What does it take to build a champion?
What makes a champion level bodybuilder? Is it their method of training? Is it their work ethic and resolve to see meaningful improvements? Is it their attention to detail? To tell the truth, all of those elements are factors in building a champion. You can’t compete in pro bodybuilding without undergoing some manor of suffering. It’s part and parcel to the whole process. There’s a reason why the saying no pain no gain has become so popular within the community. But if becoming champion is all about work ethic and resolve then wouldn’t there be a lot more champions out there?
The easy answer to explain that away would be saying that genetics play a key role – and that’s definitely true. But mental strength and attitude is the thing that carries you through to the next level. It’s the champion’s mindset that has pushed men and women from being just normal individuals to superior athletes. You have to wonder what exactly makes the champion mindset take root. For Dorian Yates it appears to be not only his method of training but the atmosphere in which he trained.
Yates recently wrote an article for Muscular Development about the differences in training at the Mecca in Venice, California compared to training at his own Temple Gym in the U.K. The six time Mr. Olympia winner sites the fact that he didn’t have the luxury of training in a balmy, sunny climate, soaking up the rays after each training session. Instead he trained in the often murky, gray, and wet climate of Birmingham where the cold affected his body as much as it did his mind. Training in a colder climate could have been the one element that turned Yates into a champion level bodybuilder. Dealing with the rain, dealing with the uninspiring gray skies. Factors like those can make a man hard as stone. Yates states as much in the article and we have no reason to disapprove of the notion.
There’s no question that training in hot and sunny climate of California presents it’s own hurdles and is likely the reason why other bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, became such high level competitors. The more you delve into the building of the champions mindset the more you realize how much it’s like preparing a finely cooked steak. Some like a steak well done, while others prefer medium rare. It’s all a matter of perspective. Maybe training in California would’ve done Yates more harm than good. Maybe training in a climate he was accustomed to made his mind mentally sharp and focused. Creating a championship physique and mindset is like a recipe. There’s more than one way to prepare it. There’s more than one way to season it. For Dorian Yates the rainy, cold, murky weather of the U.K. was the perfect formula to make an all time great.