Phil Heath, Frank Sepe, and Mike O’Hearn Talk Motivation, Routines, and the Generational Divide In The Fitness Community

Frank Sepe and Phil Heath join O'Hearn to chat modern bodybuilding mindset.

Episode 30 of The Mike O’Hearn Show was published on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Jan. 27, 2023. It featured seven-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath returning to the show alongside trainer and fitness model Frank Sepe. They joined the show’s namesake to discuss their views on the disparity between the mindsets of modern bodybuilders and fitness influencers compared to those of an earlier fitness generation that came up without social media.

The majority of this generation that I’ve seen are self-entitled and delusional.

Check out the entire discussion below as the trio delves further into the differences they see in the modern fitness world versus the one they grew up with:

[Related: Chris Bumstead Shares His First Leg Day Post 2022 Olympia; Updates on His Injured Biceps]

Motivation Across Generations

Heath opened the conversation with an ongoing theme of the show: longevity and adaptations over time. He remarked that most Mr. Olympia champions have two types of physiques: the carved-up, aesthetic mass monsters they appear as on show day and the bulkier off-season builds of a more nourished physique undergoing improvements.
When he compares the past handful of Mr. Olympia champions, from Ronnie Coleman to himself to the champion Hadi Choopan, he notices very different physiques. The evolution of the physiques being awarded at the elite level requires mental toughness.

Reduce all the emotions and just stick to the game plan.

O’Hearn took Heath’s notion a step further, suggesting that what separates the best of the best in bodybuilding is not the physique but the mindset. Once Sepe joined the call, Heath voiced what he sees in the fitness community: the younger athletes being “soft,” meaning “more entitled,” which translates into a noticeable “lack of respect.”

They don’t really know the difficulties of what it was to be a pro back in the day. They don’t know the history.

Heath gives a frame for what he means by “back in the day” when he said that he was part of the last generation that would grace the cover of magazines as the world is more digital now. For context, Heath is 42 and suggested that social media has crept so much in the bodybuilding space, once heralded primarily by magazines, that anyone with a good physique and photoshop can build an audience as an influencer.
O’Hearn brought forth the notion that the lack of in-person competition might be the cause of the discrepancy. He felt when he competed live against other athletes; it generated mutual respect for the work put in. Sepe tagged in to say that before social media, a bodybuilder wouldn’t know what the other competitors looked like until they were backstage on show day. Nowadays, any competition is routinely posting their physique updates on social media.
The conversation took a turn when the three athletes recognized their positions as ambassadors in the community who have achieved a level of success that younger generations aspire to emulate. Sepe remarked how he seeks to pay forward valuable advice he can offer to others regardless of their level. He mentioned how he’s seen Heath do just that in the gym.

Finding Motivation

O’Hearn steered the conversation toward what motivates the two industry goliaths on the call with him. Heath recommended establishing a routine if you don’t already have one. He wakes up every morning, prays, thinks of what he’s grateful for, and listens to inspirational music to instill positivity to start the day.

Professionals have a routine.

After he showers and has his morning protein shake, Heath reads approximately 20 to 30 pages of a book that applies to his current struggles. O’Hearn and Sepe echoed the sentiment of taking time for yourself first thing in the morning. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Sepe would listen to audiobooks while finding trails outside or parks to train at.

The conversation concluded with an outro by O’Hearn reiterating the necessity of remaining a student of the game regardless of your status, success, or age. Be sure to watch the entire interview with Heath and Sepe to hear the additional details and insight they shared.
Featured image: @frank_sepe on Instagram