Moustafa Ismail's 31-inch biceps net him frequent comparisons to Popeye. "They call me Popeye, Egyptian Popeye," Ismail said, amused, in response to the media reaction after the Guinness Book of World Records announced his place in the record books in September. He says that the difference between him and the cartoon character is that he hates spinach and loves chicken.
He must love poultry, because Ismail's frame comes at a hefty price. He eats poultry, shrimp, and shakes, as part of the seven pounds of protein, nine pounds of carbohydrates, three gallons of water, and variety of minerals and vitamin supplements that he consumes each day in order to maintain his physique. He also worked two jobs in order to support his wife, family in his native Egypt, and his extensive gym and dietary regime. His wife complained though, so he quit one of his jobs.
Ismail was not always so buff, however. When he was a guest at his uncle's wedding, he was mocked for being overweight. That experience prompted him to get into shape. He started working out in his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia before he relocated to a suburb of Boston in the United States in 2007.
Over a decade later, the 24-year-old was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for his possession of the largest upper arm muscles in the world.
Ismail was caught by surprise when the world record books approached him and offered him an all-expense-paid trip to London in order to be photographed with the likes of the world's shortest woman.
However, the backlash was swift. Many claimed that Ismail used steroids or had implants in his arms. Others suspected that he used artificial oil called synthol, which "fluffs" up muscles in bodybuilders.
The vocal criticism prompted Guinness officials to scrub their website of Ismail's record. They say that they are in the process of conducting an investigation on the matter, though their spokesperson did not offer a timeframe of when that might be finished.
Ismail is flabbergasted by the allegations, calling them malicious. He says that he has no money to spend on synthol or other synthetic oils and that his arms have none of the scars that would occur from injections.
He also says that he appeared on a Tokyo television show where he was subject to X-ray, ultrasound, and blood tests. His results came back clean.
In fact, Ismail says that he takes risks every time he steps into the gym. A couple years ago, he lost balance while squatting with 800 pounds. The subsequent injury meant that he could not work out his thighs until a few weeks ago.
Published by Medicaldaily.com