Bodybuilding legends Tom Platz and Dorian Yates rekindled their memories of the golden days of their bodybuilding careers during the inaugural episode of the Shadow Talk podcast.
Dorian Yates and Tom Platz are considered among the greatest bodybuilders of all time. Yates is widely regarded as one of the first mass monsters who achieved a great degree of success, winning six Mr. Olympia titles during his storied career. Yates was one of the bodybuilders that followed the high-intensity training methods.
The 61-year-old has remained active in the public sphere and he has become one of the foremost voices in the sport of bodybuilding and also runs a successful nutrition and supplement business. The six-time Mr. Olympia recently launched his podcast, Shadow Talk with Dorian Yates.
In the first episode, Yates invited legendary bodybuilder Tom Platz and discussed different aspects of the bodybuilding lifestyle and the evolution of the sport. Platz was one of the foremost bodybuilders during the Golden Era of bodybuilding.
Although he had one of the best physiques in the history of the sport, the 68-year-old had earned the monicker ‘Quadfather’ for incredible leg development. Many consider his legs to be the GOAT (Greatest of all time).
Tom Platz never won the prestigious Mr. Olympia title but he gave some of the best bodybuilders of his time a run for the money every time he stepped on the stage.
Dorian Yates And Tom Platz Discuss Evolution of Bodybuilding
“Salt water and the tans” – Tom Platz reveals his steroid dosage at the peak of his bodybuilding career
Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) have become an integral part of the bodybuilding industry to enable bodybuilders to grow beyond their natural potential. However, their use dates as far back as the 1960s. Dorian Yates pointed out that the first Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott admitted to having used Dianabol (Methandienone). Platz chimed in with his
“I’ve read Steve Reeves touched a little bit of D. I don’t know that for a fact, I don’t!”
The veteran bodybuilders discussed the increasing influence of PEDs on the bodybuilding lifestyle as Yates noted that most young people are seemingly more interested in knowing a person’s steroid cycles than their training methods or lifting techniques.
While many bodybuilders today expose themselves to dangerously high dosages of performance-enhancing drugs, Tom Platz, at the risk of sounding like a liar, revealed his steroid use at the peak of his career:
“In between contests, I would try something that was more stronger like Durabolin… I didn’t respond well to high androgens… For every Olympia, I laid in the sun for three hours a day, okay? Salt water, the tans… and it was 20 mg of Winstrol and a shot of Deca [Deca-Durabolin]… Maybe 200 milligrams a week of Deca, and that was it! That was my approach to the Olympia. It was very unsophisticated.”
“The saltwater, he beach worked for me. I got big during the off-season. I got like really quality, like [inaudible] skin.”
But with training, sunning, and a little bit of help from PEDs, diet played a crucial role.
High-carb diet catapulted Tom Platz’s physique to the next level
Platz followed a ridiculously simple diet to build incredible muscle mass where he ate 200 grams or less protein every day. The caloric intake was in the 3500 range at the start of the competition prep and slowly went down close to 2000 calories per day toward the end of the prep.
Dorian Yates, who was far bigger than Platz, had a similar method to his diet but the caloric intake was significantly higher as his massive physique demanded it:
“I just had a bit more calories because I was bigger. I’d start at around 4000 and end up around 3000 and drop the carbs to maybe 400, maybe drop down to 300.”
Back in the day, a low-carb diet was a norm but it didn’t work too well for Tom Platz and he never tried to force it upon himself to follow a low-carb or zero-carb diet. Mike Vincer convinced him to follow a high-carb diet and it worked wonders for the veteran bodybuilder:
“All of a sudden, I am bigger than ever and I’m in better shape than ever and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God!’ The year was ‘81.”
People even suspected that Platz was using Growth Hormone to make the massive leaps but it was just a high-carb diet that enabled it.
“In the UK, we were convinced that you were the growth hormone guy! Because this is from another planet,” Yates replied.
Tom Platz misses the days when the bodybuilding lifestyle was about abundance and fun
Even without the PEDs, Platz feels that the bodybuilding lifestyle has become more restrictive. He highlighted that bodybuilding encompassed a flamboyant array of activities and signified a lot more than training and diet when he was coming up:
“When I was 20, 19 or 18… If they would have told me I had to stay in my apartment and eat six to eight times a day and not talk to anybody… To me, bodybuilding was about abundance and prosperity, Arnold, the guys, the girls Corvettes and palm trees! It was great. It added to my life. It wasn’t sacrifice and pain and punishment! It was there too but it was worth it in the gym and it was not about deprivation.”
Platz enjoyed the bodybuilding lifestyle back in the day but he approached it as a business that brought prosperity into his life:
“I would go home [After workouts] and then I had to get on a phone for three, four or five hours promoting myself around the world… It was a business for me. It paid the mortgages, it did. It bought me the cars. It paid for my lifestyle and it was great.”
“Circumvent the oxygen debt” – The secret behind Tom Platz’s high-volume training
Tom Platz was known for his incredible lower body and high-volume training. But although his training methods looked easy to follow, there was a lot that went into it as he explained:
“405 of 40 to 50 reps! I mean it annihilated. I was able to delay oxygen debt. 50 reps, I put the bar back, wasn’t breathing hard yet and then I just fall on the floor… I was just able to circumvent the oxygen debt.”
Tom Platz noted that training with furious intensity to failure was originally his mentor’s mentality but it was ingrained in him as well.
“Casey Viator in the gym! I’m like, ‘Wow! That’s the way to train. When he was 18, he did 500-pound squats with 15 reps. So I’m like, ‘That’s my goal. I’m gonna do that.’ Because I know if I gradually increased slowly.”
Nothing impressive is built quickly and Tom Platz worked his way up to the legendary high-volume and high-intensity routines over many years of consistent efforts.
Killin’ it at 70! Tom Platz replicating his 1980s workout to re-live the era
Tom Platz is way past his prime and with age, things have changed quite a bit. But his passion for bodybuilding is constant and it is still an integral part of his life. The 68-year-old shed light on his current training routine and said:
“Six months into last year I was training heavy again. I was 215 pounds, I was putting it together in the gym. Just like the 1980s. It was the 1980s all over again.”
Platz has shed a few pounds since then but the purpose of his training was to push the envelope and re-live the golden days of his bodybuilding career.
“I couldn’t do the same kind of weights I did in the 1980s on squats. Everything else I pretty much could… As a 70-year-old I couldn’t do as much but once a week is all I could really do and recover. I tried twice a week and I got like, ‘Ah, I don’t want to go to the gym’. But I took a week off – train once a week – and every workout was like, ‘YEAH! LET’S GO!!’. I maintained that child-like attitude in the candy store.”
While recovery is an issue with growing age, Platz is happy that he can train to almost the same level of intensity that he did back in the day. However, he is training relatively lightly and has since undergone a few changes:
“My team told me your face looks so big when you’re 215. Now when you’re doing all the podcasts’, they advised me. It’s like running for a campaign.”
Dorian Yates cites one of the main reasons behind bodybuilders getting heart attacks
Dorian Yates lauded Tom Platz’s decision to shed the extra weight and shed light on a discussion he had with a certified doctor. According to him, one of the primary reasons for bodybuilders getting heart attacks or heart disease is the extra weight.
“Whether it’s muscle or fat, apparently, just carrying that body weight is not ideal. Especially as you get older. You can do many things when you’re young. You can do crazy stuff when you’re young and recover and have no consequences. But when you’re older, it’s not the same situation.”
“I enjoy being skinny sometimes. You can put on a soup coat from the rack and it just fits!”
The legendary bodybuilders added that having mobility, fitness, and being able to do other activities is more important than having a massive body as you get older.
“Being smaller is kind of fun too! Guys I train with are horrified at that comment,” Platz concluded.
Tom Platz and Dorian Yates have a wealth of experience on their side and listening to their thoughts and experiences will certainly be an inspiring experience for young bodybuilders looking to stamp their name on the history of the sport.
Watch the full podcast episode below: