Flex and Ffion Lewis: The powerhouse siblings of Wales

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Flex and Ffion Lewis - powerhouse siblings
Women's Six Nations: France v Wales
Venue: GGL Stadium, Montpellier Date: Saturday, 2 February Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, updates on BBC Sport website.

James 'Flex' Lewis, the winner of seven consecutive Mr Olympia titles, is a motivational character.

The global superstar bodybuilder drives his 1.4 million Instagram followers to work hard and achieve their goals.

The 35-year-old, lives and trains in Florida, but at home in Llanelli his youngest sibling, rugby-playing sister Ffion is using Flex's journey to the very top of his sport as inspiration.

The 22-year-old scrum-half made her Wales debut in 2018 and is looking forward to playing in the 2019 Six Nations with big brother Flex tracking her progress 4,000 miles away.

"I was watching the autumn games on the road from my phone often from a shaky camera," Flex told BBC Sport Wales.

"From afar, doing what I've been doing in the States, I've seen Ffion tremendously change her attitude and her mindset to get to where she is.

"It makes me so proud to see her wear that Welsh jersey and it also drives me.

Ffion Lewis
Ffion Lewis in action for Wales against Hong Kong during the 2018 autumn internationals

"As the big brother I feel like I have to be the driving force, but now I think she's catching up with me so I have to up my game."

Rugby always played a big part in the Lewis household with brother Luke a promising player before following Flex to the US to work as a strength and conditioning coach with some of UFC's top athletes.

Flex, who was given his nickname due to his flexibility on the rugby field as a fleet footed winger, was a member of the Llanelli RFC Academy before a serious shoulder injury resulted in him discovering a love for bodybuilding.

"It was my dream to play rugby for Wales, but now I can live that dream vicariously through my sister," he said.

"There's nothing better for me than to see her running out.

"I was on pins watching from afar when she got her first cap and hoping she'd get her chance off the bench.

"She's earned that cap because she's getting up early every morning to do her cardio and that hard work behind closed doors is paying off."

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The 35-year-old is a huge name in the United States, but hasn't forgotten his Welsh roots, naming his elite gym in Florida, Dragons Lair, and returning to his parents home in Llanelli every Christmas.

Since being told he'd never make it as a bodybuilder, Lewis has become world famous and in winning his seventh Mr Olympia title last year in Las Vegas surpassed a record set by the most recognisable bodybuilder of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"My motto is to believe to achieve because I was always told I'd never make it, but every time I've fallen I've got up and said I'm not going anywhere.

"Because we're Welsh, there's a certain mentality which we were born with. We were never given a silver spoon and we grew up around hardworking people.

Flex Lewis
Flex Lewis has won seven consecutive titles at Mr Olympia

"A lot of people give up when they fail, but fortunately for us, we know the route to success which comes from failure. I'm so so glad she's never given up and that why I'm most proud of her."

Flex will not compete for an eighth 212 class Mr Olympia title and hopes to have more time on his hands to follow his sister's progress.

"Now I've retired from the 212 class and taking next year off there will definitely be opportunities to visit and watch some of her games," Lewis added.

"And that'll be emotional and I'm man enough to admit that there will be a few tears shed.

"I'd love her to go to the World Cup in New Zealand in 2021 and I'd definitely tell my promoter to set up a show there.

"She's got that first cap now so I'll tell her to be herself and set her goals higher. Never give up and then set the bar higher and go for bigger goals and dreams.

"You can achieve anything in life if you set your mind to it."

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