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Author Topic: Flex Wheeler - 2003 Ironman  (Read 3223 times)
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« on: December 17, 2017, 07:20:27 AM »

Prepped in 3 weeks according to Milos. Looks better than '02 Olympia









<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT_DQaXay10" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT_DQaXay10</a>
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Simple Simon
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2017, 07:36:12 AM »

and with kidneys at almost failure....
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2017, 08:51:47 AM »

and with kidneys at almost failure....
This. Insane genetics of peace!
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2017, 02:11:36 PM »

Flex with his facsimile.
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2017, 02:42:50 PM »

The other one is in prison 😂
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2017, 03:32:40 PM »

and with kidneys at almost failure....

This.  I was at this show, Flex was bending over and holding his hands on his lower back a lot.
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2017, 04:22:50 PM »

and with kidneys at almost failure....

Goes to show you that In bodybuilding the best you look on the outside the worst you look  inside. 
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2017, 11:11:26 PM »

This.  I was at this show, Flex was bending over and holding his hands on his lower back a lot.

 Sad
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2017, 11:17:18 PM »

This.  I was at this show, Flex was bending over and holding his hands on his lower back a lot.

Ugh.  And he knew that he had kidney problems at that time.  It reminds me of how Tom Prince stopped for ice cream with his wife Rebecca, just after he was told that his creatinine level was through the roof and he was in active kidney failure.  I believe he was at his family doctor's office, and was told to go directly to the ER.  He actually stopped for ice cream with his wife.  Huh  I was like "WTF?"  Do some people have no regard whatsoever for their health status?  Lips sealed
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2017, 11:21:39 PM »

Here is the FLEX Magazine piece regarding Tom Prince's kidney failure...which covers the bit where Tom and his wife Rebecca went to get ice cream when his kidneys were in the process of literal failure.  It also goes over some of Tom's history with painkillers - and to be fair, Advil did play a role in this.  It did not do all of the damage, as Tom basically implied, but it no doubt played a role.  A lot of these painkillers are very toxic to the liver and kidneys.  Undecided

Quote
o hell and back...now what? In 2003, Tom Prince's life nearly ended. This is his story.

Flex, Jan, 2004 by Greg Merritt

SYMPTOMS

Something wasn't right. Tom Prince always suffered more than most guys when prepping for a show - sacrificing sleep, energy and his voice in some cosmic exchange for striations. Sometimes in the depths of a diet, he caught a cold or flu bug, as others do when their defenses are down. But this was different. The symptoms were odd - itchy skin, dry tongue, swollen ankles, labored breathing - and they lingered throughout the end of March and into April.

He tried to ignore the warning signs, confident he'd wake up one day and they'd be gone. In the midst of dieting and training for the 2003 Night Of Champions on May 31, Prince was determined that nothing would slow him down. Antibiotics quelled the problems for a few days, but soon the symptoms were back and worse than ever.

Prince was perpetually fatigued more than two months away from the NOC much more so than he should have been in even the final low-carb days. Training partner Bob Cicherillo had to drop him off at the front door of Gold's Gym Venice, because Prince lacked the energy to walk from the parking lot. He could always find the strength to push a weight for the 10 seconds of a set, and he remained nearly as strong as ever, but between sets it was all he could do to stay awake. One day, he couldn't do even one minute of cardio.

The gym ethos is to block out pain, to revel in it even, to push on through and grow stronger for having anguished. For better or worse, no bodybuilder embraced that ethos more than Tom Prince. One of the world's strongest trainers, capable of three reps of shoulder presses with 455 pounds and seven reps of 900-pound hack squats, he had suffered greatly for his physique. Possessing a rebuilt shoulder and knee and chronically sore joints, he downed painkillers by the fistful to make it through another workout. Still, his low-rep attack rarely wavered. It was that never-give-up mentality that kept him from the doctor too long. It was that, and it was the fear of what the doctor might say.

DIAGNOSIS

The nosebleeds were the worst. They sometimes wouldn't stop for hours, and his blood was as thick as syrup. On April 10, a little more than seven weeks before the Night Of Champions, Tom's wife, Rebecca, dragged him to a local hospital. After a doctor did a checkup and took his blood, Tom and Rebecca waited. Prince was anxious to get this behind him, confident he would reach the shape of his life and win the NOC.

When the doctor returned, she pulled Rebecca aside and said in a hushed voice, "I want you to be calm. There's nothing to be too scared or worried about, but you need to take Tom to the emergency room right now."

Prince overheard and asked, "You mean right now, right now? Or are you talking, like, tomorrow?"

The doctor answered firmly, "No, right now." She showed Prince his lab report, circling a number. "See that right there? That's your creatinine level. See that 6.9?"

Prince already knew what a normal creatinine level was. He knew it wasn't supposed to be any higher than 2.0 for a man of his musculature.

"What's failing?" he asked.

"5.9."

"So am I having kidney failure?"

"Yes."

Prince went numb. He sighed. He looked at his wife. Tears streamed down Rebecca's face. Prince held her hand and told her everything would be OK, but it was just something people say at times like that. The truth was he wasn't certain of anything anymore.

Tom and Rebecca drove to a nearby restaurant and ordered ice cream. Prince had been dieting, after all, and he knew then that the diet was done. What he didn't know was just how close he was to dying. If he had, he never would have stopped on his way to the ER. Meanwhile, Rebecca had already gone from devastated to dauntless. "You can only surprise her for a minute," Prince says. "She's tough as hell in tough times."

CRITICAL CONDITION

The waiting room of the hospital emergency ward was full of the sick and injured, staring morosely at the floor. When Prince showed the staff his lab report, he jumped to the front of the line and was whisked into the trauma area. After his chest was x-rayed, Prince was guided to a bed and a spray was squirted in his mouth. He asked what the x-ray showed.

"You're in heart failure, too," the doctor answered.

That was the lowest moment, the one where Prince truly wondered if he was facing his final hours. Heart failure! He didn't know then that heart failure could be a consequence of persisting acute kidney damage. Water starts to build up in the feet and ankles. The water had increased to such a degree in Prince's body that, at any moment, he could have literally drowned in his own fluids.


TREATMENT

The mouth spray contained nitroglycerin to relieve the heart problems. Immediately, the medical staff put Prince on a diuretic to purge his body of excess water. They also administered medicine to bring down his skyrocketing blood pressure and antibiotics for yet another problem: bleeding ulcers.

A few hours later, the diuretic was doing its job and Prince was feeling much better. By the time Cicherillo visited the hospital the next day, Prince felt nearly normal. Still, he looked close to death. The gregarious man known as "Angry Bob" saw his training partner lying in a bed, hooked up to electrodes and oxygen, with tubes taped to him and going every which way. Cicherillo didn't care if he ever traded sets of leg presses with Prince again. He just wanted to trade barbs with him until they were old and gray.

Prince lay in the hospital bed for days, contemplating his wife, his two children from his previous marriage, his friends, his bodybuilding career and his uncertain future. He asked how he could have done this to himself. Rebecca sneaked in fruit and Nutri-Grain bars to supplement his "kidney diet" of hot tea and lettuce. "If I was dying. I didn't want it to be of starvation." Prince jokes.

He went on kidney dialysis for five days in a row. After the third day, his creatinine level was down to 3.9 - still dangerously high, but it meant his kidneys were functioning at about 50%, compared to the 15% they were at previously. The doctors said it was rare for a patient to recover so dramatically, so quickly, but then it was also rare for a 34-year-old man to have kidney and heart failure. One week after he was admitted to the hospital, he was released, facing an uncertain future of thrice-weekly dialysis treatments.

CAUSES

When Prince heard the horrifying news of his kidney failure, he immediately thought it was from the bodybuilding drugs he had been ingesting and injecting for years. A doctor in the emergency ward asked if he was taking any recreational drugs.

"Well, I don't smoke or drink, but there are a few steroids and things I take," Prince answered.

"Tell me every steroid you've ever taken," the doctor said, her pen poised over a form.

"Ever? You're gonna need another pen."

When Prince recalled his every bodybuilding drug, the length of the list shocked even him. Despite his quip about pen ink, he hadn't truly realized how great the quantities had become. Still, it wasn't the anabolic steroids, growth hormone and similar substances that alarmed the doctors. Those, they said, were predominantly filtered out via his liver and shouldn't be affecting his kidneys so drastically. It was the eight Advil tablets he swallowed two or three times per day to cope with his joint pain that truly made alarm bells ring. Doctors explained that he could go into kidney failure simply from megadosing painkillers. (Advil recommends using no more than six tablets over 24 hours, to see a doctor if using other drugs and to discontinue use of the analgesic after 10 days.)

Prince was stunned. How could he, a 300-pound bodybuilder who regularly self-injected steroids, be felled by over-the-counter ibuprofen? In addition to the excessive amounts of painkillers, the doctors blamed his kidney troubles on his off-the-chart blood pressure, and they theorized that his high-protein diet might also have contributed - although, if his kidneys were otherwise normal, protein would rarely cause complications on its own. Prince believes the steroids and similar drugs contributed to his high blood pressure. "It wasn't one thing. It was everything together," he says.


PREVENTION

Prince realizes now that his kidneys may have started to falter nearly two years prior when, while prepping for the 2001 Mr. Olympia, he had the peculiar problem of water "pocketing" in odd areas of his body. Kidneys work to filter waste products from blood and maintain the body's water and electrolyte balance. Unusual water retention can be an early sign of problems.

Prince's biggest regret now is that he didn't have a blood test performed sooner. "If I had to do it over, I would've gone to a doctor a couple of times per year," he states. "They could have caught it much, much earlier. I can think back to when I used to have headaches a couple times per week, and that was as early as '99. I think that's when I first started having high blood pressure and didn't do anything about it. My first blood test on April 10 cost only $80, and it took an hour to do. That seems like a paltry sum of money and time for your health. One of the biggest messages I want to get across to all bodybuilders doing drugs is to get regular blood tests. I'm afraid most guys won't do it, because, like I didn't want to know, they don't want to know. But maybe my story will scare them enough. Maybe my story will save someone's life."

For those who fear medical professionals will condemn them or fail to comprehend the unique aspects of a bodybuilding lifestyle, Prince says that all the doctors and nurses always treated him with the utmost respect and concern. In addition to the need for semiannual blood tests, he also wants to caution bodybuilders against abusing any drug, from over-the-counter painkillers to steroids. He knows all too well the fallacy of the bodybuilding mentality that if two is good, four must be twice as good.

Prince was 23 when he did his first steroid cycle. His dosages were low at first, but through the years, he gradually raised the quantities when he felt his body had become accustomed to the previous amount. By 2002, he was spending more than $4,000 on a range of 13 drugs (not all anabolic steroids) for a 16-week contest cycle. He now knows it was overkill, and it almost killed him. What's worse, he knows of bodybuilders at the local novice level who are using and spending twice as much.

"It's crazy," he says. "There's no advantage. It's fear that kept me doing it, and fear that keeps a lot of guys doing even more - fear that you'll lose and you could've done more. The thing is you can fill up a cup only so much. Once it's full, that's it. It's like eating 3,000 grams of protein a day or training legs 10 hours straight. It doesn't do any more good, so it can only be bad."

Prince hasn't been reborn as a disciple of "Just Say No," but he does point out that bodybuilding drugs are vastly overrated. When he did his first steroid cycle at age 23, Prince already weighed a muscular 242 pounds (at 5'8"), thus highlighting that the three most important factors for muscle growth are genetics, hard work and a proper diet, generally in that order. As Cicherillo puts it: "All the drugs in the world won't make a pit bull out of a Chihuahua."

RECOVERY

Throughout the spring and summer of 2003, Prince continued dialysis three days per week; he should be off dialysis by the time you read this. His kidneys are working at approximately 80%, good enough to function on their own but probably not good enough to make it through a normal lifespan. In all likelihood, Prince will need a kidney transplant. During a highly emotional phone conversation, Tom's younger brother, Scott (his only sibling), offered to be his donor.

One week after he returned home from the hospital, Prince was back in the gym training with Cicherillo. Sitting at home made him feel like a sick slug. Slowly, his energy returned. The doctors upped his daily protein intake from 100 grams per day to 250. His weight went back up to more than 300. In August, drug-free for four months and having purposely shed a few pounds, he weighed 285 with as much muscle as ever.

The hardest part is training without painkillers. His elbow and shoulder joints ache, but he still labors through the workouts. All the while, Cicherillo encourages him to use lighter weights and higher reps. "The biggest challenge for Tom won't be physical," Cicherillo says. "It's mental. Now it's a whole different agenda. The mentality has to change from being the biggest, strongest, toughest guy in the gym and throwing around ridiculous amounts of weight. It's a whole different career now. And, in my opinion, accepting that is going to be the biggest obstacle - being able to say, 'You know what? That was a chapter that's now gone. I'm not going to be able to do 700-pound squats and 90-pound dumbbell curls anymore.'

Lying in the hospital bed, Prince first thought he would never compete again. Then he briefly flirted with the idea of competing natural, perhaps I even giving up his pro card and entering the 2004 NPC Team Universe Championships. By July - with his blood pressure under control, his kidneys out of the danger zone and his blood getting tested regularly - he had settled on a new strategy: competing again but with only a minimum amount of bodybuilding drugs (less than one-third of what he used before for a precontest cycle). If his health is still strong, he will begin preparations for the 2004 Night Of Champions in late January.

"I look at it as a challenge to see how good I can get on a reduced contest cycle," he says. Prince aims to prove to everyone that the drug intake is out of control and unnecessary, if not counterproductive. He'll also be extremely careful. "As my blood data comes in every two weeks, if there's any sign that something's going wrong, I'll stop my preparation instantly. I'm trying to be optimistic, but not so much that I'll just ignore whatever comes my way or whatever I see."

Prince plans to compete at a lighter bodyweight than in his previous pro shows, where he was around 260. He'll probably be less than 250, maybe even less than 240. "I saw Victor [Martinez] win the NOC at around 235," he says, "and he's an inch taller than me. That kind of gives me hope. I can't be as ridiculously big as possible anymore." Perhaps that's a good thing, as some say Prince displayed his best shape as a sub-240-pound amateur.

One of the invaluable lessons Prince's ordeal taught him was to cherish each moment. That includes every workout, every meal, every joke with Cicherillo. It also includes the challenge of preparing for a contest again - the same show he was striving for one year before when his life was altered forever. "If my next show is my last one, I'd like it to be the NOC," he says. "And wouldn't it be a great ending if I won it and then retired?"

At the end of the interview for this article, Prince is nearly doubled over, laughing the loudest at one of Peter McGough's typical (and potentially libelous) bodybuilding tales from way back. The best ending to Prince's story won't come at the Night Of Champions. It has nothing to do with sets or reps or bodybuilding awards. The best ending will be Tom Prince laughing that same hearty guffaw 50 years from now.

KIDNEY DAMAGE WARNING SIGNS
* Fatigue, weakness
* Nausea/vomiting
* Lack of appetite
* Difficulty concentrating
* Insomnia
* Dry and itchy skin
* Swollen feet, hands or ankles; leg cramps
* Foamy and/or darkened urine
* High blood pressure

If you experience several of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Weider Publications
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2017, 05:55:47 PM »

Prince was smart enough to never return to bbing and left it behind

Meanwhile dip shits like wheeler and don long got new kidneys but still inject, making comebacks, and living the bbing lifestyle
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2017, 06:02:40 PM »

Prince was a hardcore rec drug user. Coke and Nubian. Gtfo with the Advil bullshit
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2017, 12:56:24 AM »

Yeah TP loved the pain meds...ones on the stronger end of the scale too
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2017, 09:28:21 AM »

Prince was a hardcore rec drug user. Coke and Nubian. Gtfo with the Advil bullshit

This.
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2017, 02:33:09 AM »

Prince was a hardcore rec drug user. Coke and Nubian. Gtfo with the Advil bullshit

Nubain at one time maybe.. But its iv shit that's cooked n mixed n injected that fucks kidneys. Not pharm-grade shot out of a bottle.0
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« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2017, 02:44:27 AM »

Nubain at one time maybe.. But its iv shit that's cooked n mixed n injected that fucks kidneys. Not pharm-grade shot out of a bottle.0

The original ESFITNESS was interesting.... But you aren't
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« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2017, 01:19:34 PM »

Nubain at one time maybe.. But its iv shit that's cooked n mixed n injected that fucks kidneys. Not pharm-grade shot out of a bottle.0

Nubain shouldn't be administered to people with kidney problems, so it really wouldn't have assisted Tom in his quest for overall health and longevity.
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2018, 09:10:13 AM »

Nubain at one time maybe.. But its iv shit that's cooked n mixed n injected that fucks kidneys. Not pharm-grade shot out of a bottle.0

STFU!

Pharma Bain will melt your kidneys you cretin.

You are clearly talking about things you know fuck all about.
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« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2018, 09:38:07 AM »

The other one is in prison 😂

He is?
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2018, 01:40:03 PM »

He is?
Yep. And he's almost 50 yrs old.
https://www.flexonline.com/general-news/melvin-anthony-serving-10-year-prison-sentence
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« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2018, 02:03:16 PM »

blown engine (kidneys) but body is beautiful
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A
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2018, 02:33:19 PM »


I rented Dare to Dream from Amazon. They won't let you
download it though, but just like people stream the Olympia live
you can do it that way if you want to burn a DVD or have on your
computer.
Anyway, He had basically decided to hell with it & used all the
regular drugs & was planning on doing the Arnold. He ended up
in the hospital after the Ironman & I think he went on dialysis
right after so the Arnold was out of the question.
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2018, 02:36:37 PM »

Ugh.  And he knew that he had kidney problems at that time.  It reminds me of how Tom Prince stopped for ice cream with his wife Rebecca, just after he was told that his creatinine level was through the roof and he was in active kidney failure.  I believe he was at his family doctor's office, and was told to go directly to the ER.  He actually stopped for ice cream with his wife.  Huh  I was like "WTF?"  Do some people have no regard whatsoever for their health status?  Lips sealed
If they did care about their health and longevity they wouldn't be bodybuilders now would they
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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2018, 03:09:11 PM »

Wheeler looked good but could have been a lot drier looking IMO.
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« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2018, 04:26:02 PM »


“Born 1969 not 1973 like he claimed”  Grin
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