ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Throughout his high school and college career, Mike Martin has described games and bowl games as "business trips."
It's a cliche statement, one many athletes use to describe the seriousness at which they'll approach otherwise fun events. For the first time in his life, however, the former Michigan defensive tackle can say he's going on a "business trip" and actually mean it.
Martin is in Mobile, Ala., this week participating in the Senior Bowl and trying to impress NFL scouts and coaches in advance of April's draft.
"I'm going down there to play football. I'm going down there to get a job and treat it like it is a business trip," Martin said. "So there's no fun in this besides me going down there having fun competing with guys from around the country. That's what I'm going down there to do. That's all I'm focused on, that and communicating and creating a relationship with these NFL scouts and representatives.
"I'm down there on a mission and I'm going to take care of my business."
That "business" -- as in the business of Mike Martin -- officially started right after his Michigan career ended with a 23-20 win over Virginia Tech in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Having already graduated from Michigan, he spends his days training with other former Michigan football players and former Michigan strength coach Mike Barwis at Barwis Methods gym in Plymouth, Mich.
So far, both Martin and Barwis say it has gone well. Martin weighed in this week at the Senior Bowl at 307 pounds -- three pounds over his listed weight at Michigan this season and around seven pounds more than when he started with Barwis earlier this month.
Yet at the same time, Martin is also smaller than he was at Michigan. He is a leaner, sleeker Martin than the one who played for the Wolverines.
"We changed his diet, regulated all his supplements, regulated his diet. Pretty much everything he does between the hours of when he eats, sleeps, we control," Barwis said. "He eats exactly what we put in, takes the exact supplements that we need and trains the exact hours necessary, and Mike has amazing genetics and has made an amazing transformation.
"He's leaned out a lot in the belly area, and he's put on a lot more size and strength in his upper and lower body. He's significantly increased his bench, his leg strength, his explosiveness. He's significantly increased his speed, losing some of the body fat around the waist, and he actually got bigger."
This was part of the goal when Martin signed up to train with Barwis. They started a multi-phase training regimen to prepare him for the different stops along the way to getting drafted. The first is continuing with football to prepare for the Senior Bowl.
When he returns from Alabama, the two will shift into preparing harder for next month's NFL combine, which is drill-specific and treats players somewhat like track athletes with shuttle runs and the 40-yard dash. After that, it'll be back to football training for Michigan's Pro Day and individual workouts.
Martin, though, knew what to expect going to Alabama, and if he wanted to prove something while he was down there it is that he would never get tired.
"Not running out of gas, being able to go all day," Martin said. "A coach can have me redo something 100 times and I'm going to do it 100 times. There's no end to my energy and fuel in the tank. Also, pass rushing and rushing to the ball, relentless getting to the ball. It is something they'll just have to watch and see, my effort, that is something I do in everything I do.
"Everybody that is there is there for a reason, and that is they played well on the college level. So they are going to have to separate guys, and it is really just how bad they want it. I want it really bad, I want it more than anybody else. So that's what I'm going to have to show."
Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @mikerothstein.