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Welcome to Racked LA's search for Los Angeles' hottest trainer. Over the coming weeks, we'll profile sixteen smoking candidates who work at local gyms and studios. Then, once you've gotten to know everyone, we'll host a March Madness-style showdown in which you get to vote for your favorite. Let the games begin!All photos Elizabeth Daniels
Now introducing Hottest Trainer candidate #3, Mr. Roarke Walker. A spinning instructor at SoulCycle's very first LA studio in West Hollywood, he is referred to by his fans as simply "Roarke," no last name needed (those fans are legion, and very vocal). He's a California native who recently moved back west after spending a few years in New York City. When he's not sweating it out on a bike, you might catch him on shows like Gossip Girl and Kings. Here, he spills on what it's like to do what he does.
How did you get into spinning?
"I was in New York and I had been bartending, waiting tables, stuff like that. I've always been very physical and into fitness and I just stumbled across the original [SoulCycle] location on 72nd Street. A very good friend of mine was a teacher there and I tried out one class and the rest was history. I started out for a year riding at SoulCycle in New York and then after a year I decided to audition to be an instructor."
What's the hardest thing about what you do, and what do you love about it?
"Honestly, the physical component. I teach about 10 classes a week, other instructors teach a lot more than that, and we do ride the bikes with our riders. It's super-important to stretch and do yoga on the side. [With] teaching, you're also giving out a lot of energy and you don't necessarily get it back right away. I have to take the time to reenergize.
The most rewarding thing is the impact on peoples' lives day in and day out. For a lot of people this is not just a workout, this is their life coaching, their therapy session, this is where they get all their new music. One of my favorite things is when people come up to me after class and say something like, 'Thank you, you totally changed my day. I really needed that.'"
Do you have any tips for spinning newbies?
"It obviously takes a lot of dedication. I know at SoulCycle and at other indoor cycling classes, or any fitness class for that matter, a lot of people are just intimidated. There's no reason to be scared. You can work at your own pace and it's not a competition. You will get stronger, just stick with it and don't give up."
What's the biggest workout mistake you see people making?
"A lot of times people underestimate their own strength. So in class, they don't put enough resistance on the bike. I'm constantly trying to tell my students that you only have 45 minutes, that's your time to really really work hard. Here's a mistake: A lot of people come every day, but they don't really work hard every day. I'd rather you come three times or twice a week and really kill it each time instead of coming every day and half-assing it."
A perfectly-flat stomach: What's the secret?
"Oh my god. It's everything. Diet is huge. You can't do it without diet, cardio, and resistance and core strengthening. You really need a combination, it can't just be one or the other."
Where do you shop for workout gear?
"At SoulCycle, we have a retail line. I like Adidas, I like Nike, Lululemon."
What do you do when you're not working out?
"Most of the time, I sleep [laughs]. I like to do yoga. And then, being a California native who was in New York for so long, I go to the beach whenever I can. Right now, I'm just trying to explore LA."