Phil 'The Gift' Heath Shares His Thoughts On Upcoming 2009 Olympia!

Discover what is on the mind of IFBB Pro Phil 'The Gift' Heath and if he believes he can take the Olympia crown? He was kind enough to take some time and answer the following questions. Find out more.

dot
Is The Gift Ready To Take The Olympia Crown?
dot

dot
[ Q ] You have mentioned in the past you have got what it takes to beat Dexter. Will 2009 be the year you apply that prediction?
dot

    Absolutely. I feel that each year I get closer and closer to beating him. With our first encounter in March 2007 (placing fifth at the Arnold Classic), and then last year's Olympia along with the Arnold Classic, I felt I was highly competitive.

    I don't think anyone would have been upset if I were to have beaten him at last year's Arnold Classic for sure - if not the Olympia.

    I think with the time off by not doing the Arnold, I do feel that I have been able to apply the off-season like I've always done which is to improve and therefore yield some good mass and also some good conditioning leading into the Olympia.

Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Olympia. Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    So I feel that if I can make the steady improvements that I have been known to do, I don't see why I shouldn't beat Dexter at this contest.

dot
[ Q ] Many people have counted Jay out on winning this show. Have you counted him out as a threat?
dot

    No, I could never count him out. You have to think, last year he was Mr. Olympia leading into the contest. For me to count him out would be stupid.

    I think he's very well capable of winning it. Only a Mr. Olympia could really answer that question because he knows what is capable of doing. He has to make sure he crosses all of his t's and dots all of his i's.

RELATED VIDEO: Olympia: The Series 2008
Episode #7: Phil Heath!

Come join us as we travel around the country visiting IFBB Pros as they start their preparation for the 2008 Olympia Competition.
Watch More From This Series Here.
   Find More Videos On This Topic.

    I truly feel that even with Dexter, being the new Mr. Olympia, that if Jay was to come in condition, like we've seen him in the past, it shouldn't be that hard for him to retain the title or to earn it back. The only problem is now that with Dexter being the champ, its kind of a tossup with the whole apples and oranges thing.

    You have more of a freakish guy with Jay - a mass guy. He's kinda like the last one left. And now you've got Dexter who is more streamlined and is a lot smaller, but still an awesome bodybuilder.

    I do think people have written Jay off, but that's only because we're all considered the flavor of the month. If I were to place out of the top five at the Olympia, I don't think that people would think I was a threat either.

Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic. Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.

dot
[ Q ] A number of people thought that you deserved to place ahead of Jay last year. What's your take on that?
dot

    I feel I should have placed ahead of Jay if I had a little more muscle maturity on me. I look at it that my very first Mr. Olympia was a special one. Knowing that, I could have done it the last two years and then walk in and placed third.

    The fan response was that I could have won or taken second. That's awesome to know, but at the end of the day, it's the judges that control all those decisions.

    I felt that they still got it right. I don't think I was that much better. I think in certain shots I was better than Jay. There were some shots that he was better than me as well.

    To be honest, I was more excited than in being placed ahead of Dennis Wolf because he was being talked about so much in the magazines. I was more concerned with beating him because of my predictions (I usually hate to make predictions) but it actually came to fruition.

    I felt that I could have placed higher - maybe - but you always think that after you've competed and you look at pictures, which is a fragment of what really happened, that's why this year's is going to be special because I do feel that if I am going to continually bring forth a new physique, the judges will see my improvements more than anyone else and I'll be rewarded for it - hopefully. If someone slips up, that just makes it easier for me.

dot
[ Q ] Has your off-season nutrition/supplement strategy been any different this year to years past? If so, how?
dot

    My off season was a little more intense because, after the Olympia, I realized that the last thing I needed to do was to get extremely out of shape.

    I had booked five appearances immediately after the Olympia to do guest posings, therefore I learned how to maintain that type of physique that I acquired for the '08 Olympia for a longer period of time with only doing little amounts of cardio.

    I tried to apply that same strategy into my off season, which kept me fairly lean. Now I believe that I'm ahead of the game because of it. I didn't get too far away because of what I did a month after the Olympia. Really, the supplement strategy has been the same.

Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Olympia. Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    The food has been different because as you get bigger, I feel you need to eat more to maintain if not grow. I have done a lot less fish and a lot more chicken and red meat. I've done more higher carb meals than in the past.

    Overall, I feel that the training was more intense. I changed my whole training philosophy as far as the rep ranges were concerned and because of that, I was able to stimulate some new muscle fibers that I actually hadn't worked on since I started bodybuilding in 2002.

    Collectively, because of all the changes, it has produced a much more improved physique. So hopefully the plan is to carry that into the prep and just walk in there and kill it, kill the show.

RELATED ARTICLE
2009 Arnold Classic: Dexter & Phil!
2009 Arnold Classic: Dexter & Phil!
IFBB Professional Bodybuilders.
Image Courtesy Of Isaac Hinds.
Week #153 - 2/27/2009
1600x1200 - 1280x1024 - 1152x864 - 1024x768 - 800x600
480x640 - 320x240 - 240x320 - 160x160 - 160x120 - 128x128


Fan Favorite Phil Heath!
Popular Olympia Rookie Phil Heath!
Congrats On Third, Phil!
Photo Courtesy Of Isaac Hinds.
Week #133 - 10/07/2008
1600x1200 - 1280x1024 - 1152x864 - 1024x768 - 800x600
480x640 - 320x240 - 240x320 - 160x160 - 160x120 - 128x128


2008 Olympia: Dexter Jackson & Phil Heath!
2008 Olympia: Dexter & Phil!
Dexter & Phil Are Top-Level IFBB Pros!
Photo Courtesy Of Isaac Hinds.
Week #131 - 9/23/2008
1600x1200 - 1280x1024 - 1152x864 - 1024x768 - 800x600
480x640 - 320x240 - 240x320 - 160x160 - 160x120 - 128x128

dot
[ Q ] Who do you see as your closest rival - Cutler, Wolf, Kai or Phil and why?
dot

    I'd say my closest rival probably would be Jay and Dexter because at first, I thought it would be Kai and Wolf, but I've beaten both of those guys in the same year - the same calendar year - one at the Arnold Classic and then the other at the Olympia. So, I wouldn't consider that a rivalry any more.

    With the changes Kai has made with his physique, I don't consider him to be an aesthetic physique any more. I consider him more on the mass side.

    For him to be a direct rival, I usually compare myself to people who are like myself, so with Dennis Wolf, I would say "yeah" because he is a taller guy and carries good shape for a taller guy.

    I think by beating him, he's no longer a rival of mine. I may be one of his. I don't want to sound arrogant about it, but it's just the fact that everyone had him on a huge pedestal.

    The last guy to ever be considered being Mr. Olympia when he placed fifth was Gunter Schlierkamp in 2002. To go from fifth to fourth was an improvement and I think that he did improve, but obviously not enough.

    My direct competition right now is Dexter Jackson, Mr. Olympia. I mean, that's the physique that they went with and I feel they are gonna stick with that physique. It depends on how we all show up.

Phil Heath's Back Workout Flex Magazine:
Phil Heath's Back Workout!

Phil Heath breaks down the back workout that helped him crash the top three in his first Mr. Olympia contest...

[ Check Out Phil Heath's Back Workout Here! ]

    If Jay shows up like he has in the past, when he was looking really good, then they can easily go back to that. Quite frankly, I could see them staying away from that - depending on his conditioning. If he's off, he'll be second or third or fourth. Who knows?

    I think Dexter sets a different standard. With him being the most consistent bodybuilder, he's the reason I always called him out because he was always the most consistent. He's not very beatable.

    There's only two guys in this contest that have beat him - Jay and Victor. He's already beaten both again and set himself apart. I'd say my direct conflict is with Dexter because I do feel I'm a bigger of him. It's my job to work on my flaws and expose his weaknesses. That's how I view it. If I were to just focus on my strengths, that's not going to get it done.

Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic. Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.

dot
[ Q ] Most guys want to step on that Olympia stage so badly that they compete at the Mr. Olympia the first opportunity they get. You qualified for the both the 2006 and 2007 Mr. Olympias but you chose to bypass both years and wait until the 2008 Mr. Olympia.

This strategy has started a trend with a few other guys like Kai Greene and Evan Centopani. How did you come up with this "wait-to-compete-in-the-Olympia" strategy?
dot

    (Laughs) You know, I've gotten a lot of cr@p about how I approach competition! A lot of people could say it was my trainer. A lot of people could say it was Jay or whatever. I've done this my way since the very beginning.

    If anyone looks at my contest history, I did the local show in northern Colorado. Won that. Then I did the Colorado State that same year. I won my class; I didn't win the overall.

    Then I came back the next year and won the overall. Now that right there shows I could have done the Junior USAs or the Junior Nationals right away. A lot of people do that. They qualify and they go straight to the USA.

RELATED ARTICLE

[ Click here to learn more. ]
Phil Heath Debut!
Phil Heath is seven for seven from the field on a bodybuilding stage. I'll discuss where he might place if he competes at the big dance.
Author:
Lonnie Teper

    Well, for me, if I wasn't the best in my state, how can I be the best in the country? There's no way. One can argue that I won the light-heavyweight, but I lost the overall by one point so there's still someone out there that's better than me in my own town.

    I don't like that. So, I won the Colorado State and then I did the Junior Nationals. Now, if I wouldn't have won the Junior Nationals with straight ones like I did, I wouldn't have felt comfortable going into the USAs.

PHIL HEATH'S CONTEST HISTORY

Note: This list may not reflect all shows for Phil Heath.

dot
[ Q ] You have been criticized for not being wide enough and having "narrow clavicles." What's your opinion on this subject?
dot

    When I first got into the pros, I think that was very well apparent that I wasn't the widest guy and that I was narrow and things like that. But guess what? When I turned pro I had done less shows than the average local bodybuilder.

    You show me picture of yourself, as a competitive bodybuilder, from your first five shows and you weren't as big as when you started.

    My point is that someone's gotta point out a flaw. I'm not perfect and I'm the first one to tell people that. I will never say that I'm the widest guy but I pack on more muscle than the widest guy on stage.

Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro. Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    Last year it worked out perfect. Someone did a callout between me, Dennis Wolf and Toney Freeman with me in the middle. Why was that comparison made? That comparison was made to prove that I wouldn't get dwarfed by the so-called big boys in the industry.

    The only people who will call me narrow are the people who go on chat rooms and forums and look at pictures. It's a shame because how does that equate to me losing? They say, oh narrow clavicles. Well, they're either short or long because there is no such thing as narrow clavicles. Narrow structure is the better term, but I can't expect everyone to be educated about that.

    I am not the largest man walking around in street clothes. When you see me with a t-shirt on next to another guy, they'll say, "I'm wider than Phil Heath."

RELATED VIDEO: 2007 IFBB New York Men's Pro
Phil Heath Interview!

The 2007 IFBB New York Men's Pro Bodybuilding Contest was held on May 12th, 2007 in New York, NY.
Watch More From This Series Here.
   Find More Videos On This Topic.

    Well, maybe they are structurally but they have a 40-inch waist and they're probably not even a bodybuilder. I've seen guys that don't even compete who are wider than me. But it's a muscle contest, not a who-has-better-structure contest.

dot
[ Q ] You have made phenomenal progress in a relatively short period of time. You were still playing college basketball in 2002. You began competitive bodybuilding in 2003 and won your pro card on your first try at the 2005 USA Championships.

In 2006 you won your first two pro shows, placed 5th in your first Arnold Classic in 2007 and, in 2008, won the Iron Man and placed third at the Mr. Olympia. This sort of progress is very unusual to say the least. To what do you attribute your rapid rise to success?
dot

    Patience! I think that's what a lot of guys talk about in bodybuilding, but very few carry it out. People will say, "Oh you need time to grow" and this and that.

    They're so quick to compete because of their competitive nature in them and they don't know how to harness that. They need to focus on the bigger picture, which for me was I wanted to compete at a higher level.

    You see if I didn't win those amateur shows the way I did, I would have had a totally different philosophy about competition. My whole thing was if I won those two pro shows, why should I throw my hat into the Olympia and probably get embarrassed? I still lacked something to be a top-ten competitor.

Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro. Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    A lot of people said I'd make the top ten, but to me that just wasn't good enough. A lot of fans didn't understand because of the lack of interviews.

    They didn't understand my personality or my theory behind it so they attributed it to arrogance. They said I didn't want to lose because of my precious ego.

    I've done seven shows and now you want me to do the Olympia? That's unheard of. Name one person that has done the Olympia in that short of time. None of the current bodybuilders can say that. Not even Flex Wheeler or Shawn Ray did that.

    Some guys didn't turn pro after until after 10 years of bodybuilding. I did it in two and a half years and then a year after that. I thought I still had time to grow. So why not take time off and then throw my hat into the Arnold?

RELATED ARTICLE

[ Click here to learn more. ]
Phil Heath Interview!
Phil Heath has gone through some major changes now that he entered the arena of the pros. Five years ago he had no intention of being a bodybuilder.
Author:
Shawn Ray

    So to answer your question - why such an unorthodox theory on competition? Now you're starting to see other guys like Haney copying what I was doing. Why isn't Brandon Curry competing? Why did it take Evan Centopani 18 months to do his first pro show? No one gave him a hard time.

    My biggest thing is you better make sure you look good after that break. I think it would have sucked if I had taken from May of 2006 to March of 2007 and not show any improvement, but I did show improvement.

    It was worth me not doing the Olympia. After that I thought, contractually, with Met-Rx and Weider that I was going to have to do the Olympia, but they took the pressure off me.

    If Weider would have asked me to do the Olympia, I would have. Absolutely. They believed in me. I needed to make an impact. If I would have entered the Olympia, you would never have seen those photos on Flex that were posted before the Iron Man. Everyone was freaking out when they saw those.

    I'm giving the fans what they want, which is an improved physique and not gut distention. Kai Greene and some of these other guys have done it a little too fast. I don't see guys coming up who want to take time off. I think I started a new trend.

dot
[ Q ] What's the biggest obstacle you have faced in your quest to become Mr. Olympia?
dot

    The biggest obstacle... That one stumped me for a moment. The biggest obstacle is to under promise and over deliver each time. I think that's been very difficult because of the expectations laid upon me by the fans and also the writers.

    Because of everyone believing in my type of physique, it's kinda like a breath of fresh air to see me come into the pro ranks with more of a 90's physique. So extreme measures of pressure is my greatest obstacle.

    I think I'm the only person who can't look the same each time. Dexter can look the same each time, but I can't do that. My other obstacle is... Dexter Jackson, and I got so close last year. I know I spooked him last year at the Olympia.

I Know I Spooked Him Last Year At The Olympia.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
I Know I Spooked Him
Last Year At The Olympia.

    I could tell from playing college ball. You can see the heart of man by looking at him. You can see when something's going on and he was nervous. I wouldn't say scared, but I had his attention.

dot
[ Q ] If you defeat Dexter this year and do indeed become Mr. Olympia, how many titles would you like to win and how long do you plan to compete?
dot

    Oh man! I actually told Jay I would retire. He said, "Are you serious?" I told my trainer the same thing. They said, "Really? Why?" Then I could come out of retirement next year and win again (laughs)! Honestly, I'm a realist.

    I'm probably the only guy on paper right now who could be a multiple Olympia champion and possibly break the record, but with the sport growing each year with more guys, I don't know if there's another Phil Heath lurking around. I don't know if another guy has figured it out who might be better than all of us.

Flex Magazine: 'The Blade Vs. The Gift'!
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Flex Magazine: 'The Blade Vs. The Gift'!
Click Here To Read This Exerpt From Flex Magazine.

    I need to focus on this first one, but I can't lie and say I haven't seen myself up there with the greatest. I just have to make sure I win this one and never look back.

In this months issue of FLEX - The Blade Vs. The Gift. Read how the two train together in an as-it-happens article by Greg Merritt. In stores now.