They are a healthy-looking family, the De Raad men from Schiedam, particularly on this sunny day in May. Dad Ton’s face is looking pretty tanned already, which shows that he may work a few hours less and have slightly more leisure time than his sons. His sons aren’t quite as tanned, but are quite muscular and ruddy. This is because the two of them spend most of their working week indoors. Eri hangs out at the gym, where he works as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, while Zev (who is the face of Erasmus Vitaal) goes to EUR employees’ workstations to get them to exercise.
Instructions every once in a while
Dad Ton graduated from the The Hague Academy of Physical Education in 1976, and in the 38 years he has worked for Erasmus Sport, he was a budo sports instructor for a long time, meaning he taught all sorts of Japanese martial arts, such as karate, jiu-jitsu, judo, aikido and kendo. He has since dropped a few classes, and now that he is approaching retirement age, he is acting more like a manager, which he actually quite enjoys. “I am now allowed to have a say in the daily business of running a sports centre, which is a lot of fun.” In the four decades he has worked at the EUR campus, he has obviously seen many changes at his workplace. “The range of sports on offer has increased tremendously over the years. Everyone can now find a sport that suits him or her in this wonderful organisation,” says Ton, clearly not afraid to sing Erasmus Sport’s praises. But hey, you would do the same if you enjoyed your work as much as Ton does his!
Eri obviously benefited from this family connection when he applied for a job on campus. As a 16-year-old still attending a Physical Education College, he was allowed to teach spinning classes for students on Friday afternoons. “No, I didn’t mind doing it,” says Eri, who has grown considerably in stature since then. “As a spinning instructor your only job is to give some instructions every once in a while, and the music was nice and loud.”
Looking good in a bikini or swimming trunks
Ever since he established his own small company – called Erisports – in 2010, he has worked full time at Erasmus Sport. He teaches group fitness lessons, but mainly works as a personal trainer to students and members of staff who wish to be forced to work their arses off, one on one, once a week. He has about forty sessions per week these days. “Different people have different motivations,” he says. “Some wish to get stronger, others wish to lose some weight. What I have noticed is that the number of people signing up always goes up in January, when people have formed New Year’s resolutions, and just before summer, when they want to look good in a bikini or swimming trunks.” It should be noted that the personal trainer does not just make his clients work their arses off for an hour each week; he also provides them with dietary recommendations, based partly on the weight measurements he has performed and the body fat percentages he has calculated.
His brother Zev, who got a degree in Communication Sciences from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences a few years ago, is the only member of the trio who works outside the Erasmus Sport Center. Zev spends a large chunk of his working week visiting EUR staff and getting them to stretch properly for fifteen minutes per week – a form of no-sweat exercise. This type of exercise, which can be done by everyone, is part of EUR’s Erasmus Vitaal programme, which is designed to improve staff’s health. The university has recently introduced a more hardcore type of exercise at work that does involve sweating. “For the time being, we do not offer that service at the employees’ workplace before and after office hours, but rather in the gym itself,” says the youngest of the three De Raads.
Spend some time chatting with the De Raad family about working at Erasmus Sport, and you can’t help noticing how much they seem to love it. They frequently praise the organisation in a way every employer would wish for: “Brilliant work, allowing me a great deal of freedom” (Ton), “Great atmosphere and a high level of appreciation” (Zev), “Students are a great target group, and, given their lifestyle, they pose a nice challenge, as well” (Eri). And the fact that they run into each other pretty much every day just adds to the fun.