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Welcome to Racked Chicago's search for Chicago's hottest trainer. Over the coming weeks, we'll profile eight smoking locals and 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!
Our fourth trainer, Veronica Mayorga, is a self-described "human lethal weapon" and our new feminist hero. Her art is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and she worked her way into this largely male world with incredible dedication, practicing through two pregnancies and grappling with men who "did not make [her] feel welcomed." Today, she's a mother of two sweet daughters and one of two owners of Budan Jiu Jitsu, but she's still dedicated to improving as a practitioner, not just a trainer. "The fact that I teach it does not mean I'm an expert at it," she says. "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my life! All I ever think about is, I need to get to the mats!"
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is known as a "gentle art," and Veronica channels that concept when it comes to training her clients, too. As she describes her teaching method, it sounds almost like therapy. To teach a BJJ class, she places a lot of importance on connecting with her students so that she can answer them when they ask, defeated, "How come this isn't working for me?"
Veronica isn't afraid to ask her students if they're happy, if they love themselves. She's happiest when she sees her students "start to gradually change and take responsibility for their health...and accept themselves the way they are because now they know if they don't like something, they have the power to change it."
Want to be a lethal weapon like Veronica? Make sure you're in it for the long haul. "The journey to achieve a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a long and difficult one. It can take anywhere from seven to ten years," she says. "You have to fight against all the odds. Black belts are white belts that never quit."
From the time she was a white belt herself, Veronica was dealing with men who were bigger and stronger than she was. So how'd she earn their respect? "I proved to them that I knew what I was doing by choking them unconscious." (Don't worry, it's a BJJ move.)
· Budan Jiu Jitsu [Official Site]
· All Hottest Trainers 2014 [Racked]