“I can promise those who support me that I will not stop pushing until I stand on that stage in September.” Born and raised just outside of Boston, Massachusetts in the mid-1970s as the youngest of seven children, Jay Cutler was taught the value of hard work at a young age when he started working for his older brothers at Culter Bros. Concrete when he was only 11 years old. Learning the ins and outs of the business while building his own physical strength lugging concrete forms around the lot, Cutler developed an incredible work ethic as his physical strength exploded and inspired him to start weight training as a senior in high school.
At the time, bodybuilding wasn’t even a possibility for his future as Cutler earned his degree in criminal justice and set out to channel his growing strength as a corrections officer at a nearby maximum security prison. Everything changed, however, when he met personal trainer Marcos Rodriguez, who was so impressed by Cutler’s physique that he encouraged him to compete. By then, it was only a matter of time before Cutler was hooked as he dropped $300 of his hard-earned cash on a Gold’s Gym membership.
Cutler made his bodybuilding debut in 1992 at Gold’s Gym Worcester Bodybuilding Championships where a second-place finish boosted his confidence enough that he entered that 1993 NPC Iron Bodies Invitational in the teenage and men’s middleweight division. Finishing in first place, he went on to compete in the NPC Teen Nationals as a middleweight and saw yet another victory as he set his sights on the 1995 NPC U.S. Tournament of Champions where he won both the men’s middleweight and overall titles. Thanks to his success, his star power skyrocketed as he set out to become the best bodybuilder in the world.
Earning his IFBB professional status on his first try at the 1996 NPC Nationals where he placed first as a heavyweight, Cutler was well on his way to greatness as he boosted his training regimen, signed endorsement and appearance deals around the country and built his reputation as the biggest bodybuilder in the industry. However, his hard work had only just begun. Cutler burned up the professional circuit two years later but didn’t find the success he imagined with an 11th place finish at the 1998 IFBB Night of Champions and a fourth-place finish at the 1999 Arnold Classic. Even his Mr. Olympia debut in 1999 left much to be desired as he finished in 14th place and returned to the gym, this time starting from scratch.
Determined to win the Mr. Olympia title, Cutler reevaluated his entire training routine as he and his wife, Kerry, relocated to California where he finally found success with second place finishes in the 2000 English Grand Prix and Joe Weider’s World Pro Cup. Knowing that he had finally made it to the top, Cutler finished in eighth place in the 2000 Mr. Olympia only to earn runner up at the Mr. Olympia Rome. A year later, the coveted title was well within reach after Cutler spent an entire year working out twice a day with the hopes of taking the title from the legendary Ronnie Coleman. However, Cutler finished in second place which, despite the disappointment, truly marked his success. “I was made,” Cutler said when asked about the loss. “I was so excited. I finally made it so close.”
Putting all his efforts toward ousting Coleman from the Mr. Olympia seat, Cutler spent the next two years training as he won two consecutive Arnold Classics before returning to the Mr. Olympia stage in 2003 for yet another second-place finish. With the same showings in 2004 and 2005, it wasn’t until 2006 when Cutler finally beat Coleman and secured a huge victory as the newest Mr. Olympia. Riding the heels of success and refusing to let go of the title too quickly, he won again in 2007 opposite Victor Martinez only to suffer a huge loss in 2008 when he lost the title to Dexter Jackson in a cat and mouse game that would continue until 2011.
Amid his incredible success on the bodybuilding stage, Cutler cashed in on his fame and signed numerous endorsement deals to pad his fortune and further build his personal brand. Along the way, he was named “the most publicized bodybuilder in the world” as he promoted his series of training DVDs including A Cut Above, New Improved and Beyond, Ripped to Shreds and The Ultimate Beef: A Massive Life in Bodybuilding. He also launched his personal website—jaycutler.com—as well as Cutler Athletics and the Swole Monkey Clothing line that instantly became huge hits and sealed Cutler’s fate as a household name in the industry. To top it off, the four time Mr. Olympia winner shared his insight and expertise in his book, CEO Muscle: Jay Cutler’s No Nonsense Guide to Successful Bodybuilding while he promoted his chiseled physique on the covers of magazines like Muscle and Fitness, Flex and Muscular Development.
Continuing to compete, Cutler won the Mr. Olympia title in 2009 and 2010 only to lose the title once again in 2011. The defeat, combined with a severe bicep injury and the loss of his 10-year-old dog, Trace, pushed Cutler into depression and forced him to step away from the gym. Eventually opting for surgery to repair his biceps, he returned to the gym in 2012 with the hopes of making a grand return to the Mr. Olympia stage in 2013. Unfortunately, disappointment prevailed as Cutler saw his top two ranking fall to sixth place.
Tired of defeat, the 43-year-old Cutler hasn’t officially retired but has shifted his focus to business as he promotes his newest supplement brand, Cutler Nutrition. As to whether we’ll see him at future Mr. Olympia contests, that’s a mystery only time can answer!