Phillip ‘The Gift’ Heath is from Seattle, Washington. Both his parents worked full-time, so he had grew up taking care of himself. Always athletic, Heath was varsity team captain and shooting guard on his high school basketball team. He attended the University of Denver on an athletic scholarship and played for their Division I team. Heath began bodybuilding in 2002 and in 2005, won the overall at the NPC USA Championships which launched his professional career. He placed 5th in the Arnold Classic in 2007 and came in 2nd in 2008. Heath won the Iron Man in 2008 and came in 3rd for his debut at Mr. Olympia. He went on to win Mr. Olympia every year from 2011-2017, tying him with Arnold Schwarzenegger for second most wins in the contest behind Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman. Heath also won the TNA World Tag Team Championship in 2013. He has millions of followers on social media. Heath is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 240 lbs. for contests and about 275 lbs. in the off-season.
Phil Heath’s Diet
Heath is well aware that diet is the most important component of his bodybuilding regimen. Everything he eats must contribute to his growth, maintenance and/or recovery. He will eat every couple of hours, adding up to 6-8 meals a day. When prepping for Mr. Olympia, he’ll eat 5-6 pounds of protein each day, but it’s the boring kind, like egg whites and chicken breast. He eats plenty of rice, oatmeal and sweet potatoes along with lots of vegetables. He weighs his meat to get a better estimate of his protein intake and supplements to be sure he covers all his essentials. He also drinks a couple of gallons of water every day.
- Low-Medium Fat 20% 20%
- Medium Carb 30% 30%
- High Protein 75% 75%
Heath eats a serious amount of protein at every meal in the form of fish, steak, poultry, egg whites and protein powder. He eats about 20 lbs. of chicken a week.
Heath eats oats, sweet potatoes and white rice. As for why he eats white rather than brown rice, he says he prefers the taste, and that his fast metabolism lets him get away with it.
Heath prefers to cook for himself. That way he knows exactly what is going into his body.
Spice It Up
Heath says you don’t have to eat boring meals, and he will sometimes add flavor with hot sauce. Just be sure not to overdo it and load up on too much sodium.
Heath loves his red meat, but sticks to leaner cuts like flank steak and 90% or leaner for his hamburgers when he’s in training. He’ll indulge in fattier cuts like sirloin to celebrate after a contest.
Heath eats a lot of fish, but isn’t crazy about the smell, so he squeezes lemon juice on it to help mask the odor.
Heath says he could probably get away with eating junk in his downtime, but he prefers to stick to a healthy diet year-round.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Heath on Red Meat
‘I eat a lot more red meat in the off-season than I do pre-contest. I love red meat because it helps me put on weight…My body responds really well to it.’
Heath on Lean Hamburgers
‘Just because it’s a hamburger doesn’t mean it has to ruin your diet.’
Heath on Carbs
‘I know a lot of people hate hearing this, but I’m one of those guys who can stay pretty defined while eating a lot of carbs. My body thrives on them…But I’m talking about complex carbs, not simple sugars which can ruin a physique.’
Heath on Body Fat
‘When I’m too heavy, I just feel slow and lethargic. A little body fat is a good thing for the extra energy it gives you in the gym, but too much of it and I feel like a slob.’
Heath on Staying Healthy
‘It’s so much easier to get ready for a contest when you only have 20 pounds to drop instead of 50.’
Phil Heath’s Fitness Routine
Heath says too many bodybuilders zone out when they work out and just go through the motions. For optimal results, you must focus on what you’re doing.
Go With What You Know
Heath says there’s no need to get fancy at the gym. Learn from others and change up the order of your exercises, but you don’t have to invent a whole new way of working out.
Don’t Dys Machines
Health often uses machines rather than free weights for better control and less chance of injury. He is sometimes criticized for this practice, but his results show it works just fine.
Vary Your Grip
Heath sometimes uses Fat Gripz to increase the work on his forearms.
Heath is always careful to take time to warm up the muscles with a few lighter sets.
Heath follows the classic strategy of working one area of the body each day, and allowing it to recover the rest of the week.
There’s More to Legs Than Squats
Heath says a lot of beginners only do squats and think it’s enough to build leg muscle, but he says isolation exercises are essential for maximum leg definition.
How to Get Hi-Def Shoulders
Heath believes the key to great shoulders is volume rather than weight, and that you must work the anterior, side and posterior delts to get the look.
A Phil Heath Routine
Bench press: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Incline bench press: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Strive chest press machine: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Single-arm chest press machine: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Pec deck chest fly: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Shoulder press machine: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Dumbbell front raise: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Standing lateral delt fly machine: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
One-arm front raise on machine: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Rear delt fly on pec deck machine: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Wide grip lat pulldown: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Seated cable row (alternate grip): 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Behind the head lat pulldown: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Seated wide grip cable row: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Bent-over rope pulldown: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Dual cable lat pulldown: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Lying hamstring curl: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Standing machine leg extension: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Seated reverse hamstring curl: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Hack squat: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Leg press: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Seated leg extension: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
Single arm machine preacher curl: 6-8 reps x 5 sets
Machine preacher curl: 6-8 reps x 5 sets
Incline biceps curl machine: 6-8 reps x 5 sets
Bent-over single arm curl: 6-8 reps x 5 sets
Alternating dumbbell curl: 6-8 reps x 5 sets
Rope triceps push-down: 6-8 reps x 5 sets
Single arm rope extension: 6-8 reps x 5 sets
Machine triceps dips: 6-8 reps x 5 sets
Heath on his Bodybuilding Career
‘My pro career got started two and a half years after I picked up a set of weights and decided to be a bodybuilder.’
Heath on Developing a Routine
‘You don’t need to reinvent the wheel…If you’ve noticed that dumbbells work better than barbells for you…then why change that?’
Heath on How to Get Results
‘It’s just learning how not to overtrain, learning how to listen to your body.’
Phil Heath’s Supplements
Heath has his own self-named line of supplements. His pre workout formula contains creatine, beta alanine, citrulline, caffeine and other ingredients to help maximize focus and energy.
Also in Heath’s line is an intra-workout formula made with leucine, glutamine and electrolytes to help achieve peak performance during training.
You can work out all you want but it won’t show if fat is blocking the view. Heath’s fat burning formula contains l-carnitine, green tea and astragalus to torch that excess fat.
Whey Protein Isolate
Heath usually has 2 protein shakes a day. Whey protein promotes muscle growth and supports faster recovery.
Leading up to a competition, Heath will usually supplement with a high-grade multivitamin to be sure he’s getting all of his essential micronutrients.
Phil Heath’s Lifestyle
Sleep: Catch It Where You Can
Heath says bodybuilders should sleep 8-9 hours a night, but he often only gets 4-6. He’ll usually snag an afternoon nap, and he says he catches up in the off-season.
Heath knows the value of hustle. He was working 3 jobs when he decided to get serious about bodybuilding. He took a job at a gym where he worked hard to learn everything he could about nutrition, training and supplementation.
Heath has every intention of coming back and winning the Mr. Olympia in 2020, just like Ron Coleman did in ’03.
Heath on Sleep in His Downtime
‘When I’m not competing, I literally go into hibernation.’
Heath on Looking the Part
‘My job title is Professional Bodybuilder, so I feel I should look like one not just a couple of weeks out of the year, but for the whole year.’
Heath on His Life Goals
‘I have one life. I’m going to go as hard as I can, as smart as I can.’
Heath on Staying Focused
‘All that matters is how you feel in life. You got to let them do them and you do you.’
Heath on Inspiring Others
‘If I have the privilege to inspire others, man, that’s just icing on the cake.’
Heath on Internet Trolls
‘My real fans know who I am. They understand my heart, they understand what I’ve contributed to the sport.’