Bodybuilding legend Jay Cutler made a name for himself in the sport largely due to prioritizing health and adhering to a proper diet throughout his career. In a recent video on his YouTube channel, Cutler examined bulking versus lean diets and shared which one he prefers.
Cuter amassed four separate Olympia titles during his time competing as an IFBB Pro bodybuilder (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010). Jay was tasked with facing some of the sport’s most successful athletes, like eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, and seven-time Olympia winner Phil Heath.
The retired pro has talked about the sacrifices he’s made to stand against Coleman during his dominant title reign. Cutler and Coleman made up one of bodybuilding’s greatest rivalries, which ultimately saw Cutler dethrone “The King” in 2006.
The Massachusetts native addressed his prep in a comprehensive manner, ensuring that his diet, cycles and training reflected that of a world-class athlete. Cutler said he was forced to ‘separate himself from society’ and put his mind in a ‘dark place’ to keep up with Coleman. Dieting for Cutler played a critical role in his development as a bodybuilder and his overall health.
During his time competing in the Open class, Cutler packed on quality muscle mass by eating a whopping 140 egg whites a day. The 48-year-old is confident these measures are what helped him create one of the most dominant physiques in the sport’s history.
While he only eats around 20 egg whites a day in retirement, Cutler hasn’t forgotten the importance of nutrition. Whether it’s a matter of losing weight or gaining muscle, he favors health above all else.
Jay Cutler Shares ‘Honest’ Opinion on Bulking vs. Lean Bulk: ‘Today’s Society Wants to Be Leaner’
During an episode of Jay Walking on Cutler’s YouTube channel, the bodybuilding legend said most people are looking to lose weight instead of packing on muscle. He believes people have changed from wanting to be bigger to favoring a leaner, lighter body weight.
“The biggest question I get is overcoming challenges, setting goals, how to prioritize, how to stay motivated because they want to build muscle and they want to lose body fat at the same time, can you do this? Yes.” Jay Cutler said. “Everyone’s body is different so it’s hard for someone to coach someone exactly because they have their own ways.”
There have been an alarming number of deaths in the sport of bodybuilding lately. The concerning trend got the attention of bodybuilding icon and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He believes athletes are pushing too much gear/food and holding on to more weight than their bodies can handle. The seven-time Mr. Olympia winner went so far as to suggest that bodybuilding is ‘the most dangerous sport’ in the world and ‘sometimes’ kills people.
According to Cutler, people and athletes are ‘scared’ to get bigger and many are focusing on cultivating lighter and leaner physiques. Despite that fact, Cutler believes the Open class outshines all other bodybuilding divisions in terms of excitement and popularity.
“I think it’s better now in today’s society, they want to be a lot leaner. They’re scared to be bigger. I think big is kind of out. I’m not sure what you think. Cutler explained. “I don’t know if it’s in, because Open is still the king. Open is still the king. It’s just that the road to get there is much longer. I don’t know if it’s harder.”
During his lengthy career, Jay says most athletes were far more concerned with getting bigger than today’s bodybuilders. As of late, Cutler says most people contacting him for diet advice are looking to lose weight.
“Back in my early era with bodybuilding, everyone wanted to get bigger. Bigger was like… I think people still want to get bigger somewhat, but people were always trying to get bigger. It was less to me weight loss people and now it seems like, coming from the Houston Expo last weekend, all the messages I get through Facebook and Instagram and on e-mails and stuff, most everyone wants to lose weight.”
Cutler mentioned he gets a lot of weight loss requests even though his job as Mr. Olympia was to acquire and maintain as much muscle mass as possible. He clarified that he’s familiar with a number of different diets used to lose/gain weight.
“Most of everyone wants to lose weight now. I always thought, ‘man, I can’t believe people come to me’ because they watched me transform into Mr. Olympia. Obviously, I know diet approaches, I’ve done a million different diets. Whether it’s low card, high carb, moderate carb, zigzag dieting. I never necessarily did Keto because it didn’t seem to work for me.”
Cutler on Diets: “Go Chase the Lean Physique”
Jay believes nutrition ‘education is just not there’ for the younger generation. In addition, he said people should generally try to focus on leaner diets and losing weight.
“The requests that come in are crazy, the weight challenges for people. It just sucks because the education is just not there for the younger generation. Like, okay this is how you should eat. You know, like a physical education class. But nutrition should be taught over and over in my opinion to kind of pound it into people’s heads.”
“Diets are a life saver, right? People are just challenged man and they can’t stay on the program. I think having an end goal… people that want to set a certain timeframe, and I always say at least four months right. Obviously, people that are extremely overweight will have to diet for a longer time.”
Jay Cutler believes diet specificity depends on what goals a person has on the horizon.
“What’s the goal though? Is it bulking or is it getting lean? I mean, everyone’s goal is different. Cutler explained. “Bulking or being lean? I’ll compare the two pictures of like me bulking, which is a fake picture by the way, and then, me being lean.”
Even if you’re practicing bodybuilding, Jay says to ‘chase the lean physique’ and tone down before adding extra food or training to build a bigger body.
“I’m suggesting right now, go chase the lean physique. If I was to train someone, and they were bulky, I hate that word bulky but if they had a little more body fat, I would tone them down more before I really started feeding them a lot of calories.”
Can you lean bulk or can you go from bulking to being lean and still grow at the same time. I think you can do it. I think it’s easier if you lean down some and get the metabolism flying and then add the calories. That way you’re staying down, and you can get lean muscle mass and not just be bulking. It looks a little better. That’s my opinion.”
Despite taking a step away from the sport, Cutler hasn’t slowed down and still trains with a chip on his shoulder. The credentialed pro shared his ‘engage everything’ workout last month and said in retirement, he now equates training to meditation.
Check out the full video below:
Cutler understands the finer details of dieting and training given the consistency he demonstrated throughout his career. He believes athletes for the most part should focus on achieving a leaned-down physique before taking things to the next level with added muscle mass.