Dragon's Den

Flex Lewis talks injury prevention & dieting on the road
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How do you stick to a bodybuilding diet while traveling?

Lots of planning! You have to know where you can find the right foods wherever you go. For me, the promoter or someone like that can help me out; but if you don’t have that luxury, you can go online ahead of time and see if the hotel has chicken breasts, egg whites, steak, and those kinds of things, or if there’s a restaurant nearby that serves what you want. Even if they’re not on the menu, most places can make you those foods. But you can’t assume that and they might charge you a crazy amount for a “special order.” So find out ahead of time.

A lot of times I have to depend on protein shakes. That’s not ideal I’d rather get more food meals in. But you do what you have to. When I’m traveling, my main goal is to hold on to the body weight I’ve got, because I know it’ll be hard to get in ideal workouts and food every day. I really like to get my meals fresh, but on long flights I don’t have that luxury, so I prepare all my food ahead of time and take it with me. Sometimes you can get a steak or something similar in first class on a long flight, but plane food is really hit or miss and mostly miss, LOL. So you can’t depend on it. I have to prepare. I usually time out my meals for the flight and then add one more, just in case there’s a delay.

I know you train very intensely. How have you avoided major injuries?

I always warm up thoroughly before I do anything. I remind myself that cutting corners could result in an injury that derails or even ends my career, so I always put the time in to stretch out and warm up the muscles I’m working. And I think that, over years of working out, I’ve learned which exercises are good for me and which are bad. They say, “Learn to love the things you hate.” But there’s a difference between doing something that you avoid because it hurts in a good way, not in a dangerous way and doing something that just doesn’t work for your body.

Also, I love training, and I love going hard and heavy. But hard and heavy is for a certain time and place. There’s no way I could go hard and heavy all the time if I did, I’d tear myself down to the point where I’d have so many aches and pains I couldn’t train right for weeks.

Another thing is, I always take an extended rest period after a contest. I probably trained about eight times in six weeks after my last contest in 2012. That was great for my body, and it was great mentally, too. I came back this year with more energy and enthusiasm than ever. Learn to take time of when needed, listen to your body, and get enough warmups. It just takes an instant to injure yourself seriously, so make sure you’re mentally and physically ready for every set.

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