In today’s society, it’s hard to believe superheroes exist. Conventional thinking would have you believe they are confined to the pages of comic books, movie screens and TV shows. Transcending convention, Mike O’Hearn sets the standard for a modern-day superhero.
The youngest of 10 siblings, Mike began training and working towards his skills at a young age. Now, strength, speed, power, selflessness and a care-free attitude are just some of Mike’s powers, and he uses them every day to better both the world as well as himself.
Mike is an accomplished powerlifter, bodybuilder, fitness cover model, actor, personal trainer, charity promoter and world record holder. The only thing he doesn’t do on a daily basis is don the trademark superhero tights (but he has in the past, when he starred as Superman on the silver screen or Titan on American Gladiators).
With a passion for fitness, health and achieving his dreams, Mike encourages and inspires all of those around him to chase their passions, live life to the fullest and work on becoming their own superhero.
Let’s start from the beginning, Mike.
What was life like growing up in the O’Hearn household?
As for how I got my start, how it was growing up an O’Hearn. My dad was a football player, and a bodybuilder, and my mother was an artist, she believed that you should always, in this life, live your dream. In a family of 10, being the youngest boy, I was getting my ass kicked on a daily basis. Not just from my brothers, my older sisters were tough too, and kicked my ass. Besides my brothers doing bodybuilding, and power lifting, so did my sisters. Everybody was required to do martial arts. Being the youngest boy, I was usually the punching bag. So, if I didn’t start training, what the heck was I going to do?
Given your competitive history in bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, and martial arts, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the health and fitness world? What do you still hope to achieve?
My career as a whole. To be able to be a champion in four different sports, and also be on T.V. for the last 15 years, as wellas be able to live my dreams. It’s hard to just pick one thing. I love everything I’ve done as a whole. As for what I still hope to achieve, world domination, lol. Both questions are really tough because I can’t pick being Mr. Universe 4x, as better then me establishing myself as one of the strongest men in the world, or having more covers in the health and fitness industry next to Arnold Schwarzenegger. As for anything else, I got inducted into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame last year, so that pretty much ties it all up. My next venture is movies, and time with my dogs.
You’re no stranger to acting either, with several appearances in movies and TV shows such as American Gladiators, and Battledome. Most recently starring in Sunny in Philadelphia, and Workaholics. Could you talk about your newest project, Alter Ego, and how you became involved?
What made me do it, and what made it all come to light. Basically, the reason I did this is because I got close with a lot of big budget movies. When they started putting Captain America together I was in the hunt, alongside actors like Matthew Mcconaughey . They had me in the top 5 of guys they were talking about. Same thing for Superman. Got further down the casting for that, and they really liked my portrayal of Superman in “Worlds Finest”. The new Conan as well, same thing. Got down to the end of it, they even talked about in the tabloids, but regardless of how much they talk about it, how far I got, I didn’t get the job, and that’s all that matters. So basically I had an idea for a superhero, that I’ve never seen any other superhero have, or heard of where his main fault is that he possessed Multiple Personality Disorder. Now I’m talking about the “good guy” superhero, I’m not talking about the bad guys. I’m not sure there are, or are not any like that as far as “bad guys”. So I basically put pen to paper, and started writing out the story. For behind the camera I was producer, writer, as well as casting director, etc. I pretty much oversaw all aspects of the project, it was very hands-on.
How did your personality and life drive the development of Alter Ego’s protagonist, Michael Patrick?
Ooooh, that’s a deep one. I would say there are much more similarities I believe, with the character to myself, which was why I could write about him, and develop him. That goes along with the multiple personalities, and the other characters in his mind. I think we all have that. I guess with the movie I got to play out all the different characters you know you can’t do in real life. Which made the movie extremely fun for me. Like my favorite episode which houses the Triplet scene. It was the hardest, but the most satisfying. It’s when my character Michael Patrick comes face to face with all three of his mind’s personalities. Cain, the extreme barbarian, where all he wants to do is destroy anything, and everything. O’Dell, who is the smart-ass womanizing character, he was pretty fun to play. Very free. Finally Bullrock, the wise middle-ages barbarian. We filmed this in one night, in about three hours, from 2:30am to 5:30am. We didn’t have all the characters done, so we really just had to shoot and go. Would have loved to have more time, but it worked out, and I love the scene, and I love the episode. It’s actually tonight’s episode so I’m really excited about it, as well as excited to get feedback from everyone on it.
The film looks to blend modern celebrity struggles, sci-fi and fantasy elements into one. Where did the inspiration for this mix come from? How has the experience been playing these different roles?
Well that’s an outside view looking in. I don’t really see it that way. I think of it as more of a “loner” type guy who is making a living, but just wants life to be simple. As for the characters, like I previously stated, just a blast. I’ve been visualizing this for years. We did what we did with the short, and that’s what this project is, a short. I already have the full length script, that is now what I’m excited about. Turning this thing into a full length 100 million dollar movie. It’s going to be crazy.
You don’t just stop at bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, martial arts, and acting – you’ve also broken world records. Care to talk about them and what the experiences were like?
Well first, it has been a blast traveling all around the world doing it. Still, Rome was my favorite place to film. The people were great, the crew was awesome, but it was just the whole experience. Filming in London with Simon Cowell’s production really showed me the event I’m doing is now such a high demand. It’s great that I’m breaking world records, but it’s even better that this world record is in such a high demand, and there are only 2 guys right now able to do it. The actual event, and smashing through something is bliss for me. To still do crazy athletic things, and get paid for it, while seeing the world, I know I’m lucky. For that, I’m just trying to live in the moment.
What was the motivation for breaking the world record for number of glass panes run through at one time? Did you attempt to beat your old record?
It’s pretty simple, “Titan SMASH!” No, just kidding. Really it came down to a production company calling me, (now keep in mind I have a mindset of a 14 year old boy) and said “We want to build something, and have you break it. It will be filmed here in China, will be on T.V., and we’re going to pay you a lot of money.” Oh, then after that show Rome called, then L.A. hooked it up again, then London, England called, then Hollywood called again.. are you guys getting the pattern here? It’s kind of fun. So yes, I’ll keep doing it, and as for breaking my record, “Come on man, heck yeah!”
Being a sponsored athlete for Bodybuilding.com, you’re well-known for your outgoing personality and receptiveness to fans around the world. What would you like to say to your fans?
Well first, thank you. I know I have a lot of responsibility being the Team Captain. I guess I just want to say to the fans, keep living your dream. People may say you can’t do something, but it only matters what you think, and what you believe. So believe you can, and you will.
1. What is a day in the life of Mike O’Hearn like?
Non stop from 3am until 9pm. I’m a guy that trains at 4am, then again when I get a break somewhere throughout the day. I’m constatnly working, pushing forward, and making my dreams come true. The only constants are the 4am workout, and time with my four pups during the day. I have no two days that are alike, so it’s hard to fill you in on that.
2. What is your philosophy regarding working out, as well as nutrition?
Simple. Nutrition, find what works for you. There is absolutely no format that works the same for 2 individuals. Everyone is a little different. Where everyone else is reading, studying nutrition, I’m actually in the nutrition books. No, really. A picture of me talking about muscle mass, and so on. What I want people to know is, read. Ask more questions, and apply. Training, well I’m very much a believer of blunt force trauma. Continuous pounding of heavy weight. Relative to the size of the person. This is for girls too, don’t just assume this is for guys. I trained a girl for a year. Prior to that she was doing well at shows, but never winning. After a year of training with me, she not only won, but won the Universe, and turned IFBB Pro. This was the same with a lot of people I’ve trained, girls and guys. I don’t know when it was when everyone got scared of weight lifting, but let me know if you guys figure out when that happened.
Your website offers weekly advise and tips for working out, exercise and diet. Are you active with one on one consultations? Have you considered opening your own fitness center?
I had a gym for years that I opened, and had my buddies run up in Colorado. I loved it, but it was more of a hardcore gym, so it was more for giving back then turning a large profit. Yes, I do work with people online. I used to personal train, but the hours were taking away from my dreams, and now I only work online with an elite crew of athletes where I’m not spreading myself so thin. This way it’s quality over quantity.
You became more famous globally through the show “American Gladiators” which is hosted by Hulk Hogan. What are your memories from that show and what do you believe you took from this show as Mike?
Let me just start by saying you mentioned Hulk Hogan in this question. I have to tell the readers as nice as you think Hulk Hogan is, he’s even nicer. This guy is such a great man, as an individual. Caring, passionate, and gives back to his fans, and society. He was just a pleasure to work with. What I took from the show I think, that’s a tough one, because I don’t think I took a lot away from the second run of American Gladiators, besides the good times with my team mates, and contestants. I would say it was my stint on the Original American Gladiators really shaped my career, and took a lot more away from it. On the Original show, my show-name was “Thor”, but I got to work with people like Dan Clark, who was “Nitro” on the show. Jim Star, who was “Lazer” on the show, and I sat back, and I watched how these guys trained, competed, spoke up when they needed to, and kept their mouths shut when they needed to. They were just a class act. I don’t think I would have been as successful on the remake of American Gladiators if it wasn’t for those guys, and me paying attention. Dan Clark said something to me that I still hold true to this day. “You want to lead one day? Then learn to follow.” And I did just that. Something I rarely see in other people.
Do you have any pets?
Do I have any pets?! Hmmm, oh yes! I have 4 incredible dogs. I have my Akita, Elvis, my Husky is named Stryker, My Ridgeback, Bunny, and my Chow, Teddy. It’s a funny story how I got Teddy, and Bunny, who I have had for quite a while now. I did a cover story photo shoot for Muscle and Fitness. Yeah, this is where I got two babies. Teddy on the left, Bunny on the right (photo included). Yes they were “props” that Muscle and Fitness provided. However, after shooting with them for 8 hours, I was under the assumption they were somebodies puppies, but when the shoot ended, the photo coordinator states she had to “Take the puppies back to the pound”. I said “You ain’t going anywhere with these two.” I handed her a\ two hundred bucks, and said they’re going home with me. Which was more than I probably got paid for the shoot. Which is ok with me.
What type of music do you listen to in the gym?
I don’t. Don’t roll that way. I don’t work out, I go in to do battle. Motivated people don’t need music.
What profession other than yours, would you like to attempt?
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Man! You were fun to watch!
Favorite Food: Hands down, steak burrito. Yes, that’s with extra steak. lol. Actually, it’s with an extra burrito on the side.
Favorite Dessert: Most definitely it’s my vanilla icecream, with strawberries and nutella.
Favorite Movie: The Natural starring Paul Newman
Favorite TV Show: House
Dark or Milk chocolate: Dark chocolate. I actually keep a cup of dark chocolate covered espresso beans in my freezer. I get 3 a day.
Favorite Model of Car: 1974 CJ5
Would you like to add anything else?
Yes, I’d love to talk about the charities I’ve been working with. Recently, I was lucky enough to be asked by MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY’S Foundation “J.K. Livin’ (Just Keep Livin’)” to work with them. It’s nice to be in a position where people look to you for guest speaking, and teaching the youth of today how I’ve succeeded in my career, stayed on a good path, and lived my dreams. It’s true what they say, it feels good to give back.
Matthew funds the 4 schools in LA, and 2 in Austin,Tx. Think Together funds our programs at their 4 schools in Santa Ana and Covina. Texas Rangers fund our 3 schools in Dallas. Drew Brees funds the program in New Orleans. This year they will be adding at least 5 more schools in L.A. as well as possible schools in Washington DC, and San Diego.
I also do some work with “Good Dog Animal Rescue”, which is based here in Los Angeles. This one is my passion, anything I can do to help misplaced dogs. I just have a bond with animals, but especially dogs.