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Welcome to Racked SF's search for San Francisco's hottest trainer. Over the coming weeks, we'll profile a dozen-plus 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 Aubrie Pick
Sure, Katie Panas might look like a sweet, innocent young woman, but she will kick your butt in her sculpt class at Bodyrok in the Marina. She might be nice about it, but expect your muscles to protest the next day after. And probably the day after that, too. Panas is known for having one of the toughest classes at Bodyrok, which features supercharged custom Pilates machines plus spin bikes for the perfect blend of muscle toning and cardio—and it all happens in just 40 minutes. Her original career goal was to be a plastic surgeon, so you know she's serious about transforming your look.
How long have you been a trainer?
What prompted you to become one—did you have a different career path in mind prior?
"Yes, I did actually?I had every intention of becoming a plastic surgeon?Then I realized the Bodyrok machine can give me the same thing (less the scalpel and 12 years of beating my brains in med school). So I followed my new passion and settled on becoming a dietician and instructor instead."
What classes do you teach, and which is your favorite/why?
"I teach Bodyrok sculpt classes and an occasional Cycle class. If I'm feeling spicy I might teach a Sculpt & Cycle as well (25 minutes of each). The combination of the two is amazing—intense cardio and full body strength training on a supercharged Pilates reformer. It's a body transforming miracle, no joke."
Describe your training style: Are you drill sergeant? More laid back?
"I'm a drill sergeant at heart, but the music in my head beats to the drum of Bob Marley. My classes get to experience the perfect balance: a strong and encouraging trainer mixed with a laid back surfer/SUP girl who is understanding of your journey to your fitness goal."
What's one piece of advice everyone should hear before beginning a new workout?
"If I could only say one thing, I would tell my clients to jump in head first. Embrace the soreness. When your body is screaming NO, scream back HECK YES! That is where we break barriers; that's when the changes in the body occur, and that's when the magic happens."
Tell us a fun fact about you—the weirder and wackier, the better.
"The few hours a week I am not at the studio, I'm crushing golf balls and learning to fly helicopters."
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