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  1. To make strength training accessible and compatible with Catholic life.

  2. To spread the practice of strength training as a means of spiritual growth.

  3. To provide our trainees with progressive training regimes that actually help them to make progress. 

  4. To integrate our fitness and prayer life together. 

  5. To offer our work in the gym up to God. Ad Majorum Dei Gloriam!



Saint Michael Barbell Club started in 2020 as a group of about 10 men from the same Catholic parish. They were looking to work out together in a more secluded place away from big gyms and the usual "gym culture" one finds there. All of the guys were being trained by Coach Joe, who designed their programs and instructed them in technique during their group training sessions. 

In August 2020 the towns of Cedar Rapids and Marion were devastated by a massive Derecho storm which destroyed thousands of homes, tens of thousands of trees, and knocked out electricity for several weeks. During that time the Barbell Club guys found out just how useful strength training can be- every man was able to work harder and provide more help to his neighbors during this crisis. At this point the brotherhood grew very strong and the Barbell Club moved into a new gym as soon as the city came back to life. The Club expanded to include even more men and women as well, and the private SMBBC gym is always full of local Catholics smashing Squats and Deadlifts in pursuit of physical strength. 

We believe that Strength Training enriches our spiritual lives by teaching us humility, patience, and perseverance. It also makes our bodies more capable so that we can help people and make a good witness for Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Online Training, especially for Club Members, is a way to spread the joy of Barbell Strength Training to more people and continue this ministry. It is a refuge for orthodox Catholics to grow in their lives both physically and spiritually and to fellowship among like-minded believers.

The Barbell Club strives to put Strength Training into the context of an Orthodox Catholic life. It is easy to look at the "Fitness Industry" and see corruption, vanity, greed, lust, and other sinful attachments laid on strength training and bodybuilding. Many Catholics might disregard the pursuit of physical strength due to the perversions of popular fitness "experts" and influencers. We want to reverse that trend. You can help by joining the discussion.



Joe Enabnit is a Certified Personal Trainer, Strongman Competitor, Powerlifter, and all-around strength training enthusiast working in Marion, Iowa. He started lifting weights in 2010, became a Certified PT in 2014, and opened his first private gym in 2020.

More importantly, Joe was baptized Roman Catholic in 2019 at the age of 28. After spending most of his adult life as a militant atheist, he found his way home. It was through this conversion that he made friends in the community and eventually the St. Michael Barbell Club was formed.


NASM Certified Personal Trainer Number: 1200406513
NASM Women's Fitness Specialization Number: 1200406416



"Joe has been very responsive. His virtual training sessions have been perfect."

"My experience training with Joe was great. He was responsive to my emails/messages, wasn't overly expensive, and he genuinely wants to help his clients. He was very helpful in helping me increase my strength and improve my lifting technique. I would definitely recommend him for anyone wanting to hire a trainer."

"I very much enjoyed training with Joe. He's personable, responsive, and completely capable of adapting training to fit your needs. He helped me to work around various past workout injuries that I had, and I was still able to get results from my sessions in spite of them. I would highly recommend him!"

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