Mr. Olympia looks to keep his title

By Sean Ammerman
for: Las Vegas Sun

When professional bodybuilder Jay Cutler stepped off the Mr. Olympia stage last year he was once again greeted as the best in his profession.

Cutler defeated eight-time champion Ronnie Coleman and was judged to have the best physique in the world’s most competitive bodybuilding competition for the second year in a row.

But somehow that wasn’t enough for the northwest Las Vegas resident.

“You want to win, but you want to win with domination,” he said. “I should be winning by a wide margin. I won by four points, but I should be winning by 20.”

A year later, Cutler said he feels lucky to have won the title.

He joked that living the “rock-star life” of a champion led to many distractions that prevented him from being in his best shape.

“I felt like I had to do as much as I could to promote the sport,” he said. “I did more promotional outings. I hung out more at nightclubs and skipped some of my training. I wasn’t doing everything I had done to be on top.”

Cutler is aiming to make up for last year, by earning his most definitive win yet.

To achieve his goal, Cutler began training specifically for Mr. Olympia in May, two months earlier than he did in 2007. He has hit the gym with more discipline and hasn’t wavered from his strict diet of 4,000 to 8,000 calories a day.

“I have always been pretty dedicated to everything I do,” he said. “I know if I go at it 100 percent I’m going to come out on top.”

Going at it 100 percent means putting himself through training that would be torture for most men.

At his daily workouts, Cutler moves from machine to machine at lighting speed. He doesn’t keep track of how much he lifts but a typical leg press will be well over 1,000 pounds.

In between cardio or pilates training he fits in seven meals a day, about one every two hours.

“I feel sorry for him because of how much work he has to do,” said Larry Smith, a friend working on an upcoming training DVD with Cutler. “He called me up the other day and I’m sitting there eating a doughnut while he’s down because he can’t eat that kind of food. The sacrifices this guy has to make to become champion are unbelievable.”

Cutler won’t have to top the recently retired Coleman, a longtime rival who left Cutler in second place three years in a row.

Without the larger Coleman to go up against, Cutler is going into the Mr. Olympia competition a relatively trim 275 pounds, at 5-foot-9.

He is 10 pounds less than what he weighed last year, with a slimmer physique he hopes will make him more defined to judges.

“It does make it a little bit easier without Ronnie, obviously I don’t have to be as big because Ronnie was the biggest guy out there,” Cutler said. “But then again there are other guys who could step up. There’s going to be a lot of competition, but the only one who can beat me is myself.”

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