Flex Wheeler is a professional bodybuilder with many titles. He is the greatest bodybuilder who never won the Mr. Olympia title. But how did he get there? Ronnie Coleman once said that Flex Wheeler was the second greatest bodybuilder of all time, behind only Arnold Schwarzenegger. This article will share with you the myth, the legend, and the life of this fantastic bodybuilder. Forget what you have heard. We will tell you the unbridled, unbashful, and unadulterated truth! We’ll discuss his life, career, struggles, victories, and championships. Finally, we will educate you on using Flex’s workout and diet to take your fitness to the next level.
Kenneth Flex Wheeler was born on August 23, 1965, and spent his childhood in Fresno, California. Flex came from a genetically gifted family as his father and older brother excelled in several sports, including football and track. When he started a lifelong passion for martial arts, Wheeler began his athletic career at eleven. It was martial arts that taught him discipline and how to control his body. His favorite martial arts fighter was Bruce Lee. He connected with the movie Enter The Dragon and was inspired to model his life after Bruce Lee.
Early in life, Flex had to overcome many challenges. Fresno was a gang-infested city during Flex’s childhood. He often shared stories about the Bloods and Crips during interviews. Flex was born with dyslexia and self-esteem issues due to being an introvert and suicidal tendencies. Flex often referred to himself during childhood as skinny Kenny.
It wasn’t until he turned 16 and began developing muscles that he started to turn heads. Flex Wheeler came to the attention of a local bodybuilder named Joe Jennings, who mentored Flex and told him he had great potential due to his genetics. After martial arts and attending the police academy, Flex would eventually choose bodybuilding over both.
Flex was a constant professional during his bodybuilding career. Some of the greats acknowledge Flex’s achievements. Arnold, Dorian, and Ronnie spoke highly of Flex on many occasions. Ronnie Coleman said Flex would have been the greatest bodybuilder of all time if he chose to work harder.
Flex, in an interview, acknowledged that Ronnie and Dorian, whom he had worked out with, had insane workout routines. On another occasion, when talking about Kai Greene and Phil Heath, he stated he didn’t think they would return to the sport in their forties because of the mental toughness it took to get through the workouts and stick with the diet. Flex Wheeler, the bodybuilder, also said in his twenties; that it was easier to do bodybuilding because of a willingness to put his body in harm’s way.
Flex’s career was full of challenges. In 1994 he was in a car accident. He broke his neck at the C5 and C6 disks. Many sponsors wrote him off and canceled his contract. Flex worked hard and proved all of his doubters wrong. Martial arts and a rough childhood prepared him to overcome obstacles that would destroy many people.
He has won the Arnold Classic, making him one of the most decorated bodybuilders in history. Flex Wheeler is a bodybuilding legend. And he has been inducted into the International Federation of Bodybuilders Hall of Fame. He achieved all this success after overcoming drug addiction and homelessness, which is why he’s an important role model for people who want to make a positive change in their lives.
In Flex’s career, he won the Arnold Classic in 1993, 1997, 1998, and 2000. Also, he won the Iron man in 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998. Flex finished second in the Mr. Olympia championships twice in 1998 and 1999. Flex competing when bodybuilding was first introduced to the mass monster bodybuilders. Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman were big men with well-defined muscles and insane workout habits. A judge told Flex he would never beat Dorian Yates in competition unless he got bigger. Dorian won 5 Mr. Olympia’s, and Ronnie won 8 Mr. Olympia’s during Flex’s career. Flex had a remarkable career after returning from a broken neck in 1994, where he won most of his championships.
Flex Wheeler, the bodybuilder, has always inspired me as a fitness trainer because of his ability to face down giants with a positive attitude and to overcome difficult situations. Despite his obstacles, he became one of the greatest bodybuilders according to the greatest bodybuilders. He demonstrates that you can still be the best version of yourself regardless of what life throws at you.
Flex believed that workouts required mental toughness. Undoubtedly, he developed his toughness from competing against his older brother, living up to his father’s standards, and martial arts.
Jay Cutler, a four-time Mr. Olympia and another mass monster stated that bodybuilding has no secrets. The work is the work, and the diet is the diet. The key to bodybuilding is executing. During one interview Ronnie Coleman boasted that he refused to let anyone outwork him in the gym. Dorian Yates and Arnold Schwarzenegger both echoed the same sentiments during interviews. Therefore everyone builds the chest with presses, the back with rows and deadlifts, the legs with squats, presses, and curls, and the arms with extensions and curls.
What many people don’t know is that it was Flex who introduced Ronnie Coleman to performance-enhancing drugs. Despite working harder than Flex in the gym, Ronnie credits Flex for showing him how to succeed as a bodybuilder. Flex Wheeler, the bodybuilder, believed you did the classic lifts as hard as possible when it came to working out. But genetics also played a role, so you worked with what you had and improved it. The goal is to use volume, progressive overload, and a periodization plan with the classic lifts. Don’t be afraid to start light. Keep it simple, and build up!
Flex and Ronnie Coleman used the same nutritionist. It was Flex who introduced nutritionist Chad Nicholls to Ronnie Coleman. On many occasions, Flex talked about how Chad helped his career. Flex Wheeler, the bodybuilder, believed you couldn’t outwork a bad diet. Chad’s approach to nutrition is that the athlete knows his body better than anyone because it’s their body. He often asked his clients about their goals and how they felt before preparing a diet for them.
Flex and Chad believe a diet should be customized to the individual because no two people are alike. Some foods like steak, oysters, asparagus, eggs, rice, salmon, and chicken breast are stable for any bodybuilding program. Always listen to your body. Stay with pre-meals and post-meals that give you results in the gym and with your body measurements.
According to Flex, you should be able to discriminate between what works and what doesn’t for your body. Flex Wheeler, the bodybuilder, was the first to recognize that a modest diet is required due to kidney difficulties concerning protein. Building muscle requires protein, healthy fats, vitamins, carbohydrates, and a modest calorie surplus.
What is Flex Doing Now?
Bodybuilding has taken its toll on Flex Wheeler’s body like many other professional bodybuilders. The exceptions to this rule with the older bodybuilders are Dorian and Arnold. During one interview, Dorian stated he uses hormone therapy and marijuana and is monitored by medical providers. Dorian still works out, but Flex has not been so lucky as he recently had a leg amputated due to blood clots. Flex also suffered from neuropathy in his legs and hands.
But in Flex Wheeler fashion, he continues to fight. Flex owns a fitness company that sells CBD oils for pain and a line of wheelchairs called the Flex Wheeler wheelchair. Also, his business is currently working on a blood thinner due to blood clots. All of Flex’s products come from medical problems that he faced.
The Last Word on Flex Wheeler, the Greatest Bodybuilder Who Never Won Mr. Olympia
Flex acknowledges that changes need to be made in professional bodybuilding, but he also believes there is always hope. Flex stated bodybuilding is the only sport where other sports have to come to improve in their sport. He stated every athlete has to build their body to be great; therefore, bodybuilding will always be around.
Flex mentioned Roc (Dwayne Johnson) and Arnold Schwarzenegger as positive forces in bodybuilding. He feels bodybuilding could be promoted better because it is important for society.
What can we learn from Flex Wheeler, the bodybuilder? He built great relationships, and everyone in the bodybuilding world loves him. He has spent the night at Dorian Yates’s home and let Ronnie Coleman stay at his home. Also, Flex has close relationships with Arnold and had one with Flex Wheeler before he died.
Flex refuses to criticize today’s bodybuilders and stands ready to help and prevent others from suffering from the medical conditions he has experienced. Flex shows us we can grow and learn more with others than alone. Talking with others about diets and workouts and being a part of a community will help you grow faster than doing it alone.