Phillip Jerrod Heath was born on December 18, 1979 in Seattle. As a child, he was very fond of playing sports, in particular basketball. In 1998, Phil entered the University of Denver, where he was admitted to the men’s basketball team as a shooter (thrower), in view of his small growth. Heath proved to be a very promising and valuable player and soon became indispensable in the team.
Play in a real basketball league – it was a dream of all the guys in the area where Phil lived. And he did not want to miss his chance. This made him train with special zeal and zeal. He always stayed in the gym after training and for a long time threw the ball into the ring, honing his skill and developing his muscles to somehow compensate for the lack of growth. A year later, the team of Phil was the winner of the first student division and he was awarded a personal sports scholarship.
With the end of the university in 2002, ended the career of Heath as a basketball player. However, this sport gave him a lot and above all: the iron persistence in the desire to achieve a goal, endurance and discipline. Last Phil notes especially, since without self-control and the ability to follow the instructions of the coach clearly it is impossible to succeed in any sport.
The first time after graduation, Phil tried to continue playing basketball. So he came to one of the sports gyms in Denver, where he soon remained to train, but already as a beginner bodybuilder. Such a decision he did not immediately take: he critically assessed his chances to become a professional player and realized that at the age of 23 with his short growth he will not easily get into any worthwhile team. However, by that time, he already had a superb, inflated body that had developed after years of training. Phil understood this and decided to invest all his forces and resources in bodybuilding. He asked for help from specialists who made up a training program for him and explained the principles of proper sports nutrition. As Heath confessed several years later, the last one was the hardest for him: as a player he ate 3 times a day a little, now he had to do it 6 or even 7 times.
Phil Heath began preparing for his first ever bodybuilding tournament – the Northern Colorado Championship 2003. Life taught Heath to any business seriously and bodybuilding was no exception. Phil firmly decided, by all means to become an outstanding bodybuilder. And the first thing that was to be done on this path was to win the tournament in Colorado. He bought himself a camera and every week he shot himself from different angles. So he could see which muscles lag behind in development, what additional load is needed and how it progresses.
The 2003 Northern Colorado Championship not only brought Phil the first victory as a bodybuilder, but also brought him down with a rising bodybuilding superstar, professional bodybuilder Jay Cutler, who was invited to the tournament with a guest appearance. Jay was surprised by the success of the newcomer and decided after a speech to talk with him personally. So Phil Heath met his future friend and mentor.
The following year, Heath will become a Mr. Colorado, and a year later Junior Nationals 2005 and the US Championship win in the heavyweight category and then became a professional.
For three years of performances Heath has not suffered a single defeat. He grew to the status of a professional as quickly as no one had done before him. The whole sports world begins to talk about the successes of the 25-year-old athlete. In the world of professional bodybuilding, many bodybuilders have nicknames received for any merit and Phil Heath was immediately given one – “The Gift”, which clearly indicated the exclusivity of his personality.
Professional sports – this is a completely different level and for Heath would have to be difficult, if not for the help of his friend, by the time “no five minutes” the new Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler. A few months before the start of Olympia 2006, Jay undertook to train Heath. Only then did Phil realize how far he was from the ideal bodybuilder. In an interview in 2006 on the question of how he liked the first joint training session with Jay, Phil replied: “I thought I was in shape today, but he just kicked my ass!”. Cutler literally exhausted Heath in training, often overloaded and did not let him rest. In addition, Heath could not even get close to the weights Jay worked with. However, Phil absorbed everything like a sponge and tried not to miss one word of Cutler.
In his treatment of Heath, Cutler had someone to equal: some time ago, Jay coached his mentor, and now his main rival Ronnie Coleman, who later had to give the palm to his pupil at Olympia 2006. Now Cutler saw in the young “Gift” a new self and wanted to raise him according to the same pattern that once passed himself.
In one room, another fast-progressing bodybuilder trained with them, who soon became a good friend of Phil – Kai Greene. He also became an involuntary listener of Cutler’s “lectures” in the gym and soon became friends with him.
Meanwhile, Phil Heath progressed significantly and in 2008 took part in his first Olympia, where he immediately took the third line, losing “silver” to his teacher. But Cutler clearly felt that his student was “stepping on his heels,” but on the tricky questions of journalists about Heath always answered that he was very happy with the successes of his friend and ward. In 2009, Phil did not quite successfully performed at this tournament, taking only the 5th place. The fourth was Kai Greene, and the first was Jay Cutler. The failure of Heath was largely due to a shoulder injury he received during training. He recovered for a long time and did not manage to get the right shape.
2010 brought for Heath 2nd place at the prestigious tournament of the Weider brothers. His main rival was all the same Cutler, to defeat which meant everything for Heath. In the same year he said in his interview: “After 20 years, I will tell my children that I was trained by such a master as Jay Cutler, a real Mr. Olympia … but by that time at least one statue of Sandova, but I still put in his pocket!”.
Jay was already 38, while Phil Heath barely turned 31. In the same situation, he himself was not so long ago, first defeating Ronnie Coleman at Olympia. Before the tournament in 2011, Cutler has repeatedly said that history can repeat itself, but he will never give up, and in particular not this year. However, thanks to the excellent preparation of Phil Heath, he became the new Mr. Olympia, displacing his comrade Jay Cutler to the second place. Third place was received, persistently following Heath and Jay, Kai Greene.
For 5 years of professional bodybuilding career, Phil Heath did not fall below the 5th line in any of the tournaments, including Olympia and, finally, got the long-awaited title, which fully confirmed his nickname “the Gift”.