“Each workout is like a brick in a building, and every time you go in there and do a half-ass workout, you’re not laying a brick down. Somebody else is.” Praised as one of the greatest bodybuilders in modern history standing at 5’10” tall with a 56-inch chest, a 35-inch waist and 20-inch arms, Dorian “The Shadow” Yates is a six-time Mr. Olympia champion and holds fourth place behind seven-time winner Arnold Schwarzenegger and eight-time winners Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman.
Born in the West Midlands of England in 1962, Yates grew up in rural Staffordshire but, after constantly finding and making trouble for himself, he moved to Birmingham with his family as a teen. Even in Birmingham, Yates continued to find legal trouble and eventually landed in a youth detention center where he spent six months trying to get his life back on track. Once he was released, he struggled to find direction and purpose until he was 21 years old when he discovered the gym and his untapped passion for working out and lifting weights.
Determined to transform his body into the physique of a true bodybuilder, Yates spent the next two years training and entered his first competition in 1985 at the World Games for Heavyweights. Finishing in seventh place, the British bodybuilder trained even harder and saw his determination and dedication finally pay off when he took the heavyweight title at the 1986 British Championships. After earning the same victory in 1988, he upped his competition level in 1990 and 1991 with second and first place finishes at the Night of Champions before channeling his growing confidence and entering the 1991 Mr. Olympia contest where he surprised commentators and upset his competitors with a second-place finish as a newcomer. This was the last time in Yates’ professional career that he ever saw anything but first place.
Yates launched an impressive winning streak with the 1992 Mr. Olympia and the 1992 English Grand Prix. Over the next five years, he won each consecutive Mr. Olympia competition in addition to many others including the 1994 and 1996 Spanish Grand Prix, the German Grand Prix and the England Grand Prix. Amid his victories, he cashed in on his growing success and released his Blood and Guts autobiography in 1993 only to follow up with a workout and weight training video in 1996 by the same name. Winning the Mr. Olympia title for his sixth year in a row in 1997, Yates shocked the bodybuilding world when he announced his retirement as many believed he could easily tie the Austrian Oak himself with seven Mr. Olympia wins.
The truth was that Yates didn’t want to retire but the chronic acute injuries from years of high endurance training left him no other choice. These injuries included everything from torn triceps to torn biceps, the latter of which occurred just three weeks before the 1997 Mr. Olympia competition. Despite his injuries, he won the contest but knew that he would never be able to do the same level of high intensity training that launched his six consecutive wins. With absolutely no other option to prolong his professional bodybuilding career, he had to retire to save himself from further injuries and potential failure after years of building his reputation as one of the greatest bodybuilders in the world.
Having already purchased Temple Gym in Birmingham in 1987 and launched Heavy Duty Incorporated in 1994 with bodybuilders Mike Mentzer and Ray Mentzer, Yates had plenty to keep him busy between running the gym and marketing athletic apparel and bodybuilding-related books. A year after his retirement, he extended his entrepreneurial reach with Kerry Kayes to create the CNP Professional brand, a bodybuilding supplement company that promoted the Dorian Yates approved product line. By 2006, Yates was ready to move on and launched his first solo company, Dorian Yates Ultimate Formulas, which featured protein and weight-gain supplements. Four years later, he announced EU Peptides as his second solo venture specializing in hormone supplements. In 2011, he founded DY Nutrition as his personal brand promoting pre-workout formulas, supplements and training DVDs.
Using his fame and reputation as a platform to share his voice, the 54-year-old Yates is also an outspoken advocate of alternative medicine and actively promotes the use of cannabis oil to treat cancer patients while fighting the use of sodium fluoride additives in tap water as well as opposing vaccinations containing cancer sterilants and viruses. Apart from his advocacy, he’s also shared more of his bodybuilding success and life story by co-authoring A Warrior’s Story in 1998 and, most recently, has released a mass gain video trainer with Bodybuilding.com called Blood and Guts.
Spending the rest of his time running Temple Gym and its franchises in Las Vegas, California and the United Kingdom, Yates has proven the value of doing things differently with his iconic gym resembling a workout dungeon measuring 3,000 square feet and located below the ground. Offering dumbbells weighing up to 220 pounds to ensure clients—serious bodybuilders, of course—have everything at their fingertips, Temple Gym is certainly one of a kind and, like Yates, is nothing short of extraordinary.
As for his personal life, the 54-year-old retired bodybuilder has managed to win even in love after meeting Glauce “Gal” Ferreira at the 2008 Arnold Classic. The gorgeous Ferreira is a Brazilian fitness model who won the IFBB South American Body Fitness competition in addition to being named the 2007 IFBB World Body Fitness Champion. Together, they share a home in Marbella, Spain with Yates’ son, Lewis, who has happily followed in his father’s footsteps as a bodybuilder and frequently trains rep for rep with his dear old dad. So, will we see another Yates in the Mr. Olympia lineup anytime soon? Stay tuned, because anything can happen!