Welsh bodybuilding icon Flex Lewis pioneered the gold standard for the Men’s 212 division during his days of competition. Although he was eyeing a move to the Open division, he chose to hang up his posing trunks officially last year. In a recent episode of Bradley Martyn’s Raw Talk, Lewis opened up on his steroid use and argued that he could’ve won Mr. Olympia in the Open based on the results of the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
Flex Lewis made a name for himself as a 212 competitor with insane arms, overall muscle development, and next-level conditioning. In 2011, Lewis narrowly missed out on 212 Olympia gold to Kevin English in his debut. He returned with a vengeance the next year and secured his maiden Sandow trophy at the 2012 Mr. Olympia.
He went on a dominant run that saw him win seven 212 Olympia titles in a row from 2012-2018. Besides the Olympia, Lewis also went undefeated in other contests such as the EVL Prague Pro, the inaugural 212 event at the Arnold Sports Festival, and more.
Lewis was considering the idea of moving to the Men’s Open class but eventually decided against it. He announced his retirement from competition in May 2022 due to health problems stemming from contest prep issues. Since stepping away, Lewis dropped down in size significantly. He showed off his downsized look weighing 213.6 pounds last June.
Flex continued to lean down and even got on a personalized TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) plan to help him achieve his new physique goal. He offered a jacked physique update presenting his new look in Sep. 2022. Then, he laid out an intense arms workout routine targeting triceps and biceps while teasing the possibility of a comeback months later.
In Nov. 2022, Flex Lewis teamed up with budding Men’s Open prospect Andrew Jacked to help him get ready for the 2022 Mr. Olympia. He mentored Jacked through a grueling quads training session. The pair regrouped for another taxing back workout weeks later.
The 39-year-old showed off his shredded physique in an update earlier this year. He laid out the diet and training regimen he utilized to gain weight after dropping 60 pounds as he reported a weight of 200 pounds. Lewis has not completely shut the door on competing again. He revealed he would be willing to entertain a comeback, but only if it’s for a seven-figure deal.
Flex Lewis opens up on his steroid use & cautions others
In a recent YouTube video, Flex Lewis discussed details pertaining to his steroid use.
“The truth of the matter is I went through a sport where I had a weight cut,” said Lewis. “I had to make a class. I never had the ability to have an incredible off-season and if I was to do more to get in shape then I would make weight. I was able to retire very healthy, obviously injuries and stuff like that, but I have two kids whilst I’ve been prepping, retired with all my hair. This means nothing or something.
“Take it from me. I have nothing to hide by saying this legitimately I’ve done obviously more than the average gym-goer but I never used and abused my body. Thankfully, I had a coach, Neil Hill, who is known for being very conservative. His mindset was if you can grown on ABC why do you need XYZ?”
He issued a warning to others against using gear too much.
“Anybody young that makes the decision to go that route, first of all, whatever they do they are going to respond but the tren aspect of things, holy sh*t! There’s people joining the gym and talking about taking that stuff. I didn’t use that stuff until four weeks out from my show. That’s the god’s honest truth. There was no reason for me to use it in the off-season for obvious reasons I had to make a weight cut. But somebody now just to look good in the gym, there’s so many. You can forget kids to be honest with you if you’re running this for day in day out for years and years.”
“In terms of the supplementation that some of these guys are taking, you start off with that, that’s not going to make you a better bodybuilder. It’s actually going to be a detriment to you because you are going to destroy your receptors and then when you go okay I’m not growing so now I have to take more and that’s the mentality. More is better. It’s not. It’s the glass gets full then there’s nowhere else to go.”
Lewis highlighted the dangers of using Trenbolone for regular gym-goers.
“I have an end goal to compete, to be the best in the world, by adding things periodically you knew what was working what wasn’t working but then in the off-season you’re eating and drinking everything. A lot of these guys train their a** off Monday to Friday and then chase pu**y at the clubs on the weekends and they’re doing stacks that some guys are doing pre-contest which blows my mind. The trending word I see everywhere is tren. It blows my mind. That’s so mainstream that guys are coming up to me like what do you think about this?”
Lewis: ‘I Could Have Been the First Champ-Champ’
Flex Lewis is confident he could have become the first athlete to win titles in 212 and the Open division at the Mr. Olympia contest.
“I truly believe I would’ve won the Olympia or been the first ever champ-champ but it’s a woulda, coulda, shoulda right? But if you look at the people who just came first and second, I beat them both. Hadi just won, I beat him in Korea and Derek Lunsford came second, who took over the reign from me as a 212 champ, incredible guy, will be a champion in the future but I’ve beaten him too. So, it would’ve been a great mix for me to be up in that.
“I felt [the direction of Open bodybuilding] was going there. That’s one of the reasons why because originally when I had this mentality of shifting from the 212 to the Open, people were telling me no they’re always going to go for the biggest guy. But then shape and structure started coming through because of guys like Chris Bumstead and the Classic Physique getting such a great response.
“I wanted to have the best of both worlds, bringing Classic lines, symmetry, and structure, and bring it to the Open class.”
Lewis revealed many people were trying to convince him to return, including a judge who attempted to lure him out of retirement following Olympia.
“There’s a lot of people trying to get me back out of that mentality but I was okay. I moved on, done a lot of different things. I had to process it my own way.”
“When I made that decision, I had to stand on my two feet and say no. Everybody wanted me to come back. After the Olympia, you know any judge came up to my ear and basically said hey you could have won this. You could do it next year, good hype. My heart was in this sport since I was 19. I devoted my life to this craft and right now, I’ve set myself up for that segue. But that transition was tough though.”
Flex Lewis gave fans a look into three of his favorite exercises for building massive triceps two weeks ago. He joined forces with Strongman legend Eddie Hall for a collaborative arm workout session days later.
You can watch the full video below:
Lewis is the winningest Men’s 212 competitor in the history of the Mr. Olympia show with seven wins. He appears content with his achievements and has moved on to other business ventures.