Lee Priest: Bodybuilding Career, Stats, Diet and Workouts

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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Lee Priest, a renowned Australian bodybuilder, has left an indelible mark on the fitness industry.

From his early years in training to his controversial exit from IFBB, Lee’s journey is an intriguing tale of dedication, discipline, and resilience.

In this comprehensive profile, we will discuss Lee’s achievements, workout routines, diet, controversies, and his life as a retired bodybuilder and YouTube fitness advisor.

Lee Priest’s Competitive Bodybuilding Career

Early Years and Olympia Appearances

Lee Priest began his training at the age of 12, and by 16, he had already won several competitions.

He continued to make a name for himself on the bodybuilding scene throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.

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Lee participated in numerous competitions, including the prestigious Mr. Olympia contest

Best Wins and Achievements

Lee Priest had an impressive and extensive bodybuilding career, competing in over 50 contests throughout his time in the sport.

His dedication and hard work earned him several appearances at the prestigious Mr. Olympia competition, where he consistently placed in the top 10 from 1997 to 2002.

Lee’s remarkable physique and determination made him a formidable competitor, even against taller athletes.

Some of Lee Priest’s most notable wins in bodybuilding include:

  • 1989 WPF Mr. Australia – 1st
  • 1989 IFBB Australian Championships – 1st
  • 1990 IFBB Australian Championships – 1st
  • 2002 IFBB San Francisco Pro Invitational – 1st
  • 2005 IFBB Grand Prix Australia – 1st
  • 2006 IFBB Ironman Pro – 1st
  • 2006 NOC New York – 1st
  • 2013 NABBA Mr. Universe – 1st

These victories, among others, demonstrate Lee’s exceptional talent and unwavering commitment to the sport.

“The Giant Killer”

Lee Priest earned the nickname “The Giant Killer” because of his ability to outperform taller competitors in the sport.

Despite not being the tallest bodybuilder, Lee managed to build an incredible physique, enabling him to win against larger athletes.

His success in this regard is a testament to his determination, skill, and mastery of bodybuilding.

In 1997, Lee Priest managed to win Ronnie Coleman five times on the bodybuilding stage in one year including the Mr. Olympia, Ronnie has said these were the toughest losses in his bodybuilding career because Lee Priest was not a tall guy.

Physical Attributes

Height and Weight

Lee Priest stands at a height of 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm) and has competed at various weights throughout his career.

During his prime, he maintained an impressive competition weight of around 200-220 lbs (90-100 kg).

Offseason Transformation

However, Lee was also known for his huge offseason shape, where he would gain a significant amount of fat, showcasing his dedication to bulking up and transforming his body.

Lee believed the body needed breaks and when he was not competing in bodybuilding he pretty much ate whatever he felt like, this method allowed him to bulk up in the offseason and he was always successful in cutting down again for competitions.

Lee Priest’s Workout Routines

Workout routines from Lee Priest are widely available on the web, including videos from his full workouts showing exactly what he trained. His workouts may have varied but these workouts listed are some of the workouts Lee Priest did as a competitive bodybuilder preparing for contest.

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Arm Workout

  • Tricep Pushdown: 3-4 sets
  • Concentration Curls: 3-4 sets
  • Overhead cable curls: 3-4 sets
  • High pulley overhead tricep extension: 3-4 sets
  • EZ-Barbell bicep curls: 3-4 sets
  • Preacher Curls: 3-4 sets
  • Close grip bench press with EZ Bar: 3-4 sets
  • Dip/Tricep Machine: 3-4 sets
  • Cable Curls: 3-4 sets
  • EZ bar reverse curls : 3-4 sets

Back Workout

  • Barbell Bent-Over Row 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • T-Bar Row 3 sets, 12-17 reps
  • Seated Cable Row 3 sets, 10-15 reps
  • Machine Row 3 sets ,12-20 reps
  • Lat Pull-down 3 sets, 10-15 reps
  • Pull-up 3 sets

Chest and Shoulder Workout

  • Bench Press: 6 sets, 8 reps
  • Machine Incline Press: 5 sets upping weight after each set 8-12 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Incline Pec Deck: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
  • Dips: 3 sets 8-12 reps
  • Side lateral raise: 4 sets 5-10 reps
  • Seated Barbell shoulder press: 3-4 sets, 6-10 reps
  • Bent over lateral raise: 3 sets, 8-15 reps
  • Machine Standing Calf raises: 3 sets,≈ 50 reps

Leg Workout

  • Leg Extension 8 sets, 17-36 reps
  • Leg Press 4 sets, 32-100 reps
  • Smith machine pistol squat 4 sets, 8-15 reps
  • Leg Extension & Lunges superset 3 sets, 17-25 reps (leg extension), 12 reps (lunges)
  • Standing Calf Raises 5 sets, 17-31 reps

Dietary Guidelines and Supplement Recommendations

Muscle Gain and Diet

Lee Priest believes that genetics play a big role in muscle building and people with better genetics will have an easier time in building muscle, as far as supplements Lee believes sticking with protein powder will be sufficient.

Just for overall muscle gain, it would be food and protein powder, that’s really it. You can take aminos and stuff but if you are eating enough quality food, you don’t need a lot of aminos and stuff but just a good protein powder if you can get it, but just food as far as muscle gain goes that’s going to come to genetics for one. You can eat all the proper food and take all the steroids in the world but if you are not genetically gifted, you are not going to build muscle, and then I’ve been lucky I have been able to hold on to muscle and keep muscle even if I don’t eat a lot. So I’d say a good protein source and just food in general coverrr all your basis whether it be carbs, from vegetables as well as rice and all the other stuff, pasta and then just protein steak, fish, chicken, turkey but sometimes when you can’t get good food just get a protein drink and something.

Losing Fat

Lee Priest isn’t making things complicated when it comes down to losing fat, his straightforward advice is something everyone can understand and in a recent video here’s what he had to say about fat loss.

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People that want to get fat off their stomach do abs, abs, and abs but still go to parties and drink beer and wonder why they haven’t lost any fat on their abs because they are doing thousands of situps and crunches every day. it’s not going to happen you are not going to lose fat from one area. You just gotta do it the old-fashioned way dieting and cardio that’s going to take time but it works.


Lee Priest has said multiple times he didn’t start using steroids until he was 19-years of age, he achieved an impressive physique as a young teen without ever using PEDS.

Lee started using steroids to compete with the best and his already impressive physique before ever using was even better once he started, he was not an abuser and used them moderately.

Life After Retirement and YouTube Presence

Even after retiring from competitive bodybuilding, Lee Priest remains active in the fitness community.

He frequently posts videos on his YouTube channel, offering valuable advice on training, nutrition, and other aspects of bodybuilding.

His candid personality and wealth of experience have helped him amass a loyal following on the platform.

Lee is known for his no-bullshit simple approach to bodybuilding, in his advice he doesn’t complicate things and isn’t trying to sell anything.

That is why Lee Priest has remained a big influencer in the fitness scene still to this day.

Controversies and IFBB Ban

Relationship with IFBB

Lee Priest had a tumultuous relationship with the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) throughout his career. He was vocal about the politics within the organization, which he believed adversely impacted the fairness of competitions. In his opinion, the IFBB judging panel was biased, with some judges having personal connections to competitors, leading to unfair outcomes.

Lee shared his frustration about instances where he believed he had given his 100% and looked his best, only to be defeated by a competitor who was not in optimal shape. He said, “Back then, I had judges who would know competitors personally, you know they train at their gym and stuff, it’s disheartening too if you give your 100% and you know you look your best and the guy who is 80% beach ready, what can I do to be any better because this guy is out of shape and he still wins.”

Lee also criticized the IFBB for not taking action against biased judges, despite being aware of their behavior. He recounted a conversation with one judge who admitted to always placing a particular competitor first because of their romantic relationship. Lee argued that such judges should not be allowed on the judging panel.

Furthermore, he expressed concerns about potential conflicts of interest in certain competitions, such as those sponsored by supplement companies. He suspected that highly paid athletes sponsored by these companies were more likely to win the shows.

Suspension and Ban

Due to his outspoken nature and criticisms of the IFBB, Lee Priest was often labeled a “troublemaker” by the organization. He faced multiple suspensions throughout his career, which ultimately led to his ban from the IFBB in 2006. Despite the ban, Lee Priest continued to be an influential figure in the bodybuilding community, sharing his knowledge and experiences through various platforms, including YouTube.


Lee Priest’s journey in the world of bodybuilding is a testament to his unwavering commitment and passion for the sport.

Despite facing challenges and controversies, he has continued to share his knowledge and experiences with the fitness community.

His story serves as an inspiration for aspiring bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike.

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