“How does he look?” FLEX’s editor-in-chief asked me after I journeyed backstage before the 2006 Colorado Pro. “Small,” I answered. “But at least he’s peeled.” You got the sense that success was coming too fast for Phil Heath. Sure, he had those round muscle bellies and that pleasing shape. But he was a puppy. When he made his pro debut in Denver on May 13, 2006, and followed up a week later with the New York Pro, the 26-year-old was still merely three years past his first contest. He wasn’t going to outsize any decent pro. So he and nutritionist Hany Rambod wisely maximized his conditioning, coming in at a weight t for the 212 division, had there been one then. Luckily for Heath, the two shows were void of mass monsters. He won both, though some monster- seeking New Yorkers booed their displeasure. A year later, when he was a humbling fifth in the Arnold Classic, the future six-time Mr. O learned the limits of shape and striations. Thereafter, the Gift went about growing. 

 HEATH’S SNAPSHOT 2006 vs. 2016 

  • AGE: ’06: 26 VS. ’16: 36
  • PRO WINS: ’06: 2 VS. ’16: 12
  • YEARS AS PRO: ’06: 1 VS. ’16: 11
  • PRO CONTESTS: ’06: 2 VS. ’16: 18
  • WEIGHT: ’06: 209 VS. ’16: 246
  • HEIGHT: ’06: 5’9″ VS. ’16: 5’9″
  • BEST POSE: ’06: Side Chest VS. ’16: Rear Double Biceps
  • WORST POST: ’06: Rear Lat Spread VS. ’16: Abs and Thigh
  • STRENGTHS: ’06: Conditioning, Arms VS. ’16: Arms, Delts, Back Thickness
  • WEAKNESSES: ’06: Size, Width, Back VS. ’16: Back Width