TRAINER ANNA O
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Anna O first dreamed to be a trainer at the age of five. She trained imaginary tigers and bunnies at an Olympic ice-skating ring of her room after bed-time. Little did she know that training would become her true passion.
Anna took a long detour on the way to fulfill her childhood fantasy. By the age of twenty five her list of accomplishments included an M.A. in comparative literature, a CBS News Business Manager, a mother and… an unfit couch potato. However, challenging destiny and changing careers was in her blood, and the best was yet to come.
Losing sixty pounds gained during her first pregnancy was hard, but Anna took “Russian Shaping” exercise classes, lost three dress sizes in a year, and liked it. She came to the important realization that her body belonged to her and it was in her power to do whatever she chose to do with it – change it, respect it as it is or use it the way she wants to. It was a moment of liberation – on a personal, cultural and political level. As the Soviet Union fell, so did the old Orwellian belief that society controlled her life – and her body. This body manifesto became a foundation for what followed next.
After relocating to San Francisco in 1998, her husband’s hometown, she felt strongly about changing her professional career with its physical inactivity, business lunches and corporate parties. While gobbling a fat-laden chow-mein at Panda Express, Anna opened a now-famous fortune in her cookie. The rest is history. That lunch became her last fast food meal. In 1999, she got certified as a personal trainer by American Council on Exercise, and has worked as a professional trainer ever since.
In her two years at the Pinnacle and Club One health clubs, Anna acquired useful practical skills. In 2000, after studying with Elizabeth Noble (the leader in Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness in the US) and completing a course in Exercise and Pregnancy with the International Sports Sciences Association, she created her first prenatal programs.
A focus on women and, specifically, mothers, is a natural choice for Anna. As a business owner and a mother of two teenage girls and a seven-year old boy she faces the same time-management, multi-tasking and social pressure challenges as her clients. Anna loves seeing the confidence that comes with owning one’s body and re-establishing one’s identity. Coming to peace with your body is liberating and empowering, and women owe it to themselves.
In the last ten years Anna studied physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, psychology, yoga, Pilates, and other disciplines. She traveled to Thailand to study Thai Massage at a Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai and from blind masters in Bangkok. She studied cardio-kickboxing privately with the acclaimed Professor Brannon Beliso.
Anna’s older daughter’s passion for ballet added a unique angle to Anna’s training methods. Anna observed classes taught by Russian celebrity ballet teachers and learned many secrets of a dancer’s body sculpting.
In 2003, Anna discovered that she had a major metabolic disease. Once again, a balanced lifestyle became a key to survival. Anna knows firsthand about living with a chronic condition and takes pride in helping other women in similar circumstances.
In ten years of work Anna tried a lot of training methods and rules. She then developed her own approach. Her method is “No methods”. Every client is different and every case requires a new method. There are as many methods as clients. That is what makes it fascinating.
Anna enjoyed collecting nicknames: body maker, “shrinker”, food police, Russian Anna, exercise nazi (that, believe it or not, came up on public TV – ouch! – very Woody Allenesque; Anna is Russian Jewish…) There might be other nicknames Anna hasn’t heard – and would love and hate to hear. Her favorite, though, is “a trainer to the stars”. While Anna did train a few stars with world-famous names, she considers each of her clients a shining star – whether the world has heard about them or not - yet.
Anna’s mother, biology teacher and celebrity gardener-ecologist
Anna’s father, gymnast turned engineer and professor at Academy of Arts, Dept of Architecture
Anna created her own variation on her parents theme. A good trainer is a combination of an athlete, architect, engineer, teacher, scientist and gardener. You design the body with precision; then you cultivate, nourish and protect it like a beautiful flower and form a healthy environment.
Watch videos of Anna!