Flex Wheeler discusses the inherent health risks of trying to be the best in the world at any athletic endeavor.


A conversation that often comes up about professional bodybuilding is the question as to whether or not it’s healthy. Certainly improving your physique is generally healthy but does it become dangerous on the pro level? During the filming of Generation Iron 2, we asked Flex Wheeler this very question but his full response never made it into the film. In our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview, Flex Wheeler explains how the attempt to be the best in the world will always come with health risks in any sport including bodybuilding.

Is pro bodybuilding healthy? This has been a question often raised by the mainstream regarding the sport. The notion of improving your body is inherently a healthy endeavor. But when does it get taken too far? Is pro bodybuilding past the limit?

During the filming of our various films we have asked this question frequently of athletes, doctors, and coaches. Each person has their own answer. But perhaps Flex Wheeler’s answer is the best we’ve heard. Wheeler is passionate about the sport of bodybuilding – but he’s also very logical about its realities.

Flex Wheeler’s full answer wasn’t able to make it into the final cut of Generation Iron 2. It was such a good answer that we knew it had to be unearthed and included in our GI Exclusive Vault series.

“I know tons of athletes in all walks of life. You know, at our level we get the chance to mingle with other great athletes,” Flex Wheeler stated during our interview. He continued:

“So I’ve met people who’ve played in Wimbledon. I know high level professional baseball players and boxers and fighters and stuff like that. So what I understand now is, it’s not healthy to try to be the best in the world at anything. Period. Listen, if you wanna take kickboxing classes or a boxing class, great, that’s healthy. You want to fight Mike Tyson. That’s not healthy.”

What Flex Wheeler mentions here makes a lot of sense. It’s an accurate way of describing the risks without vilifying the sport of bodybuilding. The inherent health risks in pro bodybuilding are not unique to that specific sport. It’s a risk that any person faces in any athletic endeavor when they attempt to be the best.

The reason for this, perhaps, is due to the bar continually being raised. When one person sets the standard of what “best” is, then the next person needs to take it a step higher. This keeps going and going until we reach such pinnacle levels that risks crop up. These athletes are testing the limits of the human body. It comes at a cost. But it’s a coast that they are willing to take.

So no, bodybuilding itself is not healthy. It can become unhealthy or at the very least risky when pushed to extremes. But those extremes are no different than any legendary baseball player, football player, or any other top level athlete.

You can watch Flex Wheeler’s full comments in our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview segment above. You can also watch the entire Generation Iron 2 film on digital. Click here or the banner below to get your own copy today!

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Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.