Until a few years ago, Nigel Barker, fashion photographer and former judge on America’s Next Top Model, was just your average gym-goer. (Well, kind of.) He’d work out solo, with headphones, going through a routine — and occasionally copying other moves he saw on the gym floor.
But that all changed when he got a call one day from Hugh Jackman — yup, that Hugh Jackman — to ask Barker if he’d like to join his workouts while he was training to star inWolverine. “He liked working out in a bit of a pack so he started inviting his friends to work out with him, myself and a couple of other guys,” Barker, host of Sirius Radio’s Gentleman’s Code, recalls. But Barker wasn’t easily convinced. “I was terribly intimidated and didn’t want to do it — he asked me maybe six times until I got embarrassed not to go!”
Eventually, Barker joined the crew — and was totally hooked. “Instead of being intimidating, it was this incredible sense of brotherhood and positive reinforcement,” says Barker, who recently joined Daily Burn 365 for a workout. “At the same time, it was challenging. Everyone’s pretty competitive and wants to be the best, so that pushes everyone.”
Soon enough, the group of about eight guys was joining up with trainers six days a week at various gyms across New York City — and started calling themselves The DogPound. (They’d all bring their dogs to the workouts!) Today, they’ve even expanded to include three Olympic athletes, a NAVY Seal and the head trainer for the NYPD, among other big names.
“Most of us are in our 40s, a few are in their 50s, a few are in their 30s and one or two who are much younger,” Barker says. “When you get to work out with a guy like [Olympian Conor Dwyer] and you’re me, you say, ‘He’s an Olympian and he’s 20 years my junior — there’s no way I can compete!’ But then there’s something you can do that he can’t…and you think, ‘I’m doing pretty good for an old guy!’”
Dog Pound workouts revolve around heavy lifting, with high numbers of reps and few breaks. On Mondays, they focus on chest and back; Tuesdays, legs; Wednesday, full body; Thursday, arms; Friday, deadlifts and shoulders; Saturday, full-body again — and on Sunday, they rest. “Going to the gym to work out with these guys is one of my favorite times of the entire day even though it’s at 5:45 a.m.,” Barker says.
Eventually, the DogPound crew started to get bigger, as more people asked to join. So the group decided it was time to build their own gym — aptly named The DogPound — which will open in New York City in March.
Need proof that Dog Pound workouts really work? Check out the insane partner moves Barker and his crew demo’d when they recently joined a Daily Burn 365 workout in the video above! ‘Curls with a Girl’ and the ‘Human Deadlift’? ‘Nuff said.
By Amanda Woerner for Life by Daily Burn