Phil Heath continues to flirt with the idea of a bodybuilding comeback. In a recent podcast appearance with Bryce Henson on October 25, 2023, Heath recounted health struggles during his career and shared that he would return for a one-day Mr. Olympia contest.
With one of the freakiest physiques of all time, Phil Heath dominated the Mr. Olympia stage throughout his tenure. He conquered massive names in the sport with unparalleled fullness, deep separation, and conditioning. Trained by Hany Rambod, Heath went on to achieve seven Mr. Olympia titles — tying bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Heath’s legacy was defined by his rivalry with Kai Greene. He routinely prevented “The Predator” from touching a Sandow trophy, though ultimately fell to the late Shawn Rhoden in 2018. In his last outing on the big stage, Heath took bronze in 2020. With time to spare, the icon opened up about his health obstacles and what it would take to see him back doing what he does best.
Phil Heath Recaps Health Scares, Discusses Body Dysmorphia as a Mr. Olympia
Towards the tail-end of his bodybuilding career, Heath encountered an array of health concerns including intestinal strangulation and colon complications. In pursuit of longevity, Heath knew major lifestyle changes would need to be implemented, even in the off-season.
“After I had surgery when they told my wife, ‘Yo yeah, glad he came in. He had intestinal strangulation, he was going to have a bowel obstruction all this other stuff and he was bleeding through his colon meaning his body wasn’t providing the basic nutrients – the blood to the other organs appropriately.So that affected the hemoglobin, the hematocrit and this is why he was taking pills this and that but they weren’t absorbing, and your numbers would normally be elevated but they weren’t because you weren’t digesting.’ I said, ‘Wow that’s really cool so if I fix this I could have more longevity right?”
“Holy smokes, maybe that means off-season I don’t eat the same, maybe off-season I do a little bit more cardio not being so consumed about how big I am and worried about what other people have to say about me because I’m Mr. Olympia and I’m supposed to be big. And the body dysmorphia and all this other stuff,” said Phil Heath.
“As a Pro, this is where I’m tying up this part where people want it today if not yesterday, and then they have the body dysmorphia that kicks in, that’s when they are taking too many chances to want it so fast now that they don’t realize, you can’t high rev this engine for that long, the engine will blow. You have to know what gears and when to shift and when to downshift and when to cool it.”
Heath Says ‘Maybe One More’ Mr. Olympia If It’s a 1-Day Event
Even though Heath said he has nothing left to prove as a bodybuilder, he would consider participating in one more Mr. Olympia show if it was a one-day event.
“I don’t really think I have more to prove when your favorite bodybuilder is Arnold Schwarzenegger and I’m tied with him. And unlike Arnold, no disrespect to him because I love the guy… I did a two-day Mr. Olympia contest. That is freaking hard. To deplete and do a two-evening show that is tough man.”“One day of doing prejudging at noon and a night show at 7, that is easy as fuck. If the Olympia was one day, I’d probably say eh maybe one more. But two days… that takes…”
“That was 2006 [the transition to two-day shows] and that was the year Ronnie Coleman lost going for number nine. I know it sucked for him because I mean he’s Ronnie Coleman he’s an eight-time Mr. Olympia but I still personally felt like he’s the first so he didn’t know probably how to peak for two days, that’s hard because you’ve never done it.Jay Cutler on the other hand knew, ‘Hey I can manage to look 90% for two days. Not 180 the next day or 80 and 100 the next day, 90 and 90 will get it done.’ Ronnie wasn’t 90 and 90, Ronnie was maybe 80 and 95. It wasn’t enough,” shared Heath.
“That was around the time he started getting injured. Like Tim Grover said, winning don’t give a shit, she’s going to go to bed with whoever she wants to go to bed with. It didn’t work out for Ronnie that day but I learned right away dude you’re going to win these Olympias and you have to be capable of peaking or at least fixing the problem with your coach Friday and Saturday night, that’s tough.”