“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.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
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):
This podcast is brought to you by Soothe.com, the world’s largest on-demand massage service. Because I’ve been broken so many times, I have body work done at least once a week — so I have a high bar for this stuff. I do not accept mediocrity, and I wouldn’t expect you to, either.
After much personal testing, I can affirm that Soothe delivers a hand-selected, licensed, and experienced massage therapist to you in the comfort of your own home, hotel, or office in as little as an hour. I was amazed at the quality of service and convenience. Think of it as Uber for massages, available in fifty cities worldwide. Download the app at Soothe.com and use code TITAN20 to get $20 off your first massage.
This podcast is also brought to you by WordPress, my go-to platform for 24/7-supported, zero downtime blogging, writing online, creating websites — everything! I love it to bits, and the lead developer, Matt Mullenweg, has appeared on this podcast many times.
Whether for personal use or business, you’re in good company with WordPress — used by The New Yorker, Jay Z, FiveThirtyEight, TechCrunch, TED, CNN, and Time, just to name a few. A source at Google told me that WordPress offers “the best out-of-the-box SEO imaginable,” which is probably why it runs nearly 30 percent of the Internet. Go to WordPress.com/Tim to get 15% off your website today!
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
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.