Mike O’Hearn Power Bodybuilding Review: The Secrets to His Longevity

Some guys are born great, some strive hard to reach greatness, and then there are those who achieve greatness so consistently that you’re not sure they’re human. What’s an example? O’Hearn, Mike

O’Hearn, a fitness icon whose exploits span four decades, has a resume as spectacular as his figure. He has not only won trophies in powerlifting, bodybuilding, and judo, but his piercing gaze has welcomed readers at newsstands for nearly 30 years.

He is, in fact, one of the most photographed fitness models in history, having appeared on over 500 magazine covers. Only Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger have appeared on the cover of M&F more times, and he’s not done yet.

With his protruding cheekbones and flowing locks, O’Hearn is a one-of-a-kind specimen, a rare Adonis who could pass for Hercules or a bodice-ripping Lothario from a romance novel cover. It’s as though someone blended Steve Reeves and Fabio and got the best of both. And, as one might assume, O’Hearn has accomplished both of these accomplishments, having been a romance cover model and an actor in multiple sword-and-sandals performances.

But he is no attractive lad who only sweats in front of photographers’ flashes. O’Hearn is a world-class athlete who has won numerous bodybuilding competitions. He didn’t just come down from Mount Olympus to hang out with us mortals for a few years—the he’s result of decades of hard work in the gym, carrying super-heavy weights to bulk up his 6’3″ physique.

Typically, this type of athletic/modeling/acting career lasts only a few years, maybe ten at most. No way, O’Hearn. His run is unrivaled, making him the fitness equivalent of The Simpsons. The show is still highly rated, popular, and unlikely to be cancelled anytime soon.

“I may not be the most talented guy or the most gifted, but I’ll outwork anyone.” -Mike O’Hearn

Mike O’Hearn Power Bodybuilding: STARTING YOUNG


So, how does he pull it off? “The secret is, there is no secret,” bodybuilder Dave Draper used to say.

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“I may not be the most talented or gifted guy, but I’ll outwork anyone,” O’Hearn says. “I understand that modest steps are more important than leaps.”

He attributes his success to consistency and hard work. And if you put in the effort, you’ll be ready for the breaks when they arrive. And now the breaks have arrived. O’Hearn recognizes that he is fortunate not only in genetics but also in the random events of his life.

O’Hearn, the youngest of nine children, grew up in Kirkland, Washington, in a household full with athletic role models who taught him weightlifting and martial arts. “I had wonderful parents, as well as older brothers and sisters,” he recalls. “My father was a bodybuilder who also played football.” My mother taught me martial arts. My brothers and sisters were all athletes. “I was so motivated.”

He won the teenage Washington state bodybuilding title when he was only 14 years old, but he didn’t stop there. He fell in love with both judo and powerlifting. After relocating to California, he became a four-time California powerlifting champion and twice won the state judo title.

I’m that teenager doing what I love.

On American Gladiators, O’Hearn played both Thor and Titan.

The importance of mindset in O’Hearn’s approach cannot be overstated. O’Hearn learnt to dream big at an early age by idolizing Bruce Lee. “I tried to adopt a Bruce Lee approach,” he explains, “where you don’t create restrictions, you don’t envisage a ceiling.” “I was in the right place at the right time.”

One of those right settings was a gym, where the young O’Hearn would watch men get beneath the bar and squat 800 pounds on a regular basis. He had no idea these men were champion powerlifters at the time; he just assumed that’s what folks lifted. As a result, his mental attitude and aspirations were considerably above the norm.

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That mindset, paired with his hard ethic and innate physical abilities, became a driving force in his development of remarkable strength and muscle. He was ready for his close-up when he received his chance to advance in the fitness industry.

Mike O’Hearn Power Bodybuilding: ENTER THE ULTIMATE MENTOR


O’Hearn’s potential was realized one night in Chicago in 1990, when he attended the Mr. Olympia competition (one of eight won by Lee Haney). Joe Weider, the godfather of bodybuilding and originator of the Mr. O competition, was also present.

“I was walking across the auditorium when Joe Weider summoned me,” O’Hearn explains. “‘You’re a monster,’ he said. Take a look at yourself. ‘I’d want to see you in the magazine.'”

Weider stuck to his pledge. He flew O’Hearn down to Los Angeles to photograph him for a cover. Weider eventually offered O’Hearn a contract. The Washington native made the decision to relocate to Los Angeles (which he describes as an easy decision). He never returned.

Suddenly, O’Hearn found himself following in the footsteps of his idol, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had also been spotted by Weider and invited to L.A. And, like Schwarzenegger, O’Hearn found a mentor who taught him essential truths that no textbook or college course could teach him.

“I’d eat lunch in Joe’s office and listen to him chat,” O’Hearn explains. “He’d tell me stories about Arnold and the good old days, and I’d soak it all up.”

O’Hearn exercises with a rep range of one to thirty but always keeps the weight hefty. His ferocious mindset has helped him develop one of the best physiques in the industry.

It was profitable. O’Hearn, like his hero Schwarzenegger, has dabbled in a variety of business ventures, including the risk of launching his own vitamin line (Innov8 Nutraceuticals). And he continues to act whenever he can, including roles in a variety of television and film productions (e.g., Death Becomes Her, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Workaholics) as well as the upcoming feature Minkow, which will be released later this year.

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O’Hearn’s most visible part was in the 2008 relaunch of American Gladiators, when he portrayed Titan. It’s safe to say that his fan base as Titan has outlasted the program, which is why his international tour of training seminars and guest-starring appearances is dubbed The Titan Tour.

To me, bodybuilding is an art, not a sport. I loved doing it for me.

Over the years, he became friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who advised him on a variety of topics, including real estate investment. O’Hearn has established a great portfolio by following Schwarzenegger’s advice. But bodybuilding and fitness remain at the heart of his identity.

This veteran of workouts, photo sessions, and several competitions is still in high demand after 40 years in the business. His achievements are so diverse and span such a long time span that it’s tough to position him in the pantheon of all-time fitness greats. He made the decision to stay in his lane when it came to pursuing bodybuilding trophies a long time ago, as a result of his passion to muscle-building as an aesthetic endeavor.

“Bodybuilding is an art to me, not a sport,” he explains. “I created the physique I want.” I enjoyed doing it for me, rather than to please the judges or anyone else. It’s my work of art.”

Above all, O’Hearn enjoys what he does. And that, rather than how hard he trains or how much weight he lifts in the gym, could be the underlying secret to his success.

“I’m still that 14-year-old kid doing what I love when I exercise at Gold’s Gym in the morning,” he says. “I agree with Warren Buffett when he says that you should ask yourself, ‘If I didn’t have to generate money, what would I do?’ ’ Whatever that is, do it.”