Written by Jay Cutler
10 October 2006



I saw an ad about these fat-burning skin cream products containing yohimbine that burn fat in any particular area where the cream is rubbed in.  Do you have any advice on these products?  

I've never actually used the rub-on cream, but I do use yohimbine as a supplement. I've heard varying reports and don't know exactly how strong it is, but I know you can get the yohimbine cream at health food stores now. What I like to do is use a yohimbine supplement, usually by Twinlab, along with my fat burners, like ISS Research's Lipovar 8. I still have some Zenatrope from ISS left over, even though they've taken the ephedra-caffeine mix off the market. I find it to be highly effective, as well.

My other main source for increasing the fat burning effect is using a lot of L-carnitine, preferably in capsule form. I take about two grams before doing my cardio sessions to not only add a little body heat, but also for a little energy.  L-carnitine is quite effective even though it's dropped out of favor from the market.  For a time, chromium was a hot supplement and then it dropped off, but I'm still a big chromium user. Vanadyl sulfate is great for getting pumps before your workout, too.

What I want to stress is that using the spot reducing products might be a good idea, but at the same time, only hard dieting is going to help you lose large amounts of body fat. Sometimes you might have to go a little extreme with your diet and cardio just to get those problem areas to lean out. 

We all have areas that tend to come down faster than others. For women, it tends to be in the lower body, and in men, it's in the abs and low back. I'm always in shape all the way around my body except for my back and glutes. If my diet hasn't already cleaned these areas out as far as they can go, I'll fire up the fat burners during the last six weeks before a competition to really help bring these areas down. 

I suggest that you give this method a try, especially if you're not able to use the yohimbine creams, which I've heard can cause slight nausea just from the body's shock from the rub-on cream. Yohimbine, also called yohimbe, is a very potent stimulant. Anytime you're thinking of using a supplement, I'd definitely research it beforehand. There are a lot of products out there and I get a lot of questions myself about testosterone boosters and such things. Thanks to the Internet, you have instant access to user feedback and can interact with them with specific questions. 

The popularity of fat burners always comes and goes and people will rave about them for certain reasons. No matter who says what, it all boils down to the individual using them. Some supplements will work great and with others people won't see any change whatsoever. After you've done some research, you'll just have to try it for yourself.



I've been seriously bodybuilding for three years now, in which I've gone from a starting weight of 110 pounds to where I am now, 154 pounds with six percent body fat. I want to have a go at competing and I've set myself a deadline to compete next September. This gives me exactly a full year to prepare. The only problem is my fiancée. She is against me competing and thinks it will turn me into someone who is self-obsessed.  When I tell her I want to do it for my own personal discipline and achievement, she won't even listen! Please outline what she can expect during my 12 weeks of preparation and whether I'm really being selfish in wanting to do this for myself?

Well, the truth is that all us bodybuilders are indeed somewhat selfish. There's no way around it. When it comes to preparing for a contest, you have to be a little selfish. Your time is valuable and the things you do are not part of normal, everyday life. Obviously, your girl is seeing that you have a little bit of an ego just from weight training, getting bigger and putting on the extra size.  That's where it all starts, brother.

I didn't get into weight training so I could walk around and have people say, "Wow, you're huge!" I just did it because I enjoyed it. I love training. Back then, I never expected to become a 300-pound bodybuilder, but that's how it worked out. I also made money at the same time, which has been a major driving force to keep going at this level.

It's hard to say what your girl should expect. Sometimes my off-season seems more stressful than my pre-contest diet! It's not out of the ordinary to have a personality change, but if you're going to become very selfish by spending all your time in the gym, eating and looking at yourself in the mirror, that will obviously become an issue in your relationship. You have to learn how to balance it. I was able to do that with my wife, Kerry, since I was a teenager and then getting married at 25. Now, I'm 30 years old and she supported me through the whole thing. She taught me how to balance a basic lifestyle by using bodybuilding as a job, and not as a hobby or an obsession. 

You'll learn that you need people around you to help motivate and support you. This is not to say you won't go through ups and downs during your diet. Like I said, everybody has good days and bad days. When you're dieting really hard, you'll be starving for days or even weeks on end. Hunger affects the mind greatly. When I get like that, I prefer to spend time alone and my wife understands that. The thing is, there are going to be days when you must spend time with others who live a completely different lifestyle and this is where balance comes into play. Once you're able to understand the personality changes and mental stress you'll encounter when dieting, you should be able to interact with others without coming off as too aggressive, arrogant or downright mean. There's a fine line, and you gotta find the best setup that works with your girl and those around you. 

Since you already are doing the contest for your own personal growth, all you need to do is control any mood changes and stressors. Hopefully, your girl will understand and respect that.



Hey, Jay, is it possible to get in a workout with you out there in Las Vegas? I'm a powerlifter and I've been at it since 1984, but I also follow bodybuilding. My best lifts are a 720 squat, 540 bench and 700 on the deadlift. Thanks for the consideration!

I certainly appreciate the gesture of wanting to train with me and particularly, that you look to me as a training influence. Right now, though, I'm really focused on doing my own thing, especially now that I'm in the middle of the contest season. But even when I'm not preparing for a contest, my schedule is so hectic that it's upside down; I couldn't make any promises.

If I happen to be at the gym and you want to work in a few sets, that is a possibility. I've had training partners on and off for some time, although I'm training solo at the moment. I've found that training alone is the best thing for me. Again, thanks for offer, but right now probably isn't the best time. I must admit, you have some pretty impressive lifts and since my strength is down from all this dieting, you could probably outlift me!



I'm 15 years old and recently started to work out. I fell in love with it more or less right away. Unfortunately, due to insurance issues, I cannot join a gym until I'm 16. I bought a set of dumbbells and was wondering if there are any quad and calf workouts I can do at home with them? 

This is very simple. You just have to look at your dumbbells as a tool for working out and use your mind a little bit when creating exercises. You can do squats by resting the dumbbells on your shoulders while using your hands to balance them, sort of like a barbell squat. You can do standing calf raises that way, too. The repetitions may need to be a little higher because there's a limit to the weight you can put on your shoulders, but it's still very simple.

There are a lot of other exercises you can do, as well. For back, you can do rows and pullovers. For chest, you can do presses and flyes. For your chest and shoulders, you can do pullovers, shoulder presses, side laterals, rear laterals and of course, there's all your biceps and triceps exercises. You'll see that dumbbells are actually a very effective piece of equipment even if you don't have anything else. It's just a matter of changing the plates on and off between sets and having enough plates to do what you want to do. 

If you want, you can build a small box to do your calf raises, or you just do them by standing on something that's about two inches off the ground. This will allow you to get some sort of lower contraction, which is important for stretching the calves. Raising straight off the floor will not give you a deep enough stretch, so you want to try working from a slight drop-off.

Our society has become very spoiled in a lot of things, and this includes eating, cardiovascular training and weight training. There are all kinds of high tech equipment out there, as well as gym memberships and home gyms, but you must never steer away from the basic foundation of building muscle. This foundation comes from free weights. There's nothing wrong with staying home and working out there instead of at a gym. Just remember to stay motivated and get creative in ways that will give you the most effective workout even when you don't have high-tech equipment available.

You also need to realize your age and physique limitations. A 15-year-old is not going be able to use a drastic amount of weight on squats and calf raises, nor should you. At such a young age, you definitely do not want to put too much stress on your spine and upper torso.  

You sound like a very determined young man, so keep it up.



 I have multiple sclerosis, which is a neurological disease, but I am a diehard bodybuilding fan. I train as much as my body allows me to and I want to know about supplementation, specifically GH releasers. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and a lot of others like me!  

I really appreciate your confidence in me and thank you for being such a great fan.

Now, I definitely suggest that you talk with your doctor before using any type of GH releasers. My initial thought is that you may want to consider the ProAmino Plus by ISS, which is a great formula. It works with your neurotransmitters and actually helps release growth hormone. It comes in a 30-day supply with a packet for a.m. and p.m. You take the a.m. packet in the morning when you wake up and the p.m. packet at night before you go to bed. I mix it up with a little water so it fizzes up and then just drink it down. It will help you release growth hormone naturally and is very safe and effective, although it can be a little pricey. A month's supply costs about $65, but that is what you can expect to pay for a quality product.

There are a lot of other things out there you can use, too. Arginine is a great amino acid that also helps release growth hormone naturally. It may not be as expensive as the ProAmino Plus, but I don't think the effects would be the same, either.

GH is very beneficial for any person, no matter what their age, in improving endurance, recovery, sleep patterns and for just an all around great feeling throughout the day. Optimizing GH levels is definitely a different route to take as far as supplementation goes. Everyone is looking into increasing testosterone through prohormones, which is a good idea, but they're only seeing half the picture. GH plays a huge role in building muscle and works synergistically with testosterone and insulin.



 I just wanted to ask how it is that you stay so committed and focused on your training and diet. What motivates you, Jay?

I have a lot of things that motivate me, but basically it's my background and upbringing that does it. I've always been taught that I have to work for what I want. I love weight training and the most important thing that drives me is that I love to go to the gym and work out. At this point in my life, it has become a job for me, and I find that I have a lot of responsibility- my home, running a business, and also being a major influence, a role model if you will, for hundreds of other bodybuilders. So, there are a lot of factors involved.

Getting to be part of MD and being able to answer questions like this is also a motivator for me. Every month, it allows people to read my opinions on how to weight train and diet properly. We all love to work out, we love to eat healthy and we like to learn. I can't stress that enough. I'm somewhat of a perfectionist and I like to do everything right. I guess you could say that doing things the right way and staying continually focused on my ultimate goal- to be the best in the world- is what I originally set out to do. And I will accomplish my goal.

Sure, I have days when I don't want to work out. Right now, I get that feeling almost every day. But I have no choice. This is what I do for a living, even though I'm tired and low on calories. Being a dieting bodybuilder is a lot harder than being an off-season bodybuilder. 

What I find works best is to pick and choose the right times to go to the gym. I've also found that getting up, eating meal number one, then going right to the gym is a lot easier. Even though I train twice a day, at least I'm able to get the hardest work done as early as I can in the morning when my energy levels are really high. If I have commitments to deal with, that might mean getting up at three in the morning, but I'll still stick to my routine. I've always been something of an early morning trainer anyway.

You will find there are subtle, different things that'll motivate you, such as choosing the right kind of gyms to go to. I have three or four different gyms in the Las Vegas area that I go to daily, depending on my mood. If I'm impatient or frustrated, I'll go to a certain gym. On other days when I'm feeling more lenient or even want to converse with the people there, I'll go to a different gym. 

The atmosphere of a gym is a major factor that'll determine the quality of my workouts. And so is the weather! I moved out here to the West Coast for a reason. I always hated the winters in Massachusetts and that was the hardest time of the year for me to get up and go to the gym. It would be freezing cold outside and when my feet got wet from the snow, I'd feel like my bones were going to break by the time I got to the gym. Out here the weather's perfect for what we do. I can pick and choose where I live now, and Vegas is the place for sure.

Like I said, I love this sport. I remember when I won the Tournament of Champions in 1995 and landed on a couple of magazine covers. I even got to meet Joe Weider, whom I'd read about for years, and Steve Blechman flew me out to Twinlab to discuss the possibility of a contract. That was the first time I knew I had made it and that all the hard work had paid off. 

Last year was a great experience for me when I went to Peru, and one of the greatest appearances I've ever done. I never realized how appreciated I was over there. We all know bodybuilding stems into many places, but you'd never think that people who aren't even fortunate enough to make a dollar a day would also appreciate the art and sport of bodybuilding. The Peruvians make their own specialized equipment to work out with over there. We're talking milk jugs with cement in them- stuff you'd never think was even possible- so they can try to achieve the physiques they see in the magazines. They really look up to guys like me, Markus Ruhl, Dexter Jackson and the others. I'm very, very appreciative of that.

Considering where I come from, it would be easy to get really excited and freaked out by the way people look at me like I'm a celebrity or something.  I admit I'm a dreamer, but I had to learn to deal with all this admiration and have respect for it. I just try to promote myself all the time as a professional, and realize that I'll be looked upon as an ambassador of the sport. Sometimes I'll think, wow, so many people know who I am and what I do, especially now that I've made it to be number one or two in the world. There's a lot of respect- I'm not just "a bodybuilder" anymore. Being one of the best in the world is something we dream about as kids. To have been a teenage national champion at age 19 in 1993, and then to be a Mr. Olympia contender 10 years later in 2003, that's pretty incredible.

So, I suppose you could say I'm motivated by the enormity of it all and those who made it happen by supporting me.



I'm 6-foot-3, 23 years old and I weigh 200 pounds. I've been training seriously for a year and a half. I gained 40 pounds during the first year, but it all went to my legs. The funny thing is, I didn't even work them out! As for the rest, I train hard with strict form and use a heavy enough weight for around 10 reps per set. Do I need to work each muscle group two times a week to see results, or is once a week enough? Does everyone that's huge take GH and steroids? Would I need to take them to get that "pro look?" Or is that just hype? My diet is as good as it can be for living a busy city life.  

When you first start your weight training and follow a diet that has more food than the normal two or three meals a day, you're going to experience drastic weight gain. It's interesting that it all went to your legs, because a lot of weight went to my legs in the beginning, too. It takes a little more time to fill out all your body parts, especially if you're genetically gifted in the legs. I'm still working on bringing up my upper torso to be as competitive as my legs, which are some of the best in the sport.

A frequent misconception in many bodybuilders is that you should train weaker body parts more often. You don't have to. In fact, if you're lagging in certain areas and you overtrain them, they will never grow.

What I would suggest is to stay away from constant leg training, but don't cut it out totally. If your upper body is a little behind, try focusing on deadlifting more. The deadlift works the whole body, especially the back region. This way, you'll build power and strength to train with heavier weights, thus helping other body parts to grow. I think it may be a "time" thing with your body. You need to keep training properly with a major focus on deadlifts. Over time, your body will grow to the point of catching up with your legs.

As far as your question on supplementation goes, using drugs has nothing to do with getting big. You don't need steroids and GH to build muscles. What you need is a solid eating pattern with the right amount of calories, and to train each body part once every five to seven days. Not every huge guy takes drugs. Yes, there are drugs involved in bodybuilding, and there are some who use them, but also some who do not. Ronnie Coleman is a prime example. He was natural for a very long time. Ronnie is a very large man and champion powerlifter. It all depends on your genetics as to how big you're able to get. You just can't look at everyone in the magazine as being the result of drug use, and therefore start taking that route yourself. Give yourself enough time. Be patient. You can't expect to look like the pros in one, two, or even three years.  It's just not going to happen.



Do you ever wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and just go, "Damn, I'm a freak!" You know, where it's hard to believe you look the way you do? Kind of like an out-of-body experience in which you almost don't recognize yourself? I was curious about that phenomenon among pros, because I sure as heck don't experience it myself.

I have to admit, I do get pretty big in the off-season, but honestly, I've always thought I've been pretty large since I was a young man. I was about 260 pounds at age 21, so for me it's become just a common thing. I do get a lot of people who stop to stare and do double takes. If you were to ask my wife, Kerry, what she thinks, she'd say she still sees the same person she met when we were 16 and she looks past the large person I have become.

To specifically answer your question, no, I don't stand before the mirror and think I'm huge. I do look at my body daily because I'm always putting pressure on myself to improve, since I'm preparing for contests most of the time. Right now, I spend eight months out of a year getting ready for contests.  When I scrutinize myself, I look at conditioning rather than the mere size factor.  I'm used to looking the way I do and realize, yeah, I'm big. There's no question about it, I'm bigger than the norm and probably a lot of people would say I'm one of the biggest guys they've ever seen. But I am always trying to better myself and that's the most important thing to me.

I get mixed reviews from people who see me walking around when I'm doing my normal, day-to-day activities, such as going to the post office or the bank. Some people don't even pay attention, others act like they can't believe it, and the rest just look and keep on going. Then there are those people who laugh. With the weather out here in Vegas, I can walk around in a tank top and shorts. Most of the people here recognize me and know who I am because they've seen me somewhere, or just from word of mouth. Vegas isn't really as big a city as people think and a lot of people know one another. I've found that I get a lot of respect just at the level I'm at. Of course, there have been times when people have said negative things, but I'm a pretty easygoing person and there's really not much that bothers me.


E-mail Jay Cutler by visiting MuscularDevelopment.com