swim - bike - run for hours, but don’t ask us to do some proper strength training. So the NASM CPT course was a real wakeup call, as I learned that a balanced, strong body, is the real base of any athlete. 

4. What is your specialization ?

My specialization is obviously endurance training, more specifically running & (Ironman) triathletes. Where I see every athlete, regardless of their experience, as a unique physiologic entity. But I believe my real strength is that I’m always making sure the life-training balance for my athletes is on point. Triathlon is a sport with a lot of ‘A type’ personalities, and it’s easy to lose yourself in training and racing, especially when you’re young. A trap I found myself in for quite a long time. I trained, I raced, I was really strict with everything, but it didn’t make me happy. It took me a while to realize that to be at your very best, you need to be happy first, and happiness you’ll find if everything you value in life is balanced. Since realized this I am happier as a person, and actually even stronger as an athlete. That’s something I always encourage my athletes to find as well. 

5. What is the coolest exercise you like to do with your clients and why ?

The coolest exercises I love to do are the ones who test your balance threshold. In fact, as runners, and especially in the mountains, we are always dancing on one leg. But balance is an aspect that a lot of athletes struggle with. Therefore examples of my favorite exercises are single leg scaption on a bosu ball, single leg catch and throw on bosu ball. Or just a real basic, but so complete, exercise as step up to balance to overhead press.

6. What is the most fulfilling part in coaching others ?

As I stated above. I wanted to work with people and for people. Coaching allows me to establish a great relationship with a multitude of different people and characters. More often than not, these people actually become friends, rather then just coachees. And in the  end, life is about who you share it with. 

7. What is your favorite quote ?

“If it’s hurting me, it’s killing them”. Yes every endurance athlete has some kind of masochism, you have to really love the grind and the suffering.  

So this quote always pushes me to keep going until the finish line. Then another one for life in general: If you’re positive, everything will work. 

And maybe a last one. When I’m not working, or sporting, I can really enjoy a good craft beer with friends. So maybe I’ll have to add “Eentje is geentje” too :).

About the author: Paulien van Embden

PCA Co-owner, Director