Dexter Jackson Workout And Diet



Dexter Jackson was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He played football in high school, as well as baseball, track, gymnastics, and martial arts, and was generally an all-around exceptional athlete. After high school, Jackson took a job as a cook and discovered his love for training. He entered his first competition at age 20 after just a few weeks of preparation. Jackson took 3rd place n his first NPC competition in 1992. He earned his pro card in 1998 after winning the Light Heavyweight Overall at the North American Championships. ‘The Blade’ went on to win Mr. Olympia in 2008. He holds a record for number of appearances at Mr. Olympia (20) and has 29 victories in the sport including winning the Arnold Classic 5 times. Jackson is the winningest bodybuilder of all time. He is the subject of the documentary Dexter Jackson: Unbreakable. Jackson retired from competition in 2021 and now works as a trainer and has his own NPC bodybuilding show held annually in his home town of Jacksonville. He also has a self-named line of supplements. Jackson has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. He is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighed about 215 lbs. for competitions and 235 lbs. in the off-season.

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Dexter Jackson’s Diet

Diet Summary

Diet is key when it comes to peak athletic performance and Jackson takes his nutrition seriously. He worked with nutritionist George Farah to refine his diet and win competitions more consistently. In his competition days, Jackson would use a meal prep company to simplify the process. He goes low-carb when he’s cutting for a contest and only eats a few times a day. One thing he does not cut is salt because he says it keeps his muscles looking full. He’s a big fan of seasoning like barbecue and soy sauce. In the off-season, he’ll eat every few hours, having 4 healthy meals and 2 meals where he has a little more fun. Since retiring from bodybuilding, Jackson has discovered a whole new world of eating, and is amazed at only having to eat 2-3 times a day, and dropped 40 pounds in just a few months. He stays hydrated with plenty of water.

Estimated Macros

Medium Carb

Low Fat

High Protein

Diet Details

Salt Is Okay

Unlike a lot of bodybuilders, Jackson does not cut sodium from his diet when he’s getting close to a competition because he says salt helps give his muscles a full look.

Fry It Up

Jackson gets bored of plain rice, so he makes fried rice instead. But he doesn’t use lots of fat, he just uses cooking spray and some soy sauce for flavor.

Off-Season Diet

One of Jackson’s ‘cheat’ meals is pan-fried chicken chunks with barbecue sauce along with basmati rice fried up with soy sauce. Another fave is rice pasta, ground beef and organic tomato sauce.

It Gets Old

As fun as it might sound to get to eat every couple of hours, Jackson says one aspect of retirement that he loves is only having to eat 2 or 3 meals a day.

What to Eat

  • Egg whites
  • Eggs
  • Cream of rice
  • Whey protein
  • Banana
  • Chicken breast
  • Ground beef
  • Fish
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Quinoa
  • BBQ sauce
  • Salad
  • Rice
  • Rice pasta
  • Water

What to Avoid

  • Sugar
  • Gluten
  • Junk food
  • Fast food
  • Processed food
  • Artificial ingredients
  • Chemical additives

Jackson on his post-retirement diet

Two or three meals a day is amazing to me.

Jackson on what he loves about not competing

To just be able to not have to eat every 2 freaking hours is amazing…in itself.

Jackson on his post-retirement weight

I am sized down. 265-225. Staying here is the goal.

Dexter Jackson’s Workout Routine

Workout Routine

Always Active

Jackson grew up playing lots of sports and was a great all-around athlete. He discovered his love of lifting in his late teens.

All Angles

To get a truly killer physique, Jackson says it’s essential to work muscles from all different angles.

Safety First

Jackson tends to use machines because there is less risk of injury, but he tosses in some free-weight work as well.

Back From the Edge

Jackson very nearly quit bodybuilding in the early 2000s due to poor performance. He credits trainer Charles Glass with getting him back on track, and helping him win big.

Daily Dose

Jackson follows a classic split routine focusing on 1 body part per day.

No Abs, No Cardio

Jackson does not specifically target his abs, and he thinks cardio is hard on the body.

Warm Ups Are Essential

Before doing any heavy lifting, Jackson does a variety of warm-up exercises to get the blood flowing and prepare the body.

The 21

Dexter’s favorite biceps exercise is the 21 curl: do 7 reps from the bottom of the movement to the chest, 7 from chest to head and 7 full-range. This can be done with a straight bar, EZ bar, or dumbbells.

Go Wide

For maximum back growth, Jackson uses a wide grip to develop his lats and create an incredible back physique.

Exercise Style

A Dexter Jackson Routine

Do 5 sets of each of the following:

  • Incline Smith machine bench press: 10-15 reps
  • Flat bench machine press: 8-12 reps
  • Incline dumbbell fly: 15 reps
  • Hammer strength chest press: 8-12 reps
  • Standing cable fly: 10-15 reps


  • Wide grip lat pulldown: 10-15 reps x 5 sets
  • Hammer strength machine row: 8-12 reps x 5 sets
  • Bodyweight pull-up: 4 sets to failure
  • Close grip lat pulldown: 10-15 reps x 4 sets
  • T-bar row: 8-12 reps x 5 sets


  • Do 5 sets of each of the following:
  • Dumbbell lateral raise: 15 reps
  • Dumbbell upright row: 15 reps
  • EZ bar upright row: 10 reps
  • Reverse pec deck machine: 15 reps
  • Hammer strength overhead press: 8-12 reps

Do 5 sets of each of the following:

  • Seated leg extension: 10-15 reps
  • Leg press: 8-12 reps
  • Leg press: 8-12 reps
  • Lying hamstring curl: 10-15 reps
  • Standing calf raise: 15-20 reps


  • Machine preacher curl: 10-15 reps x 4 sets
  • Standing barbell 21 curl x 3 sets
  • Single-arm machine preacher curl: 10-15 reps x 4 sets
  • Straight bar triceps pushdown: 10-15 reps x 4 sets
  • Rope triceps pushdown: 10-15 reps x 4 sets

Jackson on his physique

I am — from head to toe — complete. Shredded.

Jackson on his post-retirement fitness goals

I’m not trying to get bigger.

Jackson on cardio

These guys are doing 2-3 hours a day. That’s a lot of wear and tear on the body.

Jackson on his post-retirement fitness goals

The goal is to maintain and be sharp as a blade.

Jackson on working out post-retirement

Some things never change. Gym life till I die.

Dexter Jackson’s Supplements



Jackson has his own line of supplements and says he won’t endorse anything but the best. His whey protein has 25 g of protein per serving as well as enzymes for easy digestion and no sugar.

Pre Workout

Pre Workout

Jackson’s pre-workout formula contains beta-alanine, creatine, vitamin B6 and citrulline to promote the production of nitric oxide.



Also in Jackson’s line are BCAAs, which offer the triple benefit of energy, recovery and maintenance.



Jackson also takes creatine which has been shown to boost muscle strength, size and speed recovery.



Jackson eats pretty clean, but he still supplements with a multivitamin that optimize his health.

Omega 3s


Jackson takes especial care of his joints, including taking anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

Dexter Jackson’s Lifestyle

Every Detail Matters

Jackson will fly to a competition 4-5 days in advance to adjust his sleep schedule and get settled in so he can be at his peak on the big day.

Close Call

Jackson has admitted that he nearly quit bodybuilding a decade before he actually retired due to sub-par performance.

Rough on the Family

Jackson says another reason he wanted to retire was to have more time with his family. While competing, he would spend most of the year on the road.

Golden Years

Jackson says he may be 50, but he doesn’t feel any different than he did when he was 30. He’s still going strong.

The Heart Knows

Jackson says he could go another 10-15 years in competition, but his heart told him it was time to quit. He wants to go out on top, and move on to bigger and better things.

Jackson on his career

I’ve beaten everybody.

Jackson on supplementing

I strongly believe that the right supplements can be a game-changer.

Jackson on his near-retirement

I had always said that when I start losing to people that ain’t got no business beating me, it’s time to retire.

Jackson on competing against youngsters

At 50 years old, I was right on point.

Jackson on being 50

I really don’t feel anything in my body. I don’t have any aches and pains anywhere.

Jackson on the bodybuilding lifestyle

I’m away from the family 8 months out of the year.

Jackson on staying in touch

Facetime saves relationships.

Jackson on real retirement

I am loving being retired…It’s like a boulder lifted off my shoulders.

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