Interview: Mike O’Hearn on consistency, preventive care and body positivity
On June 10, 2022, the second episode of The Mike O’Hearn Showa series of interviews with bodybuilder Mike O’Hearn by Generation Ironaired on Generation Ironthe YouTube channel of. Moderator Vlad Yudin asked if O’Hearn had ever struggled with fat loss – O’Hearn stays notoriously skinny all year – the merging of beauty standards and health standards, and how to use cardio as a tool to get in shape.
Check out the first part of the interview below:
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The first question posed to O’Hearn is whether he’s ever had any problems staying slim. O’Hearn’s body fat percentage remains low even though he is not preparing for competition, but it has never been a problem for him to keep fat off his muscular frame.
O’Hearn has followed a bodybuilding lifestyle since age nine, started competing in his early teens, and was working in the health and fitness industry by age 17. This longevity and consistency in the business is reflected in the way O’Hearn diets and what he preaches to others – consistency is the key to success:
Whatever diet you like, if you’re consistent over a long period of time, we can get you back in shape.
O’Hearn suggests that the motivation to become consistent with the diet must come from within. Outside forces can exert pressure to motivate someone, but that’s only when “a person is absolutely fed up with who they are and disgusted with themselves – then they say, ‘I have to change “.”
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Yudin and O’Hearn direct the conversation to body image and the perception of beauty. Yudin suggests that if someone who might be classified as obese is content with their body and embraces it, that’s important. He argues 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 little deeper to clarify that it’s not just body fat that matters in these kinds of scenarios. He uses the example of a hypothetical short bodybuilder with a densely muscled frame and low body fat percentage who suffers from high blood pressure and joint pain. According to O’Hearn, this bodybuilder is unhealthy in the same way that an obese person who is okay with their weight might have high blood pressure and a risk of heart disease.
There is a point where someone who is objectively unhealthy by specific medical standards should make lifestyle changes to ameliorate these issues.
I am about life. I know too many people who died too young and had a positive influence on people.
O’Hearn delineates standards of beauty and standards of health. They are not the same and it is the latter that counts for longevity.
You might not find me attractive – I’m a 300 pound guy. But I am in good health. The joints, the body, [and] heart are healthy.
Whatever a person looks like, what matters is that they are Actually healthy – looks can be deceiving.
I just don’t want anyone else to say to me, “I weigh 350 pounds and I look great,” okay, but are you healthy?
O’Hearn advocates preventative care as a way to maintain long-term health because it offers the insights needed to make specific lifestyle changes for specific goals.
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With the ongoing discussion of blood pressure, heart disease, and doing preventive tests to be aware of heart health, O’Hearn and Yudin pivot to discuss cardio and its use. O’Hearn suggests a common notion in the health and fitness community that the heart is “fragile,” but he believes otherwise.
The heart is… powerful. If you treat it right, it doesn’t take much to keep it healthy – eat healthy meals…[be] active a few 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 a project. For him, cardio is strictly a way to lose fatand he does it after practice.
Cardio for fat loss – use it as an additional tool.
Although O’Hearn will incorporate cardio when he needs to “cut out,” he doesn’t alter his main workouts consisting of resistance training. He recommends putting your energy into your workout and then doing cardio later in the day.. O’Hearn’s cardio workouts involve walking at a moderate pace on the treadmill at an incline of 15 to maintain a heart rate of 135 beats per minute.
episode three of Generation IronO’Hearn’s interview is scheduled for June 17, 2022.
Featured Image: @mikeohearn on Instagram