25 Tips for Greatness

4x Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler shares his top training & diet advice!


Cutler won his class at the 1993 NPC Teenage Nationals but lost the overall to Branch Warren. Back then, he kept a log book so detailed he noted not just every rep and every calorie, but even the timing of bathroom breaks! He’d stopped logging by the time he turned pro, but has continued to carefully analyze his workouts and meals.


Don’t ask Cutler for scary workout stories. He doesn’t have any reminiscences about 30 continuous sets of squats or giant set circuits that kept him hovering around a trash can, revisiting his protein. He never supersetted bi’s and tri’s until he couldn’t scratch his own head. He sticks to his training program, and that program has never included all-shock workouts from hell.


He learned what foot placements will stress various areas of his legs, what grips will best target sections of his upper body, and which exercises are most effective for his particular physique. Then he employs that knowledge to hit each body part from a variety of angles, with a particular emphasis on what he most wants to accentuate.


Where are the photos of a fat Jay Cutler? Where are the shots of a “front butt,” or a doughy face as round as Charlie Brown’s? Don’t bother Googling. You won’t find any. Throughout his pro career, he’s always stayed within striking distance of stage shape. Fat is bad for business. Year-round cardio has kept the wrong sort of pounds from sticking, and that, in turn, has allowed him to better monitor his progress and more effectively diet down to excavate the fine lines.


He has a rough outline for how each workout will progress, but doesn’t follow a detailed script. Instead, he analyzes how his muscles are responding and chooses his tools accordingly. Often, he will pause mid-workout so he and his training partner(s) can review how many exercises he’s done and what he should do next. Every workout is a work in progress.


He doesn’t do any elaborate psych-ups before sets. He doesn’t scowl or stomp around the gym. Instead, he’s frequently smiling and joking with partners between sets. Jay Cutler takes bodybuilding very seriously—as a competitive pursuit, a lifestyle, and a business—but he also has fun. He never forgets how lucky he is to make an excellent living from something he loves so much. – FLEX

More about: