Egyptian Biceps Set New World Record Unsustainably

Moustafa Ismail biceps
This Egyptian bodybuilder’s biceps aren’t sustainable, or even good for his own health.

Moustafa Ismail will appear in the 2013 Guinness Book of Records now that his 31 inch biceps have been confirmed as the biggest on the planet. The 24-year-old with arms as wide as a man’s waist began bodybuilding ten years ago. In 2007, when he failed to win a place on the Egyptian bodybuilding team, “Big Mo” relocated to the United States where he’d “have better access to gym equipment and could focus on training,” he told The Sun.

He trains at least twice daily on strength exercises, cardio and body sculpting and claims he can lift an incredible 500 lbs. “Working out makes my mood better.  I like that in this type of sport you can see your improvement in your shape,” he said.  I puzzle over how he fits those guns through his tiny shirtsleeves.


“People always say ‘you remind me of Popeye the sailor man’.  This makes me laugh. The truth is I don’t have any spinach in my diet, I can’t stand the stuff,” said the young Egyptian.  When he’s not pumping iron he’s pumping gas at the two service stations he manages near his Massachusetts home.

So what does he eat to maintain his form? Mo’s daily diet includes a pound of steak or fish, three pounds of chicken and four cups of almonds, washed down with gallons of water.

Moustafa, who admits to drinking protein shakes to help with his bodybuilding, chalks up his record-breaking bulges to hard work and genetics: his Egyptian father was a wrestler.

But is it really DNA and protein drinks?  Are his biceps muscular developments or is something else at play?

Previously, Gregg Valentino held the biceps record with arms measuring 28 inches around. This American bodybuilder is one of the most controversial in the sport.  His fame crossed into the mainstream when he starred in a documentary exploring the use and abuse of steroids called The Man Whose Arms Exploded.  (Clips are available on YouTube, strong stomach required.)

In that film he graphically describes how his steroid misuse led to serious infection in his right biceps.  Valentino described his failed attempts to drain the hematoma himself, using the same needles he used to inject his steroids. He finally sought emergency medical treatment and his arm was saved at the cost of significant reduction in biceps size.  But he’s still working out and still using steroids.

The new record-holder has not commented on his own steroid views.

I’m not a doctor and will never be mistaken for a body-builder, but Mo’s masses look crazily cartoon-y to me.  Why don’t his muscles subside when he quits a pose?  Where are those classic muscleman “veins-like-ropes” winding beneath his skin? And don’t biceps pop up (and not down)?  What’s the story with those underside “batwings”, Big Mo?

Is his physique sustainable? I mean that in the most literal sense.  The world’s biggest biceps must also have swollen carbon feet.  Think of the massive meat consumption, world travel, and – uh – protein drink mixes –  necessary to support continual development and maintenance.

I fully endorse Popeye’s credo of individual freedom, “I yam what I yam”, but I bet Olive Oyl would agree that this is nuts.

Image via oddity central

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7 thoughts on “Egyptian Biceps Set New World Record Unsustainably”

  1. laurie says:


    I suppose technically they may be the “biggest recorded” (I’m swamped with emailed links to photos of allegedly natural athletes with seemingly larger arms – WOW!).

    My cringe over this whole deal is the seeming endorsement of his technique by an institution with big influence over little minds. Kids ought not attempt most of the stuff pictured in the Record Book, and possibly other record breaking “feats” are frauds, but this seems to diminish those who actually break a sweat developing their muscles.

    Thanks for sharing the link –

  2. Alex says:

    Yes, this is Synthol abuse. I have complained to Guiness World Record about this, as it glamorises substance abuse and it is also harmful to the owner of the record. You should send a complaint as well. Send an email to this guy: [email protected]

    This was his response, hopefully they will retract the record:

    Dear Alex

    Thanks for your enquiry re the largest biceps.

    Based on the feedback we have received from members of the public, we are conducting new research with medical specialists and anti-doping experts to review this category and determine whether we may need to make any changes to the outcome of the record. This will be communicated via our website once the relevant research has been completed.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention

    Kind Regards

    Marco Frigatti
    SVP Records
    Guinness World Records Ltd.

  3. joe says:

    he injects posing oil into the biceps…..look it up on google. nasty stuff.

  4. laurie says:

    Jim – maybe that explains his lack of tattoos: would a puncture to his skin result in oil leaks? (Which maybe a gas station manager like this guy could easily fix!)

    Hope the article is clear that Big Mo is not linked to steroid use.

    I raised those nasties in relation to Gregg Valentino(who publicly cops to using them in interviews and the mentioned documentary.)

    Good to see a simple explanation to these arms, thanks for the great comment.

  5. Jim says:

    Hey, Google the word “synthol”. There’s your answer for his arms. It’s not a steroid, by the way, it’s just an oil that adds bulk to muscles. And actual anabolic steroids are not a miracle drug; they still require hard work in the gym to be effective. What this dope does requires zero hard work other than not hitting a vein when injecting.

  6. laurie says:


    Thanks for the great clip with your well-stated view on this. I suggest GP readers check out your FB page ( and others like it to see what the human form looks like after true natural training.

    I’m also surprised at Guinness World Records, this is a pretty horrific example to set out to the millions of kids who pour over each new Book of World Records.

    Thanks again for sharing your video message!

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