Regardless of being rivals, Coleman thinks Wheeler helped him develop into a legend.
Within the late Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s, Ronnie Coleman and Ken “Flex” Wheeler had an important bodybuilding rivalry. Of his eight total Mr. Olympia victories from 1998 to 2005, Coleman would finest Wheeler for 4 of them (1998-2000, 2002). The closest Wheeler got here to toppling Coleman had been consecutive runner-up finishes in each the 1998 and 1999 editions. The 1998 contest, specifically, holds a particular place in bodybuilding historical past as Coleman’s first Olympia win. It’s that exact same contest wherein Coleman believes Wheeler gave him an preliminary benefit.
On Apr. 12, 2023, Coleman mentioned elements of his bodybuilding profession in a section of a dialog with current bodybuilding star Derek Lunsford. Coleman and Lunsford lately skilled collectively in a meeting of past and present superstars. In his dialogue with Lunsford, the legend revealed it was Wheeler who launched him to iconic coach Chad Nicholls and adjusted his nutritional outlook.
In keeping with Coleman, when Wheeler launched Coleman to Nicholls someday earlier than the 1998 Mr. Olympia, he altered the course of bodybuilding historical past.
His eventual rival helped flip Coleman into the all-time legend he’s now generally known as.
“Lots of people don’t comprehend it however Flex Wheeler is just about the rationale why I received the [1998 Mr.] Olympia as a result of he turned me on to Chad Nicholls,” Coleman informed Lunsford.
At first, Coleman had bother reaching Nicholls. Nonetheless, that was solely a minor and anticipated deadlock within the pair’s training relationship. Ultimately, they’d get collectively, and Coleman’s dynastic run would begin quickly after.
“He [Wheeler] gave me his quantity and I referred to as Chad [Nicholls] however Chad didn’t choose up the telephone,” Coleman defined. “I stated, ‘Flex [Wheeler] why’d you might have me name this man Chad, he didn’t choose up the telephone.’ He [Wheeler] says, ‘Nah, he’s similar to that, man. Name him once more, and he’ll name you again.’ He [Nicholls] referred to as me again and the remainder is just about historical past. I received my first Olympia that 12 months  by hooking up with him.”
How did Nicholls change Coleman’s Olympia preparation method? Per Coleman, amongst different tidbits, the coach revamped his vitamin, finally having the athlete eat virtually a full pound of meals in each meal.
“He [Nicholls] modified all the things I used to be doing, all the things,” Coleman stated. “I went from doing, like, an hour of cardio a day to 2 hours. I went from consuming half a pound of meals with each meal to a complete pound. I went from coaching perhaps 45 minutes to an hour a day to about perhaps an hour, an hour and a half, typically an hour and quarter-hour of coaching as a result of I used to be attempting to do a few of all the things.”
Lately, lengthy after after his work with Coleman, Nicholls is probably most notable for his partnership with former two-time Mr. Olympia (2020-2021) Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay. The coach’s son, Morgan, is also an ascending powerlifter.
Even whereas he by no means beat Coleman for a Mr. Olympia title, Wheeler can nonetheless boast 4 Arnold Classic (AC) victories (1993, 1997-1998, 2000) in addition to a runner-up inserting within the 1993 Mr. Olympia, behind six-time winner Dorian Yates. Along with his aggressive file, Wheeler is usually thought-about one of many biggest bodybuilders to by no means win the game’s most prestigious title. With each legends’ careers now within the rearview mirror, the previous rivals every have one thing to hold their hat on. It’s ironic, then, that with out Wheeler’s coaching intervention, Coleman maybe by no means ascends to bodybuilding prominence.
Featured picture: Ronnie Coleman on YouTube