Moviehole catches up with Schwarzenegger’s strongman successor, Phil ‘The Gift’ Heath to talk about his mission to win Mr. Olympia for a third time, as well as his involvement in the new bodybuilding documentary “Generation Iron”.
How did you get into bodybuilding? Did you have any inspirations?
I simply got into bodybuilding by meeting with some students sitting in an I.T. class who were already competing. I later went to train with them and found great joy in seeing my muscles pumped up. I then wanted to learn more on nutrition and training, as it was very foreign to me coming from a collegiate (D1) basketball background. I simply wanted to control how I felt and how I looked.
In those early years, what did you find the most challenging about bodybuilding?
I found the amount of food and food preparation most challenging while finishing college and working a job. Meal planning takes a ton of organization, knowledge, resources and consistency which is still to this day key for my success.
What kind of daily training regiment does a bodybuilder have? Is it hours and hours of working out each day?
It is very intense, yet a controlled aggression in each repetition. It’s not necessarily about how much weight either, but how much you’re body can withstand while keeping proper form and stimulating each muscle fiber in unison to achieve the finished movement. 1 to 3 hours per day can be applied to a singular body part or multiple depending on one’s desired training volume and resting periods in between sets.
What kind of food does a bodybuilder eat? I remember going to school with a budding bodybuilder who would eat a couple of roast chickens for lunch to bulk up – - was he on the right path?
Bodybuilders eat various foods, proteins such as lean red meats, chicken, fish, eggs. Carbohydrates would include white or brown rice, pastas, red, white or even sweet potatoes. Fats are usually avocados, peanut butter and mostly fish oils which are contained within different forms of fish (protein). As far as your school friend’s diet, I’d say he had his mind on the right track as he was very protein minded with protein since it’s important for various organs, but highly known for its ability to put on lean muscle.
How did you get involved in “Generation Iron”?
I was introduced to Vlad Yudin and The Vladar Company through my sponsors at AMI/Weider as they were interested in having me be a part of this awesome film.
You’re nicknamed ‘The Gentle Giant’, which indicates you’re a great guy. How important do you think it is, in this game, to be humble, nice and appreciative?
Well, I wouldn’t say that I’m a Giant as I’m only 5’9. However, I believe that I am a nice guy with giant muscles. I really do enjoy meeting new people and being extremely approachable to others. Let’s face it, being my size can be very intimidating, however, a smile and kind eyes have always bridged that gap in my life. I think that my position as Mr. Olympia, of being grounded, showing humility and always being appreciative with what I’ve earned is extremely vital in gaining the respect and love from fans. I know that I’ve done some cool things, but by no means do I feel I’m owed anything but the rewards from my hard work, discipline, intelligence and respect for others.
Do you still get a thrill seeing yourself on the cover of magazines like IRON MAN?
I get very excited every time I am on a magazine cover. Most recently I was on a cover of FLEX Magazine and although I’ve been on over 100 covers worldwide, I still go buy them at airports and supermarkets haha.
What do we learn about you in “Generation Iron” that perhaps we don’t know now?
I believe that people will be able to get a good idea about my discipline and desire to become Mr. Olympia in “Generation Iron.” I feel that people will see my humor, in addition to me being able to withstand the pressures of repeating as a world champion, fending off many well deserving competitors. I lastly would like fans to see how I was able to keep a pretty balanced lifestyle while prepping for the show, which will hopefully prove that I’m more well-rounded than they may initially felt.
Schwarzenegger went on to do movies, is that your plan too?
Arnold Schwarzenegger has done some amazing things on and off the bodybuilding stage. I for one want to remain and surpass him in winning more than 7 Sandows and hopefully break the record of 8 held by Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman. Now, if I was approached to participate in another film, I’d definitely show interest, especially if it was a highly action motivated movie which allowed me to showcase some real acting skills. I can’t lie, as I wouldn’t mind playing in a comedy either, so I’ll await Hollywood’s phone call, but in the meantime, I have Sandows to win.
“Generation Iron” is out September 20