Flex Wheeler shares his thoughts on how social media influencers have changed the way success is seen in the sport.


In many ways, we live in a glorious time for bodybuilding. Now more than ever, we have immediate access to the biggest names in the sport. Top pro athletes are able to shares their training routines and progress instantly without fans having to wait for monthly magazine updates. But it’s also created a divide in what “success” means in the industry. There are more and more bodybuilders with impressive physiques who don’t compete – but make a living off of their massive social media following. Has this watered down the prestige of competitive pro bodybuilding? In our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview, Flex Wheeler explains how social media has “distorted” success in bodybuilding.

During our conversation with Flex Wheeler during the filming of Generation Iron 2, we discussed a wide variety of topics that unfortunately could not appear in the final film. One such moment is a discussion about how social media has affected the bodybuilding industry as a whole.

We’ve pulled this segment from the cutting room floor as part of our vault series of GI Exclusives. During our interview, we asked Flex Wheeler if social media influencers and their success has negatively impacted the sport of bodybuilding. While Wheeler doesn’t go aggressively against it, he does believe that it’s changed the perception of what bodybuilding success is.

Flex Wheeler had this to say during our interview:

“You have guys who go on stage and they compete or let’s just say athletes because it doesn’t mater. It can be baseball, it can be football, these YouTubers they have have greater followings right? So you can be a premiere athlete and go out and do your craft and somebody can have more of a visual platform and they are looked upon of being greater. Or being able to do something greater. It’s a distorted vision of that. But you know what, it’s really unfortunately but it’s the world we live in now.”

As Flex Wheeler states towards the end of the quote, it’s just the world we live in now. There’s no ill will but he does have some concerns that it has warped our overall collective perception of what success is in not just bodybuilding but sports as a whole.

Is this a negative change or simply something different? It’s certainly common for one generation to see things differently than the next – but while we are stuck in the middle of this transition, it’s hard to tell if this is a positive, negative, or simply neutral change.

Whatever it is – it’s definitely something different. As with all new technology, there’s some good and some bad. And above all there is an adjustment period. Only when we look back with hindsight will we be able to tell how big an affect it really had on the sport.

You can watch Flex Wheeler’s comments in our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview segment above. If you feel like catching up with Generation Iron 2, it’s available now on all major digital platforms. Click here or the banner below to gran your own digital 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.