A full breakdown of “The Gift”

Phil Heath is one of the best known bodybuilders of all time. Tied with the “Austrian Oak”, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Phil Heath is also a 7x Mr. Olympia champion, there is no doubt he has made a name for himself. Even now that he is retired, Heath still maintains a physique worthy of the stage and there is a lot that goes into that.

Below is a fully breakdown of Phil Heath’s diet and training regimens.

Full Name: Phil Heath

Weight Height Date Of Birth
245-255 lbs lbs. 5’9’’ 12/18/1979
Division Era Nationality
Men’s Open 2000, 2010 American

Phil Heath Biography

Phil Heath Bodybuilding Mr. Olympia
Image courtesy of Instagram

Phil Heath is an IFBB-certified pro bodybuilder and one of the most well known Mr. Olympia winners of all time, thanks to his reign as the champ as well as his famed bodybuilding rivalry with Kai Greene. Phil was painted as a “villain” type of character throughout his competitive reign, as many disliked his cocky attitude and thought it was a bad look for the sport, but he embraced this and it suited him well. Phil also had genetics that seemed to be almost perfect for bodybuilding, with muscle insertions and symmetry that was simply unmatched. However, bodybuilding was not always the career path of choice.

Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Phil Heath is a natural-born athlete who played basketball on his high school’s varsity team. After earning a prestigious athletic scholarship to the University of Denver, Heath double-majored in Information Technology and Business Administration while playing point guard for the Pioneers. He credits his time spent playing Division 1-A Men’s basketball with shaping his identity and approach to bodybuilding. It was also during this time that he earned his nickname “The Gift,” referring to his innate talent for all things sports and athletics, not to mention even as a college athlete, Phil’s genetics for bodybuilding showed through, with his capped shoulders and massive arms showing every time he had the jersey on.

After graduating college in 2002, Heath was inspired to push his athleticism to even greater heights. He was immediately attracted to the intensity and competitiveness of professional bodybuilding and began pursuing a career as a professional in late 2002. He won his first NPC title in 2003 and began competing as an IFBB professional the year of 2005. In order to further refine his craft he joined a hardcore gym in 2003 where he trained under former Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler and succeeding in increasing his mass to 215 lbs with only 6% body fat.

Jay Cutler
Image courtesy of Instagram

Phil Heath has won 7 Mr. Olympia titles overall and he had hoped to break the current record set by Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney. These hopes were slightly derailed when he lost the 2018 Mr. Olympia to the late Shawn Rhoden. The following year Phil took off and did not compete, and the same went for 2019. There were conflicting rumors claiming he would compete in 2020, but he would perhaps compete in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Athleticon event. Ultimately, we did get a glimpse of Phil back on the Olympia stage in 2020, but we have not seen Phil back on the professional bodybuilding stage since then, though there have been plenty of rumors of his return.

Seemingly having fun hyping up the fans, Phil Heath and Kai Greene both hinted that they would perhaps battle again on stage in some capacity in 2021. Though that seemed to fall through, as neither of them had stepped on stage. Phil even stated himself that maybe if the Olympia was brought back to a one-day event, perhaps he would step back on stage.

Competition History

Phil Heath has quite the extensive competition history, so let’s take a look.


  • 2003 Northern Colorado State, Novice – Light-Heavyweight 1st place and overall
  • 2003 NPC Colorado State – Light-Heavyweight 1st place


  • 2004 NPC Colorado State, Heavyweight – 1st place and Overall


  • 2005 NPC Junior Nationals, Heavyweight – 1st place and Overall
  • 2005 NPC USA Championships, Heavyweight – 1st place and Overall


  • 2006 Colorado Pro Championships – 1st place
  • 2006 New York Pro Championship – 1st place


  • 2007 Arnold Classic – 5th place


  • 2008 IFBB Iron Man – 1st
  • 2008 Arnold Classic – 2nd place
  • 2008 Mr. Olympia – 3rd place


  • 2009 Mr. Olympia – 5th place


  • 2010 Arnold Classic – 2nd place
  • 2010 Mr. Olympia – 2nd place


  • 2011 Mr. Olympia – 1st place
  • 2011 Sheru Classic – 1st place


  • 2012 Mr. Olympia – 1st place
  • 2012 Sheru Classic – 1st place


  • 2013 Mr. Olympia – 1st place
  • 2013 Arnold Classic Europe – 1st place


  • 2014 Mr. Olympia – 1st place


  • 2015 Mr. Olympia – 1st place


  • 2016 Mr. Olympia – 1st place


  • 2017 Mr. Olympia – 1st place


  • 2018 Mr. Olympia – 2nd place


  • 2020 Mr. Olympia – 3rd place


Now for the fun stuff, Phil Heath’s training regimen. You do not get to look like that by training without the utmost intensity, and that is exactly what Phil does. He utilizes high volume sets, typically in the 10-12 rep range, but he is pushing some heavy weight, with his last rep almost hitting muscular failure.

Let’s look at his workouts.

Monday – Legs For Days

Exercise Sets Reps
Stiff Legged Deadlifts 3 10
Lying Leg Curls 3 10
Seated Leg Curls 3 12
Standing Calf Raises 3 12
Leg Press 3 8
Seated Calf Raises 3 12
Leg Extensions 3 10
Front Squats 3 8
Hack Squats 3 8

Tuesday – Chest & Triceps For Serious Pushing Strength

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Incline Press 3 10
Dumbbell Incline Fly 3 10
Hammer Strength Bench Press 3 8
Pec Decks 3 12
Triceps Pushdowns 3 10
Close-Grip Bench Press 3 10
Lying Triceps Extensions 3 12

Wednesday – REST

Thursday – Back & Biceps For Pulling Power

Exercise Sets Reps
Wide-Grip Pull-Ups 3 10-12
Power-Grip Chin-Ups 3 10-12
T-Bar Rows 3 10
Bent Over Rows 3 8
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 12
Straight Arm Pulldowns 3 10
Standing EZ-Bar Curls 3 10
Hammer Curls 3 10
Concentration Curls 3 10
Preacher Curls 3 8

Friday – Shoulders & Traps For Added Physique Gains

Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 3 10
Front Raises 3 10
Side Raises 3 10
Shrugs 3 15
Barbell Shrugs 3 12

The Diet of Phil Heath

When it comes to packing on muscle mass, dropping body fat and getting ripped, or whatever you are aiming to do, diet is just as important as the actual lifting itself is. Diet aids in the recovery process, and it essentially what forces the muscles to grow back bigger and stronger. Typically, the diet will be different for an “off-season” vs. contest prep.

Let’s take a look at Phil’s off-season diet.

Phil Heath’s Off-Season Diet

Meal 1

  • 12 oz. chicken
  • 1 cup of egg whites
  • 1 cup of cream of rice

Meal 2

  • 12 oz. 94% ground beef
  • 2 cups of white rice

Meal 3

  • 12 oz. beef tenderloin
  • 8 oz. whole-wheat pasta

Meal 4

Meal 5

  • 6-8 oz. beef tenderloin
  • 10 oz. white potato

Meal 6

  • 12 oz. chicken
  • 1 cup of spinach

Meal 7

  • 12 oz. of 94% ground beef
  • 1 cup of broccoli

Meal 8

  • 2 tbsp. of almond butter
  • Whey protein isolate

Now, when prepping for a bodybuilding show, typically the protein intake is left high, if not increased, but carbs are dropped lower and lower each week.

Phil Heath Wrap Up

Image courtesy of Instagram

Overall, Phil Heath is “The Gift”. From his athletic abilities in college, to his perfect bodybuilding genetics and hard working mindset that have enabled him to become who he is. While we have not seen him on stage in a few years, the name “Phil Heath” is one that will forever live in infamy in the fitness world.

Do you think Phil Heath will return to bodybuilding? Would you want Phil Heath to return to the stage?

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

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Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.