Dorian Yates’ Opposite Approach to Stay Shredded at 61

How does the former Mr. Olympia stay in shape?

6x Mr. Olympia Champion and legend in the sport of bodybuilding, Dorian Yates, set a new standard for competitors in the Men’s Open division back when he initially stepped on stage. Dorian Yates was the original mass monster, bringing a never before seen size and level of conditioning that no one came close to. Now he has been retired from bodybuilding for decades, but he did not let himself go. Yates maintains a high level of personal fitness that keeps him in great shape. Recently he made a post on Instagram where he revealed his unique “opposite approach” to dieting, and he claims that this has helped him maintain a ripped physique at the age of 61.

Who is Dorian Yates?

Dorian Yates kettlebell training

Full Name: Dorian Yates (Bodybuilder)

Weight Height Date Of Birth
240-290 lbs 5’10” 4/19/1962
Division Era Nationality
Bodybuilder 1980, 1990 British

If you haven’t heard of Dorian Yates, he made a name for himself back in the 1990s bodybuilding scene with his impressive muscle mass, definition, and his tendency to disappear in between shows, earning him the nickname “The Shadow”. Yates would compete, then no one would see or hear from him until it was time to step on stage again, and he would bring a ridiculous physique each time, boasting one of the best back developments of all time in the Men’s Open division. 

Our team at Generation Iron was fortunate enough to be able to profile Yates for the movie, Dorian Yates: The Original Mass Monster. Check out the trailer below!

He pioneered the sport of bodybuilding in the United Kingdom, and came out as the biggest bodybuilding superstar out of the region. He won his maiden Sandow trophy at the 1992 Mr. Olympia, then went on to become the Mr. Olympia 6 times in total.

Despite being retired for years now, the 61-year-old carried his passion for fitness into his later years. He has given us numerous training tips that he has used both during and after his Mr. Olympia reign. Yates has listed barbell rows with an underhand grip as the exercise of his choice to build the back.

Just a few months ago, Yates opened up about his training frequency that he used during his reign as Mr. Olympia. He revealed that he would only workout four days a week before the Olympia, prioritizing recovery, which is where growth is truly made. 

Dorian Yates Training Methods

leg press machine Dorian Yates
Image via Instagram @thedorianyates

The training of Dorian Yates was a sort of phenomena, it was called “blood and guts” because he put everything into it. Yates utilized the high-intensity training techniques of the original heavy hitter, Mike Mentzer, as well as Arthur Jones. This is what he used to craft his physique. The high intensity training meant that Yates would go to near failure in every training session, and the exercises typically consisted of 1-2 top sets. This method of training was used instead of following a higher volume of sets and reps traditionally adopted by bodybuilders, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger

His training can be found in an e-book that he released, the Dorian Yates Training Journal. This journal details his time on stage and how he trained to win all of those titles when he was in his prime, specifically the years of 1983-1997.

Unfortunately, Yates picked up several injuries over the years, and these ultimately forced him to retire. He even had a hip injury that forced him to stop squatting, which is why he has also made a case against squats being an essential part of every training program for muscle growth. He also had a tricep injury that he competed with and won, but it ultimately ended his career.

Yates now focuses his training more on functionality, and even started using stem cell therapy just a few months ago, reporting that his inflammation went down and he had improvements in his shoulders just after 30 days of being on the treatment plan. As for the progress in his other joints which consist of his elbow and knee, he indicated it would take a bit longer before he noticed significant changes. 

A Shredded Physique at 61

Now, at 61 years old Dorian Yates still boasts a set of six-pack abs, so how does he do it? While most bodybuilders stay in shape with the intense training and strict diet that consists of massive amounts of foods and meal timing, Yates credits his shredded physique to intermittent fasting. That’s right, Dorian Yates eats less food to stay shredded and maintain a good amount of muscle mass.

Here’s what he had to say:

“Intermittent fasting, quite the polar opposite approach to eating than I was used to 30 years ago when I’d be eating every two hours!

But for the past few years, I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting.

I’ve experienced numerous benefits, and have researched pretty much every approach to dieting. Intermittent fasting works extremely well for myself.

I’m now pursuing my health goals and optimising for longevity as opposed to bodybuilding.

Read my latest blog where I go into why I adopted intermittent fasting, the benefits, how you can potentially use it when trying to build muscle and more.

But the best diet for health goals may not be the same as the best for trying to build maximum muscle.” 

What is Intermittent Fasting? 

Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular and pretty well supported diet approach for fat loss. It involves periods of extended fasting, meaning individuals refrain from consuming food. Intermittent fasting has gained recognition for its potential benefits that include: 

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle gain
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Activation of anti-aging genes

Now, this does not mean starve yourself for a set amount of time, then binge eat a ton of junk foods and whatever else you want. Instead, intermittent fasting means that you do not eat for a certain amount of time, then when you do you eat a set amount of calories and the right amount of protein, fats, and carbohydrates to help your body recover. 

Wrap Up

Overall, Dorian Yates brought a whole new standard of competitor to the sport of bodybuilding, and now even at 61, he is still shredded. Yates credits his impressive physique to intermittent fasting, which is something you may not have expected as most bodybuilders eat nonstop and swear by it. However, he has never been one to go with the masses, and this is no different. 

What do you think of Dorian Yates using intermittent fasting?

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Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.