Davy Barnes pumps iron 12 hours a week to get swole like his hero Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The wannabe action star first hit the gym nine years ago and has transformed from a scrawny 20-year-old into a bulging, 265-pound blond beast who boasts a 49-inch chest, 27-inch thighs and 20-inch biceps.
Today, the Arizona native can bench 476 pounds — and claims he hauls more than $100,000 a year flexing his muscles on social media. The bodybuilder’s impressive transformation from skinny to stacked has earned him over 290,000 followers on his Instagram account @davymichael, as well as an appearance on Johnson’s NBC reality competition “The Titan Games.”
“I love helping people, it’s my passion,” Barnes, 29, tells Jam Press of his ultimate quest. “If I could have one wish it would be for world peace.”
But when he’s not pursuing superhero status, Barnes’ alter-ego is toting a tool belt and grouting tiled bathrooms.
“Guys can’t believe it when I show up, and they ask if I could give them some tips on how to build a ripped body,” says the CEO of Muscle Tile, who often works topless. “The women always know what to expect as that’s why they hired me, because they saw pictures online of me. They love to bring me drinks, cook for me and sometimes even watch me work.”
But don’t get the wrong idea. While Barnes doesn’t “mind that women hire me for looks [because] it helps the business and they find out in the end that I’m more than good looks because I do great work and am a hard worker.”
Yes, some “horny” housewives in “low shirts” make passes at him, but Barnes says he’s been happily married to his childhood sweetheart, Kayla Barnes, for five years. He often posts hot shots of them together, flexing their equally cut physiques and bragging about how in love they are.
Barnes claims that hasn’t stopped a flood of racy photos and explicit DMs — not all of them positive.
“I get sent many offensive messages from both males and females, a lot of hate messages from guys because of jealousy and maybe even for the things I believe,” he tells Jam Press. “And, yes, women almost daily on Snapchat and Instagram send nudes. I don’t respond because I know that is trouble. I try my hardest to avoid any temptation that comes my way with the nudes from women, both for God and my wife.”
However, being ogled by home owners helps him earn around $50,000 a year from his part-time tiling business. The Phoenix resident says he also makes bank by acting in small commercial gigs, posing for book covers and doing “sponsored” video clips, raking in up to $1,000 for one post.
“What inspired me to build my muscles was for confidence and health but also to help me go further with my goals and dreams I had of being a fitness model and actor,” Barnes says. So far, he’s booked commercials for a local truck dealership and played a superhero in an indie kiddie movie that he claims “was screened in 30,000 churches across the US.”
“I would love to be the next movie star like the Rock and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I like his mindset when it comes to not caring what people think and what it takes to become successful,” he says. “But I also realize that’s a tough business to crack, there is a lot of competition. If I really want it, I have a lot of work to do. I have met both of my role models and they were absolutely what I expected, very kind and some of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.”
If it came down to a fight, Davy says he’d rather take on Arnie because of his age.
But when it comes to whether or not he could whip the 72-year-old film star and former Cali governor, who is 43 years his senior, Barnes demured: “I can’t say if I’d win or not. I mean c’mon, Arnold is the Terminator.”
Still, this real-life Thor, who says he got kicked out of high school for stealing, wants the public to know he’s not afraid of proving his action-stud status.
“I was riding in the back of my friend’s truck on the ranch and he was going about 50 mph chasing an antelope,” he says. “I was in the back of the bed of the truck and as he was driving beside it at that speed, I jumped on to the back of the antelope. Let’s just say it didn’t end well. [But] I take pride in that half of a second I was on the back of the antelope.”
Despite such risky feats of strength — and his “impressive” arms and legs — Barnes isn’t satisfied with his buff bod quite yet.
“My least favorite is my chest and my back because my inner chest isn’t where I want it to be and is shaped differently than I would like, due to genetics,” he says. “My back I’m not the happiest with because I want bigger lat muscles to match my big frame.”
He vows to never have plastic surgery or dangerous injectables like other Insta stars — and instead chows down on thousands of calories to maintain his size.
“I eat on an average day three Kodiak pancakes with one cup of fruit, one 8-ounce steak, one 8-ounce chicken, two slices of wheat bread, one Greek yogurt, broccoli, asparagus, carrots and protein shakes,” he says of his he-man diet.
Still, being a burgeoning social-media sensation has its highs and lows.
“The negative side of being on social media is everyone views you how they want to and seem to get offended so easily about anything and everything [to the extent] that you always feel like you’re in the hot seat,” he says. “The best part about social media is having that big platform. Knowing that I can make an impact with the things I post.”
Another downside of digital notoriety: Rumors run rampant — and sometimes egos can, too.
“The biggest misconception that people have about me is that I’m an arrogant meathead and that I’m going to treat them like crap,” he says. “Really I’m not like that at all and one of the kindest gentlemen you will meet. But my advice to anyone wanting to follow my footsteps would be to not let the online fame get to your head. It’s temporary, and at the end of the day we are all climbing the same ladder and all human beings.”