The size, the depth, the power, Flex Wheeler had everything. Even Schwarzenegger said that Wheeler was one of the best he ever saw.
Wheeler came into the world of bodybuilding via martial arts as a teenager. Seeing that he had a naturally muscular build he decided to take up bodybuilding. For his massive size, Wheeler was incredibly flexible, hence his nickname, "Flex".
Wheeler entered his first competition in 1985, being the AAU Teen Mr. America, in which he placed 1st. In 1989 he made his NPC debut in California, finishing first and went on to place 5th at the NPC nationals later in the same year. He worked his way to the podium, taking 2nd at th NPC USA Championship in 1991 and then 1st in 1992 for the same event. This victory granted him access to IFBB and in 1993 he entered the IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational.
Wheeler’s relatively compact frame and overwhelmingly fine-tuned trunk took him to first place.
In 1997 Wheeler took the Triple-Crown, winning the Ironman, Arnold Classic and San Jose. He left his mark in the world of bodybuilding and supplanted himself as one of the absolute greatest of all time.
In 1994, Wheeler was involved in a violent car accident. He could have been paralyzed for life, but Wheeler fought through it and returned to bodybuilding soon after.
In 1999 Wheeler was told that he had focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a type of kidney disease. There were false rumors circulating in the bodybuilding world as to what exactly caused the kidney disease; the primary one being steroids. However, Wheeler stated that the disease was hereditary.
Then in 2000, he retired, although he continued competing a little while after that until in 2002 he left the stage for good. Later in 2003 he received a kidney transplant.
Retirement and Martial Arts
Since overcoming the hurdles of the 1990s and early 2000s, Wheeler has returned to martial arts, specifically Kemp-Kown-Do. He remains as "Flex"ible as ever.
Wheeler is also Director of Media and Public Relations for All American EFX, in Bakersfield, CA.