Diced Physique Competitor Damion Yates Talks To Muscle & Strength

Damion Yates
Quick Stats
  • Damion Yates
  • Tucson, AZ
  • 28
  • 6’1”
  • NPC Men's Physique
  • 8
  • 185 lbs
  • 210-215 lbs
Want to get diced and jacked? In this interview natural physique freak Damion Yates tells you how to eat and train to look your best.

What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with fitness and building muscle?

All through Jr. High and High School I ran track. I’ve always had an insane addiction to the gym. I remember my senior year I participated in the “Bigger Stronger Faster” program. This had me lifting heavy at 0430 in the morning before school. I loved it though and it paid off as I had a pretty good track season that year.

I recorded a 10.5 second 100 meter dash, and at 175lbs, I was one of the strongest squatters in my school with a 405lb squat. I was also repping 405 on deadlift.

Damion Yates

Who were your heroes growing up and how did they help inspire you to get involved with lifting?

This is easily my mother. I was raised in a single parent household and my mother raised 4 of us by herself. I saw her give up a lot of the luxuries in life to really focus on what was most important to her, which were her kids. She taught me so many life lessons and about how hard life would be but I had to keep going.

I remember thinking “Damn mom ok, I’ve heard this before”. But now that I look back, she gave me the most important lessons to live by. Even to this day when I’m down and out I can always look to her for support and guidance.

Damion YatesWhat are your future goals, dreams and plans?

I want to be competitive in the Men’s physique division. I think this division is tailor fitted for a physique like mine. I want to make a national level competition and after that, who knows, we will see.

What does your current training and split look like, and what do you like most about it?

I’m in the gym 4-5 times a week. I don’t follow a set routine or split. Lately my routine has been arms, chest and shoulders, legs, back and lats, full body. I don’t always take the same days off either. I listen to my body and if I need a day, I will take a day.

I go really heavy on my compound movements for more sets but less reps; for example on heavy rows I might go with 6 sets of 3-5 reps.

For my isolation movements I do a lot of super or giant sets as I feel it gives me a much better pump and helps to save on time.

I have run a lot of routines over the years. And the way thing they have all taught me is that everything works. I took all that I’ve learned and I’m always attacking my body from different angles. This week I might do back squat; next week I will do box squat. Hell last week I super-setted deadlift and squat (hell-of-a workout).

I like Bruce Lee’s quote when he said “Learn it all, then forget it all”. This quote has really applied to my training. I pretty much have an arsenal of exercises and variations to attack my body with.

How often do you perform cardio?

I do a lot of cardio. I love biking and I eventually want to get into mountain biking as soon as it cools down a bit (It’s hot in Arizona). I also do a lot of sprints and plyometrics. I do cardio almost every day, especially since I find biking to be very low impact.

I believe cardio to be essential to maintain a great overall level of fitness. A lot of bodybuilders get into the routine of just lifting heavy and really neglect the importance of cardio. Being in the military, I can’t do that as half of our physical fitness assessment graded on our cardio endurance.

Damion Yates

What are your favorite muscle building exercises and why?

  1. Squat: King of exercises for a reason. Nothing like having a quarter ton on your back.
  2. Deadlift: Highly debated against squat as the best overall exercise. If done properly this movement puts stress on nearly all the major muscle groups on your body and does wonders to build a much thicker back.
  3. Flat Dumbbell Press: I prefer dumbbells over barbell as I feel it targets my chest a lot better and has really helped me to fill it out.
  4. Lunges: They hurt so good if done properly and are truly dishearting to think about just after finishing up squat. But what they do for your overall leg development amazing.
  5. Barbell Shrugs: So simple yet this movement has done wonders for my traps. I include this in almost every shoulder workout.

Damion YatesWhat are your thoughts on cycles of bulking and cutting?

I always tell people to do one or the other. If you’re new to the gym, you will experience “noob” gains in muscle as well as losing fat at the same time. People have to understand that once this newbie period is over (about 6 months if you’re not horribly out of shape); you will have to focus on building muscle or cutting fat. To try and do both will lead to diminishing gains.

What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?

White chocolate macadamia nut cookies. It's game over if I see them. When cutting I avoid them like the plague as I can't eat just one. No, I need at least a half a dozen if not more.

I also love Mexican food, carne asada is my favorite. I make most of my cheat meals homemade so I don’t get fast food a lot. If I’m going to have a cheat meal, I’m going to make it worth it.

What are some of your best diet, nutrition and supplementation tips for someone who wants to look good and get ripped?

Diet is going to be the primary thing that holds most people back from getting the abs they want. If you just want to look good, pick about 2 months out of the year (preferably around no birthdays or major holidays) and really look to get your diet in check. A lot of people I know are already busting their ass in the gym, but it’s their diet that is really holding them back from leaning out. Transforming your body is the hard part. It takes time and dedication, and as long as you’re still eating somewhat healthy and working out 4-5 days a week, it’s fairly easy to maintain a good beach body even if you do engage in social drinking from time to time.

What are some of the biggest training mistakes you’ve made?

Believing the hype about you should only stick to free weights and never use machines. I find that machine weights allow me to better isolate the muscle group I’m training. I still do all my primary heavy movements with free weights, but I find myself using machines more and more.

Damion Yates

What are some of your favorite supplements and why?

Hydrowhey by Optimum Nutrition. I also like the multi-vitamin made by them. Sci-Fit Kre-alkalyn. I sometimes take a N.O. product if I need a boost. I normally used Jack3d 3D.

Workout music - which groups/music styles are on your playlist?

I don’t listen to a lot of stuff from today; I probably couldn’t even tell you what the hottest songs out right now are. I’m an old school guy. I got a lot of 90’s R&B and Rap on my MP3. I got a lot of underground stuff also. Master P’s “Bout it Bout” is my go to song when I’m going for a PR on a lift.

Damion YatesIf someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?

My email is: yatesfitnessforever@gmail.com.

I just created my webpage here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Yates-fitness-forever/139831792776113

Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?

I’m a nerd. I like to mess around with computers and video games. I also read a lot of books and I LOVE COMIC books.

Which college or professional sports teams do you root for?

I’m a rabid Cowboys fan. Come at me America.

Posted on: Fri, 10/25/2013 - 11:15

Damion, Thanks for using the images

William Barclay
Posted on: Thu, 10/20/2011 - 15:32

I just stumbled across you article here and yes I read ever word you wrote. Good write up and so true. The main things are dedication, determination, and consistency. Once you have all of those there's no limit to what you can achieve in the gym.