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Dr-David-Banner

Dorian Yates (Then And Now)

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Dr-David-Banner

Found this video on Dorian Yates last night. Kind of comforting! I haven't pumped iron now for some years so all the muscle I used to carry has vanished. Even world champion Dorian Yates has returned to normality here. Of course, the idea it "turns to fat" is a myth. Muscle appears when your body is "forced" to acquire it through stress and then it disappears gradually when you stop the exercise load.

I remember Dorian form the 1990s when he dominated the Mr Olympia. At that level, the champs would be training very intensively as well as taking "stacks" of steroids. In the Schwarzenegger era, steroids boiled down to standard Dianabol or Primabolan but by Dorian's day they were using HGH and much more.

Anyway, the other point: Bodybuilding always attracted "oddballs". I can think of one bodybuilder in the Pumping Iron movie who probably had mild Asperger's. That was Mike Katz. In the movie he was portrayed as a sort of loser which is made known to us at first by Mike recounting his childhood and sharing the other kids stole his bike and made fun of him. More to the point, he shares that as a pro footballer, he would get so mad at dances or social gatherings, he'd take off on his own and "go work out". He also got really mad on the pitch and played aggressively. After injury, Mike turned to bodybuilding but, even then, there were gyms where he was not accepted by the others and forced to leave.
Other than Mike, Lou Ferrigno had some issues as well. In Lou's case, bullying was provoked by his being deaf which created learning difficulties. He was teased so much and bullied, he took up bodybuilding and beefed up to about 280 pounds at six foot five. Lou was never autistic but he was indeed a misfit.

Finally, Mike Mentzer - a highly intellectual former med student who took up bodybuilding. Mike was applying science and biology/physiology to sports but it does seem he was bipolar. A highly articulate and interesting individual, he ended up for a brief period in a mental hospital after a breakdown.

Thoughts on bodybuilding? It was basically my first reaction to being HFA. A very simple solution - to work out, beef up and intimidate others by being stronger and physically more powerful. It was like covering up a crack with wallpaper but these days I figure it can be an anger reaction and an "I'll show them!" solution. I guess too you can get stuck in a blame cycle where pretty much "everybody" is the enemy and everybody to blame for your messed up schooldays. It took many years to figure out how people work psychologically and tribally - that they tend to exclude and even mock those who are different, be they deaf (like Louis) or physically clumsy and awkward like Mike Katz.

Bodybuilders don't usually live that long and, to be honest, the rigours of the gym were causing me ever more pain. Sore hips (now O.K.) and painful knees. Back started to ache as I aged. Hopefully my hear it O.K. and I never did do steroids but already one former training partner had a heart attack in later life. Another died at just 60.

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Dr-David-Banner

In the pic below, to the far right is Robby Robinson whom I met at a competition some years back. It was in Blackpool and Robby didn't look really so huge in his tracksuit. On stage, however, Robby was like carved rock, muscles in perfect proportion.

In the middle is Arnold Schwarzenegger and to his left, Ed Corney who I did chat to once online. He was telling me about the Pumping Iron sequence where he and Arnold were training together. Ed felt regular employment was too hard going for someone in serious training so he made an income as a doorman.

Not many bodybuilders worked if the truth be known. They just trained and tanned on the beach and even slept in cars. Not only that but some made money underground as escorts for wealthy women. Neither was there any money in the sport in the 1970s.

robby-robinson12.jpg

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Dr-David-Banner

Here, how Dorian Yates looked at his peak. Then how he is today.

DY.png

DYt.png

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Ben

I was always an admirer of Ken Waller's physique; I think he had it just right - everything was in perfect proportion and his symmetry was from another universe.

Surge was also phenomenal during his prime - possibly a few percent better than Arnold. (In my opinion.)

 

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Dr-David-Banner

Ken appeared in King Of The Beach - one episode of The Incredible Hulk. I was told Ken in real life is far from the showoff he was portrayed as in Pumping Iron. He eventually just packed in training. Serge Nubret I think died around age 70 and on one forum he shared how he felt the IFBB was corrupt. Bertil Fox I did meet face to face. Had a kind of Jamaican accent and huge in a  leather jacket. He posed with Robby Robinson on stage. Danny Padilla I once interviewed online but was very annoyed how Danny got disrespected simply due to being just 5/2. He has bench pressed 490 which was close to Franco Columbo! Anyway, bodybuilding back then was this underground fraternity and it was very individualistic. Its minority status appealed to me. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Memorable quote from Ken Waller: "Mike Katz is good but he lacks too many things. His thighs are too big for his calves. His arms aren't big enough to match his chest."

Oh, and I know someone who trained with Serge. Light weights and 20 reps on bench press per set. A real volume trainer. On bad terms with the IFBB. Did the odd movie in France.

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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Ben

Mike Katz had a very odd physique. He was a mass monster, but didn't have the symmetry or the proportions that others in his class did.

Richard Gsaspari was another one I liked, he came along a bit later though. Would have been interesting to see how he would have stacked up against the Pumping Iron crew.  

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Dr-David-Banner

Here is a more recent pic of Mike Katz with Dave Draper. This is maybe seven years ago.

Here, I give you something to ponder. It is what often came to my mind when remembering my bodybuilding obsession: Well, it is the longevity aspect of the sport. It seems the more sensible bodybuilders like Serge Nubret and Sergio Oliva made 70 years of age. Many others, however, don't seem to be living as long as that. I sometimes wonder whether Dorian Yates will manage to live to his seventies, despite the huge stresses he endured to win several Mr Olympia contests. Premature deaths that shocked me were, above all, Mike and Ray Mentzer, especially given I was a huge fan of Mentzer and his teaching. Another shock was the death of Casey Viator only aged about 60. Of course, it is not always so gloomy. Ed Corney is still doing fine as is Frank Zane.

One point on the health issue that was being debated a lot when I was on the Draper forum years ago, was the cardiovascular aspect. It was suggested bodybuilders in the 1970s weren't doing cardio. If one adds, say, 40 pounds of muscle, that's a substantial increase on demand of the cardiovascular system.

If I decide to take steps to get into better shape again, I think the wisdom of the years will steer me along a different path more centred on health.

 

dave-and-mike-katz.jpg

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Dr-David-Banner

 

This was taken maybe two or three years before Mike Mentzer died. He had apparently suffered some serious mental health problems but bounced back to initiate personal training programs. I always identified a lot with Mentzer as I respected his intellectual approach to the sport and his recommendations the sport should be "balanced" with education and development of the self. Mike stated once that, had he had his young years again, he'd have concentrated more on his academic career, I had to agree. For me too, there was a time when I lived in the gym but exercised my mind far less.

Again too, the point about genetics Mentzer often made. My own genetics were really not that brilliant. I did have huge quads with all the squatting but that made my pretty pathetic calves look kind of laughable. I also struggled with a thick waste somehow. Or, I seemed to lack definition. Steroids sure would have made a difference but I never decided to take the plunge.

 

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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