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West Bloomfield Trainer Has Role in Creating 'Thor'

Mike Knight's chance encounter with actor Chris Hemsworth leads to a working relationship.

'Thor' actor Chris Hemsworth (left) worked with West Bloomfield trainer Mike Knight to get into shape for his movie role. Photo credit: Mike Knight
'Thor' actor Chris Hemsworth (left) worked with West Bloomfield trainer Mike Knight to get into shape for his movie role. Photo credit: Mike Knight
West Bloomfield trainer Mike Knight did not set out to become the guy who helped actor Chris Hemsworth build the body of a Norse god for his role in the movie Thor.

Knight, who owns Art of Strength on Daly Road, met Hemsworth on the set of the movie Red Dawn, which filmed in Michigan. Knight snagged a role after a casting director called his gym looking for someone tall and "menacing". 

"A lot of stuff that happens to me, you're at the right place at the right time," said Knight, who had no acting experience before playing the role of "Colonel Ivanov". 

Before Knight started working on the movie, a friend invited him to watch a scene, and Knight struck up a conversation with a member of the crew, who introduced him to Hemsworth. In addition to working with the star, Knight started training others on the set as well. 

And when the movie wrapped, Hemsworth invited Knight to continue training for six weeks–in Australia. 

"This was at the same time as I was getting ready to open my gym," Knight said. "I told my partners I had to go." 

Knight's passion for his work is rooted in his past; at age 36, he weighed more than 300 pounds. He transformed his life after hearing four words from his doctor: "Change, or you'll die." 

Over 16 months of following his own variation of Beaumont Hospital's diet program and working with a local trainer, Knight got himself into shape. After he was fired from a job in the auto industry, he started teaching spinning classes, and that led to his taking on private clients. 

"More people started asking (me to train them)," he said. "I started training in small groups, and I never went back."

Knight has worked with a wide range of clients, including celebrities, sports stars, and even Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and retired Comerica Bank CEO Eugene Miller. He describes himself as more a teacher than a trainer, someone who has taken opportunities when they came along and who cares about people. 

"I'm not the best, I'm not Houdini," Knight said. "When you give a woman her life back, her self-esteem back, there's nothing more rewarding than that." 

Learn more at aoskettlebells.com

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