clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

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. (Not only do they look hot in spandex, but if you take their classes, you might someday look nearly as good.) 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!

Photos by Danielle Directo-Meston

"I been hated since September of 1997," explains Michael Lopez. "Wow, I have been changing lives for 16 years now!" Known as LA's "Most Hated Trainer" (no, really), Lopez teaches functional training classes at Steel Barbells in Van Nuys. A self-proclaimed party animal, our fifteenth contestant enjoys bringing the fun to his sessions. "I love to party my ass off, so when I teach my classes, I make sure my students feel like they are in a club with the music turned all the way up. I am the DJ, host, coach and head motherf***ing motivator!"

If you think this guy's energy derives from experience in the biz, you're right. "I was actually working in radio when I discovered training," Lopez reveals. "One night I decided to hit the gym on a Saturday night at 10pm. The gym was totally empty except for one guy named Rick Demarco, who happened to be the manager of the gym. We ended up spotting each other for our workouts. While working out, he asked me if I would be interested in becoming a trainer. I said, 'Why not.' I trained my first client named Duffy Wang and I was hooked."

Although this year's contestants have certainly revealed some interesting quirks (let's not forget Storm Newton's 3,000 comics and Philly Elisa's banana and cheese habit), Lopez's might take the cake. "I am absolutely scared to death of ginger. When I go to eat sushi, my friends know not to bring ginger around me. I freak the hell out. Sometimes I don't like to tell certain people because they order a crap load of ginger to the table just to make fun of me. One time someone put some on my hand and I jumped out of the seat and left."

· Steel Barbells [Official Site]
· All Hottest Trainer 2013 Coverage [Racked]