How to Exercise Like a Pro, According to Expert Trainer Mike Barwis

Expert Trainer Mike Barwis
What exactly separates the pros from the Joes? Other than being born with a 6′ 6″ frame and natural hand-eye coordination, that is.

We asked Mike Barwis — professional athlete trainer, senior advisor of strength and conditioning for the New York Mets, and founder of BARWIS Methods — how you and I can train insane like Richard Sherman (cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks) and Yoenis Céspedes (outfielder for the Mets), both of whom he has coached.

“I spent my whole life working with and training the world’s top athletes,” says Barwis, who has led rigorous programs for 42 different sporting events and 5,000 athletes. “I had never been in a regular gym. Then, once I opened my own with BARWIS Methods, I realized there’s a massive gap between pros and the general public. I mean extremely vast. The difference between what top athletes and the general population understand is highly different, meaning a lot of the break lies in education.”

Make a Plan

“It’s all a hodgepodge,” Barwis says of his reaction to seeing the general public working out. “There’s no plan.”

Instead of leaving your workout up to chance or feel, make a schedule. “The body conforms and adapts to the intensity and patterns it’s subjected to. So, when you’re looking to create adaptation (bigger, leaner, stronger, etc.), there has to be a habitual program that creates consistent loads or stresses on your body on a regular basis.”

Expert Trainer Mike Barwis

In the pro world, Barwis calls these “cellular-specific programs”. He’s created such regiments for the Miami Dolphins, University of Michigan football, WNBA athletes, women’s soccer, NHL, ice hockey, softball, motocross, sprinters, and Olympic wrestlers and lifters. He’s also taken this cellular-specific approach to working with children and adults with neurological damage, disabilities, and disorders.

“Once you apply the correct habit and load to a cell, it will elicit a desired result and your body adapts to accommodate that stress. That’s when you see change. Right now, I see a lot of random stuff. So to change that, ask yourself ‘What’s my goal?’ and ‘What stresses to I need to place upon my body to accommodate them?’”

Barwis recommends a habitual cycle of two to three days a week — at least — working on strength in the gym. If your goal is cardio/running, you need four to five days a week, as it only takes two to three days off to lose aerobic capacity.

Balance Your Backside

In our modern world of driving cars and sitting at computers, Barwis says we have become much stronger in our anterior (front) side. This creates imbalance in connection with a weak posterior (back), leading to tighter quads, hamstrings, and more. Our dependency on anterior muscle groups follows us to the gym (after all, those are the muscles we can see), and we tend to train our chest, stomach, thighs, and biceps, as opposed to glutes, delts, back, and hammies.

“This creates poor development, poor range of motion, and sets you up for injury,” Barwis says. “Think instead of balancing out the anterior with the posterior, which in practice means five sets of bench to six  sets of row, because you’re probably already overdeveloped in the front.”

Personalize Your Supplements

If you’re a pro, seven-figure athlete training in one of Barwis’ gyms, your schedule would look something like this: Get to the gym, eat a pre-prepared breakfast by Barwis’ nutritionists, workout, eat a pre-prepared snack, workout, eat a pre-prepared lunch, follow a recovery routine, and leave with prep-prepared dinner.

Nutrition is at least 50 percent of the equation.

“There’s an even greater difference in knowledge between the general population in terms of the science of nutrition,” Barwis admits. “Your body needs a certain kind and amount of fuel at a certain time, in collaboration with its training. But most of us don’t work out three hours a day, so we don’t need pure nitrous — just good, solid gasoline.”

Barwis was training NHL star Jack Johnson and Olympic swimmer Peter Vanderkaay, creating his own concoctions for the athletes, when one day they got together and suggested Barwis create his own branded supplements. Luckily, Barwis has a background in biochemistry alongside his astounding training credentials in exercise physiology, so he helped found the plant-based nutrition company Revere.

revere supplements

Revere personalizes monthly supplement subscriptions (i.e. powders for workout shakes) depending on a variety of factors in your regular training and working life. The goal? To place weekend warriors on the podium. As a nutrition mastermind for Revere (the three co-founders didn’t have a background in nutrition), Barwis aims to use pure food and whole, vegan ingredients with no chemicals.

“I would never send anyone I know, whether pro or Joe, to a supplement store to guess what their body needs and what dosage. None of those powders and drinks are regulated. You must know the details of the specific human being to be able to prescribe what their body needs,” Barwis says. “And Revere allows us to do that in a similar way as the pros.”

“What it boils down to are limits in understanding. These limits in understanding are direct limits in performance.”

Find what your unique supplement regiment would be here.

Fashion & Style

Shark Tank Style: The Winning Clothes You’ll Actually Want to Wear

These are the few fashion brands that have swum with the sharks and lived to tell the tale.
Podcast

Zane Lamprey on What it’s Like to Get Paid to Travel the World and Drink

Host of Four Sheets (among other shows) Zane Lamprey sits down with the BBB crew to talk about hosting a show about drinking and more.
Outdoors

How to Fend Off Hiker Hunger When You’re on the Trail

Because you deserve more than just beef jerky and a half-melted Snickers bar on the trail.
Travel

The Best Road Trip Songs: Hit Play Then Hit the Gas

Ah, the open road! It beckons us to cast aside responsibility, embrace the unknown, jump in the car, and just go. Take this mixtape with you.
Culture

How to Netflix and Chill: Mastering the Invite, Finding the Best Shows, and More

Jean-Luc Godard famously said, “I always feel that a man and a woman who do not like the same films, will eventually divorce.” Applying his principle, Netflix and Chill becomes a logical means of getting to know someone.
Living

Calling All Game of Thrones Fans: This Print is the Ultimate GoT Artwork for Your Walls

No matter where you hang this piece of art, it's sure to be a conversation starter. 
Grooming

What is Biohacking? An Interview with Biohacker and Podcaster Luke Storey

If you’re into technology toys, biohacking offers a plethora of gadgets to geek out about.
Culture

Ghosting, Orbiting, Breadcrumbing, and Other Modern Relationship Terms Explained

This glossary of modern relationship terms may will help define certain behaviors, such as why a romantic interest leaves you on "read" or an ex keeps liking your photos.
Grooming

6 Natural Topical Pain Relief Products to Treat Your Aching Muscles

What’s the point in getting rid of the pain if you’re damaging your vital organs in the process?
Culture

The Grown-Up’s Guide to Everyday Carry Essentials for Cannabis

Unless you’re trying to make a lifestyle shift (and we’re guessing you’re not), you shouldn’t spend more on your smoking accessories than you do on the stuff you smoke.
Food & Drink

Pre-Workout Meals that Make the Most of Your Hard Work

While specific meals aren't critical for moderate exercise, if you're going for a long run, hitting the weights hard, doing intense interval training, or you're about to play a competitive sport, then pre-exercise foods matter a lot.
Culture

15 Coffee Table Books Every Man Should Consider for His Home

Don't have any coffee table books on your current coffee table? Let us help fix that lack of literature.
Culture

7 Fantastic Beach Reads for Your Next Vacation

From a harrowing tale of survival at sea to a classic by Steinbeck, we've got all the best beach reads in one place.
Culture

Build and Tone Your Muscles with the 10 Best Arm Workouts for Men

Start handing out your own tickets to the gun show with the best arm exercises for men