Legendary bodybuilder Flex Lewis dominated the IFBB Pro League Men’s 212 division with his insanely jacked arm muscle development. Although he moved on from professional competition years ago, he remains connected with the community as a respected figure. In a recent interview with Escaped Fitness, Lewis revealed the secrets to his workout plan, diet, and recovery process.
Flex Lewis grew up with a passion for sports playing rugby in his teenage years. He got inspired to start bodybuilding after coming across Golden Era bodybuilder Tom Platz and the iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger. He emerged as a budding prospect after taking home the top prize in his debut show at the 2003 Jr. Mr. Wales. After the division’s weight limit got increased by 10 pounds, Lewis secured his maiden 212 Mr. Olympia title in 2012. He proved to be a commanding victor as he racked up seven wins in a row. He decided to move on after a final win at the 2018 Mr. Olympia.
Following a decorated career, Lewis continued to train hard in the gym. He embarked on a mission to downsize his enormous build and live a healthier lifestyle. In Nov. 2022, he teamed up with rising Men’s Open sensation Andrew Jacked for a brutal quads workout. The experienced Welsh mentored Jacked again in an upper body training session a week later in prep for the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
Earlier this year, Flex left the fans stunned with an impressive physique update boasting his jacked frame. He laid out the new diet and training plan he utilized to pack on a few pounds after dropping down by around 60 pounds in body weight.
Considering the impressive package Lewis maintained, there has been speculation about a potential comeback. While he appeared to be content on the sidelines, Lewis revealed he could return on stage if he was offered a seven-figure payday two months ago.
Flex Lewis reveals training secrets
In a recent YouTube video, Flex Lewis shared the keys to his training philosophy. Having trained under coach Neil ‘Yoda’ Hill, Lewis utilized Hill’s Y3T training or Yoda-3 Training. He explained the ins and outs of the training plan.
“It’s Neill’s. It’s Y3T so you order three training,” said Lewis. “It’s basically three different weeks; week one, two, and three. Week one is heavy compound lower reps. Week two is kind of like a hybrid of the third week, rep ranges on the second week goes up a little bit higher. On the third week, it kinda answers number two, is high reps, drop sets, super sets so every single week you get a different stimulus and then you repeat it all over again. That’s something Neill was doing way before it became something and I was like Neill, why isn’t this got a name? I just made a name for it and called it three weeks here, your name’s Yoda, Y3T. He was like I like that. That was it.
“We’ve been doing it since I was 19 so it’s nothing that was created, this was something that was just put a name to.”
Being a high-volume athlete, Lewis shared the number of sets he likes to perform in training and the part he enjoys working out the most.
“I do between 20 and 24 sets per body part. Workouts are an hour to an hour and a half. I would train one body part per day. Arms would be combined or separated. My last training system was Sunday legs, Monday morning hamstrings, a couple hours later chest and back. I’d have two days off a week, Wednesday was one and then on Thursday I’d do shoulders, Friday arms, Saturday off.”
“My weakest one is chest. It’s the most stubborn body part I’ve suffered with my whole career and my favorite part to train.”
Lewis opens up on his current diet
Flex Lewis further gave fans a look into his current diet plans, consisting of low carbs and clean sources of nutrition.
“I get up in the morning around 4:30, do my cardio, I won’t eat my first meal until about nine and that first meal is eggs, bacon, and olive oil. I don’t have any carbs. If I have carbs, I feel by the time I get to the gym and I stack in on calls and trying to do things, I feel foggy like I’m mentally not there. I don’t get that way if I don’t eat carbs. Normally my second carb meal is around about 12 o’clock. I’ll eat that a couple hours later. I got a little over a cup with some steak and some asparagus.
“I then have three or fours hours later some salmon. I have a wide diverse of meats, different protein sources, and then before bed I have the same meal as what I woke up on. I try not to go to bed with carbs. I sleep a lot better, I’m 60 pounds lighter than I was so that helps too.”
“But the diet elements of it I eat very clean. The bacon is what it is but it’s very lean cut. I use fats in a lot of my meals like good fats. I’m a big believer in that too for brain function and with the weekends, I have whatever I want. Not all throughout the weekends. I still have structure, same breakfast, and still go to bed with the same meal.”
He recommended creatine as a non-negotiable supplement for any athlete.
“I think creatine has a big part in any athlete’s gym bag. They should be supplementing creatine. In my peak, I was probably taking about 10-15g a day predominantly around my workout.”
Flex Lewis talks recovery & announces body transformation challenge
Lewis declared his ambitions to level up his fitness for his upcoming 40th birthday.
“I’m going to be doing a ‘Fit for 40,’ not the theme I’m going to be calling it but I’m turning 40 in November so I want to be in the best shape I can be physically, mentally, and cardiovascularly than I’ve ever been. We start that in June and there’s going to be a periodic following of sorts documenting different things.
“A little bit of bodybuilding training, strongman training, and UFC guys, a couple of things mixed in and I think it’d be just a good journey to follow.”
He stressed the importance of recovery and offered some techniques he used to boost healing.
“Recovery was something that I really started putting more and more into for the Olympia preps. I got two torn shoulders, micro tears in different parts of the body. I was having Physical Therapy five times a week.
“Recovery for me, I was in excruciating pain. I couldn’t sleep at night. Then I started looking into different things. I invested into a bed one of these systematic beds. I also sleep to this day, I bought a pregnancy pillow, the big U, so I sleep in this pillow on my back.”
“Right now, I’ve got things like cold plunge in my house, a sauna that’s on the way.”
Flex Lewis retired at the top. He believes he could have become the first two-division champion in bodybuilding had he moved up to the Men’s Open class as a 212 Olympia king. He opened up on his steroid use and revealed how he still gets people trying to convince him to return last month. Then, he collaborated with reigning four-time Classic Physique Olympia winner Chris Bumstead for a challenging back workout.
Based on Lewis’ track record, his latest offering will certainly add clarity and value to fitness enthusiasts who want to improve their performance in the gym.