Episode 155 – Michael O’Hearn
What’s up everyone? It is me, Drew Manning, your host of the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast. Thank you, once again, for tuning in to the Podcast. I appreciate you guys. Today is an awesome episode. I am just going to jump right into it. I’m interviewing someone named Mike O’Hearn. You might know Mike O’Hearn just because he has been around forever. He’s got such an amazing story and will prove to you that age is just a number. Sometimes we think with age, you just learn to slow down. Mike has an incredible story. This guy has squatted 315 pounds for reps since he was 17 years old. He continues to do this on his birthday. He will squat the number of reps of how many years old he is, right? Crazy! Right now he is in his 40’s. So that means his whole life since he was 17, he has been doing 315 pounds for reps. That is just one part of his story. He grew up in a family of 9 brothers and sisters. They were all competitive. They are all into bodybuilding and powerlifting and martial arts. By the age of 15, he won the Teenage Washington State competitions in all three sports. When he is not training, he has been writing, producing and directing his own projects. This guy has been on American Gladiators. If you grew up in the same era as I did, that was one of your favorite shows to watch. You watch people compete against these Gladiators. He was Thor back in the day. He has an incredible story with that as well, as far as tryouts go. I think over 4000 people showed up to try out for it. Whoever was the top contender made it and he did it. Then when they redid American Gladiators later on, he was already older and he competed again. You are going to love Mike’s story. He is very inspirational, very motivational and very passionate about what he does. This guy is a monster. He is a beast and he proves it by his work ethic. You are in for a wild ride with this one with Mike O’Hearn.
Drew: Michael, welcome to the Podcast. How are you doing today?
Michael: Drew, I am loving life. Loving life! I got my new headset and I am ready.
Drew: *laughing* I know! Everyone listening to this, we tried to do this last week. But Mike didn’t have a headset, so he went out and bought like this fancy one. Look at that, that is fancy!
Michael: You made me level up, man! I can do all the Podcasts now!
Drew: Exactly! *laughing* You have got to keep up with the Joneses right? Super excited to have you on, Mike. We met …. wasn’t it about a year ago in Las Vegas?
Michael: We met on Tinder about two years ago. We tried dating. That didn’t work out. Oh, I’m sorry, man! *laughing*
Drew: *laughing* That was a different Podcast!
Michael: *laughing* Yeah, we met about a year ago and stuff. We clicked right from the get go.
Drew: That’s right, man. The first question I have for you, because I grew up in a family of 11 kids and you come from a big family as well. Tell us what that was like growing up with 9 siblings, right?
Michael: Yeah, 9 siblings.
Drew: What was that like growing up and what lessons did you learn from that?
Michael: You learn to be first at dinner.
Drew: *laughing* That is very important.
Michael: It’s really important, man, or you don’t get fed. *laughing* You have to learn to stand up, or at least in our family you did. It was one of those things where the parents both worked, so we had to raise ourselves in a sense. You would assume in a big family that everybody is helping out. But everybody has their own lives, especially in our family they did. So growing up, I had to grow up fast. I had to start working early. I had a paper route at 10 and 11 years old. I started helping with purchasing food for myself because there were 9 kids and I was already an eater. So, yeah, we were all athletes. So right from the get go, just responsibilities. Looking back, I loved it. Growing up that way though, I was completely lost, not knowing I was doing good.
Drew: Was it a farm life for you guys?
Michael: What do you mean?
Drew: Did you guys grow up on a farm?
Michael: Oh, yeah, yeah! A farm, a farm, I thought you said ‘formed life’! Yes, I was created. Krypton was a beautiful place to grow up as a kid, obviously. *laughing*
Drew: That was perfect for you! *laughing*
Michael: We grew up on a …. we had the eggs and the chickens and the guinea fowls and turkey and all that kind of fun stuff. A lot of dogs. It was a great way to grow up, I will tell you that. Looking at how society is today, relative to the time I grew up, man I am so, so glad that I did that. We will get into it later, but I was just talking about mentality and mindset at such a young age, relative to computers and what’s available now. It was great. Growing up we had our jobs to do and we had to do our jobs. If the parents said to be home at 9:00, your home at 9:00 or that door is locked and you are sleeping in the barn. You know, one of those kind of things.
Drew: Wow, very strict.
Michael: You know, as a kid it was very strict. I loved it because playing football in the street, we were doing our thing. We were working from an early age and I loved it. I got to watch, being the youngest, I got to watch all of my older brothers and sisters do great things and do bad things and then learn from that approach. I would go, ‘Ok, I could do this, this and this and stay away from that, that and that.’
Drew: There you go.
Michael: It was a great way to grow up, man.
Drew: Yeah, learn from their mistakes, right? What was life like with your siblings? Did they grow up with the same mentality of discipline that you had? Were they all in to athletics as well?
Michael: Yeah. We were all doing martial arts and the reason I started is, you are going to get your butt kicked by your older brothers, right? But then I was getting my butt kicked by my older sisters! It’s okay to get your butt kicked by your older brothers, but when your older sisters start drop kicking you, you have got to start lifting and stuff! My mom was into marital arts and my dad was a bodybuilder and football player. We all were athletes. We were basically bred to live that kind of lifestyle. I started working out at 8 years old. By 11 I was in a gym and by 13 I competed in my first bodybuilding and powerlifting meet.
Drew: Wow, that is amazing! Were you going up against grown men at 13 or were there other kids in your age group?
Michael: It was 19 and under back then. So, my first show I beat twenty 19 year olds.
Drew: Oh my gosh, at 13!
Michael: Then I competed …. *laughing* yeah, at 13. Then two weeks later I competed in my first powerlifting meet. I know, don’t do a bodybuilding show and then a powerlifting meet!
Drew: *laughing* Yeah!
Michael: I did that and then I won that! I was hooked. I was hooked.
Drew: Wow, that is crazy man! Did you have like your dad as your coach or your mom as your coach for these types of things? Where did your inspiration come from at that young age? Where did the knowledge come from as well?
Michael: The knowledge came from watching. I would watch my older brothers and sisters train. Back then it was …. everything was kind of a dumb question. ‘Don’t ask, that’s a dumb question.’ I kept that approach. I would watch. I would try and I would see if it would work for me. If it didn’t work for me, I would get rid of it. This is at 12 and 13 years old. I was looking at magazines, because I would get the hand me down magazines from my older brothers. So, I am looking at all of these guys in there like Robby Robinson and how he was training. Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger and so I was watching them. I would think, ‘Ok, I am going to do these side laterals and shoulder presses and squats.’ I just watched and paid attention and did it.
Drew: That is awesome and so amazing. How did all of those activities that you did carry over into athletics? For example, you played football, right?
Drew: How did that carry over as a bodybuilder and powerlifter? Did that help out or did football take a backseat to that at some point?
Michael: Everything helped, because of my approach. Even though I was competing at 13 and 14 and 15, I won state at 15 years old in powerlifting against all of the teenagers. I was a monster, but I was going through puberty. But I was eating correctly for a young pubescent kid. That was the main thing. I worry about how young, young kids eat today.
Drew: Tell me about that? What does that mean?
Michael: Well it’s one of those things where when you are a young kid and your body is functioning at 100% and you are growing. I get worried about young kids thinking they need drugs.
Drew: Oh, gotcha.
Michael: It’s like, your body is so growing right now. Nothing in the world right now could make you grow more than what is going on.
Drew: Yeah, that makes sense.
Michael: It’s funny because all of the elite athletes I am around, especially the football players, not the wrestlers that much. The wrestlers always dieted. They always wanted to be smaller. But the football players all ate like me. Peanut butter and jam sandwich every hour to two hours. Either whole milk or chocolate milk at that time. Then I was eating tuna and pasta and whole eggs. Through puberty I put on over 100 pounds. By the time I was 14, I was 176. By the time I was 15 1/2, I was 272.
Drew: Wow! Really? That’s insane!
Michael: Yeah and I also grew from 5’9 to 6’2 at that time, so I just exploded. I was lifting right and I was eating enough calories. I was doing everything correctly at that time. So, I really tapped into that growth spurt. When people look at me and they go, ‘You are a big guy!’ I go, ‘I’ve been like this since I was 15 years old.’
Drew: *laughing* That is so unbelievable!
Michael: I am actually 10 pounds smaller! *laughing*
Drew: That is unbelievable! So, you weigh around 265 or something?
Michael: I am 262 right now. When I was 15 1/2, I was 272. I trimmed off 10 pounds since I was 15.
Drew: *laughing* At that age, did you know where you wanted to take your career? What were you looking forward to at that point in time? Were you thinking you were going to be a bodybuilder or the best in the world or a football player? What was going through your mind at that age as far as where your career or where you thought you were going to go?
Michael: I wanted to be the combination of Bruce Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I wanted to be a walking superhero. I was never impressed by bodybuilders athletically. I was truly impressed by Bruce Lee athletically and his mind approach. So, I wanted to be a combination of both of them, especially because I was competing in tournaments for martial arts. I was wrestling. I was doing football. I was doing track and I was bodybuilding and powerlifting. It was a non-stop circle. I was an American Gladiator before I knew I was an American Gladiator! I was doing everything and I loved it all. I didn’t want to give up anything. I don’t think I realized until I was 17 that I knew exactly …. I mean I knew I wanted to be something of that combination. But I didn’t know, until I was 17, that I wanted to be in California and I wanted to be lifting. I wanted to be like Arnold and doing movies and TV shows.
Drew: That is awesome, man. Can you tell us your journey into American Gladiators? I grew up a huge fan, dude. That was such an awesome show, man. How did that happen?
Michael: *laughing* It was awesome! At 17, I appeared in the magazines for the first time, because I was winning all the teenage shows in bodybuilding. It was shortly after I got my first magazine article that I was like, ‘Ok, this is fun. Magazines!’ I continued to do that from 17 to about 20. Then I met Joe Weider and he goes, ‘I love you. I need you in California. I am going to bring you down and set you up.’ And I was like, ‘This guy has only done that for Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is the coolest thing in the world!’ At that time I was on the covers of magazines, but I was still in Washington. I was a young 20 year old, or 21 at that time. Next thing you know, he got me down to California. I was there about two weeks and I heard about tryouts for the American Gladiators. It was over at the coliseum at USC. They had tryouts and there were over 4000 guys show up.
Michael: We banged heads, man! It started at 4000 guys. It started Friday and Sunday night was the last of the auditions and battles. Everybody was going against each other. It was down to me and one other guy and we banged each other for an hour. At the end of that, they hired us both!
Drew: Really? *laughing* Who was the other one?
Michael: Red, his name was Red. Saber.
Drew: Saber! Yeah!
Michael: Saber. It was awesome, because …. he didn’t tell me this until six months later. We were jousting each other and he stunned me. I was knocked out on my feet and I kept swinging. We got done and they were like, ‘You guys are just great.’ Because we did powerball and all these games. Six months later he goes, ‘I never told you this, but I was knocked out there with you. You hit me in the head and I was gone.’ I was like, ‘Alright! Alright! We got each other!’
Drew: *laughing* That’s awesome, man! That is so cool! I didn’t know they had a competition where you guys had to battle each other. Was it elimination style or was it kind of ….
Drew: Oh, ok. Wow!
Michael: Yep. It was one of the things I loved. It was competition. I loved it. I loved it so much …. I’m jumping forward quite a bit.
Drew: That’s ok.
Michael: Then I got American Gladiators again. They contacted me and said, ‘Hey we want you on American Gladiators again. We would love to have you on there.’ I was like, ‘Nope. I will audition like everybody else and fight everybody else. If I win a spot, then I win a spot.’ Then I went back and beat up everybody and won the title spot as the team captain. So, I was like, “Alright, I earned it!’
Drew: Wow! You did earn it! I love that! Where did that mentality come from? Is that something your parents instilled in you?
Michael: At the end of the day, this is about me and me representing me and what I can do. I don’t want be given a TV show that is athletic based …. and remember at this time I am coming back and I’m going to do this and I’m going against 20 year old’s. At the time it was 2008, so you’ve got to figure that was 30 going onto 40 years old and they call me up. I’ve got to fight 22 year old ex-football players and Olympic athletes and all this. I said, ‘If I earn it, I will get it.’ It was just one of those things. I’ve got to prove to myself I can still do this. That’s why I still weightlift. It’s the reason I lift the way I lift. I’m never going to be the guy that goes, ‘Gosh, I’m good for 40.’ I don’t get that approach. Life doesn’t measure you that way. Either you are good or you are not good. I don’t care what age you are. I mean at 14 I didn’t say, ‘Hey, I’m good for 14. Let me compete against 19 year old’s and if I lose, alright. They are 19.’ It’s just not who I am.
Drew: I love that, man. That is super cool, to be honest with you. What were some of your most memorable moments from American Gladiator? For example, did someone ever get the best of you? *laughing* And if so, did that bother you?
Michael: *laughing* I am the only undefeated American Gladiator.
Drew: Wow! I did not know that.
Michael: Yeah. So, no …. *laughing*
Michael: You know, it wasn’t so much the moments, it was about the experience. The whole experience and going out there and growing up. Because remember, I did American Gladiators. I also did a TV show called Battle Dome for years, where we just got to be violent, which is fun. *laughing* And then we got to do American Gladiators again and my life is about competition and competing. It was about being able to do it and live in the moment and have fun with it and change from the 20 year old who was so nervous. I can’t lose, you know? First of all I am in spandex, that’s kind of weird! *laughing*
Michael: Then, you know, you are on TV and you are selected. There are 6 guys in the world that are American Gladiators, you know? I mean, what an honor. But you can’t lose. I really enjoyed the last time I was on American Gladiators, because of the fact that I went out there and I went, ‘Win, lose or draw, but man, I am out here and I am doing this and this is a battle.’ It’s fun and it felt like I was a Gladiator still in the sense of like early years, where we had to battle every day. It was fun for us Gladiators, we had to fight 6 different kind of guys in one day. While they only had to fight one Gladiator. So, it was nice to have to go against all kinds of …. you know, a 240 pound guy and then a 280 pound guy that’s quick and agle. I’ve been a kid my whole life. People make things and then I break them, so it’s cool.
Drew: Did you see that as a stepping stone in your career at the time? Did that lift your career to a certain status that it maybe wasn’t before? Or in a different way than bodybuilding did?
Michael: Yeah, obviously TV is the ultimate goal. I’ve been lucky. I continuously work and do guest spots and guest appearances. I’ve done movies like Barbarian and Keeper of Time. We are getting ready to do another project, so that’s cool. Anytime you get one thing, it kind of elevates you and it keeps you relevant or changing and creating a new you. Society and the kids of today, kind of look at you and say, ‘Oh, he’s kind of cool. I will follow him.’ Mostly today with social media, you know, kids are the future. Those are the ones who are making those who are influential, even more so.
Drew: Gotcha. If you could go back and tell your 15 year old self some advice that you know now, after all you have experienced, what would you tell yourself?
Michael: When it comes to training, less is more and live in the moment. I know this is something with a lot of people, it’s live in the moment. When you are doing something, to give you an idea, I won the Natural Universe four times. But as soon as I won it the first time, it was one of these things where it was like, what’s next? There was no time to just smile and go, ‘Hey, this just happened! Enjoy this for a second.’ No, it was on to the next and on to the next. Throughout my whole career, I was that way. You miss a lot of moments, those priceless moments. I think that something that has really showed me how to slow down are my dogs. They live in the moment. It was my biggest thing and I still struggle with it today.
Drew: That’s awesome. I remember seeing a funny meme of like a dog owner and his dog and their thoughts are kind of illustrated on a page. The man is thinking about business and work and bills and the past and the future. The dog is just thinking about how awesome it is to be there with their owner just sitting in a beautiful park. *laughing* So, living in the moment for me, I agree with that 100%, man.
Michael: It’s a tough thing, right?
Drew: It is really tough as humans, because ….
Michael: How do you do it?
Drew: How do I do it? Honestly ….
Michael: And do you do it?
Drew: *laughing* I’m not perfect at it. I will be honest with you! Two things that have helped me, one is breathing and meditation. I grew up in a very conservative kind of religious culture, where meditation was looked at as weird. But now that I have discovered it and I’ve practiced it on a consistent basis, being able to be in the moment and breathe. Just to breathe and focus on your breath only, that helps me to be present with my daughter’s. They help keep me grounded and in moments when you are doing something awesome. I think so many celebrities or high level athletes sometimes get caught up in their ego and they don’t enjoy the process anymore or what they are doing. Where they can look at this moment and be like, ‘Man, I’m blessed to be getting paid to do something that is fun and that I love to do.’ Versus, ‘Man, I should be getting this. I should be getting that!’ Living in the past, worrying about the future. I think a lot of humans suffer in that area.
Michael: I agree. I think we could talk for hours just about living in the moment. When you can do that and you can slow down for your family or your significant others, it’s an incredible thing. Just to put the phone down and tune out the world, instead of going, ‘Ah, I’ve got to get this job or that job and bills and all that!’ Just depart from all that. I tell you man, it’s the most peaceful thing. I guess my style of meditation is sitting on the beach with my pup and just slowing down that time.
Drew: That’s awesome. I remember when we first met, we were talking. This is something that stuck with me that I remembered about you. People that do modeling, bodybuilding shows, they train. They cut down and they look great on stage and then they have this sense of accomplishment of like, ‘I did it! I can relax a little bit now.’ So, then they go through these yo-yo’s, these ups and downs of gaining 30 pounds in one day afterwards. Something I remember about you is you are always photoshoot ready. That is something you have always done. Is that right?
Michael: Yeah. I think for you and me, education is one thing. But that experience and staying tuned to what you can do with your own body is something else. Being able to change our body how we want and by nutrients alone is an incredible thing. The one thing I love to do is test myself and stay down and stay lean. Again, it’s a test within myself. I’ve done both. I’ve won California Powerlifting. I took second at the Nationals in powerlifting, so I am strong. I won the Universe in bodybuilding. But where is the combination of both? I would rather be 80 of both, instead of a 100 of one.
Michael: Now what I have found in the last 10 years of my life is, I love turning a switch and doing the impossible. Being the last guy that is still guest posing and traveling the world from the 80’s, from the bodybuilding world. Looking like I do is allowing me to create something new for the kids that are coming up. I am showing them that this is possible. But on top of it, I’m not giving up. I always tell these kids, ‘Don’t be me, be better than me. But I ain’t going to quit! I ain’t gonna make it easy on you!’ But I will still go in there and I will bench 500 on incline or something like that, being a week out from a photo shoot. I just love being able to be a combination of both. I always wanted to be a walking superhero and that is still the goal.
Drew: Yeah, man. That’s really impressive. That actually puts it into perspective. To be the last one from the 80’s that’s still out there doing what you are doing at the level that you are doing it. It really puts it into perspective. So, that’s really interesting. It’s really impressive, because you are 47, right?
Michael: No, wait, 49.
Drew: 49? Wow, ok.
Drew: We will get into that and why that number is so significant, because I want to talk about your birthday tradition at some point.
Michael: Oh yeah! Ok.
Drew: But before that …. *laughing*
Drew: But before we get to that, I want to talk a little bit about nutrients and nutrition and always being photo shoot ready. For example, we talked about ketosis and how that’s one of your tricks to stay photo shoot ready. A lot of guys will cut out carbs to get photo shoot ready, but for you, you can find a way to kind of maintain that all year round. So, you don’t have to go through these huge roller coasters, right? How do you do that nutritionally? People want to know, are you strict keto? Are you keto for you, where you eat a bunch of carbs but you can get away with it because you have more muscle mass? Describe your nutrition philosophy for us.
Michael: Alright. Ok, my belief on nutrition is for everybody it’s different. That’s first and foremost. Again I think that something that I like that people talk about is doing the keto diet. It’’s great because it gets people on a regiment. You are going to see results with that. Now for me, my whole philosophy on training and nutrition is always going back to the core foundation. That means that my body needs to function correctly on how it always has functioned. So, if I am dieting down like the average Joe for a modeling show, they are removing carbs or they are doing low days with a moderate high day. Regardless of how you get ready for that show, some people think, ‘Hey, we are in great shape.’ So the body is functioning at 100 percent? I disagree.
Michael: I disagree. I think as soon as you start eating anything, your body is going to freak out and you are going to blow up like a balloon.
Drew: Yep. Which is what most people do.
Michael: Exactly. People, just average Joe’s, that are dieting down, they are dieting down to a point to where they can’t maintain that because they dieted so extreme and they exercise so extreme. So my foundation, and this goes with everything, as much as I am a psycho in the gym, there will be times that if you pay attention that I am going into the gym maybe three times a week, doing the moderate amount of work. Again, the gym is about doing the least amount of work possible, not the most. The least amount of work possible, but still get better. Or in my case, for a period of time it is to maintain while my body recovers. So everybody is 24/7, I am a savage 24/7. I am a beast. I train hard. It’s like, ‘Alright man, but you are not going to maintain it. You are not going to be able to do CrossFit every single day until you are 70.’ So, where is the foundation work? Where do you drop back? Every pro sport has an off season, where they are not pounding the body as hard as they are during the season. So yes, I will go extreme. But I will come back and I will be moderate. Where I am doing enough work to maintain it until the nutrition is starting to work again. So, right now I am trying to get to an actual number body weight, which means I am going to be taking off muscle and taking off fat and taking off everything. By doing this, I know I am going to be traumatizing my body. So, when I reverse out, I reverse out slowly. I will reverse out bringing in carbs and protein and fats. I will be bringing up the calories about 250 every two weeks. I will continuously do that over a slow period of time. So, you have to think, in one month I’ve only gone up 500 calories from where I was. But, I have also backed off my training somewhat. So, now your body is starting to recover and starting to fix itself. I always listen to the body. If everybody really listens to their body …. and you can understand this. When you hear somebody talk about what they did nutrition wise, ‘My body is not changing, so what I did is I added in cardio and cut back the carbs.’ Wait a minute, hold on. You just did two things! How about just the one thing or just intense the cardio or training a little bit. Then from there, maybe we will take away some carbs, but slowly. Everybody needs or wants that quick reaction. I have always lived this way where I am cool for a delayed gratification. I am ok being ready down here, I don’t need to be ready tomorrow. I need to maintain right now, but it has to move towards something. But my body has to be functioning and I can’t force my body …. and the only reason I think I am still here today is because of the nutrition. But I can’t force my body to get rid of all the fat and muscle within weeks. I know it takes time and I have got to listen to that. So, when it comes to carbs, I play with my carbohydrates. I play with my proteins. I think most people think that I am like one of these guys that takes in 2.2 grams of protein per lean muscle mass. I don’t. I eat about 4 ounces of protein a meal. Because again, I am just trying to retain the muscle and play with the fat. So, I think people get carried away with what the books say. I hate that. I’ve got a nutrition book here and it’s a Harvard Nutrition Book. There is a picture of me with a hypothetical in there, it’s a BMI’s. It’s just, I wish people would take their time and work with an expert, someone who really knows their stuff. Not just reads it and cookie cutters people, but someone who has experimented. You have experimented. You have done every aspect of this. That’s one of my beliefs. I have been in this long enough. I have been dieting for 40 years. I’ve done the wheatgrass diet. I’ve done it all! I understand what works and what doesn’t work for me, as well as what works and what doesn’t work for the millions of fans that I work with around the world. But, what seems to work is getting the body to function correctly again and then moving forward. I know that’s kind of confusing to the listeners. What does that mean to get your body to function again? It means calorie intake, healthy calories that your body utilizes and works with. For example, everybody thinks that I am a genetic freak. If you know my girl, Mona Marrison, Ms. Universe. She was a former editor at Muscle and Fitness. She is a genetic freak. The reason why I say that is because I train and I’ve been training for 40 years. I have dieted for 40 years. If you ask me how many meals I’ve missed in 40 years, I would tell you easily not one. I just don’t miss meals. It’s like breathing for me. I started at a young age and it just stayed with me. Now Mona on the other hand, she walks around and she is jacked. She is crazy. She is 5’9 and 145 pounds and she is ripped and ready for a shoot any day. This girl, when we get meals at restaurants, they come out and they hand her the chicken and salad. Then they hand me the big double burger with fries. Then I am like, ‘Oh yeah, I wish.’ Then we switch! *laughing*
Michael: So, this girl also doesn’t do cardio. So her metabolism is always working at a 100 percent, because she is functioning off the way she is programmed. Meaning that she has worked up to a level where her body functions with 250 grams of carbohydrates. She can take in another 200 grams of protein and a good amount of fat and maintain that physique. I love to experiment. I love to go up and down. But I tell everybody, if you are trying to be like somebody, we want to get to that level. We want to get to some of my football players that eat donuts all day long and they have abs. Because their body is functioning at a 100 percent. I don’t think that most people, and you know this, they don’t function at 100 percent. They don’t eat all day then they have a big dinner. Or they have that huge lunch and then breakfast is coffee and a fat burner. I don’t know? They don’t realize they are destroying their body over years. Then they go, ‘Ok now in two months, I want it fixed.’ Hold on, we’ve got some work to do!
Drew: Yeah. I love what you said. I think it’s having the life long game in mind. A lot of people want the instant gratification versus you. You are methodical. You’ve got that long game in mind and realize this might take a year to get to exactly where I want. But if I just tweak it a bit at a time, instead of traumatizing my body. Shock it and deprive it and then binge for the next three month, because it is too hard. Then you try it again because you want to look good. I think most Americans are stuck in that phase. It’s hard, because then they think, ‘Ok, well what does Michael O’Hearn eat. What does Drew Manning eat? I am going to eat how they eat and then I will look like them.’ We wish it was that easy.
Michael: And they do that.
Drew: They do. *laughing* They are like, ‘Oh, Michael O’Hearn eats that? I’m going to eat that too. I want to look like that.’
Michael: Right. So, I was recently getting done with stuff and forcing myself to speed up. I add something at night …. and also a great amount of sleep. And what also gets me up in the morning ready for a great workout is, I will do fruit at bedtime. Now I am a big guy. I’m usually walking around about 270 pounds or 280. Even though I look like a model, I am 280. So, I’m taking in a good 3 pounds of fruit at night. So, all the kids are watching that going, ‘Oh is that the trick?’ Wait a minute guys!! Did you not hear anything I said within the last year? You are just seeing this! So, yeah. They just watch us and then they do it!
Drew: That is the thing. My whole goal is to get people …. empower them to become their own self experimentation. Experiment on your body to find out what works the best for you, right? Just like between you and Mona, what you are saying is that works for her, but it’s not going to work for the average person that’s trying to lose weight, right? So, find what works best for you. I think you are a great example of that, Mike and I really do appreciate that. So, I recently saw on social media that you did a 72 hour fast. Most guys your size would freak out about that. You know, thinking they are going to lose their muscle mass. Tell us when and why you started to get into fasting, extended fasting.
Michael: Alright. Let’s let them understand this first. Do you know what memory muscle is?
Michael: Muscle memory or memory muscles?
Drew: Same thing?
Drew: ok, gotcha. *laughing*
Michael: So, it’s a beautiful thing, correct?
Michael: And we will explain this to the listeners. It’s muscle that you have and then you just burn it off. You burn it off by dieting or overtraining and stuff. How fast does that come back?
Drew: If you have it, if you have muscle memory, I would say faster than someone who doesn’t have it.
Michael: Yeah, so when people freak out, which the majority of people see that and go, ‘Wait a minute. Is this the way to get buff?’ First of all the whole idea of getting buff and fasting at 72 hours, I don’t know how they come up with that!
Drew: *laughing* Right, ok.
Michael: But the reason is, I could take off and drop down to 240 pounds and then just like we talked about, I can get right back up to 272 or 280. I can put that all right back on. That’s not a problem. But I have experimented. I love that you said that word ‘experiment’. The reason why I do the 72 hour fast is a little different than you are going to think. I’m trying to see how physically strong I can be and also completely change the body after 72 hours. So, I do train through it. I do cardio through it. I train and I don’t change anything, because then I am not testing myself. I want to test myself. So, I continue the same thing I was doing, but I just go without food and just water for that 72 hours. I still lift. I still compete against guys when we train.
Michael: But again, it’s mental. I just love the idea of going 72 hours of no belts, no wraps, no food. These guys are 22 years old and getting ready to go into pro football and I’m beating them without food.
Michael: And I love that just because I go, ‘Man, if I start eating again, you guys, I am going to crush you!’ That’s why I do it. Then the second part is when I diet down or get ready for something, I did bodybuilding shows. I won those shows. And it looked like, ‘Hey Michael O’Hearn is in shape. Here is Michael O’Hearn powerlifting. Here is Michael O’Hearn doing a romance book. Here is Mike O’Hearn on Gladiators.’ It’s still Mike O’Hearn, but I have noticed the last two years that by fasting, I will get messages from Jay Cutler. I will get messages from other people that Jay writes to and goes, ‘What did he do?’ Now it’s not Mike O’Hearn, now it’s a completely different person looking completely different. It’s just because it gets rid of that much more fat inside and everything. It changes the shape of the body. It just takes you to a level that you can’t get to. Now, I’m not recommending to do it like I do it. I’m an extremist. But I love the idea that I can change my body so much that it’s a completely different body. Listen, I did this and again, this is going to be a mental thing. I purposely fasted and dieted through Christmas and New Years. As everybody else in the world is eating and going crazy, I said and I put this online …. I said, ‘Listen, on New Year’s morning, I am going to be waking up the best I have ever been in my entire life. I am going to look better than when I won the Universe. And I am going to look different. I will be able to crush the younger me that won the Universe on New Years.’ And I did it and it was one of those things that was like a 3 day fast with one meal and then another 3 day fast.
Michael: I mean with one day of eating and then back into a 3 day fast. Yeah, 3 on and then ….
Drew: 3 on and one off and then 3 on? *laughing*
Michael: Yeah. *laughing*
Drew: And how was it?
Michael: It was fun for me. It was tough. Oh man, it was tough. But I did it and the result was I’ve never looked like that in my life. Even when I won the Universe the 4th time. It was cool. It was also cool that I was going against the norm. I was going against the entire world in a sense, because everybody is eating on Christmas and New Years. I loved being the outcast, like the one guy who is doing it and the extremist on the other side. Then on New Years everybody wakes up and I am sitting there going. ‘ I told you, you should have joined me. I am ready!’ *laughing* It was just one of those things. I find those kind of things. I find something that means more to me than a trophy now. I test myself and test my body.
Drew: That is amazing, man. I’m a huge fan of extended fasting. I do it for health purposes. There is a lot of anti-aging and longevity, better digestion. I feel like it’s the best cleanse I have ever done versus stuff that you take that makes you go to the bathroom. This is a totally different type of cleanse for your body. I love that you are going against the norm. Because most bodybuilders or guys your size would be like, ”Dude, you are crazy! Now you have to start all over.’ But you are maintaining or even way above other people when you are fasting and you are still working out at the level you are. I haven’t tried that yet. That might be my next test is to work out. But being safe about it, of course and not going crazy.
Michael: Everything we are talking about. Everything I am doing, I have done over time. Be safe about it and have a good support group. It’s not an easy thing. Mostly coming off that 7 days, it was tough. But it was so worth it mentally, just to know what I could do mentally. That fight ….
Drew: Ok, we are running …. oh, go ahead.
Michael: We are running late? *laughing*
Drew: No, I am good on time. I just want to be respectful of you.
Michael: Oh man, let’s keep going because I did want to say something. Something I said earlier to your listeners. When I was a young kid, I watched, I learned and I applied. I learned that from Bruce Lee. Take what is useful. Discard what doesn’t work for you. Then add what is uniquely your own. I believe in that. I know that people want to keep asking questions and they keep asking and they keep asking. The problem is a year later, they have got a hundred different reasons and this that and the other thing. Experiment and experiment on yourself. I say that to everybody. Mostly it’s social media, with social media everyone is an expert. So it’s even getting worse out there instead of better, which is disappointing. If you stay with one person and try things, listen to your body and keep the long game in focus. If you are going to the gym twice a day and you are barely losing weight, you are going to assume you have to go to the gym 3 times a day. No, there is something going on there. We have got to figure it out because you can’t maintain that. Everything that I say and I do, I can maintain. As hard and as extreme as I sound, I can maintain what I am doing. I eat correctly. I make sure the body is functioning correctly, regardless of how hard I diet. I get it back working at a hundred percent. Now, not to Mona’s level, but back to a hundred percent for me. *laughing*
Drew: Yeah. *laughing*
Michael: Then the training is smart and hard enough to where I can continue to get better, but not crazy.
Michael: So, that’s just for everybody that is listening.
Drew: Thank you. I promised I would ask you about this. This is something that is so impressive to me. You started when you were 17, maybe it was when you were 15. You squatted on your birthday 315 pounds for reps for the number of years you were. So, tell us how that story came about and how you have kept that up over the years.
Michael: I saw a picture of Hercules when I was a kid. This is where people are going to get confused, because they think I do birthday squats with 315 for my age. I started when I was 17 and I did 17 reps at 315 and then I did it every year after that. On my birthday every year, I would go to the gym and I would squat 18 and then 19. Now most people go, ‘Wow, that’s cool. That’s pretty hard.’ But see the one thing I understood was …. at 21 my training partner was Tom Platz and I did 54 reps with 315. So, people think that me doing 47 or 48 is cool for the age. It wasn’t about the age. It was about doing something at a young age that is moderate and to do it every year, not train for it. That’s one of the things some of my football players started training for. I want you to be able to …. your workouts should be able to translate to what you want. So, I can explode and I can still do Gladiators. We are coming back by the way, American Gladiators. *laughing*
Drew: Yeah! *laughing*
Michael: But, that being said, I saw Hercules and he was a young child and he had a calf on his shoulders. Then there were photos of him as he grew as a man. By the time he had become a huge man, a monster, he had the bull on his shoulders and they both kept growing together. That’s where the concept of the birthday squats came from. So, regardless of my age and regardless of 315 and it’s going to get harder as I get older. I’m going to have to continue to do more reps. But the point is to push myself and to know that my body is used to that and to continue that blunt force trauma of being able to do that old man strength. So, when I am 50 this year, I will be doing it for 50 reps.
Drew: Wow. What is your goal with that? Do you see yourself doing this until 70 or 80? I mean, realistically I don’t know where you are at.
Michael: Well, realistically we have to assume that I am 49. I’m still guest posing and doing shoots and crushing 20 year old’s. So, I am going to go out and put my boots on. This is the way I live and how I love.
Michael: I was talking about something this morning. We have a big crew, it’s the Titan crew and it’s worldwide. But we have people that always come in and train with me. Then we get guys that life happens and they miss workouts. I mean you can miss a workout. You are a good looking guy and you have got a good build. 260 or 270, these guys are and they take time off. I don’t. I don’t and I never did, even though I competed. It didn’t matter in a sense. I compete because that is something I could do with what I am doing. That’s my meditation, the battle, the mental battle. I don’t know …. I train at 4 in the morning. I always have since I was a kid. I would do my paper route and then I would work out and then I would go to school.
Michael: I stayed to that, but I came up with the concept of is there a time in the day that I can train that nothing in life will get in my way and I will never miss a workout. It’s four in the morning. I’ve never missed a workout and I don’t miss meals. It’s just one of those things that I love and I love the mental battle. I just love to test myself every day, because after I test myself mentally, which is physically in the gym with how far I can push myself, then the rest of the day is easy. No matter what happens. The side effects of doing this is healthy.
Drew: Yeah. I love that man. That’s a great mentality. It’s super inspiring, Mike. It really is.
Michael: Thanks, man.
Drew: It’s very motivational, not just for me, but for everyone listening to this to really see someone like you that lives and walks their walk. You know what I’m saying? You put your money where your mouth is. You actually do it and I think it’s rare in our society to see someone that just shows up every day and is consistent. I think that is very inspiring and motivational.
Michael: Thank you.
Drew: I respect you, Mike. I appreciate everything you do. Since you are ok with going a little bit longer, I had another question. What does your recovery look like? You work hard. Do you recover hard? What are some of your techniques or hacks that you use to recover since you are training so much?
Michael: Recovery is key. You can only train as well as you recover. That is the one thing I would have told my younger self about this. I love that these kids are so aggressive. With social media, everybody is a savage every day. But the one things is, and you probably know this with everybody you have worked with and talked to, if you back people off of their training, do they get better? I have noticed they have.
Drew: Yeah. Yeah as so far as recovery, yep, I know what you are saying.
Michael: Everybody I work with, the first thing I do is we line out a nice nutrition and something healthy for them. Not something that is like because they are 6’1 and 180 pounds, so it needs to be 3000 calories. I go off of where they are. ‘I was eating one meal a day.’ Well, ok that’s what we are going to work with. So, what we will do is we will eat three small meals a day, because if we go way up here, it’s too much. So, we get the nutrition going. We get their body going. Then I say ‘Now you are going into the gym?’ ‘Yeah, I am an animal! Weight lifting is easy. I can do that!’ So, I say, ‘Ok, I get that. Go to 70%. Leave the gym with a little bit in your tank, like you could have done more.’ Now, look at how fast their body starts to recover and they lose that water and that overtraining look and the fatigue. So, for me it’s, I train at 4 in the morning. After I get done with training, I will get my meal in. I will get an hour nap in after that. That helps with the recovery and then I get a good 7 hours of sleep at night. Besides that, it’s just constantly making sure that the nutrition is on point and I am feeling recovered. Then it’s just a stress free life, you know? *laughing*
Drew: Yeah. *laughing*
Michael: It really comes down to that and I am more stress free at this stage in my life than I have ever been. The trick of the trade is to make sure the nutrition is on point. I can change somebody with nutrition alone without working out. I can change nobody that works out with bad nutrition. You can’t do it. On top of that, I believe you are actually damaging your body. You are actually getting up and you are going in and tearing down fibers and muscles in your body. Then you go and you don’t feed it and nourish it with nutrients and you don’t recover and then you go back and you do it again. One thing that I did with two guys that were the exact same. Within two months, they both needed to be ready for something. They were best friends. They were both 6’2. They were both 250. One guy was running 3 miles a day to 6 miles a day and eating 3 meals of chicken and vegetables. The other guy was having wine and pasta, a good Italian guy. He wasn’t working out at all. They come to me and they go, ‘How fast can you get us into shape?’ I said with the one guy, the Italian guy that was eating pasta and not working out, I said, ‘I can get you in shape in no time.’ For the guy that was running, I said, ‘This is going to take us some time.” He was like, ‘What?’ I think this is society. Society thinks the guy that was running and the guy that was eating chicken and vegetables, should be able to get into shape fast. Incorrect. The one guy’s body was used to eating carbohydrates and not even working. The other guy was traumatizing his body by running and bad nutrition. Now his body has plateaued at a place where he can’t eat more than a 1000 and he has to stay with 6 miles a day. So, look at the contrast. I think society is that way. Society thinks, and again I go back to this, there is a right way to eat and a healthy way to eat and those are still different. Those are still different and people still need to learn that. You are doing a good job teaching them, just a heads up!
Drew: *laughing* I am doing my best. Thank you, man. I really appreciate that man.
Michael: Yeah. I love it man. Thanks for taking time today.
Drew: Yeah, man. Thank you. I really appreciate you coming on. I’ve been meaning to have you on for quite awhile. We have run into each other at a few shows. I appreciate you being persistent with me like, ‘Drew, man. You told me you were going to get me on! When are we going to make it happen?!’ *laughing*
Michael: I didn’t mind being the second best looking guy on this podcast today. *laughing*
Drew: You are awesome, man! *laughing* I would love to come out there at some point and train with you. I think that would be very fun and I will join you on your next 72 hour fast. I know you just did one, but I will join you on the next one. I promise.
Michael: You were up with Bedros a couple of weeks ago, right?
Drew: Yeah. I was with Bedros. A good guy. *laughing*
Michael: I love him. Love that man! So, yes, just so all of your listeners are hearing this. You are going to come up and you are going to train with me.
Drew: Ok, and we will video it for everybody to watch.
Drew: It will be funny to watch. *laughing* Ok, Mike. I appreciate you coming on. Really quick, where can people find you? What is your website or social media you want to send people to?
Michael: Everything is Mike O’Hearn. Instagram, Facebook, email, all of it, including the website.
Drew: The last question, out of your nine siblings, are you the strongest out of them? Can you beat up all of your older brothers now?
Michael: Now I can. But I tell you, my sister won Ms. Seattle. My other sister won the powerlifting in Seattle. My brothers both won Mr. Washington in powerlifting. They were savages, which I am grateful to have. It was one of those things growing up with savages like that, I had to take them all down sooner or later! *laughing*
Drew: Wow! I love it! The baby of the family taking over. I bet nobody messed with the O’Hearn family growing up. *laughing*
Michael: No, no they didn’t! *laughing* You walked on the other block.
Drew: Exactly! That’s awesome. Mike, I really appreciate you coming on. Thank you so much for everything you do. I really appreciate all you do for a lot of people. Keep up the good work.
Michael: Thank you.
Hey everyone, thank you so much for listening to this episode on the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast. I really, really appreciate all the support you have shown me throughout all the years. If you love the Podcast, then please go subscribe to the Podcast on ITunes and also if you love the Podcast, please leave us a review. It definitely helps out with rankings, which means more people listening to this Podcast when they see it. Feel free to reach out to me on social media @Fit2Fat2Fit or at Fit2Fat2Fit.com, with suggestions or comments or concerns. Anything that you guys think that I could do to make this Podcast better for you, I definitely want to bring the highest quality content to you, the most value because I know you are investing 30-50 minutes per day when you listen to the Podcast. I really appreciate all the support and like I said, go follow me @Fit2Fat2Fit on social media, if you want to reach out to me with comments, questions or concerns. Thank you guys so much and we will see you back here next week on the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast.
- American Gladiators
- Muscle and Fitness Magazine
- The Barbarian Movie 2011
- The Keeper of Time Movie