“Freedom is not giving a f*ck.”
– Dorian Yates
Dorian Yates (@dorian_yates) is a six-time Mr. Olympia who took the extreme sport of bodybuilding to a new level. He’s one of my adolescent heroes whose innovations in training influenced what I later put into The 4-Hour Body (e.g., Occam’s protocol).
In this particular conversation, we dig into all sorts of topics that I’ve been dying to ask Dorian since I was a teenager. We discuss specific workouts, how he warms up, the realities of PEDs, common mistakes, his relationship to pain, self-talk when setting records (or bouncing back), his favorite books, and much more. We don’t dodge controversy and get into plenty of details.
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Want to hear another episode about building muscle and strength? — Listen to this interview with Charles Poliquin. In this episode, we discuss, muscle-building techniques, how to become stronger, warmup routines, why people struggle to lose fat, and more (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Dorian Yates:
- A former inmate describes what life was like at Whatton Detention Centre in the ’70s, where Dorian wound up after a youthful indiscretion.
- Dorian Yates: Inside the Shadow documentary at London Real
- Portrait of Dorian Yates: A Warrior’s Story by Dorian Yates and Peter McGough
- The old “Dungeon” Temple Gym in Birmingham vs. the new Temple Gym.
- Dorian Yates Workout Routine, Diet Plan and Training Philosophy by James Gold, Born to Workout
- Dorian Yates — The Most Insane Train via BodybuildersforLife
- Dorian Yates Legs Day in the Temple Gym via World Bodybuilder Workout
- DY HIT (Dorian Yates High Intensity Training) Bodybuilding Certification
- Dorian Yates demonstrating a bent-over barbell row.
- This is what Dorian Yates’s Christmas tree looks like.
- 1990 IFBB Night Of The Champions results
- Lee Haney vs. Dorian Yates — The Greatest Olympia Rivalry That Never Was by Peter McGough, Muscular Development
- The Nautilus Bulletins by Alan Stuart Radley and Arthur Jones
- If You Like Exercise…Chances Are You’re Doing It Wrong: Proper Strength Training for Maximum Results by Gary Bannister
- Lee Haney vs Dorian Yates Posing, Mr. Olympia 1991 via Fitness Trainer
- Dorian Yates Talks Yoga via London Real
- Dorian Yates Mr. Olympia 1993
- Gentlemen Prefer Body-builders! Pictures Reveal How Marilyn Monroe Kept Her Iconic Figure in Shape with Weights and a Bizarre Diet by Ashley Collman, The Daily Mail
- The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss
- Dorian Yates — Effects of Steroids & Health via London Real
- Testosterone & Ageing — Dorian Yates on Steroids via London Real
- Chris Bell’s Bigger, Stronger, Faster documentary
- The Handbook of the Navigator: What is God, the Psychic Connection to Spiritual Awakening, and the Conscious Universe by Eric J. Pepin
- Meditation within Eternity: The Modern Mystics Guide to Gaining Unlimited Spiritual Energy, Accessing Higher Consciousness and Meditation Techniques for Spiritual Growth by Eric J. Pepin
- Freedom Is Not Giving a F*ck — Inside the Shadow Teaser
- The Truman Show
- Help Tim Ferriss Fund Research for the Treatment of Major Depression at Johns Hopkins
- My first encounter with Dorian. [08:35]
- Dorian takes us on his journey from farm boy to urban juvenile delinquent — and how he discovered a passion for weightlifting. [10:02]
- Why is it hard to find pictures of Dorian smiling prior to 1997? [14:03]
- How did Dorian get the nickname “The Shadow?” [15:32]
- Dorian describes the gym (aka “The Dungeon”) in Birmingham where he built his physique. [17:02]
- What did Dorian’s workout look like during his peak? [19:02]
- Dorian describes a leg day workout. [21:01]
- What it takes to get results. [25:53]
- How much rest does Dorian take between sets? [27:52]
- What is the right way to do a bent row, and what compelled Dorian to focus on this technique? [29:50]
- On the role of tempo in lifting and the difference between weightlifting and bodybuilding. [33:53]
- How did Dorian connect with high intensity training pioneer Mike Mentzer? [36:32]
- Thoughts on Nautilus inventor and eccentric Arthur Jones. [37:15]
- What are the most common misconceptions and mistakes Dorian observes in newcomers to high intensity training? [40:56]
- Dorian explains what his life was like in 1990 when he placed second in his professional debut at IFBB Night of the Champions. [42:46]
- What was Dorian’s self-talk like when he didn’t place first? [46:01]
- On competing with personal hero Lee Haney, and what it takes to change from a mindset of reverence to rivalry. [48:53]
- What was Dorian’s relationship with pain while competing from ’92 to ’97? [50:56]
- How much water weight would Dorian lose in twenty-four to forty-eight hours prior to a competition? [53:01]
- Did dehydration ever play a role in Dorian’s injuries? [53:58]
- On setting goals: “Instead of saying something, get a pen, get a piece of paper, and write it down. It just makes it a hundred times more powerful.” [54:47]
- For Dorian, what occurs between having a plan and putting that plan into action? [57:54]
- What has Dorian changed his mind about since his competition days? [1:00:31]
- Dorian talks about including yoga and how he feels better at 55 than he did at 35. [1:03:19]
- What does Dorian wish he could change about his competition-era training program? [1:09:23]
- What was Dorian’s Plan B if bodybuilding hadn’t panned out? [1:12:43]
- What is the best way for women to build beautiful, lean muscle: higher reps with light weights, or lower reps with heavy weights? [1:13:56]
- Differences in training and nutrition for steroid-enhanced vs. natural lifters. [1:19:55]
- On dealing with clinical depression when injuries forced him into retirement. [1:29:25]
- What helped Dorian emerge from this dark period? [1:32:08]
- What is Dorian reading these days? [1:33:47]
- What would Dorian’s billboard say? [1:39:44]
- Dan Gable
- Brian Rose
- Peter McGough
- Mohammed Benaziza
- Lee Haney
- Mike Mentzer
- Arthur Jones
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Casey Viator
- Robby Robinson
- Marilyn Monroe
- Gal Ferreira Yates
- Chris Bell
- Mark Bell
- Eric Pepin
- Bruce Lee
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