Last month, Guinness World Records awarded the title of “World’s Largest Biceps” to Moustafa Adel Ismail of Egypt whose biceps measure an unbelievable 31” inches around. Not so fast says Shawn Perine, the Editor-in-Chief of Muscle & Fitness. He wrote an open letter to the Guinness Record Keepers challenging the legitimacy of Ismail’s title. Read the letter below:
Dear Guinness Record Keepers,
You’ve been duped. Or maybe you just made a bad judgment call. Either way, the mistake is yours, and you’re going to have to live with it for all of 2013, at least. By anointing Moustafa Ismail the possessor of the world’s largest biceps you’ve discredited your Book of World Records and cast doubt on the veracity of everything inside of it.
When I was a kid, the Guinness Book was my bible. I was always fascinated by Extremes—the biggest and tallest, fastest and heaviest, richest and oldest—and your annual tome fed my hunger for such knowledge. I would read it cover to cover many times over throughout the 70’s and 80’s. I’d toss around names like Robert Earl Hughes, Robert Pershing Wadlow and Lucia Zarate with such regularity an outsider might have thought I was referring to beloved family members. As the world’s heaviest, tallest and shortest persons, they were held in nearly such estimation by my younger self.
Based on the sober explanation of the Guinness standards in the front of your book, I knew with absolute certainty that every single record within its pages was unimpeachable. Anyway, what would be the point of having a book of world records if the criteria wasn’t drum-tight? I mean, if that were the case, the man you list as having the world’s largest biceps could actually have arms full of a synthetic compound encasing rather modest biceps. Oh, wait…
I won’t get into the technical details of what’s going on with Mr. Ismail’s arms, and I’m not about to malign him for a personal decision that affects only him. This was your doing. You’re the ones I’m calling out for a poor decision. I will direct you, however, to search any of a number of bodybuilding forums for the word “synthol” for examples of dozens of men with arms that look identical to Mr. Ismail’s. There’s a telltale look to injected arms: a smooth, bloated appearance with zero separation between biceps and triceps, upper arms disproportionately larger than forearms, and no difference in shape between a relaxed and flexed arm. That’s because you can’t flex oil.
Now, if you put a caveat in your book explaining that your criteria is merely the largest arm (not biceps), artificially inflated or not, then you may have a contender in Mr. Ismail. However, I would guess that the pendulous arms of the world’s heaviest living human being, 1400-pound Manuel Uribe’s, might stretch the tape further than Moustafa Ismail’s. You might want to check on that.
If you’re interested in verifying that the man you named as having the biggest biceps in the world (as you once, correctly, listed Arnold Schwarzenegger as having) actually has the world’s largest muscular arms, I will personally foot the bill to have a medical evaluation performed that would determine their composition. If I’m wrong in my belief, and they are entirely muscle—all 31″ of them—I will give Mr. Ismail $1000 for his troubles and donate $1000 to the charity of your choice. If I’m right though, and Mr. Ismail’s arms are a combination of muscle and additives designed to increase their volume (force-fed flesh, if you will), I ask that you donate $1000 to my favorite charity and award the title to any one of a number of professional bodybuilders in contention for having the largest muscular arms in the world. I can help direct you to my top candidates.
By the way, years ago I remember seeing a man dressed as Uncle Sam walking stiff-legged in a 4th of July parade who had to be 10′ tall, at least. You guys need to track him down. He HAS to be the world’s tallest man!
Muscle & Fitness
The substance synthol Perine mentions is what’s known as a site enhancement oil (SEO). It’s a liquid, usually a mixture of oils, used by bodybuilders to artificially increase the size of some muscles. This isn’t a steroid, but it is an injectable. SEO is just for cosmetic effect; it doesn’t help performance or strength training. Bodybuilders use it by injecting it directly into the muscle thus filling up the muscle with the oil mixture. Check out pictures of synthol users here to see what Perine is referring to.
Obviously, Perine considers this cheating. How about you Rockheads? Does this guy deserve the World Record or should artificial enhancements disqualify someone?