FLEX: YOU GREW UP IN THE NORTHWEST, AND YOU LIVE IN COLORADO. ARE YOU AN OUTDOORSMAN AT ALL? DO YOU ENJOY CAMPING, FISHING, HIKING— ANY OF THOSE THINGS?
PHIL HEATH: Well, it’s true I grew up in Seattle, but I’m more into sports—practices, training, and games— than the outdoor stuff. That was how I spent my free time. When I started doing body building, outdoors stuff wasn’t what I did because of my job, and some of it puts you at risk of injury. There’s too many things that could end my career, so no hiking—though I do love to be outdoors—and no winter sports at all, because the competitive side of me would force me to show off, and that’s when accidents are bound to happen.
FLEX: ARE YOU STILL A GAMER? IF SO, WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT FAVORITE?
PHIL HEATH: A little bit—not as much as I would prefer. I still play Doom and Titanfall 2. Just purchased Prey—that should be a good one. Waiting for the new Gran Turismo and Tekken 7. I still like to get in my game time.
FLEX: WHAT DO YOUR BICEPS AND CHEST MEASURE THESE DAYS?
PHIL HEATH: Haven’t measured my chest in a while. My biceps are at 23 inches.
FLEX: WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH THE EFFECTS OF TRAVEL ON THE BODY (DEHYDRATION, TRAVEL FATIGUE), ESPECIALLY WHEN THE CONTEST YOU ARE FLYING TO COMPETE IN IS THE OLYMPIA?
WILLIAM BONAC: I always make sure I drink enough water, and I also schedule it so I y out at least three to four days before show day so I have enough time to get my shape together.
FLEX: WAS THERE SOMETHING YOU SAW OR EXPERIENCED IN 2017 THAT GAVE YOU EXTRA MOTIVATION TO COMPETE?
WILLIAM BONAC: No. My drive and inspiration all come from my son and family.
FLEX: YOU DIDN’T COMPETE IN THE OLYMPIA, EVEN THOUGH YOU QUALIFIED BY TOPPING THE OLYMPIA QUALIFICATION SERIES. DO YOU WORRY THAT YOU MISSED A CHANCE?
JUAN MOREL: Not at all. I want to wait to make improvements. Besides, I believe that if I can’t win a show, I don’t belong on the O stage. I’ve been in the top 10, and now I want to be in the top five, top six. Those guys don’t have to compete year-round, where you’re always getting ready for a show. I’m not going to improve by dieting—it’s got to be through training and time off from competing. I can’t think about today—I have to think about tomorrow.
FLEX: YOU’RE FRIENDS WITH JUAN MOREL, WHO IS ALSO A DAD. DO YOUR KIDS HANG OUT?
SHAWN RHODEN: They sure do. My daughter turned 2 in July, and Juan’s daughter turned 2 in December, so they’re just the right age for each other.
FLEX: HOW DO BODYBUILDERS GET THEIR VEINS TO POP THE WAY THEY DO ONSTAGE?
SHAWN RHODEN: It’s not a trick. Vascularity and separation come from dieting for a period of time, to the point where the skin is as thin as possible, so thin that you can see inside. When the skin is like that, it becomes more fragile—it tears easily, so it’s not a state you want to remain in long-term.
FLEX: YOU DIDN'T COMPETE ONSTAGE IN 2017. WHEN WILL YOU BE BACK? IS THERE A STRATEGY IN PLAY?
STEVE KUCLO: Build, build, build—that’s the play! Build my body, build my business, and build my family! So much went into 2017.
I was talking with my training partner George early in the year, and we both agreed we needed some time to make some changes and not rush getting back onstage without being ready. Around late May, after the Kuclo Classic, we decided to take the rest of the year off and focus on the 2018 season—hitting the Arnold in Ohio to start the year. In April my wife, Amanda [Latona], and I appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank for the company we built in our house—that company is still in its infant stages and needs a lot of time and attention, and that is what our 8–to-5 job is every day.
My wife and I decided that we also wanted to start a family and work on having a baby. Dieting for shows and not having your hormones in an optimal baby-making state isn’t the best for baby making, so the downtime we have right now we are diligently working at having a baby.