With seven 212 Olympia titles under his belt, James “Flex” Lewis is the most decorated bodybuilder in the division’s history. Although Lewis retired from competitive bodybuilding in May 2022, the Welsh bodybuilder remains an active member of the community.
Lewis hosts the popular podcast, Straight Outta the Lair, and runs the Dragon’s Lair gym in Las Vegas, NV, where he routinely trains with elite bodybuilders and strongmen. On June 3, 2023, Lewis appeared on the Escape Fitness podcast, where he revealed his “workout secrets.” Check it out below, courtesy of the Escape Fitness YouTube channel:
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Training Tips, Splits, and Dorian Yates
The 39-year-old Lewis started training with coach Neil “Yoda” Hill at age 19. Lewis followed Hill’s Y3T training program — a nine-week training plan broken up into a trio of three-week microcycles — throughout his competitive career.
“I did love throwing on heavy weight,” said Lewis. “The strongest I’ve ever been was training with Dallas [McCarver]which is arguably one of the strongest bodybuilders ever.”
The seven-time 212 Olympia champ reveals he switched between slow-paced and fast-paced workouts. The former is used during high-volume leg sessions. Lewis believes higher reps help him achieve better stimulation to optimize hypertrophy. Lewis typically performs 20 and 24 sets per body part per session within 60 to 90 minutes in the gym.
I’m a 30-rep guy. Bigger body parts [like] legs and back — an hour and a half. Smaller body parts—an hour or less.
In his latest training split, the Wales native trains legs on Sundays and hamstrings on Monday mornings as a lead into his chest and back training. Lewis trains shoulders on Thursdays and arms on Fridays. He feels his chest is his weakest muscle group.
It’s the most stubborn body part I’ve suffered with my whole career and my favorite body part to train.
The seven-time Olympia champ uses Wednesday and Saturday as his rest days each week. Something unfamiliar to his younger self. Lewis disclosed that he did not take rest days until starting training with the six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, who convinced him to take his recovery more seriously.
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Lewis wakes up at 4:30 am every morning to perform cardio. His first meal is n’t until approximately 9 am — a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and olive oil. Due to the brain fog carbohydrates cause Lewis, he omits them from his first meal.
Lewis eats again at noon: a curated dish from MegaFit Meals, Lewis’ sponsor. On the day of the recording above, that meal comprised steak and asparagus. “The Welsh Dragon” eats lunch between 2-3 pm and typically includes salmon and a source of white meat. Another round of eggs, bacon, and olive oil wraps up his day of eating, again avoiding carbs before bed.
Although it’s been over a year since Lewis hung up his competitive posing trunks, he has no plans to stop training. Lewis remains in excellent shape but intends to go one step further. Beginning in June, he began a transformation program to achieve even better physical and mental shape.
Featured image: @flex_lewis on Instagram