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Hottest Trainer Contestant #2: Nikolas Rodriguez

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Welcome to Racked Chicago's search for Chicago's hottest trainer. Over the coming weeks, we'll profile eight 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.

All photos Barry Brecheisen

In early 2012, Nik Rodriguez found himself at a crossroads: Should he go get his MBA, or become a full-time trainer? He decided to choose shorts over suits, and he hasn't regretted it: "This is the career I was chosen for," he says.

Nik teaches one-on-one strength session classes at Hard Pressed, where he's a co-owner, and group Pilates classes at Reform Chicago. "I truly enjoy doing both," he says, "but they are extremely different, so it's impossible to say which is my favorite." Regardless of the class, one of his major goals is to help his clients build their mental endurance. His advice for aspiring hard-bodies: "The days that you really don't want to hit the gym are the days that make you the strongest—not necessarily physically but definitely mentally and emotionally."

· Hard Pressed [Official Site]
· All of 2013's Hottest Trainers [Racked Chicago]