Bolo Yeung is a famous Asian actor who played notorious villains in movies such as: Enter the Dragon, Bloodsport and Double Impact; starring alongside Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The ‘Beast from the East' is one of cinema's most iconic baddies, combining martial arts with monster muscularity. Most bodybuilders would love to have a body like Bolo Yeung in the offseason.
Huge pecs, monster traps and jacked arms…of which gym rats are still ‘mirin today. One of the reasons Bolo's physique looked so good is because he had very good proportions; a herculean chest matched with huge biceps is always going to be a recipe for success. He looked similar to what Arnold Schwarzenegger did in the 70's, but at a higher body fat percentage.
Bolo created a fierce presence on screen by breaking necks, crushing skulls and doing his famous pec dance before destroying his opponents.
It's fair to say that if you were under the age of 10 whilst watching a Bolo Yeung film, there's a high chance you were soiling in your pants. Bolo will always be remembered for being one of the baddest dudes in Hollywood.
Having ripped six pack abs is pretty awesome; however Bolo's a prime example of how putting on a bit of fat and looking huge in the off-season, also has its place in bodybuilding. Bolo Yeung might not have had aesthetics…but he certainly had MASSthetics.
He developed a great passion for bodybuilding from a young age and was crowned Mr Hong Kong in 1970. With bodybuilding enhancing Bolo's reputation in Asia, Bruce Lee soon became aware of who he was. Just 3 years after becoming Mr Hong Kong, Bruce casted him to play the main henchman in Enter the Dragon.
Fact: Bolo's real name is Yang Sze, but he later changed it to ‘Bolo', naming himself after the role he played in Enter the Dragon.
40 years on people still wonder whether Bolo Yeung is natural or whether he's taken steroids to get jacked.
Lets have a look at the evidence.
Is Bolo Yeung on Steroids?
One of the quickest ways to tell if someone's on steroids or not is to analyse their body composition.
If they've got cannonballs for shoulders, insane vascularity, gyno, cobra-like traps or their abs are incredibly dry all year round…you know there's a good chance they're on something.
Sometimes bodybuilders will have one or more of these steroid symptoms which will give them away.
Bolo Yeung doesn't have any of these side effects. His skin is pretty smooth/natural looking and although his chest huge and his traps are well developed, there's nothing artificial looking about him.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, meaning it's possible to be taking steroids and not have any obvious visual symptoms. Thus, a more accurate way of telling whether someone's juicing is by looking at their ‘gains timeline'.
The best and most reliable way to find out if someone is taking steroids is to compile pictures of their progress over the years. A steroid-user's muscles grow when they first start lifting weights (like everyone else). Then they'll stay the same size for a while…then all of a sudden their muscles will blow up out of the blue.
Whereas a natural bodybuilder who's genetically gifted will typically be in good shape before they even set foot in the gym. Then once they start lifting weights they'll put on a significant amount of size, and then plateau…struggling to put on size thereafter.
It was very difficult finding photos of Bolo Yeung when he was younger to compare his progress over the years. However, we can see what he looked like in films like Enter the Dragon (over 40 years ago), in contrast to what he looks like today.
Steroid-users will generally fluctuate a lot over the course of several years. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger was at his biggest in 1974 when he admitted to taking steroids; helping him win the most prestigious contest in bodybuilding – the Mr Olympia.
However, after he initially retired from bodybuilding in 1975, he shrunk significantly in 1 year.
Although he still looked jacked compared to the average bodybuilder, he continued to get considerably smaller in each of his action movies.
This muscle shrinkage is inevitable when you come off steroids, as testosterone levels will become suppressed and your body begins to shift into a catabolic (muscle-wasting) state.
So, if a person roughly stays the same size long into old age (as Van Damme has done), this is a strong sign that this person is natural. So, has Bolo kept his huge size or has he shrunk like Arnie?
Bolo Yeung Now
Here's 2 pictures of Bolo appearing in the film Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter, 34 years on from Enter the Dragon.
As you can see, Bolo looks more or less the size here (aged 61), to what he looked like in his prime in Enter the Dragon, aged 27.
The fact he's kept a large portion of his mass over the years is a strong sign that he hasn't taken or relied on steroids to build huge amounts of muscle. Thus, as a natural, it would've been relatively easy for him to keep this size, as all he'd have to do is continue going to the gym and lifting weights on a regular basis.
Here's another picture of Bolo Yeung, which was uploaded to Facebook recently this year (2017) via one of his most popular fan pages. This is thought to be a recent image of him.
Judging by the bald spot at the top of his head, this could confirm it being a recent picture.
Look at the size of his arms for crying out loud.
This looks to be a case of strong Asian genetics. He's got no steroid symptoms that you can see from his body AND he's still jacked well into his 60's. This would be unheard of if he'd taken steroids as he would've inevitably shrunk post-cycle. Some could say ‘He could still be juicing now'.
This wouldn't make sense as there'd be no motivation to take steroids during a period where his career is practically over. Plus if you were taking steroids for 40/50 years straight, you'd almost certainly be dead by now…or at least have some visual symptoms of steroid-use.
Now we know that Bolo is natural…can you imagine what he'd look like if he did take steroids? Absolute beast mode. Although, I'm pretty sure he doesn't need any extra testosterone…otherwise he'd probably end up breaking his wife during love-making sessions.
It seems only right to end this article with a classic clip of Bolo taking on the muscles from Brussels himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme; in this epic fight scene from Bloodsport. Enjoy!