Flex Wheeler, a 1990s bodybuilding icon, still represents the sport with class today. In a recent The Menace Podcast with Dennis James, Wheeler laid out his 1993 steroid cycle and discussed whether or not he used diuretics and growth hormones throughout his career.
During a tenure lasting over 20 years, Wheeler traveled the world as a bodybuilder and showcased a remarkable physique with round muscle bellies and superb conditioning. He paved the way for future pros by sharing the stage with greats such as eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, Chris Cormier, and Kevin Levrone. Before calling it a career, Wheeler won four Arnold Classic titles and placed in the top two at Mr. Olympia three times.
Wheeler would face adversity after his retirement, however. He struggled from a series of health scares and injuries, which often saw him stuck inside a hospital. In 2019, tragedy struck as a medical emergency resulted in the amputation of his leg. While Flex persevered following the surgery, the 57-year-old was candid about his deteriorating health recently.
Last year, Wheeler told Dennis James that his transplanted kidneys from 2003 were starting to show signs of failure. Despite the hardship, Wheeler has remained busy. He recently accepted an Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award in March. Now he’s back to discuss one of his first-ever cycles with Dennis James and company.
Flex Wheeler Talks 1993 Cycle, Diuretics – Says He Didn’t Know He Was Taking “5:1 Anabolics vs Androgens”
As far as contest prep was concerned, Wheeler said he introduced two diuretics: Aldactone and Dyazide on the Wednesday before a respective event.
“Back then I did my same regimen, it was 100 milligrams a day of Dactone, including the 25 milligrams of Diazide that was in there. What is that, 150 milligrams. Just the last three days [before a show] from Wednesday.”
Wheeler said his 1993 cycle consisted of Deca, Winstrol IV and tablet, Anavar, and testosterone propionate.
“Charles never knew more than I did about diuretics and dieting. He never wrote a cycle. He never did any of that for me,” added Wheeler. I have it all written down. Even after I retired, I had these books that I use to always write my whole cycle down. Somebody threatened to break into my house and steal it.
1993, if I can remember correctly, 800 milligrams of deca a week, 600 milligrams of Winstrol, I think 100 milligrams a day of Winstrol tab,” Wheeler said. “I think it was something like 30 milligrams of Anavar. I think back then, my go-to was like testosterone propionate. That was pretty much it.”
“Me and him were like super close, he was super cool, he was always like, ‘Damn Flex, why you always running this candy?’ You’re not running androgens you’re only running anabolics. You’re like 5:1 with anabolics versus androgens. I didn’t understand. I didn’t know.”
Again, Wheeler mentioned he used Lasix and Aldactone but sometimes switched to Aldactazide to dry out his physique.
“What did I take, nothing. It’s just my body was fighting against me. Like I said, man, I won’t say the amounts of diuretics and Lasix I took in 1998 and 1999 but I still couldn’t achieve a good condition,” added Wheeler. “It wasn’t diuretics again. My body and kidneys were failing. I think I took, I can’t even remember the amount.
My go-to, and that was a big mistake back then even when the diet diuretics started changing, I always stayed to what I knew. I always took out Aldactone and then I switched over to Aldactazide. That was the go-to back then. I didn’t know. Remember, back then, diuretics ripped water from you. You would just take a little bit and be shredded.”
Even though Flex Wheeler thought he was taking an excessive amount of GH, he specified that it was less than what bodybuilders use today.
“GH, you know how much GH I was taking? I thought I was crazy, one IU every other day,” said Wheeler. “Listen, back then, people didn’t take large amounts and if they did, they didn’t tell us. I know one pro bodybuilder’s name, he had his own clothing line. That was the first I ever heard of somebody taking 10 IUs a day. If you don’t believe me, call up Paul Dillett.”
Wheeler Talks ‘Reward Meals’ Instead of Cheat Meals & Eating French Fries During Prep
Initially, Wheeler said his diet for bodybuilding in 1993 was mainly eating out at Sizzler or Firehouse. He added that he was able to eat French fries during prep until eventually, his body wouldn’t allow him to ‘get away with it.’
“I’ve talked about worse, right? Yeah 1993, I don’t think I cheated in ’93. You got to understand my diet. Even in 1993, my breakfast was eating at Firehouse, right? Then, my next five meals were eating at Sizzler. Maybe [cheeseburgers in 1997] I was used to eating French fries, so I ate French fries all the way up till I left for the Arnold Classic, French fries, and ketchup.
My point is, now we understand that we need a little more fat. The second thing is I was always in such good shape right, now, right, back then we called it cheating but no, it’s called reward food,” Flex Wheeler said.
“I figured if I could get away with it and it made me look better, then I really didn’t look at it bad. The truth is, the truth is, only until about 1998, I think my was my kidneys were really started failing and I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t get away with it anymore. And it wasn’t that, it was the diuretics.”
While battling on stage, many saw Wheeler winning Mr. Olympia as a foregone conclusion. Though, he never was able to match the sheer size of Ronnie Coleman. Since then, Wheeler has made it a point to warn competitors of today not to chase size unnecessarily.
Wheeler was a consummate professional. Despite his competitive nature, he was open to helping others and actually introduced Coleman to his long-time coach Chad Nicholls. To this day, Ronnie has said had it not been for Flex Wheeler, he never would have won his first Mr. Olympia competition.
Bodybuilding cycles have become a very popular subject in the fitness community as of late. Just a few weeks ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger sat down to discuss the two-compound steroid cycle that he used during his Mr. Olympia reign. While some found it surprising, Schwarzenegger shared that he only used deca (Nandrolone decanoate) and testosterone.
Wheeler’s insight surrounding steroids makes for some interesting conversations. Given his expertise, he continues to serve as a valuable resource for upcoming talent in the IFBB Pro League.