Derek Nicholas

Read Derek's interview in Gotham Magazine

Derek Nicholas, a NSCA certified personal trainer, found his way into the training industry on the west coast, though a native New Yorker. It was his own love of physical training and extreme sports – including cycling, mountain biking and snowboarding – that ignited his passion for fitness and eventually brought him the incredible opportunity to work with others on a one on one basis.


Derek grew up in a family deeply rooted in athletics. His Grandfather, Dr. Calvin Nicholas was the medical doctor for The Jets and The Islanders. Calvin’s brother, the late James Nicholas, founded The Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital and remains notorious in the sports world for operating on Joe Namath’s “creaky knees”. While still in high school, Derek also had the opportunity to train with Rusty Jones, then the strength and conditioning coach for The Buffalo Bills (currently of The Chicago Bears).


Out of school, Derek’s first stop was Crunch Fitness is San Francisco, California. He immediately made a name for himself with his GRUELING group fitness classes. Completely original and always cutting edge, his classes, such as “Boot Camp” and “Heavy Metal Survivor,” received rave reviews and soon graced the pages of The San Francisco Chronicle as well as other prestigious publications in the San Francisco area. He was soon sought out by Self Magazine to teach for its annual “Workout In The Park” in Golden Gate Park.


Eager to advance his training career, Derek returned home to New York, bringing his exercise expertise to David Barton Gym. Soon enough, he gained popularity for his now notorious group fitness classes, Pain and Pleasure and Rock Hard Abs, and well deserved recognition with write ups in Time Out New York and The New York Post.


Derek now focus mainly on one on one personal training, working out of Rich Barretta Private Training, a functional athletic training studio located in the Flat Iron district of Manhattan, known for its highly qualified trainers and athletic clientele. Living a healthy, outdoor, active lifestyle is one Derek not only lives himself, but one he lives to promote. In Derek’s sessions, the attention is placed not only on the obvious aesthetic benefits desired from exercise, but also in performance enhancement, pain free living and proper nutrition. His clients range from triathletes to the weekend warriors, from beginner to the highly conditioned.


Most recently, Derek has been working closely with Rich Barretta, former Mr. America (1987) and owner of Rich Barretta Private Training, who he attributes to being his most influential mentor.


Growing up in a family deeply rooted in athletics combined with Derek’s 8 years in the fitness industry have all greatly influenced his unique philosophy on training. “I want my clients to experience the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle and to feel what it’s like when their bodies function at maximum potential”, says Derek. “



“I went through 4 different trainers at Equinox and David Barton here in New York, wasted thousands of dollars and almost 2 years with no results before my girlfriend referred me to Derek Nicholas at Rich Barretta Private Training studio. I was like no, I’m not going to waste any more money, I don’t believe in personal trainers. Good thing she talked me into that. Derek provided customized program and nutrition guidelines, took time with everything and really made sure that I see changes in my body not just “work out”, best trainer hands down.”- V.Z.

Derek training one of his female clients.

Derek uses training to improve his own golf swing.

Derek training one of his male clients.