I did know Dorian. A few years before I trained at the Temple Gym, I trained at a community centre that had a small weight room that was well equipped for that time. It was around 1987 or 1988. There was a squat rack, a Smith Machine a Leg press Machine ,a few benches, a dip station, a station where you could do triceps push downs , a few barbells, loads of plates and dumbbells that went up to 100lbs. We used to think we were in the Stone Age as far as gyms and equipment was concerned compared to America.
The atmosphere at the gym was hardworking but light hearted. You trained hard but you had a laugh as well. One day I noticed black guy and a white guy come into the gym. All I remember is that they went over to the squat rack and got prepared to do THE EXERCISE. Those days everybody squatted regardless of your strength level . The white guy was noticeable because his physique was outstanding even though he looked liked he weighed around 190lbs.You could tell he had a physique even though he was wearing a red sweatshirt. He was more serious and business like than most. That was the first time I saw Dorian train.
Fast forward to around 1990 and I had started training at Temple Gym which Dorian had recently purchased. He was so happy to own a gym never mind making his livelihood from bodybuilding.
Dorian was always friendly and had a good sense of humour but champions like him are a little different. He was obsessed with his training and Jim he always, always trained hard. I never saw him coast in a workout. Every set was carried to failure and he always did forced reps to prolong a set.
He was the first person I saw perform a full body stretching routine before a workout. No one at Temple did that back then and no one followed Dorian’s example and stretched before training.
But most of the gym members trained like Dorian, six sets per body part after doing a few warm up sets and all sets taken to failure.
But our hard training and Dorian’s hard training were worlds apart. I’ve never seen anyone train with such perfect form and concentrate on every rep like he did. His last rep of a set was the last rep he could muster. Dorian was deadly serious when he was training. No small talk or joking with the gym members between sets. He would only communicate with his training partner and it was best if the trainees kept their distance. He stopped training in the gym in the evenings when he came to international prominence.
But when he wasn’t training he was a normal guy. He was never loud, flamboyant or arrogant. You could talk to him anytime and he wouldn’t give you the brush off. He was a nice guy with a good sense of humour. When he became famous there was a lot of crap talked about him but I’d put that down to envy. He was cool, Jim.
Even before Dorian came to prominence, a lot of trainees in Birmingham, England were influenced by Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty training. I started going to train at gyms around 1983 and Heavy Duty training had really taken hold over here.
I loved training that way back then because pushing yourself in a workout really appealed to me. The guys who were training traditionally seemed to be training within themselves.
I can remember Dorian saying that if you can’t develop a good body within four years of training then you could never make it as a professional bodybuilder and if it could be proven that dog crap could assist your training efforts, then he would eat it.
Jim, I didn’t realise how privileged I was to be around the man. He was just a normal, modest guy who happened to be the best in his field at the time. Jim, looking back we didn’t realise how fortunate we were to be around him but you just got used to seeing him training and it didn’t seem a big deal. if I’d known how working out would become so widespread and popular, I would have made a career in the industry. Bodybuilding was a subculture back then and It was the thing you just loved doing. If I would’ve been good enough to enter a show that would have been heavenly but just training hard was a an abundant gift in itself.
When Dorian is back in Birmingham, I have to make it a priority to meet him again. His life has taken a turn as he is vey spiritual by all accounts but I’m sure he won’t be that much different from how he was way back. If you’re a good person, you stay a good person in my opinion.
Jim, whatever you’re doing today, have a great day.
All the Best