The 2012 LA Fitness Expo was a full house! With over 35,000 in attendance and 300 exhibitors, it was truly a dream come true for any fitness enthusiasts.There were supplement companies pushing their products at cheaper-than-retail prices, powerlifting competitions to watch (or participate in), MMA sparring sessions, CrossFit tournaments and also gurus from the bodybuilding/fitness arena to look out for.
The jewel of the Fitness Expo in my opinion was the 1 hour long Q&A Seminar with 4-time Mr Olympia Jay Cutler. Big Jay (weighing in at a lean 260 lbs) took the main stage at 1:00 pm and answered dozens of workout and diet-related questions from the fans.
Q: What is the best abs exercise and when is the best time to work abs?
A: Hanging leg raises and rope crunches; before contest
BTW Explanation: Hanging leg raises is one of the hardest abs exercise, and usually the harder something is, the better something is (even Jay himself said so). When performing hanging leg raises, it’s very important to do a crunch to fully work the abs. The function of the abdominal muscle is to bring the torso forward, so be sure to do that extra crunch at the end. Obviously, if hanging is too difficult, you can always do the assisted version on the Captain’s Chair. As for rope crunches, it is a basic crunch exercise with resistance. It’s interesting how Jay only works out his abs during his contest preparation for the Olympia (16 weeks leading up to mid September), and his explanation is that people usually don’t have abs until they have very low bodyfat levels. Bear in mind he is a full time professional bodybuilder – he only has to show up at 3% bodyfat level for 2 nights once a year. For us who are either trying to stay lean year round or make lean gains consistently, we definitely should be working our abs not only with hanging leg raises but also non-isolated core exercises.
Q: How to grow giant calves?
A: Work them like any other bodyparts, 8 – 10 reps, going full range of motion
BTW Explanation: Pretty straightforward and probably wasn’t the answer most people were looking for. The truth is, there is no secret to building bigger calves. Most people have less contractile proteins in the calves to begin with (it is a genetic thing), so obviously it is harder to build muscle there. Again, building muscle takes time. The same way you can’t remove fat from a specific area, you can’t add muscle to a specific area. Focus on gaining overall mass and work your calves as hard as you would work your chest or your chest. Jay trains his calves at the beginning of his workouts when his energy levels are off the roof.
Q: Best tip he can give?
A: Be consistent
BTW Explanation: Jay is right on with this tip. You have to be consistent. That means, getting in your meals regularly and frequently, going to the gym on a fixed basis, doing your cardio according to the schedule you laid out, getting enough sleep every single night etc. You won’t reach your goal overnight. You have to keep pounding at it and keep going at it. Even for a pro bodybuilder like Jay Cutler who has been in the business for almost 20 years, there are still times when he doesn’t want to go to the gym. His answer to that? “I go to the gym.” You just gotta do what you gotta do.
Q: Advice for hardgainers?
A: Eat 6 times a day
BTW Explanation: Pretty basic but often overlooked. You can be training your butt off at the gym, but you are not eating A LOT of food, you are not going to grow. Jay recommends eating 6 times a day with a lot of quality protein and carbohydrates. It takes the body a lot of energy to build muscle, which is why we want to be eating a lot of calories to start and sustain the muscle building process. Check out my articles on this subject at
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