If you’re someone who follows the sport of bodybuilding, you know who Dorian is. Step foot into that scary gym, and see just how the Shadow trained.
Is Dorian Yates’ Blood and Guts Program going to be any good, has HIIT run its course, and can any normal human even survive?
Let’s see what’s what.
Table of Contents
About the Creator – Dorian Yates
As mentioned before, Dorian was a prolific bodybuilder back in the 80s and 90s. Known as the first “mass monster,” he ushered in a new era of bodybuilding – an era of freaks.
Dorian is world famous for his super high-intensity training style, even as little as one set per exercise, granted you push yourself hard enough.
This, unfortunately, also led to a lot of injuries. However, Dorian still racked up some impressive feats during his career, such as:
- 6x Mr. Olympia titles (that’s just one shy of the legend himself – Arnold Schwarzenegger)
- 4x English Grand Prix 1st places
- Published his own autobiography in 2013 called Blood and Guts
It’s hard to portray the significance Dorian had on the world of fitness and bodybuilding. However, just like the man himself, it can be easily summarized as “massive.”
Dorian retired in 1997 after winning a staggering number of shows and is now on a course to teach individuals how to train and which pitfalls to avoid in life and bodybuilding.
Programs from other trainers – like Tom Fuller’s HRT: Animal Hellraiser – also borrow Dorian’s training style as inspiration, extending his legacy even further.
Dorian Yates’ Blood and Guts Overview
The Blood and Guts program is apparently summarized by one phrase – HIT. Not HIIT, but HIT – high-intensity training. This is the type of training that’ll make you grunt, that’ll leave you wrecked, and certainly is not for everyone.
Believe me … I’ve tried.
- Fitness level: Advanced
- Duration: 6 Weeks
- Workouts per week: 5 workouts per week
- Average workout duration: 60 minutes
- Equipment needed: Full gym
- Goal: Build muscle
Training with a former Mr. Olympia requires a certain amount of guts and also a certain amount of “mess around and find out.” These guys lifted for a living, so be prepared.
Training is going to be immensely taxing and intense but remarkably low in volume. You’ll train muscles once per week, and the whole process only lasts 6 weeks.
Blood & Guts Details
The Blood and Guts training approach is going to be something new. We often read something like 4 sets of 10 -12 reps, and those are decent programs. This plan, on the other hand, has you doing one single set, but you’ll reach failure.
What does that even mean? Well, in training, we typically use either an RIR or RPE scale to measure how hard a particular set was.
- RIR: Reps in Reserve simply refers to how many reps you had in you before you could not do another. 7 RIR means you had seven left, while 1 RIR means you only had one more rep in you.
- RPE: Rate of Perceived Exertion is the opposite, referring to how hard a set was. RPE 5 means you had 5 reps before you failed, and RPE 10 means that set almost killed you.
This whole program is going to be 0 RIR or RPE 10. Yup, every single set will take you to your absolute limit.
This may sound absurd and like something that no one should be able to recover from. Just a quick reminder: the first training day has 5 working sets. Yes, only 5.
So, Very Low Volume?
Extremely low. This was the whole training approach for some back in the 90s, and it’s making a comeback in the modern world.
There are a lot of discussions about which is better for hypertrophy: volume or intensity. The reality is, you’re only getting the latter with Blood and Guts, so you better make it count.
That said, you’ll also use a few intensifiers such as:
- Forced Reps: When someone physically helps you push the weight up, and you simply control it down.
- Rest-Pause: You might take a set to failure, set the weights down, and take it to failure once again.
Eat Like an Olympian
As you might expect, you will get nutrition and supplementation guides. Dorian summarizes his nutrition approach in a few rules:
- Protein: 1.5 grams per pound of body weight daily
- Carbs: 1.5-2 times the number of grams of protein you eat
- Fats: As low as possible
This diet might be applicable to some but does need refining.
2 Blood & Guts Program Pros
- It’s extreme: If you like pushing yourself to the limit and actually beating your numbers in the gym, this program is ideal for you.
- It’s short: This 6-week plan is sure to help you gain some size.
2 Blood & Guts Program Cons
- It’s too short: Hypertrophy takes a long time, and 6 weeks of overloading the muscles simply aren’t enough. You’ll have to repeat this plan.
- It lacks proper nutrition: While I can forgive the author for not knowing Dorian’s specific plan, this isn’t a good nutrition guide. Vital information is missing, and you should never replicate an athlete’s diet – because you aren’t said athlete.
Dorian Yates’ Blood and Guts Program – Final Thoughts
As I mentioned before, I actually did follow this plan a few years ago. It was a lot of fun, but, man, it was taxing. This certainly isn’t the type of plan for someone who’s going to be prone to making excuses or looking for a “fun and engaging” training plan.
As his nickname suggests, Shadow’s workout routine is cold and hard. It’s brutal, and it’s hard not to be nervous about upcoming workouts due to the pain that they bring.
If you’re a bodybuilder, we both know the Blood and Guts Program can and does work – 4.5 / 5. However, for gen pop, this plan is simply not going to be fun or sustainable and will most likely end up in injury. If you’re a beginner or only looking to train for health reasons, there are better options out there.
Rating: 3.0 out of 5