Name: Kenneth Wheeler

Nickname: Flex

Division: Men’s Open

Birth date: 8/23/1965

Height: 5’7″

Competition Weight: 230 lbs

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Flex Wheeler Happy Birthday Generation IronBiography


Flex Wheeler was born on the August 23rd, 1965 in the Fresno, California. Poverty was present at the time of his adolescence.

Flex experienced abuse as a child and grew up with numerous troubles including self-destructive propensities. He often struggled in school because of dyslexia.

Starting With Martial Arts

Flex flourished in sports though. He initially started with martial arts and later moved to weight training as a child.

During his martial arts training in his childhood, he was very flexible. This is the how he earned his nickname, “Flex”.

Flex proceeded to turn into a cop as one of his first careers in the public eye, in any case, his adoration for weight training dominated. He focused on the entirety growing bigger and stronger.

Competitive Bodybuilding

Flex competed for the first time in 1983, however it wasn’t until 1989 when he made sure to win first place at the NCP Mr. California Championship.

Feeling the desire for the success, he continued contending all throughout the 1990s and 2000’s. Setting his sights higher and looking towards Mr. Olympia where he had placed second in 1993.

Piling up the competitions in his long and solid career path, he won various titles, for example, being a 5-time Ironman Pro victor, 4-time Arnold Classic victor, and has won the France Grand Prix, South Beach Pro Invitational, Night of Champions, and Hungarian Grand Prix.

Tragedy Strikes

Flex was involved in a terrible car-accident that was almost fatal. It could have been borderline paralysis. His luck was not the best because he experienced a car-jacking 3 years later, which ruined his chances of competing in Mr. Olympia in 1997. This caused him to go deeper into depression.

That did not stop Flex from competing. However, Flex was diagnosed with a kidney disease called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis. 

“They told me that I had the most aggressive kidney disease known to man and there was no cure. They also told me my life was hanging in the balance and I would need a kidney transplant.”

Eventually, rumors spread that steroids use was the cause of his disease, but according to Flex, it is hereditary.

Retirement From Bodybuilding

Flex retired from bodybuilding in the early 2000s. Once Flex retired from bodybuilding, he found his way back to his first love, martial arts.

Kemp-Kwon-Do, which is a mixture of Kempo, Tae Kwon Do, and Aikido, are his favorite forms of martial arts.

In 2003, Flex had a kidney transplant and in 2005 he took part in the Arnold Classic, showing off his fighting skills and took home the win. He was 70 undefeated fights in his martial arts career since his early 20’s.

Since then, Flex has worked as a Director of Media and Public Relations for a nutrition and sports company. Along with this, he manages sponsored athletes with the company.

Flex has mentioned that he would love to revisit bodybuilding one day, “I am hoping they will bring the Masters Olympia back as I am pretty confident I can win this. If not, I am, in effect looking at going back into open competition.”

Leg Amputation

On October 20, 2019 it was reported that Flex Wheeler underwent emergency surgery that required the amputation of his leg. It was later revealed that Wheeler was suffering Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and had been making trips to the hospital multiple times.

Wheeler was made aware by his doctors that a leg amputation might be necessary to save his life – but they first wanted to exhaust all other options. Unfortunately, none of the other options worked.


Like most heavy set bodybuilders, Flex utilized a ton of hypertrophy and hefty loads with low reps. He’d exercise utilizing split schedules, german volume preparing, and progressive overload. Being the size he was back in his competing days, Flex didn’t sit around in the rec center. It was either win it all or nothing.


Flex’s eating routine has changed drastically throughout the years after the additional worry of his kidney transplant and exchanging back to martial arts. It’s safe to say that his eating regimen will comprise of mostly lean proteins, solid fats and complex carbs and an intermittent cheat dinner.

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.