Kirk Myers and his “brotherhood” of sought-after trainers—self-styled the DogPound and based at his fitness studio in Manhattan’s West Village—are perhaps best known for their signature Machine Gun Workout, a grueling routine that “fuses weight training with yoga, barre, and high-intensity cardio intervals” and can cook up to 700 calories in an hour. With the Machine Gun, Myers has sculpted the bodies of Alison Brie, Nigel Barker and, of course, himself. It sounds excruciating, but to hear Myers tell it, one of the reasons the workout is so popular is that “it’s fun, honestly.” The other reason? “It works.”
Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, Myers says he was a chubby kid. By the time he became a young adult, his weight had ballooned to over 300 pounds. When, at age 21, a health scare required a trip to the ER, doctors told him he had a potentially fatal heart condition and would have to drastically change his lifestyle. He threw himself into the task, changing his eating habits and hitting the gym—hard. His results were so impressive that soon friends came calling, asking for help with their own weight-loss goals. “That was when I found my passion,” he says. More than a decade later that passion hasn’t dimmed, and Myers, now 36 and a trim 175 pounds, counts his clients’ transformations—not the DogPound’s growth, including brick-and-mortar gyms and a planned product line—as his greatest accomplishment. “It sounds cheesy, but that’s the truth,” he says, pointing to a specific case in which one of his first clients lost 70 pounds in six months of training: “That really changed his life. It was a huge career high for me.” Recently, Myers has been whipping actor Devon Terrell into shape for HBO’s forthcoming Codes of Conduct, co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, who also happens to be one of Myers’s steadfast clients. “There’s no difference between training a big-name actor and anyone else,” Myers says. Meaning no one, not even Myers, is immune to the Machine Gun’s power—nor, it should be said, are others immune to his irrepressibly positive attitude.