As much as I’m a huge fan of Flex’s physique in his prime, I think he always tried to sound more intelligent than he was. I read his autobiography (it only cost a penny, and I’m always fascinated by athlete’s stories), and although he tried to sound like he overcame so much - and he did to some degree - Flex always struck me as a very cocky individual. I got this not merely from one book, but from following his entire career via magazines, videos, podcasts etc. [Of course if someone knows him personally and wants to disagree, go right ahead.]
Yes, he was probably one of the most genetically inclined people to ever pick up a weight with the intention of sculpting his physique. Still, he was beaten on many occasions by individuals who worked smarter,as well as harder (Yates, Francious, Levrone, Cormier…). Yates always said that if Flex understood what he was doing, he’d be unbeatable.
So maybe bodybuilding choosing him was a double edged sword. Did he live “the lifestyle” for a while? Oh yeah, and no doubt he had a blast. But look at when he retired, needing kidney dialysis (later transplant), and being practically broke with a buncha kids.
If we’re talking about some pursuit, some hobby, or vision quest that speaks to you on such a deep level that you feel that you have no option but to follow it,… well, like with Wheeler, it can be a double edged sword. I always had a knack for drawing, even when I was a pre-med student taking all sorts of sports med and psychology of exercise classes. I got into NYU Film school for Grad studies as the only student (out of 4 accepted that year) without an actual degree in fine arts or film. I worked on many projects over the next 12 years for some major names in tv, film, and commercials, but at a certain point, looking at some of my “assistants” who were a good 20 years older than I was, and still not financially secure, I made a decision. Let me tell you, it’s not an easy thing to walk away from something that you know, down deep in your soul, that you have a special skill for.
(Hope that was relevant! -lol)