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Phil Heath's Olympia-Winning Wheels

Mr. Olympia Phil Heath talks about leg training and success.

Photos by Per Bernal

For years after he won the 2005 USA, his most pressing obligation on a typical day was another round of Guitar Hero. But that was before he’d won one Sandow, let alone five, before he was president of Gifted Nutrition, before the continuous travel, the barrage of endorsements and obligations and conference calls. Now he has to wedge the time in, sometimes while driving to the gym, sometimes just after a meal and just before another call on another matter.

After some catching up, our conversation segues to the Denver Broncos, reigning Super Bowl champs and the Gift’s home team. They need to re-sign key free agents, like Von Miller, but players want to cash in once they get a ring. “Everyone wants to get paid as much as they can, but where else are they going to go?” he asks. “They’re Super Bowl champs. Why wouldn’t they want to stay here and try to win again?” There’s an obvious correlation to the five-time and reigning Mr. Olympia. How much does Heath pursue other career opportunities, and how much does he focus on his physique? “For me, the Olympia always comes first. I want to get that record.” The record for Mr. Olympia victories is eight, jointly held by Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman.

The most noticeable difference in Heath’s physique last year was the increased fullness in his thighs. Knowing this was his primary training focus—with two weekly workouts, twice as many as other body parts—I ask him why he’s so legcentric. “In order to stay on top, you always have to assess the competition,” he answers. “I felt like no one could compete with me in the roundness of arms and shoulders and things like that, but I did feel like legs could be an edge for someone else. If you’re fighting, you want to take away someone else’s strength. It doesn’t mean I have to be a perfect 10, but if he’s a 9 and I’m an 8 1/2 or a 9, then I’m OK because he has to deal with my strengths.”


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