On June 10, 2022, the second episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, an interview series with bodybuilder Mike O’Hearn by Generation Iron, aired on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel. Moderator Vlad Yudin inquired if O’Hearn ever struggled with fat loss — O’Hearn remains notoriously lean year-round — the conflation of beauty standards and health standards, and how to use cardio as a tool for getting in shape.
Check out part one of the interview below:
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The opening question posed to O’Hearn is if he ever encountered issues staying lean. O’Hearn’s body fat percentage remains low even while not prepping for competition, but it’s never been an issue for him to keep fat off his muscular frame.
O’Hearn has followed a bodybuilding lifestyle since he was nine, began competing in his early teens, and was working in the health and fitness industry by 17 years of age. That longevity and consistency in the business translate to how O’Hearn diets and what he preaches to others — consistency is the ticket to success:
Whatever diet you like, if you’re consistent over a long period of time, we can get you in shape.
O’Hearn suggests that motivation to become consistent with diet has to come from within. Outside forces can apply some pressures to motivate someone, but it’s not until “a person is completely fed up with how they are and disgusted with themselves — then they go, ‘I need to change.'”
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Yudin and O’Hearn steer the conversation toward body image and perception of beauty. Yudin suggests that if someone who could be classified as obese is content with their body and embraces it, that is important. He contends that practicing “self-love” is a different take on the situation, but it’s a notion O’Hearn doesn’t connect with: “I don’t know what that totally means.”
O’Hearn digs a bit deeper to clarify that it’s not only body fat that matters in these kinds of scenarios. He uses an example of a hypothetical short bodybuilder with a densely muscled frame and low body fat percentage who has high blood pressure and joint pain. In O’Hearn’s view, that bodybuilder is unhealthy the same way an obese person who’s okay with their weight could have high blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
There’s a point where someone who is objectively unhealthy by specific medical standards should make lifestyle changes to improve those issues.
I’m about life. I know too many people who died too young that were a positive influence on people.
O’Hearn delineates between beauty standards and health standards. They are not the same and it’s the latter that matters for longevity.
You may not find me attractive — I’m a 300-pound guy. But I’m healthy. The joints, body, [and] heart are healthy.
Regardless of how someone looks, what matters is if they are actually healthy — looks can be deceiving.
I just don’t want somebody else to go, ‘I’m 350 pounds and I look great,’ — okay, but are you healthy?
O’Hearn advocates for preventative care as a way to stay healthy over the long term since it offers the knowledge required to make accurate lifestyle changes for specific goals.
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With the continued discussion about blood pressure, heart disease, and getting preventative tests to be aware of heart health, O’Hearn and Yudin pivot to discussing cardio and what it should be used for. O’Hearn suggests a common notion in the health and fitness community that the heart is “fragile,” but he believes the opposite.
The heart is…powerful. If you treat it right, it doesn’t take alot to keep it healthy — eat healthy meals…[be] active a couple times a week…it’s an amazing thing.
O’Hearn limits his cardio in the gym to when he needs a ripped look for a movie or project. For him, cardio is strictly a means for fat loss, and he does it post-workout.
Cardio for fat loss — use it as an additional tool.
Even though O’Hearn will incorporate cardio when he needs to “slice up,” he does not alter his main workouts consisting of resistance training. He recommends spending your energy on your workout and then performing cardio later in the day. O’Hearn’s cardio sessions consist of moderately paced walking on the treadmill at a 15 incline to sustain a heart rate of 135 beats per minute.
Episode three of Generation Iron‘s interview with O’Hearn is scheduled to release on June 17, 2022.
Featured image: @mikeohearn on Instagram