The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Nov. 26, 2021

Jay Cutler On Winning Mr. Olympia 4 Times, The Lessons Bodybuilding Teaches You And How To Build A Positive Mindset

Jay Cutler On Winning Mr. Olympia 4 Times, The Lessons Bodybuilding Teaches You And How To Build A Positive Mindset

Jay Cutler (@JayCutler) is a bodybuilder and known for being a four-time Mr. Olympia winner. He joins Chris Van Vliet at the Blue Wire Studios at the Wynn Las Vegas to talk about his legendary bodybuilding career, how Joe Weider became his mentor and changed his life, competing against the greats like Ronnie Coleman, Flex Wheeler and Dexter Jackson, how he became the first person in history to come back and win Mr. Olympia after losing the year before, the life lessons he learned from bodybuilding, his training schedule now, a crazy story about buying entire cows so he would have enough meat and more!

For more info on Jay Cutler visit:

On his impressive size:

“It’s funny, when I walked in you were like ‘Man look at the size of you!’ If people saw me when I was on top and 60 or 70 lbs bigger, that’s when I was really noticeable. But yeah I am still getting stopped and now I think I am more recognizable for the face.” 

On what he weighs:

“I weigh about 230 lbs, but at my peak I was over 300 lbs. I would step on stage at about 260, I’ve been 270 and 250, I’ve been all over the place. But I think my best is at the 250’s. A lot of eating, a lot of training and a lot of years, that was how I was over 300 lbs towards the end. I was 240 as a teenager, but then I cut down to 215, and gained up to about 260. That’s the thing about bodybuilding, we transition up in weight, then we deplete calories and body fat in order to get to that weight where everything shows and there is definition. You compete in a day, it’s like the Olympics, you train for that one event, and that’s it.”

On looking great but not feeling great:

“No definitely not, especially with the dehydration, that’s the hardest part. I was a 2 and a half gallon a day drinker up until just before the competition. I cut water down to the minimal, and then zero for the last 24 hours. It makes you feel very delirious.”

On where it all began:

“It’s a little different how I started. I was interested at 12 years old, I saw books on it and started working out in high school. We had challenges in school, everyone wants to bench press the most, I was the strongest kid in my school. My family has a concrete business, which my brother still owns. We did concrete basements, floors, that kind of stuff. On the weekends that was what I would do, so when I toyed with the weights, it gave me that look, and I was naturally lean. Not a lot of my family attended college, my older sister is the only other one. I wanted to go to college, at the time I was pursuing criminal justice. I didn’t want to be in the concrete business, at the time it was like I was going to eventually take over. So I did that from 11 to 18, but I knew there had to be a better way, I didn’t enjoy it. The work was hard in all weathers, and with the family business you don’t just do 8 hours a day.”

Early gym memories:

“I started college in the fall of 1991. I enrolled at Gold’s Gym on my 18th birthday. In the gym, I would train from 8 to 10 at night, because I had college during the day, and that was a huge stress relief for me. My family were like ‘Yeah you can go to college, but when you come back you will be here at the concrete business.’ I didn’t want to do that. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do criminal justice either, but when I was in the gy I didn’t really think about it. For those 2 hours I switched off, and my body just came alive. The weights came up, the arms and legs just exploded and grew like crazy. When you are that age and people start looking at you, it starts to fill your ego. I wasn’t the guy who got picked on at high school, I was popular, but still unsure in what I wanted to do. I got a coach in the gym and started to compete, and I was doing well. So when I placed 2nd in my first contest, and I was hooked.”

When Jay Cutler made it:

“When you are on the cover of a magazine, and your mom is in the grocery store aisle, because the magazine was in every grocery store… Here I was standing with a hot blonde girl, I had made it. How much money you make doesn’t matter, I didn’t get paid for the cover, but it opened up so many avenues for me. I started a small mail order company, I had one t-shirt design, signed 8 x 10 pictures, autographs… If i made $400 a week, I was rich, this was in 1993.”

On jobs before bodybuilding:

“I was working a job, but my dream was to be sponsored by Joe Weider, who was the guy who brought Arnold Schwarzenegger from Austria. I did golf course maintenance, I was a line cook and I worked security. The line cook got me a great deal on chicken and eggs, I bought 30 dozen eggs and had 20 egg whites for breakfast.”

On eating a high calorie diet:

“10,000 clean calories is very hard to get. I was on about 6,000, people love to exaggerate. I would buy a whole cow at a time, 140 lbs of chicken at a time. What is nice about living in Massachusetts is that I could go to a local butcher, see a cow hanging there and say ‘Ok I want this part as burgers, this part as steaks…’ I literally bought a whole cow at a time, that would go in one freezer, and I had a separate freezer for my chicken. All I literally did was eat, sleep and train.”

On moving to LA:

“Joe pushed me, he wanted me closer so we could shoot all year round. I moved to Orange County, California in 1999. Joe gave me a raise to move out there, and I woke up with a smile on my face every day after that. My career went from just finishing Mr Olympia in 1999, where I finished 15th out of 16. Then I moved, 6 months later I won my first show, the Night of Champions. Next year I came 8th in Mr Olympia, then the year after it was 2nd.”   

How it feels to finish 2nd in Mr. Olympia:

“It doesn’t feel bad the first time, it felt amazing, especially when I was nearly dead last the year before. But when I was 2nd more and more, I was 2nd 4 times to Ronnie Coleman, there is only one position to go to win. I was appreciative and I was respectful, but I wanted the title. It wasn’t like I was trying to beat some guy that doesn’t deserve it, Ronnie won 8 in a row. He was a great challenger, to come 2nd to him is an honor.”

On Jay Cutler's training mindset:

“I say all I do is eat, sleep and train everyday, but there is something very methodical in thinking about what we do. When I finished shoulders one day, on the ride home I was envisioning myself the next day going through my back workout the next day. I knew the rep ranges and the weights. But you mentally prepare like it’s robotic, and you zone everything else out. When I train, I am so zoned in that I don't hear the music. I was able to go into the gym and beat my body where it was enough, then go out and feed it.”  

On what the gym teaches you:

“Discipline, organisation and commitment. There’s so many things like knowing there is a workout to prepare for, meals to prepare, sleep to prepare for. You have to have your mind in that space to improve. It is such a great guideline for business and for life. The structure that bodybuilding has taught me has helped me so much outside of the gym as well as inside it. Unless you workout, have a routine and are dedicated, then you wouldn’t understand. The best part of my day is still training. I could go and see The Rolling Stones or go to a Raiders game, but I just want to go to a gym. Some people go to a bottle to get their relief, I go to the gym. It can be consuming though. I wake up and categorize my day while I do my cardio, I don’t go on social media then.” 

When it was time to step away:

“There was a guy that beat me called Phil Heath, he actually won 7 times. It’s funny, I remember seeing him at a show when he was amateur and I said ‘This guy is going to be a future Mr. Olympia.’ Some believed me, some didn’t. I ended up helping him to get paid and support his bodybuilding career. But little did I know that he would beat me [laughs]. I was the proud mentor, I was ok with him winning. I tore my bicep 3 weeks before the contest he beat me at. So I still competed, but I knew it was time to take a step back. Reviewing the pictures afterwards, I realized I can’t compete with this.”    

On what Jay Cutler is grateful for:

“My family, my health and my happiness."

Embedded image credit: Instagram