Competitive bodybuilders have to ruthlessly critique their physiques, because if there’s one thing they can be sure of, it’s that judges will do the same thing. Remember, Jay competed in six Mr. Olympia competitions before finally winning. And as he told us in “Big Lessons,” what he learned from these losses was what finally allowed him to win.
Years ago, realizing that his back and legs needed more fine-tuning in order to for him to stay competitive, he adjusted his training, going harder, heavier, and more often for these now lights-out muscle groups. The lesson for you: Physique athletes can’t afford to be sensitive. They need to attack weakness head-on.
The amount of bodybuilding information out there is growing exponentially. You can find more than you can read—and definitely more than you can use—about weight loads, volume, frequency, advanced techniques, and even training times.
You might think that a world-class competitor like Jay stays up on all of this, and is always looking for tiny tricks to help maximize his performance. On the contrary, his primary guide is purely subjective—how he feels.
“I train whenever my body feels ready to train,” he says, ignoring the science that says late-day training yields better results. Jay adds that what works for you today may not work tomorrow.
Six sets of squats are scheduled, but your pins are toast after four. You’ve got meal number three in hand, but no microwave to cook it in. What to do? You do what you have to, no matter what you’re “supposed” to do.
While Jay feels it’s important to have a plan, he says you should never be so consumed with the routine that you can’t improvise. Though some might think this type of approach is a recipe for distraction, they don’t have Jay’s overall level of commitment. He says his approach helps him keep things fun and interesting in the gym, and that’s what has ultimately kept him coming back to the gym for decades.
Even if you don’t have any aspirations to be Mr. Olympia, you can still elicit tremendous changes in your body, health, and athletic performance by taking a winning approach to your food at home, at work, and even on the road.
“I tell people to put as much effort into their diet as they do into their weight training,” says Jay. This type of mentality, he says, will yield new and drastic change for anyone—almost regardless of your goal.
Going through the motions with a few sets of squats, then skipping over to the leg extension machine isn’t going to cut it if your goal is to get ‘mired. Jay’s quad routine includes those staples, but incorporates the leg press, hack squat, front squat and walking lunges as well. Hit it from all angles, like in Jay’s toughest workout ever, and the results will be visible from all angles.
Go Back to Page 1 of Jay Cutler’s Rules for Growth
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