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Welcome to Racked LA's search for our city's Hottest Trainer 2014. Over the coming weeks, we'll profile sixteen smoking locals—fitness experts who not only look hot in spandex, but can make you look amazing, too. Once you've gotten to know everyone, we'll host a March Madness-style showdown in which readers vote for their favorites. Let the games begin!

Photos by Elizabeth Daniels

A self-proclaimed "prairie girl at heart," Marnie Alton of Barre Belle hails from Northern Alberta, Canada. Like many others before her, Alton originally moved here to become an actor/musician hybrid, and took on training as a way to make money in-between bookings and stay sane in the entertainment biz. Eventually, her side source of income turned into a passion: "I would book gigs and notice that I was most excited about wrapping the shoot so I could get back to teaching," she reveals. "A few years ago, I found myself feeling super restless. I wasn't enjoying being an actor anymore—it felt toxic. I took off to England with my guitar for a year of serious soul-searching and when I came back I officially 'retired' from acting. I had finally been able to see what truly made me happy: training others. Being of service to and being around people who were committed to their health gives me a thrill!"

Hooked on barre since she took her first class ten years back, Alton used her savings to open Barre Belle in stylish District La Brea just three months ago in hopes to take this popular workout to the next level. "I love the precision of the barre technique," she explains. "To me, that's how it most closely relates to dance: you have to stay aware of your body and breath in every moment in order to develop the skill. Then, once your body has a memory of the position, you can spend more energy challenging your limits—both the physical and the mental. It's a type of moving meditation."

When this inspiring stunner isn't busy building people up instead of tearing them down (her students call her "The Velvet Hammer"), you can find Alton hanging with her two dogs named after her favorite indulgences: Whiskey and Bourbon. "A person cannot survive on wheatgrass alone!" she adds. You can also catch her listening to her beloved country music or, when she's feeling fierce, "Headsprung" by LL Cool J. "It fuels my inner badass."
· Barre Belle [Official Site]
· All Hottest Trainer 2014 Coverage [Racked]