Leroy Davis Interview:
Behind The Shadow
Leroy Davis should be a convicted felon. The abuse he implemented during the harrowing years '93 to '97 would be seen as an accessory to murder should the "Blood & Guts" DVD be witnessed by a grand jury. The victim of this muscle manslaughter, Dorian Yates, led a wild goose chase for six years stealing the Olympia crown from any would-be assassin claiming rightful ownership.
The accessory, Leroy Davis, who was the instigator of Yates's manifestation, still walks a free man, the man who helped free the shackled 310 lb monster from its temple dungeon.
Bodybuilding.com tracked down the fugitives to reunite the pair within the underground weights pen for an exclusive interview that would witness the two 'Birmingham Bruisers' sit together for the first time in five years.
In the freezing temperatures of the trash riddled alleyway, I waited patiently for Leroy to arrive outside the doors of Temple gym, the gym where he and Dorian hibernated for years, the underground gym where passers by could hear the harrowing screams of pain and punishment.
At 11:00 am Leroy showed up to the sacred cobbled ground that he had not visited for over five years. "This place has changed a bit, it looks even sh!ttier" he said whilst kicking the trash that riddled our surrounds. "This is what hardcore must smell like" I thought to myself.
As we awaited the arrival of the bearer of the gym entrance keys, Dorian Yates, I started to probe Leroy of memories past of when he worked and managed the cellar dungeon. "I remember that most people were too scared to come down here because we all looked like a bunch of nasty b@stards.
|DORIAN YATES CONTEST HISTORY|
The screams, grunts and yells would echo and amplify off the walls onto the street above, petrifying the guys who wanted to come down and just talk to their friends who were training. Sometimes I would go outside and there would be some fellas standing around psyching themselves up to walk in, it was real funny."
As I listened intently to the stories of the bodybuilding past, a black BMW pulled up, it was Yates. "Aright Leroy", "Alright Doz" the pair said to each other as they greeted the opposing figures that had not seen each for years. "Let's go for a coffee" Yates said to his ex sparring partner as he gave him a hug and a slap on the back.
Inside the warmth of the Starbucks coffee house, I sat back and listened intently as the two caught up on old times for several minutes. I was truly intrigued and honored to be a witness to it. After several minutes I decided to crash the party, pull out my voice recorder and allow them to elaborate.
The persecution - Bodybuilding.com.
The defendants - Leroy Davis and Dorian Yates.
[ Q ] What made you and Yates switch to HIT (High Intensity Training)?
[ A ]
Dorian was doing it before me so I kind of blended in with it. Prior to changing to this I was doing the standard 8-12 reps but with the same basic movements used with the
HIT. In the first year of decreasing my sets down to 1 down from 3, I personally progressed in a 12 lb gain in lean muscle.
[ Q ] Was Mentzer advising you both about this program?
[ A ] No. Dorian had trained with Mentzer a couple of times but everything he did in the gym he put together implemented himself. Dorian is very smart when it comes to knowing what works efficiently and what doesn't. He would experiment with different things and if it worked he would go with it.
[ Q ] Would Yates at his best beat Coleman at his best?
[ A ] Well the sad thing about this is I don't think we got to see Yates at his best, so without a doubt Yates would beat Coleman if both were at their best. Dorian's
injuries cut short a career that would've progressed immensely all of the time.
The biceps tear didn't stop him but the triceps tear stopped his further domination from transpiring. The bodybuilding world and the Olympia stage were robbed of the opportunity of seeing his rock hard condition at his massive best.
[ Q ] Do you ever regret not focusing more on your own potentially successful bodybuilding career?
[ A ] I had no aspirations to compete until Dorian had put it into my head again. I had competed once as a junior but I just enjoyed the ferocity of hardcore
When I did eventually compete at the British qualifier I walked on stage and just blew everyone away and repeated it the following year.
[ Q ] So why didn't you test the waters at the British Championship to obtain your pro-card?
[ A ] Because the dates always clashed with the Olympia. I never saw myself as ever having a bodybuilding career. I used to enjoy
dieting at the same time as Dorian but my priority as far as I was concerned was helping Dorian, and the Olympia took precedence over a possible British Championship.
[ Q ] When you travelled to the US, did you train with any other pro's?
[ A ] Yeah, I trained with
Kevin (Levrone). I can't remember a lot of the names now because it was such a long time ago.
[ Q ] How about Shawn Ray?
[ A ] No, Shawn always stayed well away from us.
[ Q ] Did the pro's train in similar fashion to you or was it quite different?
[ A ] It was very alien to us.
[ Q ] How so?
[ A ] Because to me it wasn't hardcore training. I probably trained like them when I was a
beginner. I remember sitting on one of the bikes that overlooked the first weights room in
Gold's, Venice and watching one of the top pro's doing
He would do a set of
squats, have a chat, then speak to someone else and then mosey on back in a relaxed manner for another set. I can't recall anytime that Dorian and I stopped to speak to each other during a workout in our whole five years together.
[ Q ] If this was the case, what would you devote their massive muscle gain too?
[ A ] Well, they were obviously doing something right in the beginning but once they had reached the Olympia stage, their hunger became more of a murmur than a growl. Dorian always drove harder with each year but a lot of the others seemed content with second best.
I see many physiques of then and now that have great genetic potential. Could you imagine what those guys would look like if they had the same attitude as Dorian Yates? Flex Wheeler is the first to come to mind.
If his heart and soul pursued the same training and diet as Yates all year round, his physique would be mind boggling wouldn't it?
[ Q ] What do you think was the biggest contribution to Dorian's evolution when you compare it to the competitors who stayed relatively dormant throughout their pro-career?
[ A ] Well, obviously as I've mentioned before, his intensity and aggressive attitude was second to none but what also contributed to his consistent evolution when others stood still was he never took any time off.
This is the scenario - within the six months prior to the Olympia everyone's physique is taking two steps forward through their preparation, diet, training and supplementation. They compete in the Olympia and then take time off.
It's obvious that the physique is going to start hitting the backward peddle and losing everything they had gained over the last six months, and for what? So they can start all over again? I can't digest that philosophy and I think that's why we have seen a lack in evolution of today's physique from 10 years ago.
Bodybuilding is a job and should be looked upon that way. If I took time away from my employment I would starve. I think a lot of the bodybuilders have picked this idea up from someone else and they thought to themselves "that's easy, I think I will do it as well."
As far as Doz was concerned, he would have one day off after the Olympia and then it was back to the office to start another working year. Business as usual.
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[ Q ] How does it feel to be acclaimed by many as the best training partner in history?
[ A ] I was a training partner, that's it. I was just lucky enough to be training with the best bodybuilder in the world. I have never considered myself as the world's best training partner.
I'm sure if Dorian had trained with someone else he would have achieved everything anyway. Only a freight train could have stopped Yates. I like to think that I made a contribution and it's nice that people think that way.
[ Q ] How long were you two training partners?
[ A ] 5 years.
[ Q ] What inspired you to maintain the level of intensity throughout those 5 years to drive Yates to each of his Sandow victories?
[ A ] I didn't drive Yates, he did that himself. I always liked the challenge and having Mr. Olympia as my training partner, it
motivated me to maintain the intensity.
When Mr. Olympia is screaming down your ear-hole "one more f*cking rep", believe me you find that rep and I returned the favor. I felt it was my job and duty to be there for him when needed.
To me it was second nature from the moment he walked down the gym stairs. It was my job to get out the best possible workout we could get out of every single session.
|FEATURED VIDEO: TRAINING IN THE DUNGEON|
[ Q ] Can you walk us through the procedure prior to one of your brutal training slayings? What would it involve and how long prior would it begin?
[ A ] The night before I would load up the machines and bars with the weights suited for the particular body part we were training the next day. On the drive to the gym I used to run through my head each and every exercise in order of sequence,
motivating myself to either push out one more rep or increase the weight.
We didn't have to punch walls or slap each other for motivation. The anticipation and intensity in that dungeon was enough. That dungeon environment of being locked away was perfect and it helped breed the muscle like nothing else could.
When Yates walked down those steps, we would grunt and nod our heads to each other, have a
carb drink and then it would be lights out intensity for the next 45 minutes - Blood and Guts!
[ A ] No I didn't. Dorian was stronger than I was but the main contributing factor to his injuries was that he didn't know how to lighten off the peddle as he neared the contest. Everyone said that it was the HIT that tore his muscles and tendons but it wasn't.
It was the fact that Yates' mentality was all or nothing. He was always ready way before the show and when his fat was that low, and with heavy the weights we would lug around, he was crossing a fine line of injury.
If Dorian had backed off during the last 4 or 5 weeks before a show I'm sure he would have been fine, but backing off would be against everything he lived for in the gym.
[ Q ] Were you in attendance when Yates had a visit in the gym from Kevin Horton and Peter McGough resulting in the famous '93 black and white pictures of him wearing his cute little socks?
[ A ] Yes I was there.
[ A ] The
photo shoot wasn't planned at all. We had just finished a
training session and Kevin just asked if he could snap a couple of shots.
I think Kevin realized what he had got and the importance of it straight away, and in hindsight I'm glad he had that foresight. To this day they are my favorite pictures and you can walk into gyms all around the world and see them stand the test of time.
We all new he had grown but I don't think it was as apparent until the pictures were compared to how he looked the year prior, then we all new for sure what had happened and that the 1993 Olympia was going to be a walk in the park.
When the comparative pictures were revealed in
FLEX nobody envisioned that Yates, already a mass monster, could pack on so much quality mass in one year. Everyone just freaked out.
I remember Paul Dillet and Levrone going through their own pictures looking at the gains they had made over the year and nothing matched up to what Doz had manifested within these four cold underground walls in the space of 12 months.
Dorian was never one to take his top off, but all year I could see what was happening underneath. His weight was shooting up and so was the poundage's he was lifting.
I would see him day in, day out but sometimes even my mouth would drop. Every now and again he would remove a sweaty top to put on a clean one and I would just sit there and say to myself "F*ckin Hell!"
[ Q ] Do you still follow the sport?
[ A ] Obviously not as much, but when I go shopping with the wife I still pick up the
magazine hoping to see a picture of my friend
Ernie (Taylor) and I will always read his column (in the British edition of
FLEX). I know who the up and comers are and who's at the top of the tree but that's about it really.
[ Q ] Many bodybuilders seem to be making comebacks well into their 40's and doing very well. Do you feel that this is because there has been a lack in the sports evolution or bodybuilding is becoming an older mans sport?
[ A ] I think it boils down to the individuals out there. They don't want it bad enough and many of the bodybuilders are becoming soft and settling for second best, and that to me is a bloody crime. Its down to the bodybuilder's attitude isn't it? They aren't pushing themselves enough.
You were talking to me about gurus earlier, what do gurus know what a bodybuilder is going through if they aren't going through it themselves. Personally I have gone through the dieting process, I know when to cut back, I know when to push through pain barriers and I feel I know what I am talking about.
Do I feel qualified to tell someone else what to do? No! If someone is prepared to listen, I have a little advice but that doesn't make me an expert and certainly doesn't make me a guru.
What makes a person a guru anyway? I can't blame the guru because there are people out there to pay for them, but this is something that I can't get my head around and I'm sure if you asked Doz he would say the same thing.
I guess it's a Hollywood trend, but I can tell you that there are no shortcuts and no secrets, the answers are in the gym, in the diet, in the rest and in the supplements. They have all the answers.
I find it bazaar. If anyone with lots of money wants a guru and wants to ask me questions they have already got the answers to, I'll help you. The pictures in the magazines tell a great story, that story tells me is that most of them just aren't disciplined.
Don't get me wrong, there are some great physiques out there but I don't see many of the deep dry striations that I was used to seeing over 10 years ago.
[ A ] From looking at the pictures, yes. Jay was denser and harder where as it seemed to me that Ronnie had already made up his mind that he wasn't going to win and he showed up nowhere near his best.
[ Q ] If Yates made a comeback would he be successful?
[ A ] I think he would because he has the attitude and I'm sure he would have a massive following again to cheer him on, but due to his
injuries I don't think that could happen. As I mentioned before, Yates is all or nothing, he would not settle for second best.
Questions For Dorian Yates From Fans On The Web Forum
[ A ] No comment.
[ Q ] Why?
[ A ] It's not for me to say is it? It's up to the judges, it's up to the fans and it's hard to say because we never stood next to each other looking like that. I don't know mate. Your not going to get anything out of me on that. Next question.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Dorian Yates From The 1994 British Grand Prix
& Ronnie Coleman From The 1998 Olympia.
[ Q ] What made you switch to high intensity training?
[ A ] I never switched to it, I had always done it. I did a lot of reading when I started. I read much of
Arthur Jones' material along with a lot from
Mike Mentzer and various other articles. I experimented, listened to my body and refined it for Dorian Yates.
After I won my first Mr. Olympia I trained with Mentzer a couple of times and picked up a couple of tips but nobody was ever my trainer, I worked it all out for myself.
[ Q ] Did Leroy contribute to your Sandow Victories?
[ A ] In a sense yes, he was a really good
training partner. I think in order to be successful you shouldn't have to rely on other people for
motivation but obviously it was great to have someone like Leroy that enjoyed the physicality and the challenge of heavy intense training.
Because we both had that particular energy, we got a buzz off it. But to be a real champion it shouldn't be a deciding factor.
|FEATURED VIDEO: DORIAN YATES TRIBUTE|
[ Q ] How did you motivate yourself prior to entering Temple Gym?
[ A ] I used to do half an hour of visualization. I would sit down and go over the last workout I had written down and visualize what I wanted to achieve that day, how many reps, how much weight, and I could even see myself doing the exercise wearing a particular color shirt, so I was extremely psyched up before I left home.
When we got to the gym there wasn't any talking because we knew what we were going to do so we just moved through the workout. The extent of the conversation was "put some more weight on."
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[ A ] Leroy improved a hell of a lot from the time he started training with me but he obviously didn't have the same
genes as me. Everybody would have improved but it would be within the individual's boundaries.
There is a lot more to being a champion than diet, supplementation and training, a lot is due to the individuals genetics. I'm just lucky that I am a superior human being to the rest of you mortals (laughs).