April 12, 2021 10 min read

Phil Heath is one of the most prominent bodybuilders of the current era. If you’ve ever seen him compete, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s some kind of being born from the primordial pit of glistening perfect muscles.

He’s one of the strongest-looking people on the planet, he’s been able to carefully craft his body in ways that have won him several bodybuilding first place slots in a row, and he’s one of the best workout role models out there.

If you want to craft your body into a perfect machine that bystanders would be in awe of or if you just want to redirect your diet and figure out a workout routine that works for you, then looking at how Phil Heath conducts himself before and during training season is going to work wonders for you.

Phil Who?

In case you’re not familiar, Phil Heath is a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner and one of the greatest bodybuilders out there right now. Between 2011 and 2017 he won every single competition he entered. This feat ties him with Arnold Schwarzenegger for the second-highest number of Mr. Olympia wins.

The two of them have only been outdone by two other bodybuilders, Lee Heney and Ronnie Coleman, both of which have eight wins to their names.These aren’t his only wins though. He’s been competing in bodybuilding since 2002. His first win came after three short years when he won the overall title at the National Physique Committee United States Champions.

This early win opened the doors for him, allowing him to compete in the International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness pro events in 2006. From there he just kept on climbing the ranks until he debuted in the Mr. Olympia contests where he became the second novice ever to place top three in their first time out.

This achievement was only matched by Flex Wheeler in ‘93. He placed in the top five in 2009 and 2010 until 2011 where he made first place and fended off challengers for six years in a row until he was eventually unseated by Shawn Rhoden. Even then he was still in second place overall. You don’t achieve those kinds of results by half-assing your workouts, obviously.

So what was Phil Heath up to? His secret wasn’t so secret. It’s just a mixture of dedication, a careful diet, and creative use of his time while training. His workout, once it’s broken down for you, really isn’t something that you’re not capable of doing yourself. The only real difference is the amount of time he’s able to dedicate solely to his training.

Young athlete exercising on bars in gym

The Phil Heath Workout Plan

One of the most important aspects of Phil Heath’s regular workouts is that there are two distinct workouts he would stick to. Phil Heath wasn’t training for gold medals every single day of this life, of course. Just like any other professional athlete he had an on-season and an off-season.

If you think that his on-season workout is way too much for you to handle, then we’d suggest trying for his off-season routine since it’s still the kind of workout routine that a practically unmatched champion used to maintain his already exceptional physique.

Off-Season Workout

Monday: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves
  • Extensions – 4 sets with 8-12 reps
  • Front Squats – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Leg Presses – 3 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Hack Squats – 7 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Standing Calf Raises – 4 sets with 15-20 reps
  • Leg Press Calf Raises – 4 sets with 15-20 reps
  • Seated Calf Raises – 7 sets with 12-15 reps
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Seated Leg Curls (Dagger) – 7 sets with 5-7 reps
Tuesday: Chest & Triceps
  • Dumbbell Incline Presses – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Incline Flyes – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Hammer Strength Bench Presses – 3 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Pec Decks – 7 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Pushdowns with Rope Attachment – 3 sets with 12 reps
  • Dips – 3 sets with 12 reps
  • Close-Grip Bench Presses – 3 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Lying Triceps Extensions – 7 sets with 6-8 reps

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Back and Biceps

  • Wide-Grip Pull-Ups – 3 sets with 10 reps
  • Power-Grip Chin-Ups – 3 sets with 10 reps
  • T-Bar Rows – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Bent-Over Rows (Underhand Grip) – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows – 3 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Straight-Arm Pull Downs with Rope Attachment – 7 sets with 12 reps
  • Standing EZ-Bar Curls – 3 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Hammer Curls – 3 sets 6-8 with reps
  • Concentration Curls – 3 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Preacher Curls – 7 sets with 5-7 reps
Friday: Shoulders and Traps
  • Dumbbell Military Presses – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Front Raises – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Upright Rows – 4 sets 6-8 with reps
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises – 7 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Barbell Shrugs – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Rear Delts
  • Bent-Over Dumbbell Raises – 4 sets with 6-8 reps
  • Reverse Pec Decks – 7 sets with 6-8 reps

Muscular Man Doing cardio on Elliptical machine

Saturday: Cardio

Phil Heath knew the importance of cardio in a well-rounded workout routine. His cardio days were never set in stone, so he would just do whatever cardio suited his fancy. As long as you’re getting your heart rate up and strengthening your cardiovascular system, you’re on the right track.

Cardio is one of the best ways to make your workout routine work for you. It’s the way your body learns to transport energy to the far reaches of your extremities, making you more effective at your workouts.

Even though you’re not spending most of your time on cardio, it’s the lynchpin of your fitness routine. You’re less likely to plateau when your heart health is high, your ability to last longer during your high-intensity exercise is going to skyrocket.

Sunday: Rest Day

On-Season Workout

Phil “The Gift” Heath worked with his physical trainer Hany Rambod. Rambod came up with a special training technique called Fascia Stretch Training, more commonly called FST-7. Fascia Stretch Training focuses specifically on stretching your muscle fibers as much as possible. FST-7s are one of the workout plans that bodybuilders swear by.

It’s an intense attempt at pushing your muscles in a way that encourages the maximum amount of hypertrophy.FST-7 is a pretty simple plan. Each of your workouts is compacted down into low rep sets (6-12 reps) that are performed seven times with some pretty short breaks in between (around 45 seconds).

The goal here is to get your heart rate up and increase the metabolic demands of your body while encouraging the production of anabolic hormones. All of this together is designed to give your muscles a thorough pump. It’s intense though, so you need to come mentally prepared if you’re going to take this on.

The off-season workout and the on-season workouts are basically the same, but the on-season workouts are all FST-7 workouts. Just take the off-season workout, and jack up the number of sets you’re doing, and make sure you’re sticking to the short 45-second intervals.

The interval and number of sets are key to FST-7 workouts. The workout is all about intensity and energy consumption. If you’re trying to build muscle with FST-7s, you need to be ready to sweat and grit your teeth.

High protein food for body builders

Heath Diet Health

Your diet is just as important as your workout. If you’re going to be sinking that kind of time and effort into a workout this intense, you should be stocking your body with quality fuel. Your muscles need protein and you need glucose to keep yourself operating.

Keeping yourself full of good clean good is going to be the key to cresting your plateaus, building muscle quickly, and giving yourself the energy to make it all the way through your workouts. Your diet is also particularly important when it comes to bodybuilding.

Your entire goal is to build muscle and give it an environment to show itself off.

If you’re building incredible amounts of muscle day in and day out, but you’re covering it up in a layer of fat you can’t seem to burn away, then you’re cheating yourself out of all of your hard work. It’s hard to look like a bodybuilder without being able to show off the muscles you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.

Off-Season Diet

Meal 1:

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

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:

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

Meal 5:

  • 12 oz. chicken
  • 1 cup of spinach

Meal 6:

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

Meal 7:

  • 2 tbsp. of almond butter
  • Protein powder

On-Season Diet

His On-season diet is pretty similar to his off-season diet. He streamlines it a little bit more, cutting out some sources of fat and jacking up the protein. This on-season diet helps him trim down some of the weight he might have put on when he’s taking a more leisurely approach to maintaining his physique.

He’s not slouching by any stretch, but you can see the difference in nutritional content when you’re looking at what he ate throughout the week.He also aims to cut down on the calories during the on-season. Part of his bodybuilding training requires him to trim down a little bit.

Because bodybuilding is a sport that’s all about the physique he’s chiseled out, he has to be careful about the weight he puts on during the off-season. He also has to ensure all of the nutrients in his body serve a purpose. He’s one of the most decorated bodybuilders out there because of how tightly controlled his diet is during the on-season.

He aims for about 400 grams of protein and 600 grams of carbs. During the off-season, he eats about 5000 calories a day and trims a decent amount off of  that number to keep his intake efficient

Meal 1:

  • 2.5 cups egg white
  • 1 cup of oatmeal

Meal 2:

  • 12 oz. white chicken breast
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • Steamed vegetables

Meal 3:

  • 12 oz. beef tenderloin
  • Medium sweet potato

Meal 4:

  • 12 oz. beef tenderloin
  • Medium sweet potato

Meal 5:

  • 12 oz. white chicken breast
  • 1 cup brown rice

Meal 6 & 7:

  • 12 oz. halibut or tilapia
  • Steamed broccoli

You can see how tightly controlled his diet is. It’s important to go into this diet with a lot of discipline. This routine lives and dies by the nutritional content of your day-to-day life. Phil Heath’s diet is this extreme because it needs to be.

Competitive bodybuilding is all about pushing your body to the extremes. You don’t claim first place by doing what everybody else does. If you’re trying to get yourself looking anything like Phil Heath, you’re going to have to laser focus your diet.

muscular bodybuilder in a gym

Is This the Routine For You?

Phil Heath is an athlete that stands head and shoulders above most of the people on the entire planet. His workout routine is something that most people aren’t going to be able to keep up with a routine like this. We have jobs and lives that take up a lot of our time.

We’re not all going to be blessed with the natural physique that will accommodate the muscle growth needed to become Mr. Olympia seven years in a row.If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to adapt this workout routine to fit into your lifestyle. If you can’t get two workouts in every day, then you’re still going to be making some pretty amazing progress.

You can compress the workout down into something that fits into your morning workout. A workout routine exists to serve you and your body’s needs, you should be bending over backward and tearing your body apart to fit your life around a routine you’re not ready to take on.

Think about your workout routine as a series of sliders. If you’re not able to keep up, then find your weak spots and move the slider down a little bit. You can maintain the overall structure of this routine while adjusting parts that don’t fit into your life. Training is about overcoming your limits one day at a time. If you’re struggling here are a few things to remember:

  • Cardio is much more important than you’re probably giving it credit for. If you’re having a hard time, and you feel like you’re following every aspect of this workout routine, you’re probably not working in enough cardio. Phil Heath sets aside an entire day of his workout for cardio, but that’s not the only time he does cardio. He’ll often ease himself into his workouts with a little bit of cardio to get the blood flowing, and that adds up over the weeks.
  • Everybody’s different. Your energy levels, how much food you need, how quickly your body builds muscle. All it’s going to be different from Phil, it’s going to be different from your neighbors, and it’s going to be different from anyone you meet. You can’t just copy and paste someone else’s workout and diet and expect it to work exactly the same for you. If you’re having a hard time, make sure you’re taking the time to tailor it to your needs.
  •  Your rest days are just as important as your active days. Your rest days are the days where your body is given the opportunity to build the muscle you’re spending all of this time in the gym on. Every great bodybuilder knows the importance of a good rest day. This is the reason your weekly routine isn’t just comprised of seven days of the exact same exercises, it’s the reason you’re evenly distributing your efforts across all of your muscle groups. Your rest days are there for the maintenance of your body. You’ll do more harm than good if you’re not taking rest days. Your muscle fibers need time to repair themselves so they can come back next week to crush your next workout.

Get Huge Like Heath

Phil Heath is one of the most decorated bodybuilders in the world. He’s like a walking mountain, and he built every single inch of that muscle one day at a time. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not immediately able to keep up with this workout routine, it’s the routine of a man that was once undefeated for nearly a decade.

It’s going to take a lot of sweat and pain, but if you can stick with it and build your way up to this standard, you’re going to see a lot of amazing results pretty quickly. Keep up with your diet, dig deep on your final reps, and take your rest days seriously.


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