Dorian Yates Reveals Secret To Lasting Gains

Check out this Mr Olympia winner’s secret to lasting gains

Forget forcing down copious calories and lifting until you can’t anymore. According to six-time Mr Olympia winner Dorian Yates, the key to body optimisation lies in keeping a meticulous log of every single workout and taking an analytical approach to fitness.

FOR DECADES the fitness journeys of gym junkies, workout warriors and prospective bodybuilders have followed a similar course. There’s the initial rapid growth that accompanies the beginning of a gym membership, then there’s the steady stream of improvement as musculature is honed and optimal workout patterns are discovered. But eventually, these results begin to plateau.

Lifting heavy weights and eating the right macros can only get you so far. Everyone reaches a point where it feels as if they can’t push their body any further. You know the feeling: the same workload and routine that once delivered startlingly quick results no longer does the trick, PBs haven’t been improved for what feels like forever, and you’re languishing in stagnation. There is a solution, however, as the world’s best bodybuilders know how to push beyond the fitness equivalent of writer’s block and unlock continuous growth.

If there’s anyone who knows the secret to body optimisation, it’s Dorian Yates. Yates dominated the pro bodybuilding circuit in the ’90s, winning the highest honour of all—the storied Mr Olympia contest—six consecutive times from 1992 to 1997. Yates has earned the respect of bodybuilders across the globe, and now he’s imparting his wisdom upon the next generation.

In an interview with Muscle Mind Media, Yates revealed the secret to his outsized physique was far simpler than consuming exorbitant calories and heaving potentially dangerous weights. Yates’ secret to success was fastidious record keeping. “I logged every single workout,” Yates said. “Every workout from 1983 to 1997, I got it all and logged it down.”



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By carefully recording weights, sets and difficulty, Yates was able to take an analytical approach to his workouts. Collating the vast swaths of data he’d logged, Yates determined precisely what worked for him. Notably, he discovered that working out more frequently didn’t necessarily yield better results. “If I trained more frequently or did a bit too much, my progress was just stopping,” Yates said.

To avoid getting stuck in a paradox of attempting to maintain muscle mass with frequent workouts, while those same workouts were causing stagnation, Yates adopted the High Intensity Training philosophy of Arthur Jones and Mike Mentzer. While HIT workouts may be commonplace amongst calisthenics enthusiasts and cardio acolytes, bodybuilders often eschew the approach in favour of slow and steady workouts that prioritise quantity over quality.

Yates found that training less frequently and for shorter periods, but with higher intensity, was supremely effective. By adopting the HIT philosophy, Yates was able to push his body further than before, while allowing ample recovery time. As Yates says, it’s important to know what works best for you, and once you do, finding the right balance of exercise and rest that provides the desired results will be easy. It goes to show that sometimes less really is more.


INSTAGRAM | @thedorianyates



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By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything sports and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or staying up late watching sports in incompatible time zones.

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