Phil Health on Starring in Generation Iron

The Gift talks about his role as one of the subjects in an epic film about modern bodybuilding
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Were there any concerns that this might affect your ability to defend the Mr. Olympia?

Initially it raised some questions, but more so for Hany [Rambod, Heath’s trainer/ nutritionist] than it did for me.I actually saw it as an opportunity. Because I knew I was going to be a part of history, I was going to lif heavier and be more intense. I fi gured it was going to help me mentally, physically, and emotionally to turn it up a notch. Getting ready, you know the other guys are talking trash and they were kind enough to share some of that with me, so I realized that I needed to remind them how good I really am, I needed to remind the world. I viewed it as an awesome opportunity to have my Olympia win on film.

One of the things I noticed about our sport compared to others is that we’re so afraid to fall on our faces that we don’t take chances and come right out and say that we expect to win. If you look at the Super Bowl, both teams have champagne in their locker rooms, hats and shirts with “Super Bowl Champs” printed on them because they expect to win, even though only one of those teams will go home with the trophy. But an athlete doesn’t go into a contest not believing that he can win. At least I don’t. I expected to win. I had every intention of winning. That’s why I worked so hard for it. I wanted to be in the history books again. You have to step up in those moments and have the confidence to show the world that you believe in yourself. It was a chance to put my legacy on film.

And what about the film crew? You’ve done a lot of training videos but what was it like being on a real movie set for the first time?

It was a trip at first. I had an 11-man posse and an RV parked outside my house. The neighbors thought I was doing a reality-TV show. That’s when it hit me that this was real and it made me very excited for the whole thing. But I was pretty comfortable in front of all the cameras. One of the things that sticks out, and I hope they show it, was that I was making Vlad laugh so much that he’d have to re-shoot and tell me to say the same things.

One night, we were at the gym shooting a workout, and the next thing you know, there’s a big-ass bus, and out come all these Japanese people. And it was just like the scene where Arnold is in the prison posing, but this time it’s at the gym and I’m training. I was surrounded. People clicking away and every time I finished a set they would applaud. It was crazy!

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