Mike Barwis is the owner and undisputed boss of his gym, Barwis Methods. The former head of the strength programs at the University of Michigan and West Virginia University, he started his own place because he "hates taking orders from people."
With his gravelly voice, gigantic heart, and a history of raising wolves, he's a legend to everyone he's worked with, from NFL players to Olympic swimmers to professional bull riders, not to mention the legions of disabled he's helped to walk again. It doesn't hurt that his Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology makes him one of the top scientific minds in his field, either.
Barwis's wife, Autumn, and four kids are constant fixtures at the gym, making everyone feel at home. What inspires everyone most, though, is his sense of loyalty and code. Like he says, "If someone's stuck in a ring of fire, I'll be the first guy who jumps in."
Dan Mozes is Barwis's right-hand man at the Barwis Methods training facility. He's the guy who really keeps the gym running from 5am to 8pm every day. The top football center in the country while Barwis was at West Virginia, Mozes went on to play in the NFL, only to have his career cut short by a knee injury. Afterwards, he joined Barwis at the new gym to start a new line of work as a trainer.
Rocking a thick blond beard that's about a foot long, Dan combs it every day while he's training people, otherwise it "starts to look like pubes." On New Year's 2012, Dan married his college sweetheart Heather, and the two currently spend most of their time flirting, going on weird juice cleanses, and "trying to make little Dan Mozeses."
As the receptionist, Dusty Rutledge is the face of Barwis Methods Gym, which is odd when you consider how, uh, large he is. Or as Barwis likes to note: "People come in and say 'What's a 350 pound fat-guy doing here?! I must be in the wrong place!'" Not only is he not incredibly fit, but he's also famous - or notorious - for screwing up the guys' schedules, although he makes a fantastic protein shake and really, really enjoys answering the phones.
He also has a huge personality and heart - players like Super Bowl Champion Larry Foote might come for the workouts, but they end up staying for hours playing checkers and bickering over football stats with Dusty. And he's always game for trying something new, whether it's a crazy new diet that has him eating only peas or training to be a rodeo clown... if only he can fit his massive body in the barrel.
Eric "Tank Dog" Potis
Eric "Tank Dog" Potis started with Barwis as an intern four years ago, and quickly rose through the ranks to be one of his top trainers... and also the biggest prankster in the whole gym. He's a true professional, but that doesn't mean he won't have fun, whether it's ordering Mozes every item from an Italian restaurant or challenging a NASCAR driver to a go-kart race. Even more puzzling, no one can really figure out how he got his nickname, "Tank Dog" - a story which he was kind enough to share one day: "I gave it to myself." That hasn't stopped him from going all out with it, designing a knit hat with "Tank Dog" on it, getting it tattooed on his forearms, and even etching it permanently in fresh concrete right outside the gym's entrance. He was in such a hurry to get it done that first he wrote "Tan Dog." Luckily, Dusty pointed out the spelling error before the cement dried. Despite all that, Tank takes his clients seriously, loves pushing athletes and regular people to the limit, and is dedicated to helping them improve on every level. He's a guy whose bark is definitely worse than his bite.