Phil Heath never took a step back on stage and remains one of the best bodybuilders of this generation. In a recent interview with Chris Williamson, Phil Heath discussed the possible health implications of performance-enhancing drug use.
Bodybuilding takes into account a number of factors like symmetry, proportions, and conditioning. Athletes use any weapons at their disposal to display the most eye-catching physiques possible. One way in which they enhance their bodies is through the use of PEDs.
Seven-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath reached the top of the Men’s Open division with an unparalleled level of fullness and muscularity. His dominance in the 2010s made for an exciting era. Heath’s last Mr. Olympia competition came in 2020 in third place. Since then, he’s remained a visible ambassador for the sport. Heath has also been open about his use of steroids in and out of competition.
Heath, who was criticized for a hazy midsection upon his exit in 2020, has gone to great lengths to correct the issue. It’s unclear if he’ll ever return and compete but he’s teased the prospect on several occasions. In April, the bodybuilding legend shared that a $1 million price tag could prompt him to make a comeback.
In his latest venture, Heath looked back on steadily using steroids over the years when he competed actively. In addition, he expressed concern for athletes today who are overusing drugs instead of relying on training.
Phil Heath Reveals Most Test He’s Ever Taken, Says Competitors Are ‘Pounding’ PEDs But Lack Quality Muscle’
Heath says he ‘took less than everybody’ but still dominated in bodybuilding. He revealed that his very first cycle was 500 milligrams of testosterone and ‘a shot of Deca a week.’ In addition, Heath mentioned that he introduced growth hormone for the first time in 2008, three years after turning Pro.
“What are any points in your career where you were forced to make a choice between, ‘If I keep pushing like this, I’m concerned about what this is going to do to my health over the long term.’ Talk me through that mindset when you are faced with those choices, asks Chris Williamson.
“I took less than everybody. I can point it out, I have blood work from the very beginning. So, I won the Mr. USA taking 500 milligrams of testosterone with a shot of Deca a week. I didn’t have any money. But I whooped everybody’s ass. First crack at it. Quoted as one of the greatest Mr. USAs of all time. Didn’t take growth hormone until my second Arnold Classic.”
“I turned Pro in 05, we’re talking about 2008. I had already won two pro shows and now I decided to take growth hormone for the first time. No, I was probably doing like 750 [of test]. Very minimal stuff. That was my thought process with this.
You watch Fast & The Furious? You know that the good ol’ saying, ‘Too soon junior?’ That plays in bodybuilding. The guy that hits the nitrous just too fast in the race loses every time. Because that car… what a little Honda Civic with a little turbo kit and some bullshit, hand-made, hand-crafted Ferraris will always beat that shit. You put a little bit of a mod on that thing, you can’t catch them,” said Phil Heath.
Heath said he refused to rely on PEDs during his career and stressed that athletes don’t know if they’re getting these compounds from reliable sources.
“I can’t rely on this stuff. With pharmacology and stuff, are you really getting it from a valuable source? Are you getting it from Bater, are you getting it from sharing, are you getting it from these companies? You don’t know, you don’t work there. You really want to tax your body and take something you really don’t know that can really hurt you and now you’re becoming a drug addict, buying drugs from someone at a gym. You’re buying them from drug dealers.
I know drug dealers. I grew up around drug dealers. I know the mentality. I stayed away from that shit. I was like, you know what, let me just go ahead and slowly roll myself into this because if I want to have longevity after my career… it would be nice if I could show my blood work and prove it,” said Heath.
“It’s Not An All-Year Thing” – “The Gift” on Competitors Today Overusing Drugs
Regardless of the amount of drugs one takes, Heath doesn’t believe that alone will ensure Mr. Olympia titles or longevity. He specified that most competitors today lack quality muscle and proper skin texture.
“What is drugs going to do? It’s not going to shrink time. You need time in the gym [to become the best]. Okay, so it’s drugs. So I pound everything and then what? My trainer said, I can get you to Mr. Olympia in two or three years, but we don’t know what’s going to happen after that. Think about that mentality we see today. Everybody is pounding the stuff.
Here’s the funny part: the muscle tissue is damaged, the skin texture is completely off. Look man, you see, the skin texture, you see that with anybody else? Probably not. I’m not even running shit. You know what I’m saying? How do you build that? You build it with the base form. You know how to come off it appropriately.
How Arnold said back in the day, we knew how to do stuff during. It’s not an all-year thing. Because then, you become a drug addict. You know how many drug addicts are in bodybuilding? A tremendous amount because they’re chasing something but not winning something. You got to be a fucking idiot to take all these drugs, not win, put yourself in financial debt, physical debt,” shared Heath.
Heath never felt the need to over-use drugs and always treated them as tools for ‘finishing touches.’
“Why should I [take everything under the sun] when I was able to win my first couple of amateur shows clean and then just add a little bit. When I heart of a finishing touch, that’s what was always talked about. I also saw guys in Colorado running a lot, but not winning!”
“How many 300-pound bodybuilders do we have compared to Ronnie’s era? A ton more but they don’t out-mass Ronnie with quality muscle. Why? It’s because they are taking the drugs but not willing to do the work. They have to catch up.”
Lastly, Heath revealed that the maximum testosterone dose he took was 1,500 milligrams.
“1,300, I tried 1,500 and then I was starting to get watery. No, I did 15, I was at 13, and I was like let’s do 15. And then another dose later, another week goes by, alright, 17.5 I think, it was all sustanon and shit. I just got more watery. It was just stupid. The same thing with growth hormone.”
Heath isn’t the only bodybuilding star to call out the size game in today’s Open landscape. Former eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney recently gave his thoughts on the subject. He believes men in the Open class are traumatizing themselves, ’60 pounds overweight’ with poor diets.
And he’s not the only veteran of the sport to call attention to these practices. Months ago, 1980s-1990s bodybuilding standout Rich Gaspari took issue with Open competitors abusing gear instead of relying on hardcore training and nutrition.
Given his accolades and history of success, Phil Heath continues to give back to the sport even in his spare time. While PEDs played a role in his success, Heath and his fans never discount the amount of hard work that went into cementing himself as an all-time great.