Chet Yorton: The Natural Father of Bodybuilding

chetBorn in 1940, Chet Yorton is nicknamed "The Father of Natural Bodybuilding" and has proven to be one of the most influential characters in the sport of bodybuilding.

Yorton stumbled upon bodybuilding quite accidentally because of serious injuries he sustained in an auto accident.

After multiple surgeries and several months of being stuck in a wheelchair, Yorton discovered a set of dumbbells in the hospital and consulted his doctor about incorporating them into part of his recovery process.

Lifting the weights helped Yorton to recover to the point where he decided to continue bodybuilding training afterwards.


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In 1960 he entered his first bodybuilding competition. During the 1960's, Yorton went on win such titles as the IFBB Mr. America, the NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe, and the NABBA Pro Mr. Universe from the years 1960 to 1975.

He also earned recognition for placing higher than Arnold Schwarzenegger in a major bodybuilding competition. Chet Yorton was one of only three men in the world to ever accomplish this.

Perhaps an even more important contribution to bodybuilding that is largely credited to Chet Yorton is his stance against steroid use. In 1975 he launched one of the first official bodies to test bodybuilding competitors for the use of steroids and other drugs. This organization became known as the NBA, or the Natural Bodybuilder's Association.


Yorton disapproved of the use of steroids and desired to educate other bodybuilders about their danger and the risks associated with their use. He also started the Natural Bodybuilding magazine in 1981, which was an effort to help bring attention to the use of steroids and to promote the natural bodybuilders who did not partake in their use.

In Chet Yorton's honor, and to recognize the contributions he has made to the sport of bodybuilding, the Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders began honoring both the top female and male competitors with a new award, known as the Yorton Cup.

To this day, Chester "Chet" Yorton continues to promote natural building and express his dislike for what steroid use has done to the sport of bodybuilding. To prove his point he was still putting on posing displays well into his seventies.

Bodybuilding Career

  • 1960 Mr. Wisconsin
  • 1963 Mr. Los Angeles
  • 1964 IFBB Mr. America (2nd Tall Class)
  • 1964 AAU Mr. Los Angeles
  • 1964 AAU Mr. Pacific Coast
  • 1964 Mr. California  (3rd Place)
  • 1965 IFBB Mr. America  (2nd Tall Class)
  • 1966 IFBB Mr. America
  • 1966 NABBA Mr. Universe
  • 1975 NABBA Pro Universe (1st Tall Class)
  • 1979 WBBG Pro Mr. World  (3rd Place)