The Mike O’Hearn Show: 8-Time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney Explains the Value of Prioritizing Health Early In Bodybuilding

The eight-time Mr. Olympia champion believes health is more important than any financial gain.

For the 13th episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show featured on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel, the show’s namesake spoke with legendary bodybuilder Lee Haney. Haney is tied with Ronnie Coleman for the most Mr. Olympia titles all-time, with eight (1984-91). 

In the interview, Haney shares his belief that the younger generations are not as well educated about fitness and nutrition and are less healthy as a result. According to the County Health Rankings Data, as of 2022, all 50 states in the US saw increases in their respective population’s obesity percentages since 2012. Check out the full interview below:

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Haney opened the conversation about how being present and giving full attention to someone who can offer valuable information is fundamental to learning and a matter of respect. That is how Haney acquired much of the knowledge he leveraged as a young bodybuilder entering the competitive scene into one of the two most successful bodybuilding careers in history.

That conscious attention also improved Haney’s keen sense of observation, which allowed him to discern what would be most valuable for him to incorporate into his training regimen and, ultimately, how to be a better parent.

Watch, listen, and pray…bringing up your kids and the way that they should go.

O’Hearn transitioned to conversation to a recurring theme of the show: longevity. Haney believes that poor diets contribute to people in younger generations dying sooner. He feels the investment in one’s health is more significant than any financial gain one might garner by sacrificing their health. The money earned will be lost trying to repair the health damages incurred by those sacrifices.

America has a sick society of young people. Your health is your wealth.

Furthering that point, Haney suggests it is similar concerning training. Risking joint health to lift heavy is not necessarily a better option for bodybuilding than training with lower weights in higher rep ranges, assuming that the muscular stimulation is equal.

Train to stimulate, not annihilate.

Tempo training proved effective for Haney’s chest development. Rather than increasing the weight to the point that it could cause potential injury, Haney would alter the pace of his lifts’ concentric and eccentric portions to heighten the stimulation of the target muscle group. His competitive accolades prove that his methodology was fruitful.


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A post shared by Lee “Hercules” Haney (@lee_haney_official)

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O’Hearn teased a future episode of the show with Haney, wherein they will focus on a more specific discussion about Haney’s training and diet regimen during his bodybuilding preps. O’Hearn wrapped up the episode by expressing how the discipline and mindset of consistent training and diet translate to other aspects of life outside of the gym and off the competition stage.

Featured image: @lee_haney_official on Instagram