Mike Barwis’ enthusiastic intensity isn’t easily lost on those around him.
Just as quickly as Barwis flashes his infectious smile and pats one of his pupils on the back for completing a training task, he will crank his hardcore side up a notch.
Then, the work really begins.
And at that point, Mike Barwis owns you.
“He’s intense and he’s got a lot of energy,” Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Larry Foote said Friday during a brief break at Barwis’ new training center in Plymouth.
“He will smile at you and he will come up and hug you.
“But at the same time, he’s trying to kill you.”
Barwis spent the past three years as the football strength and conditioning coach atthe University of Michigan after working in the same capacity at West Virginia for 14 years. In the midst of 17-hour work days training premier-level athletes, Barwis envisioned opening his own training center, where the same methods he created push professional athletes like Foote to their limits could be passed along to the general public.
That brought Barwis to his 8,000-square foot center just off of Sheldon Road, where the Barwis Methods training center will open to the general public June 17.
The site includes an indoor FieldTurf field along with weight-lifting and cardio machines. While the training center is new, the name splashed across the window next to thetraining center’s door is not.
Barwis’ clientele includes about 72 professional and Olympic athletes a year while also working as a consultant to the New York Mets since 2010. He is currently training NFL and NHL players, including Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, at his new location.
“I guess I’m fortunate,” Barwis said. “I’ve always had a large group of people who have followed me from school to school and all over the country. People must just like lunatics.”
Barwis’ raspy voice perfectly complements his high-energy training methods. He barks out encouragement that cuts through pulsating music, pushing his athletes to reach the next level.Barwis constantly runs at the same speed, allowing his intensity to rub off on thosewho train with him. His methodology is based on a holistic approach that stresses quickly channeling energy from one part of the body to another.
Barwis is confident his style will transition well to the general public. While many of his programs are designed for top-level athletes, his center will also include personal training for clients from all walks of life.
The center will include a morning Mommy And Me program along with morning and evening Stay Strong boot camp style classes along with individually designed personal training workouts for clients of all ages. The center will also offer general gym memberships.
The programs may be different, but at its core, Barwis’ philosophy remains the same.“I will have that same positive motivation and energy and fire is something for everyone,” Barwis said. “It doesn’t matter if you are the everyday salesperson or if you’re a guy who is the first pick in the NFL Draft.
“It makes no difference. Everyone wants that positive reinforcement.”
Barwis believes that it isn’t long before his energy finds its way into the way his clients push themselves. Barwis’ staff includes Dan Mozes, a former NFL center who worked with Barwis at Michigan, where he trained football and hockey players. Parker Whiteman also worked in the strength and conditioning programs at Michigan and West Virginia while Jeff Giosi worked with Barwis at West Virginia.
All three are certified coaches in the Barwis Methods system, compiling a training staff that Barwis believes sets his training center apart from other gyms.
The workload may be grueling, but Barwis insists it isn’t long before his motivational tactics begin to sink in leading to successful results.
Both physically and mentally.
“Part of what we do is to get people to believe in themselves and to help people get a stronger self-image and a better image of who they are as a person,” Barwis said. “Because of that, people tend to respond quickly and they tend to be excited tobe here.
“But we’re like a family. We care about the people we work with.”
Barwis Methods Training Center
44191 Plymouth Oaks Blvd., Suite 600
Hours: Monday-Friday 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
On the web: www.barwismethodstraining.com.