Jay Cutler was no stranger to the nutritional demands necessary of a Mr. Olympia champion. Having acquired four titles in his heyday, Cutler cemented himself as one of the best. During a special seminar in Copenhagen, Denmark, Cutler shared his insights on post-workout nutrition, discussed his 300-pound prime physique, and highlighted common food options he utilized throughout his career.
Competing in the mass monster era, Cutler was tasked with taking down the eight-time Mr. Olympia kingpin Ronnie Coleman. In 2006, Cutler pulled off the victory, having finally caught up to Coleman. Reflecting on his body of work, Cutler revealed that he bought an entire cow at a time, 150 pounds of chicken, and 30 dozen eggs to fuel his bodybuilding efforts, which he said totaled $50,000 a year.
As the only man to regain the Open Mr. Olympia title, Cutler’s sacrifices weren’t in vain. In retirement, he continues to offer fans useful pointers for building a quality physique. Cutler also revealed one of his favorite bulking meals.
Jay Cutler Talks ‘Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs,’ Refined Sugar, and Post-Workout Nutrition
Initially, at just 16 years old, Cutler was still eating donuts and pizza but his love for the gym and bodybuilding influenced his diet quickly.
“I didn’t join the gym, I actually joined the gym on my 18th birthday, at 16 dude I was eating donuts and pizza and stuff like that. I’ll be honest, I was playing football, I was trying to eat whatever I could, I was in high school eating school lunches.”
As for common food options used during his tenure, Cutler cited steak, potatoes, rice, and chicken. His favorite bulking meal always involved pasta and red sauce.
“Steak, potatoes, rice, chicken. What a terrible answer that is for you, right?” said Jay Cutler.
“Pasta and red meat [was my favorite bulking meal],” said Cutler.
“You have to have meal timing, I mentioned those harder training days the calories should be a little higher but pasta I feel, was my best to put weight on, that’s how I went to terms with it instead of bulking.”
Cutler believes pasta is ideal for adding weight and said he was never ‘afraid’ of carbohydrate intake throughout his career. He also revealed there are meaningful differences between good and bad carbohydrates.
“Putting on weight with pasta, I think you can eat a lot of it and get a good amount of carbohydrates. I’m never scared of carbohydrates. I think society has become really scared of carbs because they just don’t know what good carbs versus bad carbs are.”
When it comes to post-workout nutrition, Cutler favors whole foods over protein shakes.
“Refined sugars, those kinds of things, we might eat a little around our training but obviously as the day tapers on and the activity levels are lower, the calories should be a little more restricted but definitely around your training, dude you got to have the three meals a day, that’s what you should be most concerned about. The first meal, the meal before you train in one hour, and then within one hour after training.”
“I don’t want to hear you’re having a shake after training and that’s your meal,” added Cutler. “You need to follow it up with real food.”
Lastly, Cutler revealed he ate eight meals daily in the prime of his career, regularly consuming 1,000 grams of carbohydrates and 400 grams of protein.
“The plate of eggs would be like this, and I’d have the oatmeal, and it would take me like an hour to eat it. So seven, eight meals a day, it would take me almost an hour because it was so much food. I ate 1,000 grams of carbohydrates a day, and 400 grams of protein, I was 300 pounds. How’s that for bulking?”
Notable figures in the bodybuilding community can attest to Jay Cutler’s extreme dieting plan. Bodybuilding coach and guru Chris Aceto looked back on training Cutler at only 18 years old. Years later, in the 2000s, Aceto said Cutler was consuming a staggering 1,000 grams of carbs during contest preps and looked monstrous.
Even though Cutler’s nutrition came at a heavy cost, it paid off given his long-standing success. He no longer performs on stage but Cutler has made meal planning a top priority in retirement.