Mike O'Hearn : natural or not

The Titan of the Fitness World Says He’s All Natural

Dodging the Haters

The world can keep wondering. The only confirmed fact is this: O’Hearn has never flunked a drug test, and he’s taken nearly as many piss tests as he has selfies. Drug tests for the Gladiators reboot (“NBC tested for EVERYTHING,” he says) as well as drug tests he took for natural bodybuilding shows, turned up nothing.

Nor did polygraph tests, he says, an extra step in some natural bodybuilding and powerlifting federations. And with a trail of clean drug and lie detector tests in his wake and a trophy case full of hardware—O’Hearn is a four-time Natural Mr. Universe and in the Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame (lest you think those muscles are all for show, he’s also proficient in jeet kune do, and was inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame for judo in 2014)—he’s still dogged by haters who jump in with sarcastic comments on nearly every social media post. Nature produces freaks with regularity.

Just look at muscle-bound Belgian Blue cattle and humans with myostatin deficiencies who grow muscle without lifting weights. But when we’ve seen so many athletes turn out to be frauds and liars, we don’t leave room for any genetic freaks in sports, and especially not in bodybuilding.

So the comments pour in: “Yeah, right!” “No way!” “How could he possibly say he’s natural?” And that’s just what we can print.

The funny part is that O’Hearn doesn’t even consider himself a freak of nature. He sees his body as a by-product of his life story—one that’s been played out almost entirely inside of a gym. For the most cynical, it might help to see pictures of him playing high school football (he was a three-year starter and All-American) in his hometown of Kirkland, WA.

It’s not hard to pick out O’Hearn in team pictures. He’s nearly a foot taller—and a foot wider—than most of his teammates.


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