Mike Barwis: ‘American Muscle’ Set to Premiere

It goes without saying — Americans love new sports documentary series. Any time you can muster up enough strength to cook a casserole that’s force filled with Twitter universe king Richard Sherman, a guy nicknamed “Lights out” Merriman, and a defensive tackle criticized for temper tantrums as well as over $200,000 in NFL fines, Americans are going to ravenously swallow up that television series whole. So, as mid-Summer heats up,  the Discovery Channel’s latest series AMERICAN MUSCLE  is set to premiere on Wednesday, July 9th at 9:00pm EST.

Originally focused on popular science and explorations of history, the Discovery Channel has diverged from traditional programming schemes to air an entertainment packed examination into the vigorous training regiment life of 41-year old CEO Mike Barwis. With advanced degrees in exercise physiology and athletic training, it comes as no surprise that the former Director of Olympic Strength and Conditioning has trained over 500 Olympic athletes over the course of his life. Barwis is founder of Detroit based Barwis Methods Training Centers which serves a wide array of clients ranging from top notch professional athletes to average joes. Beyond his facilities, Barwis is also accredited for years of experience coaching student-athletes at West Virginia University and the University of Michigan respectfully. You can call Barwis a jack-of-all trades, but what is the underlying philosophy to his unorthodox training exercises?

A thorough concentration on quick-twitch muscle fiber development is the crux of Barwis methodical training approach. However, American Muscle doesn’t just boil down to rudimentary tests of physical endurance. Barwis’ entire training foundations seeks to cultivate in each athlete a sort of mental preparedness: “My job really is to invest in the lives of others and to figure out what they need – not just physically, but also mentally to get them where they need to be. That’s a big part. Getting yourself in the right mental mindset and putting yourself through things that people – and you – don’t think are possible allows you to get to a place before the season starts where you feel like it doesn’t matter what you bring to me. I’ve been through the war, and I don’t care what’s in front of me. I’m ready to destroy it.” While these athletic phenoms showcase their superior physical skills on television, Barwis advocates that the ingenuity of each professional athlete to comprehend his complex training procedures is a crucial part of the entire process. By conditioning their minds to withstand the staggering physical trials prior to the actual start of their professional seasons, Barwis has tactically done two things: First, he has seemingly re-shaped the word “training” to encompass a care for the whole athlete; not so much based on physical feats alone. Secondly, his trainees are mentally predisposed to unfathomable training tests to the verge where they yearn for those future in-season challenges regardless of how rigid they may be.

Now, the question barreling through everyone’s mind, “Who is Barwis training?”. American Muscle will feature Cleveland Indian’s outfielder Nick Swisher, Los Angeles Clippers’s towering center DeAndre Jordan, and even the UFC’s own Rashad Evans among others. Nonetheless, Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman will be in attendance, and the meat of the Detroit Lions defensive front will be represented by Ndamukong Suh. The entire cast features some of the most diverse personalities across sports. Expect more than one “you mad bro?” from Sherman and prepare yourself for the long-waited return of Shawne Merriman’s “Light’s Out Dance”. This season of American Muscle should be intriguing, and players from everywhere have already begun to talk about it:

Mike Barwis described it perfectly in FOD (Funny Or Die)’s ‘American Muscle’ Trailer, “Sometimes you have to burn the bridge behind you so there is no retreat.” The method to Barwis and his team’s madness is overcoming those mental battles which often cause clients to cave in from pain and escape the hard training in front of them. All the players understand this too; there is no white flag to hoist high as if to scream surrender. There is only a team of versatile trainers willing to assist players every step of the way to ensure each individual reaches their maximum potential. The players bring the grit, and Barwis bestows upon them his wit; a perfect combination which will reveal the true AMERICAN MUSCLE that we witness in the every day performances of the athletes we idolize.


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