Jay Cutler — Background, Bodybuilding History, Training, and More

If you were to ask serious bodybuilding fans to rank the top ten competitors of all time, they wouldn’t all have the same answers. Still, some names are sure to be on the list — names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, and Phil Heath are sure locks. Another name that would very likely arise is Jay Cutler.

Cutler is the competitor that bridged the gap between the latter era of the 20th century and the social media bodybuilding era that we know today. Between his success onstage, contributions to marketing and sponsorships, and his rise in the business world, Cutler’s impact on the sport and industry could be considered second to none. 

So how does a kid from New England become an international legend? This biography gives a small glimpse into the large world of the man known by his fans as “King Cutler.”

[Read More: Arnold Schwarzenegger — Bodybuilding Career, Competition History, and Biography]


Jay Cutler, aged 50 at the start of 2024, was born on Aug. 3, 1973 in Worcester, MA. During his teenage years, he worked in his family’s concrete business. He began pursuing bodybuilding after he turned 18 years old and entered his first amateur show in 1992, the Gold’s Gym Worcester Bodybuilding Championships. 

In 1993, Cutler entered the NPC Teenage Nationals championships and won his division but finished second overall to a man he would compete against several times as a pro, Branch Warren. After winning the 1995 Tournament of Champions as a heavyweight, Cutler would earn pro status by winning the heavyweight title at the 1996 NPC Nationals. The overall champion that year was light-heavyweight winner Willie Stallings.

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Pro Contest History

Once Cutler turned professional in 1996, he took the 1997 season to make improvements for his pro debut the following year. He competed 33 times in the IFBB from 1998 until 2013, taking first place in 15 of those shows. 

Along the way, he set several firsts and milestones, including:

Being the first man to reclaim the Mr. Olympia title after losing it onstage;

The first to win three consecutive Arnold Classic titles andthe second to win three overall; and 

The only man to finish either first or second in the Olympia ten different times. 

His six runner-up finishes are also the most ever. His entire contest list is below, courtesy of Muscle Memory.


Nationals, NPC — 1st


Night of Champions — 12th


Arnold Classic — 4th

Ironman Pro Invitational — 3rd

Olympia — 15th


Grand Prix England — 2nd

Night of Champions — 1st

Olympia — 8th

World Pro Championships — 2nd


Olympia — 2nd


Arnold Classic — 1st


Arnold Classic — 1st

Grand Prix England — 1st

Grand Prix Holland — 1st

Grand Prix Russia — 2nd

Ironman Pro Invitational — 1st

Olympia — 2nd

San Francisco Pro — 1st

Show of Strength Pro Championships — 2nd


Arnold Classic — 1st

Olympia — 2nd


Olympia — 2nd


Grand Prix Austria — 1st

Grand Prix Holland — 1st

Grand Prix Romania — 1st

Olympia — 1st


Olympia — 1st


Olympia — 2nd


Olympia — 1st


Olympia — 1st


Olympia — 2nd

Sheru Classic — 2nd


Olympia — 6th

Jay Cutler’s Arm Workout

Throughout his training life, Cutler has been an advocate for high-volume training. His single body part workouts would call for over 20 sets per session in many cases, with some larger muscle groups featuring over 30 sets. 

Even though he trained for power and strength in his younger years, he’s consistently suggested that reps should be in the eight to 12 range throughout his pro career, even though he has confessed that he doesn’t count reps in the past.

Cutler has said he feels free weight movements are great for building a solid physique in the early stages, but he’s also been a proponent for machines over the years. Now that he’s retired from competition, he has used both forms of resistance in his own training. 

One example of how he does this is from this arm workout he did during his personal “Fit for 50” transformation challenge in 2023.

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Cable Triceps Pushdown:* 2-3 warm-up sets + 3-4 working sets

Iso-Lateral Triceps Extension Machine: 3 x AMRAP (as many reps as possible)

Seated Overhead Triceps Extension: 3 x 12

Cable Triceps Pushdown:** 3 x 12

Iso-Lateral Biceps Curl: 3 x 12

Standing Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 12

Machine Preacher Curl: 3 sets

EZ Bar Curl: 4 sets

* Cutler used the bar attachment for this exercise.

** Here, Cutler swapped in the rope attachment.

Social Media

Cutler was considered the number one man in bodybuilding during the rise of social media. He was one of the first stars of the sport to be active on MySpace as well as on Facebook. He was also very active on YouTube long before it was commonplace in the pro ranks. 

That social media status is as strong as ever in recent years. As of January 2024, he has 5.3 million followers on Instagram and 1.5 million more on TikTok. His YouTube channel, which has had over 1,500 videos since launching in June 2009, is approaching one million subscribers as well. 

He’s also active in the world of podcasting. CutlerCast has over 57,000 subscribers on YouTube and is available on all major online podcast outlets.

Business Ventures

Outside of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cutler is considered the most successful man in what has been called “the business of bodybuilding.” If you took his career earnings onstage alone into consideration, he won over $1 million in prize money

During his rise in the pro ranks, Cutler was making extra income in the world of real estate as well as in the stock market. He also invested in himself by being one of the first bodybuilders to do training videos that he sold through his website and in magazines. Not only did this prove to be profitable, but it helped him earn a larger fanbase than other pros who didn’t put themselves out there as much.

He was also very effective when it came to endorsements. He was most famous for his alliance with Muscletech during his competitive years, but he was also with BPI Sports in the final years of his competitive career. 

Cutler also had his own clothing line and has been representing Schiek as his training accessories brand of choice for well over a decade. He was also the first to be a paid athlete contributor to both Weider Publications (FLEX Magazine) and Muscular Development during the magazine era, which opened the door for many other athletes to earn income away from the stage.

Now that he is retired, he owns and operates Cutler Nutrition, his own supplement line, and he’s an investor in other businesses outside of the fitness industry. He sells merchandise, clothing, and some memorabilia through his own website. He also sells e-books and guides on how to get in shape and compete.

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Over a decade after he stepped offstage for the last time, Cutler remains one of the biggest names in the world of bodybuilding, and he doesn’t appear to be dropping down the ranks anytime soon. He’s also active as an advisor and mentor for other stars in the sport. He may not be posing down anymore, but his presence in the sport will be felt and seen for many years to come.

Featured Image: @jaycutler / Instagram 

The post Jay Cutler — Background, Bodybuilding History, Training, and More appeared first on BarBend.


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