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Flex Wheeler began training as a teenager, initially with martial arts in mind. However his natural development persuaded him to pursue bodybuilding. Despite this he is on record as regarding himself as a "martial artist first, a bodybuilder second." It also accounts for his remarkable flexibility in a physique so large. Even so, he has been described by Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the greatest bodybuilders he ever saw.

After a short career as a police officer, Wheeler focused full time on becoming a professional bodybuilder, taking the nickname 'Flex'. He competed for the first time in 1983 but it was not until 1989 that he secured a first-place trophy at the NPC Mr California Championships. Since then, he has placed second at the 1993 Mr. Olympia, narrowly missing a win (something he was to repeat in 1998 and 1999). He is a 5 time Ironman Pro winner, 4 time Arnold Classic winner, and has enjoyed victories in the France Grand Prix, South Beach Pro Invitational, Night of Champions and Hungarian Grand Prix.

Flex has the best IFBB pro debut in the history of the sport of body building in 1993 with 4 wins Pro IronMan, Arnold Classic, German Grand Prix, French Grand Prix and 2nd in his first Mr. Olympia.

In 1994 he was involved in a near-fatal car accident that could have left him with lifelong paralysis. He started from scratch again, returning with remarkable speed to the top ranks of the sport.

In 1999 Wheeler discovered that he had Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a form of kidney disease. Despite press speculation as to the cause of the failure, Wheeler pointed out that the condition is hereditary, not self-inflicted. Wheeler announced his retirement from competitive bodybuilding in 2000, but continued to compete until 2002. He received a kidney transplant in 2003.

Flex was added to the Guinness Book of Records in 2000.

Since retirement Wheeler has focused again on martial arts, his specialism being Kemp-Kwon-Do, a variant of Kempo and Tae Kwon Do. He participated in a championship match at the 2005 Arnold Classic.

In 2007, Flex was interviewed by freelance journalist Rod Labbe for Ironman Magazine's LEGENDS OF BODYBUILDING series. Entitled "Yesterday and Today," it covers his extensive career and reveals how a Legend can conquer adversity and triumph against incredible odds.

Flex is a partner with AAEFX currently serves in an executive position as the Director of Media and Public Relations for the Sports Nutrition Company All American EFX, based out of Bakersfield, California. Flex has his own product line with AAEFX called "Flex Wheeler Signature Series". Additionally, he manages their sponsored athletes and can be seen in numerous advertisements for the company.

Competitive Stats

Height: 5' 10.5"
Offseason Weight: 265-298 lbs
Contest Weight: 214-256 lbs

Competitive History

  • 1985 AAU Teen Mr America 1st (MT)
  • 1987 Rust Wanner 1st MW
  • 1989 NPC Contra Costa 1st (HW)
  • 1989 NPC Governors Cup 1st (HW and Overall)
  • 1989 NPC California Championships 1st (LHW)
  • 1989 NPC Nationals 5th (LHW)
  • 1990 NPC Junior Nationals 2nd (HW)
  • 1991 NPC Nationals 2nd (HW)
  • 1991 NPC USA Championship 2nd (HW)
  • 1992 NPC USA Championships 1st (HW and Overall)
  • 1993 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational 1st
  • 1993 IFBB Arnold Classic 1st
  • 1993 IFBB German Grand Prix 1st
  • 1993 French Grand Prix 1st
  • 1993 IFBB Mr. Olympia 2nd
  • 1995 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational 1st
  • 1995 IFBB Arnold Classic 2nd
  • 1995 IFBB South Beach Pro 1st
  • 1995 IFBB Mr. Olympia 8th
  • 1995 IFBB Grand Prix Spain 5th
  • 1996 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational 1st
  • 1996 IFBB Arnold Classic 2nd
  • 1996 IFBB Night of Champions 1st
  • 1996 IFBB Canada Pro Classic 2nd
  • 1996 IFBB Florida Cup Pro 1st
  • 1996 IFBB Mr. Olympia 4th
  • 1997 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational 1st
  • 1997 IFBB Arnold Classic 1st
  • 1997 IFBB San Jose Pro 1st
  • 1998 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational 1st
  • 1998 IFBB Arnold Classic 1st
  • 1998 IFBB Mr. Olympia 2nd
  • 1999 IFBB Grand Prix England - 2nd
  • 1999 IFBB Joe Weider's Pro World 2nd
  • 1999 IFBB Mr. Olympia 2nd
  • 2000 IFBB Mr. Olympia 3rd
  • 2000 IFBB Hungarian Grand Prix 1st
  • 2000 IFBB Arnold Classic 1st
  • 2000 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational 2nd
  • 2003 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational 3rd