Is Phil Heath on Steroids or Natural? (Revealed)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 10, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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Some critics believe that Phil Heath did not achieve his current massive and symmetrical physique simply through diet, cardio exercise, and weight training.

In my years-long experience as a fitness trainer, one thing I've learned firsthand is that the body has its natural limits.

So, I spent a few weeks investigating whether the professional bodybuilder, Phil Heath, uses steroids to achieve his body transformation.

In this article, you will learn Phil Heath's workout routine and diet and why I think he might not have achieved his current physique without the use of steroids.

Is Phil Heath Using Steroids?

Phil Heath may be using PEDs because his body has continued to develop enormously after years of having a well-defined physique.


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A post shared by Phil Heath (@philheath)

Research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that beginner lifters experience rapid gains in muscle mass during the first six to twelve months of lifting [1].

Then, after about a year, they'll start to see those rapid gains slow down.

Based on insights from the Bodybuilding journal, some experts agree that previously ripped weightlifters are fortunate to add 0.25 to 0.5 percent of fat-free muscle to their total body weight each month, making claims of ten pounds of muscle gain per month unrealistic [2].

My research into Phil Heath's career revealed that he had already built and shaped his physique at 23. He grew more symmetrically and massively even after more than ten years as a professional bodybuilder, which may be difficult to achieve naturally.

Signs That Led People To Believe Phil Uses Steroids

Phil Heath's physique has shown signs of PED use, such as rapid bulking, large upper body muscles, and hair loss, leading many to believe he uses bulking steroids for muscle growth.

1. Extreme Vascularity

Phil doesn't have highly protruding veins in his upper body, but that doesn't confirm he is not using any enhancing drugs.

As indicated by my tests with various athletes, extreme vascularity is often seen in those using PEDs. However, through my practical knowledge, I know it can also be a genetic trait, independent of drug use.

It is possible for bodybuilders like Phil Heath to gain massive muscle mass, or even take PEDs, and still not develop highly visible vascularity.

2. Large Breast Tissue

shirtless man

Phil's recent uploads on his social media accounts highlighted a massive, round, and lean body similar to those of Jay Cutler and Dexter Jackson.

A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed that prolonged usage of anabolic steroids such as exogenous testosterone derivatives might be responsible for muscle hypertrophy and breast soft tissue enlargement or gynecomastia in men [3].

Though Phil displayed big upper body muscles, he didn't exhibit any signs of gynecomastia.

3. Fast Bulking Process

Phil Heath began competing in amateur bodybuilding competitions in 2002 and has since taken rigorous bodybuilding training.

My research revealed that It only took him three years to get an IFBB pro card to turn pro in 2005.

Furthermore, Phil grew enormous muscles under the tutelage of former Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler.

I also discovered that between 2002 and 2005, he increased his body weight by 30 pounds, while maintaining a body fat percentage of only 6 percent. He further increased his mass during the Mr. Olympia days, amassing 50 pounds more compared to his previous weight, suggesting possible PED use.

4. Skin Conditions

man pointing at his acne

According to research, the use of anabolic steroids can cause severe acne, or what others call “steroid acne.”

According to insights from DermNet, the condition is caused by an increase in corticosteroid levels in the blood and usually appears in the chest, although it may also appear in the neck, face, back, and arms [4].

During my research, I carefully examined Phil Heath’s old photos and videos and coudn’t find any signs of acne-scarring.

5. Hair Loss

During my research of Phil Heath's transformation, I discovered that he had hair until the age of 23. However, photographs of Phil at the age of 24 show that he is already bald.

Interestingly, his muscle mass began to grow, develop, and become well-defined during those exact years. This could mean that he had used steroids to bulk up, which could’ve resulted in hair loss.

Phil Heath's Body Transformation

Based on my experience, a natural bodybuilder hardly ever gains massive muscles constantly after 10 to 15 years of being professionally ripped.

In the case of Phil Heath, he started working out in the gym during his basketball career at the University of Denver, which led to beginner gains, as his old photos show.

Furthermore, he began competing as a bodybuilder five years later with bigger, more defined muscles.

Since winning his first championship at the 2005 NPC bodybuilding contest, he has become more motivated to win more.

He placed fifth at the prestigious Arnold Classic two years later, securing him a spot at Mr. Olympia stage.

He committed a year of diet and workout modifications to achieve a more muscular, lean, and symmetrical body at 215 pounds.

In his first attempt at Mr. Olympia in 2009, he finished second to Jay Cutler but went on to win seven consecutive times from 2011 to 2017.

Between 2002 and 2017, Phil Heath significantly increased muscular growth, improved body symmetry, and transformed into an incredibly well-shaped form, which he publicly attributes to a high-calorie diet, cardio workout, and weight training.

Also Read: Phil Heath Shoulders Workout for Muscles Building

Phil Heath’s Stats And Accomplishments

  • Age: 44 years old (Born December 18, 1979)
  • Height: 5 ft 9 inches (180 cm)
  • Weight: 240 lb - 270 lb (109 kg - 20 kg)
  • Body fat percentage: 3%
  • Chest: 54 inches
  • Waist: 36 inches
  • Arms:  22 inches

Is Phil Heath’s Transformation Possible Without Drugs?


In my opinion, the amount of weight that Phil Heath's physique accumulated over the years is impossible to achieve naturally.

Although some experts believe that advanced lifters can still gain weight by eating a high protein diet and focusing on progressive overload, taking muscle gain supplements every day may help them accomplish their body goals even faster.

"Everyone is different and builds muscle at different rates. Those with more experience and already-developed muscle fibers find it harder and slower to have as much muscle growth as those who are newer to strength training."

- Dr. Jessica Volciak, Sports/Ortho Physical Therapy

Additionally, Phil has gained more muscle mass and weight throughout his bodybuilding career, accumulating more than 50 pounds of fat-free muscular mass, which, in my opinion, is extremely difficult to attain solely through nutrition and exercise.

What Was Phil Heath's Diet and Workout Like?

bowl of salad and a man working out

Phil Heath's diet and training reflect his dedication to success, his strong work ethic, and his capacity to learn from others.


According to his social media posts, he practices an intuitive but healthful eating regimen that mostly comprises home-cooked meals. As with other bodybuilders like Dexter Jackson and Jay Cutler, Phil consumes six meals every day and doesn't track every calorie.

However, he weighs his food to better estimate his macronutrient intake.

Phil consumes more than 100 grams of fat, 600 grams of carbohydrates, and 400 grams of protein, for a total calorie intake that frequently borders on 5,000.

He eats steak and sirloin for protein and favors the leanest cuts available. He occasionally consumes salmon and breast chicken fillets and prefers egg whites with a generous serving of cream of wheat for breakfast.

He also consumes a gallon or two of water to fuel his muscles throughout the day.


Phil Heath's traditional high-volume workouts make him a constant threat to athletes whenever he competes in bodybuilding. He works out on each muscle group once a week and gets plenty of cardio to ensure his muscles have strong pumps.

According to the Phil Heath Training Program, he works out four days a week during the offseason, with a particular training day for his chest, legs, shoulders, and back, but no particular day for arms. He believes he can easily enlarge that part of his body.

But about two to three months before his next competition, Phil includes a separate arm training day, making him train five days per week. He uses bro-split training to make his arms bigger and leaner to have the ultimate physique.

Check out Phil's latest workout on Instagram, where he shows a much bigger physique when compared to his old photos and videos.

Related Article: Phil Heath Workout Routine And Diet

Possible Steroids Phil Heath Could Have Used

syringe and pills

Phil Heath steroid combination could have involved legal steroids to boost gym performance and increase muscle mass in conjunction with his high caloric diet and intense workout.

I’ve consulted with a two experts in the field and according to them these are the enhancing drugs he might have used based on the physical signs he has shown.


HGH, or human growth hormone, may be helpful for athletes who want to build lean, solid muscles and bulk up their bodies. Research published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has shown that HGH, combined with other androgenic supplements, can increase anabolic effects on muscle growth by enhancing physical performance [5].

Phil Heath steroid cycle might have included daily doses of 15IU.

Sustanon 250

According to insights from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Sustanon 250 contains four natural testosterone compounds that may help maintain bone health, muscular growth, and red blood cell formation [6].

Phil's steroid cycle may include 200 mg of this steroid per week, which is significantly less than what some professional bodybuilders usually take. This is to avoid certain side effects, such as water retention, nausea, and acne.


Winstrol is a brand name for stanozolol tablets, which are a synthetic testosterone derivative. Based on information from RxList this anabolic steroid can help athletes achieve faster muscle recovery and enhance workout performance [7].

Phil's steroid cycle may have included 200 mg of this steroid in its legal form to avoid certain side effects like water retention, which is common in bodybuilders.

Did Phil Heath Test Positive for Steroids?

There is no known history of Phil Heath testing positive for steroids. He has won the Mr. Olympia title seven times and competed in over 25 major events.

If he had tested positive for PEDs, he might have been eliminated, or his title would have been revoked.

Olympia has always maintained a drug-free environment in the sport by adopting the World Anti-Doping Code in 2003 and randomly testing all competitors as part of the International Federation of Bodybuilding Professional League (IBFF).


Is Phil Heath Open About Steroids Use?

Phil is not open and transparent about taking steroids, nor about the various drugs he may be using. Phil has long been regarded as a role model for many young fitness enthusiasts, who believe he is a natural bodybuilder and achieves his goals through proper diet and exercise.

Has Phil Heath Been Banned Due to Steroid Use?

Phil Heath has no prior history of being banned for taking steroids. He had been allowed to participate in many competitions with the National Physique Committee (NPC) and the IBFF and won several titles like Colorado and New York Pro Championships, and he’s also a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner.


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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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