31-Inches: Real-life Popeye Arms on Egyptian Body Builder


Adelle Platon / November 29, 2012

Subtract the sailor’s hat, pale complexion, pipe and Olive Oyl, and this may as well be the living embodiment of the popular cartoon character Popeye, especially with those pythons.

Massachusetts bodybuilder Moustafa Ismail could probably crush you with a single hug just by the looks of him. Take notes, fellas – he eats seven pounds of protein, nine pounds of carbohydrates and three gallons of water each day to help maintain upper arms that measure 31 inches around — as big as a small man’s waist, ABC News reports.

“They call me Popeye, the Egyptian Popeye,” Ismail, 24, said. But unlike the cartoon character’s favorite food, he prefers anything but the green veggie. “I like chicken, beef, anything but spinach.”

Maintaining the world’s most colossal arms is no easy feat. In order to lift 600 pounds during his daily two-hour workouts, he consumes generous amounts of poultry, seafood and shakes, paired with mineral and vitamin supplements while drinking plenty of water to flush out his system.

While Ismail has received criticism for using steroids and other artificial enhancements for his shapely arms, he says the criticism “is motivation for me — it’s not something that’s gonna put me down.” He even got a call from Guiness last fall with an offer for an all-expenses-paid trip to London for an appearance alongside other unique individuals, including the world’s shortest woman. Still, the controversy prompted the Guiness board to erase references to him on their site and there is no word as of yet when the review will be complete.

“It is hurtful,” Ismail said, noting that he has no scars from a possible surgery and that supporting a wife in the U.S. and family members in Egypt doesn’t leave him much dough to cop synthetic oils.

Still, he continues to get lifted, though he doesn’t focus on crunching numbers. “It’s not about me lifting heavy weights,” he said. “It’s about me making the right techniques, even with the light weights, but getting good results out of that.”