Muscle Roast


Phil Heath Arnold Classic Competition

The Arnold Classic Competition is the second most prestigious competition in the world, behind the Mr. Olympia contest.

  • It had many champions since it started in 1989, and Phil Heath is not one of them.

Yes his body fat wasn’t low enough, and he did not have enough muscle mass.

phil heath arnold classic

  • Phil Heath turned pro in 2005, winning the NPC USA Championships.

Winning the heavyweight class, and placing 1st in the overall got Phil his pro card.

Soon after he had his pro debut in 2006, he won the Colorado Pro Championships.

Pretty impressive right?

Climbing in the ranks, he decided to compete at the Arnold Classic the very next year in 2007.

phil heath arnold classic

He fell short and took 5th place.

It’s pretty amazing for someone who turned pro only 2 years before to place 5th at the Arnold Classic.

On the other hand, for someone who won his first two pro debuts, it could have been disappointing as well.

  • If you know who Phil Heath is, it won’t surprise you that he was hungry for that tittle.

He tried to redeem himself by taking a relatively short off season, and the very next year in 2008 he competed again.

phil heath

This time around he moved up 3 places, and almost won the show!

If he had won it, it would have been one of the most impressive victories any bodybuilder has ever accomplished.

“He did not manage to win, but it was very close. He was second to The Blade, The Vampire, The Never Aging, Mr. Dexter Jackson!”

This was by far, the best year ever for Dexter.

dexter jackson olympia

Not only did he win the Arnold Classic, but half a year later in 2008, he won the Mr Olympia!

  • He won that title by beating a not so impressive version of Jay Cutler.

Phil lost again but it wasn’t a really bad year for him.

He won the IronMan Competition in 2008, which was one of the biggest tittles in the world as well.

That Win Qualified Him For The Mr. Olympia Show!

That was surprisingly not the first time Phil qualified for the Olympia.

  • He qualified before by winning the New York Pro show, but did not compete.

phil heath arnold classic

In 2008, Phil Heath had a great year, where he showed up and took 3rd overall.

The following year, Phil actually did worse and placed 5th at the Olympia.

That was probably the trigger point for him to get super motivated!

The following year was arguably one of the, if not the best edition of Phil Heath at the Arnold Classic.

  • His only flaw was his back, but his conditioning was jaw dropping!

His skin was paper thin, but because of his narrow clavicle and undeveloped back, he placed 2nd controversially behind Kai Greene.

kai greene

That would turn out to be the last time he lost to Kai Greene, as I am sure you now by now.

They were both very hungry after that competition, and they both attacked the Mr. Olympia tittle like two mad dogs in 2010.

  • Unfortunately, they were both sent packing home by The Cut Above, the raining champion, Jay Cutler!

Phil took the title the following year, destroying Jay who had an injured bicep.

Kai Greene on the other hand, did win The Arnold Classic again.

But he never again placed higher than Phil Heath at the Olympia.

kai greene

  • In 2013, the biggest, fullest, and one of the driest versions of Phil Heath won the Arnold Classic Europe.

Technically he did win The Arnold Classic, but the European contest was nowhere nearly as competitive as the show in Ohio.

Why Doesn’t Phil Heath Compete In The Arnold Classic?

Phil owns 7 Sandow Trophies. Do you know how much money goes along with one of those?

When the first Mr. Olympia was held, the prize money for first place was $1,000.

  • That first Olympia was won by Larry Scott.

larry scott

  • It was in 1965, and $1,000 bucks was worth a lot more back then.

That said, do you know how much Phil Heath got paid for his victories?

  • In 2011, for his first Olympia trophy, he got $200K. Not bad.

That is 200 times more than Larry!

  • I guess you can say bodybuilding got a lot more popular.

In years 2012 and 2013, Phil made $250K. And the following year he made $275K.

In years 2015, 2016 and 2017 he earned $400K! That is per year, and per victory!

  • Aside from all of the sponsorships and the supplement business, he is making quite a great living pumping iron.

bodybuilding money

The prize money for the Arnold Classic winner today in 2018 is $130K.

“Not bad, but not $400K which might be the reason why Phil Heath doesn’t compete.”

It is not good timing with the Olympia prep, and basically not worth it for him to risk the Olympia.

phil heath mr. olympia

The thing is, when you are on such a high level, it is all about hitting the mark.

All of the top bodybuilders at the Olympia are very close to each other.

It’s only a matter of small details that sets them apart.

  • A tiny bit of water retention will separate the champion and someone who comes in 5th place, that is it.

When a bodybuilder prepares for competition, it is a long process.

First, there is a period of trying to put on the muscle mass.

bulking season

It usually takes about 6 months, if the bodybuilder is competing every year.

“There is also a lay off period that many competitors take after the show. During this time they don’t do any weight lifting, they just rest and let their bodies rejuvenate.”

It is necessary for their bodies to refresh and prepare to do it all over again.

  • There is also the period of refining and fine tuning the body.

This is basically trimming of the fat and the water coat that is created during bulking.

If a competitor chooses to do 2 bodybuilding shows in a year, he is not gonna have enough time to do all these things.

bodybuilding diet

At least not perfectly.

Also bare in mind, the Arnold Classic is held during the spring, usually at the end of February.

Mr. Olympia happens in the mid September.

So, if Phil Heath chose to compete in both of these shows, he would not have time to relax, rest and recuperate after the Olympia.

  • He would not have the growing period, and for that reason he would not make any improvements for next years Mr Olympia.

Potentially, he could significantly damage his look.

losing muscle gains

Is it worth the risk and toll that it takes on his body?

Not only is the prize money is much higher at Mr. Olympia, but the winner is consider to be the best bodybuilder in the world.

  • That comes with a ton of other benefits and sponsorships.

Arnold Classic is a great competition, but it’s not that great. This is why Phil Heath chooses to skip it.

Who Has The Most Olympia Titles?

The first Mr. Olympia champion that has ever won 7 titles, and was a record holder for the largest amount of Sandows, was none other but The Great Oak!

The Terminator. The Governor. Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Arnold Schwarzenegger

But his record was taken down by the great 8 time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney!

  • It would be wrong not to mention the Original Mass Monster.

The man who reinvented the sport of bodybuilding, 6 times champion, The Shadow, Mr Dorian Yates.

  • The opinion of many of the worlds top bodybuilders, is that Ronnie Coleman “The King” is the greatest bodybuilder of all time.

Throughout his career, Ronnie was beaten 4 times by Jay Cutler.

jay cutler bodybuilder

Following Jay Cutlers reign, Phil Heath became the next champion any potentially on the path the be the greatest of all time.

Phil has won 7 Mr. Olympia titles, and tied Arnold’s record.

Everybody believed that Phil is going to beat Ronnie’s  and Haney’s record, and possibly win 10 Sandows.

But in 2018, maybe due to his hernia problems, he came in 2nd place, losing to Shawn Rhoden.

Shawn came in super dry and was the best version anyone has ever seen from him.

  • Phil was more muscular, round, complete and probably on the same level of leanness.

Many say, including the judges, that Phil lost because of his stomach.

phil heath stomach

Phil looked very bad in all of the front poses, and also said that he is going to skip 2019 Mr. Olympia.

Will he come back in 2020?

  • We don’t know that for sure, but if he can fix his gut issue, he can come and win a few more Mr. Olympias easily.

Aside from his belly problems, he is a much better bodybuilder than most of the other top guys.


He has proven that year after year, and knowing him, it is very likely that he will come back and go for 10 titles.

He is still pretty young, and only to victories away from becoming the winner of 9 Mr. Olympia titles, which is the most in history of the contest.

  • Taking some time off will probably get him looking better than he ever did.

He’s body will definitely get the rest and growth needed by skipping dieting and putting that stress on his body.


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