Lee Haney grew up in poverty in South Carolina. He wanted to be Hercules since he was little, and would obsess over fitness magazines. Haney asked for a weight set when he was 10, He won his first bodybuilding contest, Mr. Teen America, in 1979. ‘Total-Lee Awesome’ Haney went on to win Mr. Olympia 8 years running from 1983-1991 and is tied with Ronnie Coleman for most Mr. Olympia titles. He graced the covered of many fitness magazines including Flex and Muscle & Fitness. Haney retired from bodybuilding at age 31 and turned to coaching, and he has a line of supplements.He also hosts a radio show called TotaLEE Fit. Haney established the charity Harvest House for children from deprived backgrounds and has served as Chairman to the Presidential Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He has hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. Haney is married and has 2 children. He is5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed about 248 lbs. for contests and 260 lbs. in the off-season.
Lee Haney’s Diet
Diet is an essential component of any bodybuilder’s life and Haney is no exception. He eats every few hours, adding up to 6-7 meals per day. His diet is a balanced one, consisting of classics like oatmeal, eggs, chicken, rice, and veggies, and he also would have protein shakes in the off-season to help spur growth. Haney considers eggs to be a superfood and believes in eating the whole thing, not just the white. In addition to plenty of nutrient-rich foods, he also drinks more than a gallon of water each day.
- Medium Fat 20% 20%
- Medium Carb 40% 40%
- Medium Protein 40% 40%
Haney says a hearty diet with plenty of calories is the only way to grow muscle.
Haney has always eaten simple foods like beans, rice, fish, chicken, green vegetables, fruit, whole grains and water.
The Power of Pineapple
Back in his competing days, Haney would eat fresh pineapple twice a day to help combat inflammation.
Fat gets a bad rap, but Haney knows no diet is complete without it. He is a fan of nuts which provide quality fats.
Eggs Are Awesome
Haney is a big fan of eating whole eggs. He says unless you’re watching your fat to get cut, it’s worth eating the whole thing. He would eat up to 15 a day in the off-season to help grow muscle.
Haney believes in detoxing after indulgence. He especially likes the cleansing power of spinach.
Haney drinks plenty of water each day, well over a gallon because having enough water in your system is essential for burning fat.
Treats Are Key
Haney says he is very careful about his dairy products, but no way is he going to give up ice cream.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Haney on Eating
‘You can’t train like a horse and eat like a bird.’
Haney on Diet
‘Eat for what you’re going to be doing, and not for what you have done. Don’t take in more than you’re willing to burn off.’
Haney on Eggs
‘I eat whole eggs, not just the whites. God created the yolk for a reason. There are a lot of great nutrients in there…Whole eggs are grow food.’
Haney on Detoxing
‘A systemic cleansing and detox is definitely the way to go after each holiday. It is key to fighting high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and other health-related illnesses.’
Haney on Treats
‘Everybody has to have ice cream.’
Lee Haney’s Fitness Routine
Haney says that his ‘Go Time’ do-rag is like his mental armor, and helps him remember to train like a beast.
Training for the Long Haul
Haney always took care to pay attention to his body and not overdo it. He urges others to listen to their body’s signs and signals that it needs a break. He recommends cutting back, or just taking off the rest of the day rather than risk injury.
Haney liked to be able to see his abs even in the off-season. He worked them every day, and made sure not to gain too much weight in his downtime.
Haney works the abs and calves every day and says those two parts are built for daily use and can handle that kind of non-stop training.
Haney follows a schedule of two 4-day blocks: 3 days of work and 1 day of rest creating an 8-day cycle. While his routine repeats the pattern of chest and arms, legs, and back and shoulders, the exercises themselves change in the second block.
The Power of Circuits
Haney recommends circuit training as the most effective, results-giving form of exercise. That said, he says each person should do what speaks to them, whether it be lifting or golf.
Haney considered rest to be a critical part of the routine because muscles grow during this time. He recommended stretching, walking, eating, and taking care of your life on recovery day.
A Lee Haney Routine
Every day: Calves & Abs
Standing or donkey calf raise: 15-20 reps x 6 sets
Seated calf raise: 15-20 reps x 3-4 sets
Vertical leg raise: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Incline sit up: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Seated leg raise: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Day 1: Chest & Arms
Bench press: 6-8 reps x 4 sets
Dumbbell bench press: 8-10 reps x 3 sets
Incline bench press: 6-8 reps x 4 sets
Barbell curl: 8-10 reps x 4 sets
Preacher curl: 8-10 reps x 4 sets
Cable triceps extension: 10-12 reps x 4 sets
Skullcrushers: 6-8 reps x 4 sets
Day 2: Legs
Leg extension: 12-15 reps x 4 sets
Leg press: 10-12 reps x 4 sets(every 3rd workout)
Squat: 8-10 reps x 4 sets
Leg curl: 6-8 reps x 3-4 sets
Stiff leg deadlift: 6-8 reps x 3-4 sets (every 3rd workout)
Day 3: Back& Shoulders
Front lat pulldown: 8-10 reps x 4 sets
Barbell or T-bar row: 6-8 reps x 4 sets
Cable row: 8-10 reps x 4 sets
Military press: 6-8 reps x 4-5 sets
Side lateral: 8-10 reps x 4 sets
Upright row: 6-8 reps x 4 sets
Day 4: Rest
Haney on The Importance of Attitude
‘If you’ve ever seen any of my training videos, I was wearing a do-rag. That was like my Superman cape.’
Haney on Circuit Training
‘The circuit training program along with a healthy, clean diet is the way to excellent results.’
Haney on Cardio
‘When doing your aerobic exercise, go at a comfortable pace until you’ve developed more stamina.’
Haney on Behind The Neck Exercise
‘I’ve always gone behind the neck for pullups, pulldowns and shoulder presses and I’ve never had any problems.’
Haney on How to Stay Problem-Free When Working the Shoulders
‘I think the contraction in my inner traps is the key reason for my upper back thickness.’
Haney on Overtraining
‘Train to stimulate, not annihilate.’
Lee Haney’s Supplements
Haney’s supplement line includes an immune support with elderberry, vitamin C, D and zinc.
Lee Haney’s Lifestyle
Sleep Is Key
Haney recommends a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep at night, along with an hour-long nap during the day if you can swing it.
Walking With Giants
Haney was always a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but surpassed Arnie’s record of 7 Mr. Olympias.
Haney says fitness is great, but people must develop good values and use them in their daily life to be a good person.
Haney is deeply concerned with the rate of type II diabetes in young people, and recommends parents enroll their kids in sports to get them into an active lifestyle. He says parents must also put veggies on the plate because most kids won’t voluntarily eat them.
Haney on Napping
‘I know it can be difficult for a lot of people out there to take a nap with a busy schedule, but if you can do it, it will go a long way in helping you get that quality mass you seek.’
Haney on Fun
‘I’ve watched a lot of guys through the years, and they hold their breath until they finally win The Big One, thinking they can exhale and chill out. You have to breathe through life, man. Have fun.’
Haney on Parenting
‘Parents must lead by example. Don’t use the cliché, “Do as I say and not as I do.” We are our children’s first and most important role models.’
Haney on Being a Well-Rounded Person
‘To be physically fit is just a small aspect. You can be a beautiful specimen but you’re empty as far as what it takes to be a person, and that shows up real fast.’
Haney on Obesity
‘Exercise is one of the best ways in preventing the rapid growth of obesity in America.’