The Evolution of Jay Cutler's Training

Jay Cutler reflects on the workouts that made him a four-time Mr. Olympia.


You started out in Massachusetts, then California, now Vegas. Did you ever find geography affected your training?

I don’t think so. I had great success in all arenas. I stayed in Vegas because I found a home here, made investments, and the Olympia has been here (since 1999). I can own a beautiful home here and save a lot on income taxes. They also have the best gyms in the world, open 24 hours a day.

What techniques or principles worked best for you?

I did a lot of things: Pilates training, kettlebell training.

You’re known for training late at night.

There were a few reasons I trained late at night. I did it to avoid the crowds. I did it to have that mindset that I’m doing what no one else is doing. And I wanted to know when my body was going to peak at its best. At the Olympia, the pre-judging and night shows are taking place at nine or 10 at night, so I always wanted to make sure I was awake to see what my body was going to look like when I had four or five meals in me. I calibrated my body to look the best at night after I had several meals. I didn’t care about a clock. I didn’t care what day it was. It was always about what I was training and how: two days on, one day off; twice a day; four times a day. I would usually go to the gym four times a day or do two cardio sessions at home and two workouts in the gym. That’s what kept me the biggest and fullest. I ate big, and I trained big. There are no shortcuts, and there are no secrets. It was just good old-fashioned hard work and dedication.


You must get a lot of young bodybuilders who come up to you for advice. What do you tell them?

I say be patient and be consistent. I tell them that the diet is the major factor because none of them eat enough, none of them eat healthy enough. They read things on the Internet, but the Internet is the best and worst thing that ever happened to our business. They’ll read online that I go and eat at In-N-Out Burger, but it wasn’t like that until I became Mr. Olympia. I needed the calories to maintain the crazy size. These kids just have to take the right road and realize there are no shortcuts. I tell them they’ve got to sleep and train and get the food in. Your body is going to function on the day’s prior nutrition, so you need to pay close attention if you intend to train as hard as you plan to.


What is your training like today?

I’m training five days a week. I get up and do a cardio session in the morning. I train once a day, a body part or two. I always tell everyone I eat half as much of the food I used to eat and lift half as much of the weights I used to train with. I’ll do fewer sets, maybe 12 to 14 or 15 instead of 20. I did T-bar rows yesterday, but I tend not to do as many T-bars or deadlifts. I am eating five or six meals still, but the portions are very small. I’ll eat five ounces of chicken where I used to eat 10 or 12; I’ll eat 50 grams of rice per meal where I used to eat 100. Same breakfast I’ve always eaten: egg whites and protein, oatmeal. Breakfast has always been my biggest meal. I have a shake after I train with some sugar, carbohydrates. I try to keep it as simple as possible. I’m still maintaining about 265 pounds, but I keep it lean.



  • Incline Dumbbell Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10
  • Dumbbell Flye SETS: 4 REPS: 10
  • Pec-Deck Flye SETS: 4 REPS: 10
  • Flat Bench Press SETS: 4 REPS: 10
  • Cable Crossover SETS: 4 REPS: 10


  • Incline Dumbbell Press* | SETS: 5 | REPS: 10-12
  • Flat Smith Machine Press | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
  • Incline Dummbell Flye | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
  • Dip | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
  • Decline Barbell Press | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
  • Dumbbell Pullover | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12
  • *Includes 2 warmup sets for 10-12 reps


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