The NFL has never seen anything like J.J. Watt. This past season, the second-year Houston Texan recorded 20.5 sacks (2.5 shy of the single-season record) and batted down 16 passes, an unprecedented number for a defensive end. We caught up with the AFC Defensive Player of the Year at a Manhattan barbershop—where he was getting a fresh Mohawk, courtesy of AXE Hair—to discuss the Super Bowl, proper arm muscle development and Metallica. Naturally.

As soon as I step across the white lines, I turn into a different person. That’s when I go into beast mode, as we call it. A lot of people say you can’t just flip a switch, but for me it’s just like that.

MADE MAN: So who do you like in the Super Bowl?
I don’t make predictions, but I’m looking forward to a great defensive game. I love watching Justin Smith play for the Niners, and obviously Ray Lewis in his last game. It’s going to be a great matchup.

MM: Who would you rather face right now, Colin Kaepernick or Joe Flacco?
Flacco. I mean, he’s a great quarterback, but I’m not into that running stuff like with Kaepernick. I like when a quarterback kind of sits there.

MM: You guys destroyed the Ravens earlier in the year, 43-13. What’s the key to beating them?
Obviously we were in our home stadium, so our crowd helped us a lot. And we put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. That was a big deal for us. We stopped the run first, and then we put pressure on the quarterback.

MM: How do the Ravens beat the Niners?
They need to control Kaepernick. I mean, they need to obviously put points on the board, but they need to keep Kaepernick inside the pocket. And make him beat them with his arm.

MM: Speaking of arms, what’s your advice for getting big guns like yours?
I would say don’t focus just on the biceps. Make sure you hit the triceps, too. You can do that with push-downs, dips and the close-grip bench press.

It’s all in the triceps, kids. All in the triceps.

MM: Favorite exercise in the weight room?
I’m a big fan of dips. And I do a lot of core work. I do planks, and I do a lot of agility drills and jumps in a sand pit. It makes me lock in my core.

MM: Favorite muscle-building foods?
Mashed potatoes are big for me. Steak is big. And wheat bagels with peanut butter in the morning. Those are huge. Those are three staples.

MM: Any supplement or nutrition advice?
I’m not a huge supplement guy. I’m a firm believer in getting proteins and carbs from real food. I take one post-workout supplement, but other than that, I’m pretty natural.

MM: What are your five favorite songs to work out to?
I like Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” “The Beast” by Tech N9ne. “Hells Bells” by AC/DC. “Sandstorm” by Darude. And I’ll go Metallica, “Enter Sandman.”

MM: How do you turn on the aggressiveness to play, then turn if off?
For me, it’s easy. As soon as I step across the white lines, I turn into a different person. That’s when I go into beast mode, as we call it. And I know that once I step off the field, I need to be very personable. I like talking to the fans, I love the kids. A lot of people say you can’t just flip a switch, but for me it’s just like that.

MM: So what prompted the Mohawk?
AXE Hair had a fan contest online and the Mohawk was voted the best haircut for men. And so they hooked me up with a Mohawk for the offseason, and I really like the way it looks.

To be honest, we wouldn’t say a bad word about either look.

MM: What’s next for you—long flowing hair like Clay Matthews?
No, I don’t think I can grow it out. This was like a risk for me. This is outside the box. This is extreme. But I’m real happy with the way it turned out, and I’ve already gotten a couple good reviews from ladies.

MM: Any parting words of wisdom for guys?
If you want to be the best, you have to work harder than everybody else. And it’s easy to say. Everybody will do it for a little bit. But you have to be willing to work harder than your competition at all times.

AXE Hair donated $50,000 to J.J. Watt’s charity, which provides after-school athletics assistance for middle-school kids in Wisconsin and Houston. Like J.J.’s Mohawk? Visit to learn about their new line of styling products.