John Heart on How He Won Mr America At 48-Years-Old

John Heart WNBF 2016
John Heart won the Light Heavy & Overall title of INBF Mr. America in 2013 at 48 years-old. John was the oldest ever Mr America!

John Heart (@MrAHeart and Insta: @mraheart) is a renowned trainer and teacher within the fitness industry. He is also a Natural Pro Bodybuilder who has won the title of Mr. America and Natural Mr. Universe. His primary platforms used for training/teaching include in-gym, YouTube, and all forms of social media including Facebook.

John currently trains in-gym clients in Los Angeles, California and manages his online presence through He is also the official online trainer of Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty Training System.

John’s Athletic Achievements/Highlights:

  • 2013-present – Worldwide: Competed as WNBF Natural Professional Bodybuilder in 4 professional events, usually placing between 2nd – 6th
  • 2013 – Secaucus, New Jersey: Won the Light Heavy & Overall title of INBF Mr.
  • 2012 – Secaucus, New Jersey: Won the Light Heavy class of INBF Mr. America
  • 2001 – Los Angeles, California: Won Tall class of ABA Natural Mr. Universe

In this episode we dig into the details of John’s pre-bodybuilding contest routine in tremendous detail including exercise routines, protocol, and diet.

In this episode, we also cover:

  • John’s use of electronic muscle stimulation
  • The debate around the importance of “progressive overload”
  • The evolution of John’s approach to bodybuilding over the years

Listen below:

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Would you like to hear from another High Intensity Training Bodybuilder? Check out my interview with Mike Lipowski here or stream below:


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Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

  • Kamen Stranchevski

    Wow, what a great Interview! Wonder why I am the first to comment?! Either because it’s holidays or because the crowd was left speechless by Mr. Heart’s shared real life experience :))
    I was waiting for this interview since the time it was announced to be under way and it was more that wothed…as I expected and then some more!!
    My personal take away points form this interview and from that of Mark Asanovich are:
    1. RECOVERY shall always be the focus! Extensive Stimulus/Fatigue will never be the answer; If you need to go as hard as possible, Do so only if you keep the fatigue in check!
    2. “Progressive overload” may not be as important or scientifically proven necessity, BUT in real life of training, we must be cautious to recognize “muscle failure” from “discomfort” failure. Shorter TUL sets seem to be a great remedy here. This also helps with recovery/fatigue and it seems, that shorter duration sets work just fine as stimulus as well(for Mr. America and when on a diet ;))) So in effect one’s “progression” should be to try and stay within thier shortest working TUL for a given exercise by modifying difficulty of a bodyweight exercise, or by adding weight…
    3. With regards to diet – Carbs are not the Enemy! and Calories MATTER big time! (John’s take on daily protein intake did not get mentioned particularly in this one, but I STRONGLY advise anyone interested to listen to his other interviews with NorCal…you may be surprised 🙂 )
    Thank you John for sharing! Please stop by here, again for a Part two at some point in the future 🙂

  • Kamen Stranchevski

    By the way Lawrence, what is your opinion about John’s shared views? I believe you found several of John’s practices to be different than your personal ones (based on what you’ve shared so far). I am just curious 😀

    • Thank you for your contribution Kamen :D. I agree with practically everything you say below and most of John’s views, especially regarding training. I think some of the pre-exhaust stuff might be unnecessary based on some of the literature, but John is far more experienced than I in the practice. I probably differ on diet just because I prefer 2 large meals and doing intermittent fasting. I do think the macro-nutrients matter though and fat and protein should be optimised for muscle retention and mitochondrial health, and as a result, carbs tend to be on the low side for me, since they seem the least useful ;-). I’m also highly skeptical regarding the electric muscle stimulation but John is also. Overall, John admits that much of what he does isn’t underpinned by scientific evidence, but he believes it will give him an edge or possibly subtract from his performance if he removes it. All power to him.