Jay Cutler: One Step Closer

Jay Cutler: One Step Closer
Produced and filmed by Mitsuru Okabe
Issued in 2006
2 DVD set
Length: 5 hours, 49 minutes
See http://www.mesomorphosis.com/store/videos/jay-cutler-one-step-closer.html

This is, in my opinion, the best DVD I have ever watched. At just under six hours in length, it also the longest bodybuilding DVD on a solo subject. Since it's so long and so diverse in its coverage, I'll break down my review by subject matter.

Let's discuss the training segments first. In his first  DVD, Jay Cutler: New, Improved, and Beyond, Jay is massive; in his second, Jay Cutler: Ripped to Shreds, Jay is, well, ripped. In this new DVD, Jay has combined both the size and ripped condition. His first workout is for the back; he weighs in at around 280 lbs., yet he shows an amazingly ripped and shredded physique. It's filmed three and a half weeks out from the 2005 Mr. Olympia (held October 15). Some bodybuilders look okay at four weeks out; Lee Priest and Gustavo Badell both tend to look a little smooth, as if they still need time to get really shredded. You begin to see their striations, but not the deep cuts. Ronnie and Jay are both ripped at four weeks out. I remember from a round-table discussion with several pros on a Muscletech video, Jay was the only one who said he still measures his portions of food while dieting. Well, folks, you better listen to Jay -- he knows, and it shows!

At this weight, with three and a half weeks to go, Jay is already looking better than last year. His weights are extremely heavy, going up to 500 lbs. for deadlifts, 140 lbs. for one-arm rows (12 in a set), and T-bar rows in the corner with 45s all the way to the end of the bar. His back workout is hardcore. Jay believes in high volume, always doing a lot of exercises and sets. One of my favorite scenes is the T-bar row. The gym owner comes over and asks Jay if he's okay after his last intense set. Jay’s like, “I’m doing it for the video, man; gotta show them how we do it at Gold’s Gym.”

His next workout is delts, calves, and abs. Jay hits all these body parts hard. Some exercises may be new to the viewer, like standing military presses. Seated side laterals are a treat to watch, especially if you like delts so ripped and shredded you can see every fiber!

Front raises, rear delt machines -- oh, and let's not forget the rear laterals, standing with cables. A medical student could study anatomy using Jay's back during this exercise.

His calves are, of course, unreal. And believe it or not, he hits abs as hard as he does any other body part.

Chest, arms and legs were all shot after the Olympia contest. For chest and arms, Jay weighs in at around 290 lbs. and is still ripped, except now he's also full. An argument could be made that he should have stepped onstage in that condition. But Jay wouldn’t have done that; he has to be ripped to shreds. In these training segments, Jay is so full and ripped that he's a true beast. Again he does lots of sets and reps with lots of weight. The main thing is just to watch this man train: he possesses a superhero's physique. It's like the Incredible Hulk come to life off the pages of a Marvel comic book.

Jay's leg routine is shot in December 2005, when he's almost 295 lbs. He has lost some of his Olympia conditioning but none of his intensity. He does walking lunges, front squats with 405 lbs., leg presses with a lot of 45s, and so on.

I love how Jay offers little pointers throughout the workout, but doesn’t explain so much that it gets boring. Like how he explains the importance of stretching. Or how he talks about the contraction, and when not to use too much weight. Or how he goes to pull weight off the floor. It's just enough to keep the viewer entertained. Jay also racks his own weights. I don't just mean before the exercise; the man also puts his weights away.

In addition to the workouts, this DVD contains never-before-seen material giving you a glimpse into Jay's life. There's a radio show Jay appears on that’s rather interesting. He plays around with the DJs and others in the studio, and you can see that Jay never takes himself too seriously.

A “day in the life” segment is included which is cool. We see Jay shopping at Cosco’s, then packing his meat away for the week, and cooking his next few meals. How he uses scissors to cut his meat and poultry because it's easier that way. How strictly he diets, even three weeks after the Olympia. Then we see him filling orders from his mail-order business, and driving to the post office to mail them off. Pretty interesting, since this is how I got my DVD.

One great segment shows Jay the day before the Olympia. He is accompanied by Chris Aceto, as they pose both at the gym and at home. Also more tanning and carbing up. Even washing his hair, not to mention loads of posing.

We see how Jay plays with his dogs, and how they go after their favorite toy, known as the “Cuz.” We see all the fish and chicken in the freezer. And let's not forget his stash of cheat snacks, like Booberry cereal and Rice Crispie treats. Or his mom’s homemade banana bread and cookies.

The backstage footage at the Olympia is awesome. As Jay gets ready for prejudging, he's sitting there very confidently. At one point after he's oiled up and pumped up, he walks by a seated, fully dressed Ronnie Coleman, who's eating some fruit jelly. At this point neither man even acknowledges the other. The heat of battle is on!

One of my favorite scenes occurs backstage after Jay was awarded 2nd place. Jay quietly walks over to his chair and places his check and medal in his bag. Asked for an interview, he politely says, “Sure, give me a minute, though.” A few people come up, and one whispers something in his ear. Jay says, “It's bullshit.” Jay is not a whiner, nor is he one to complain or bitch. In this segment you truly feel for the man. He has worked harder than anyone, dieted more strictly than ever before, taken his body to the edge. Sitting in the chair, he must be thinking to himself, what is a man to do? What can I do to win this contest? I feel he truly believed he deserved to win. But it’s the quiet intensity in his eyes that conveys this to the viewer. Jay would never throw his trophies, or swear and cuss. He quietly disapproves of the verdict and vows to return. Here's a rare look into the life of a champion who rarely sees defeat, and never loses the drive to be number one.

This has to be my favorite DVD in my entire collection. I could watch it over and over again. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Steve Buccilli
April 2006