Frank Sepe discusses with Phil Heath how champions handle losing streaks and “low seasons” vs everyone else.

Phil Heath may be a 7x Mr. Olympia champion, one of the most winningest Olympia champs in history, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t faced low points in his career. Both before and after his champion winning streak – Heath has faced seasons of losses. This is true for anyone even outside of sports. There are highs and there are lows. But how we handle the lows is often more important than how we act when we are on top. Often times, a true champion can be predicted based on how they handle loss. In Generation Iron and Barbend’s latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, Phil Heath and Frank Sepe reveal the lowest moments of their lives and the tactics they applied to make it through to the other side and gain success.

Frank Sepe and Phil Heath have both accomplished incredible success in the fitness industry. Heath is a 7x Mr. Olympia and considered one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. Sepe is a well known and successful fitness author, editor, tv personality and model that has been on the cover of over 100 magazines. But they weren’t born this way nor were they given these successes without any work. And just like any human being – they have faced low moments.

During the latest conversation between Phil Heath, Frank Sepe, and Mike O’Hearn on the podcast – they all discuss the notion of a “losing season” and the importance of how we handle them as people. O’Hearn points out a very important observation – it’s easy to be the best version of yourself when you are on top. How we act when we are at our lowest truly determines the kind of success we can accomplish as individuals.

So it stands to reason that you can learn a lot from what a champion does during a losing streak – both professionally and personally. That’s why Phil Heath, Frank Sepe, and Mike O’Hearn all get intimately honest about their lowest moments and the key tactics they attribute to their eventual success during those times. Perhaps others aspiring to be great can gain insight about success by learning about failure. Let’s jump into it.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Phil Heath (@philheath)

Phil Heath and Mike O’Hearn discuss maintaining core values even during the hardest of times

When people go through low moments – many often use it as an excuse to give into our worst indulgences. Going through a break up? Eat ice cream, burgers, and pizza for daily cheat meals. Take fake sick days from work and play video games. Give yourself an excuse, at least temporarily, to give up and just indulge.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this approach, so long as it’s temporary. But when you are talking about being the greatest in any given field – this kind of action showcases an underlying mentality that just might shut you out of greatness. That’s what Mike O’Hearn and Phil Heath believe. They think what we do during our lowest points directly affect how grand your later successes can become.

Phil Heath has faced professional loss and personal loss. He describes going through a divorce while also trying to maintain his Mr. Olympia status. It was the lowest and hardest point of his life. He lost motivation in many things – but the one thing he kept consistent was the core elements of his Mr. Olympia goals. He still trained, he still kept his diet. He used bodybuilding as his one constant while the rest of his life was upended and emotional.

Mike O’Hearn agrees with this very notion. When his mother passed away many years ago – his entire life was turned upside down. He describes breaking down and crying alone with his dogs on multiple occasions. But the one thing he was able to maintain was his training and diet regimen. He somehow knew that if he can just handle this one core thing – that eventually he would get through the low moment and come out of it with the same tools he always had. Making the bounce back even smoother.

Not only does both Mike O’Hearn and Phil Heath believe this is what allowed them to maintain that champion mentality over many decades, they also believe these actions help recovery happen faster and stronger. Instead of indulging in cheat meals and giving up on training – these habits not only kept their foundation for success but also helped them mentally repair during hard times.

Frank Sepe emphasizes the importance of disconnecting… while also having an intimate support group

Frank Sepe also details some of his lowest moments and how he found ways to cope with them. For Sepe, he developed new habits that helped him disconnect and focus more on the immediate present. He took on hot yoga and meditating. These were 90 minute moments guaranteed without a phone or without internet. A time where he wasn’t responsible for anyone else or anything else. Instead he was in the very specific moment. A time to reset and stablize.

Of course, just as important as disconnecting can be, being alone during hardship can also be damaging. Which is why Frank Sepe was also greatful to have his parents to speak to openly. He emphasizes how much a simple kind word can go the distance during a person’s lowest moments. An intimate support group cuts through the noise of everyone else – and reminds you of the connections you have that matter. That helped lift him up to return to his goals and continue his successes.

Wrap Up

Mike O’Hearn, Phil Heath, and Frank Sepe all believe that how we act during our lowest moments are a direct insight into what we can be when we aim for greatness. One thing that nearly all champions have in common is the dedication to consistency even during a losing streak. How an athlete bounces back from a loss sets them up for a future success. think of Ronnie Coleman‘s early run as a bodybuilder before he became a world record Mr. Olympia legend.

You can watch O’Hearn, Heath, and Sepe discuss this concept in great detail by watching our latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show above. Make sure to also check back every Friday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.