Flex Wheeler powered through numerous obstacles while leaving his mark on the sport. In a recent post made on Instagram, he shared an inspirational message with his fans to never give up while smashing through a set of single leg presses.
Flex Wheeler took the bodybuilding world by storm in the 1990s with one of the most aesthetic physiques ever seen on stage. He went head-to-head against some iconic competitors during his illustrious career, including eight-time Mr. Olympia champion Ronnie Coleman, Kevin Levrone, Shawn Ray, and Lee Labrada. While he did not win a Sandow trophy, he won the Arnold Classic four times.
After stepping away from professional competition, Wheeler had to combat many health issues. He underwent emergency surgery in 2019. There were complications from the operation that left him with blood clots and kidney failure. Ultimately, it resulted in Wheeler needing to get his right leg amputated. Then, a severe case of COVID-19 infection forced Wheeler back to the hospital. He also had another back surgery in the first half of last year.
In July 2022, Flex underwent surgery for the rotator cuff in his left shoulder and reported high levels of pain. A few days later, he was on his way to recovery in the hospital. Wheeler’s troubles didn’t end there as he found out the transplanted kidney he got in 2003 was starting to show signs of damage from wear and tear.
Despite the roadblocks, Wheeler has not lost his passion for bodybuilding. He teamed up with rising Men’s Open sensations Andrew Jacked to guide him through a posing session before the 2022 Texas Pro. Jacked received some valuable tips from Wheeler that helped him through his first pro show.
Wheeler opened up on the mental challenges that came about after getting his right leg amputated. He admitted missing out on Olympia glory due to a lack of mental maturity and candidly spoke about his rough upbringing. To celebrate his immense success, a special lifetime achievement award will be presented to Wheeler at the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic, scheduled for March 2-5 in Columbus, Ohio.
Flex Wheeler shares a motivational message while performing leg presses
In a recent Instagram post, Flex Wheeler issued an inspirational message to his fans while smashing past a set of single-leg presses.
“Life will put roadblocks in your way,” he wrote. “It’ll be up to you to keep moving forward. But, you don’t need to walk this path alone! ”
“I want to talk to you a little bit about life’s setbacks and hurdles,” he said. “We’re all given them. As I said many times before, life is going to deal you lemons. It’s your choice to be sour or make lemonade out of it and serve it sweet. In my 57 years, I’ve been through a lot, to say the least. I was homeless, raised on welfare, beaten, molested from the age of 5 to 13, got focal glomerulosclerosis and recently of course, just lost my leg. But I won’t and I don’t allow it to prison me. I will never allow my body to prison me. I will continuously push back and try to set new goals and boundaries for myself. I suggest you do the same… Believe in yourself, especially when others don’t. Don’t accept no, don’t accept failure, even of your own self, continuously push back and set goals for yourself. Live life to its fullest.”
Flex Wheeler needed to undergo a third shoulder surgery for his rotator cuff two months ago.
His impact on the sport is undeniable. Former 212 Olympia champion Kamal Elgargni shared that he started bodybuilding because of Wheeler. There is no doubt Wheeler will continue to inspire the next generation of competitors.