Long Before Pioneering the Mass Monster Era, a Strange Epiphany in “Jail” Led Dorian Yates to Realize He Was Meant for Bodybuilding

Published 04/19/2023, 9:30 AM EDT

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Legendary bodybuilder Dorian Yates has ruled the stage of the biggest bodybuilding contest for more than half a decade. Becoming a bodybuilder isn’t something Yates had dreamed of as a little boy. Neither was it something trending that had caught his eyes at a young age. Rather, it was something he realized he was meant to be after a trip to jail. Yates had to move towns after losing his father at the young age of 13. He had to learn to adapt to a new environment without the guidance of a father.

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With the company, he surrounded himself with afterward, Yates’ childhood wasn’t the happiest one would say. Eventually, his actions landed him 6 months of jail time. It was then the mass monster realized what he was truly meant to be. In a recent interview, the 6x Mr. Olympia has given a detailed account of how he found his way to bodybuilding.

Dorian Yates’ prison time

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Dorian Yates, also known as the first mass monster of bodybuilding, has won six consecutive titles at Mr. Olympia. It is the biggest, and the most reputed competition in the bodybuilding world. Recently, while appearing in an interview with Jay Vincent, Yates revealed what urged him to join the bodybuilding world. Yates first discovered the world of bodybuilding at the age of 16. At that time, he found it fascinating. But because of his lifestyle, he couldn’t go to the gym.

At 18, Yates had to spend six months in the Whatton Youth Detention Center. Recalling how that prison time changed his life, Yates continued, “I got myself into trouble, went to youth jail, did weights in there, and again I was like come on man this is what I should be doing. You know, not messing about, I got something here. I love this, I seem to be good at this.”

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“I Sacrificed a Lot”: 6x Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates Recalls Bodybuilding Career 26 Years After Retirement

Taking up weight training along with 100 other inmates, made Yates realize his potential. It was then he decided to pull his life back on track.

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The realization and its aftermath

Reflecting on his time behind the bars, Dorian Yates realized, “I’m stronger than everyone else. I got a better physique than everyone else. And here’s a couple of hundred guys here. So, I was determined to do bodybuilding and make something positive out of it.

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Though determined to get his life together, it wasn’t an easy road for Yates to get to his goal. Soon after he got out, Dorian Yates had nowhere to live. He again moved town in search of some housing. It took him a year to rent an apartment and start a job. Taking up a job as a security worker, Yates continued to train. Through his consistent training and dedication, Yates won his first bodybuilding title at the British Championships in 1984. Finding a ray of hope in the darkest of places motivated Dorian Yates to turn his life around. The rest, as they say, is history.

Watch this story: From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Chris Bumstead – Here Are the Top 5 Most Aesthetic Bodybuilders to Ever Compete in Mr. Olympia

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Written by:

Aaradhana Singh

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Aaradhana Singh is a sports writer at EssentiallySports, who specializes in American sports. With a background in Journalism and Mass Communication, Aaradhana has honed her craft through years of experience working as an editor and writer for various reputable publications before joining the esteemed team at EssentiallySports. As a sports enthusiast at heart, Aaradhana's passion for the industry is evident in her work.
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Edited by:

Nidhi Rana

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