The National Weather Service has confirmed an 80-year-old weather record was broken on Wednesday compliments of the very cold air that has dominated the region for several days. NWS records indicateMore >>
The National Weather Service has confirmed an 80-year-old weather record was broken on Wednesday compliments of the very cold air that has dominated the region for several days.More >>
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The Heisman Trophy is arguably one of the most coveted awards in American athletics. But the connection between John Heisman, whom the trophy is named after, and the city of Rhinelander in Oneida CountyMore >>
The Heisman Trophy is arguably one of the most coveted awards in American athletics.
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Don't tell Popeye. It turns out you don't need to eat your spinach to get the world's biggest arms.
Massachusetts bodybuilder Moustafa Ismail
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.
Skeptics say there must also be steroids or
some other artificial means behind Ismail's beyond-bulging biceps and
triceps, and Guinness World Records is waffling on whether to recognize
But he insists they are all-natural, the
result of a punishing workout regimen he started after a guest at his
uncle's wedding in his native Egypt mocked his overweight frame.
"They call me Popeye, the Egyptian Popeye,"
Ismail, 24, said while working out in the Boston suburb of Milford. But
unlike the cartoon character, "I like chicken, beef, anything but
It's not easy having the world's biggest arms.
Generous amounts of poultry, seafood and
shakes provide the protein he needs to fuel daily two-hour workouts in
which he lifts as much as 600 pounds. He also takes mineral and vitamin
supplements and drinks plenty of water to flush out his system.
Then there's clothes shopping. The rest of
Ismail's body is average, so it's a challenge finding shirts that fit
his arms without making him look like a little kid playing dress-up.
Not to mention the controversy that ensued
when Guinness decided to recognize him as having the largest upper arm
muscles on earth and critics accused him of using steroids or other
He lost a night of sleep but then decided the criticism "is motivation for me - it's not something that's gonna put me down."
Ismail started building his muscles in his
Egyptian hometown of Alexandria before moving to the United States in
2007 and settling in Franklin, southwest of Boston. To pay for his gym
membership and dietary requirements, he worked two jobs as a gas station
attendant, but gave up one after his wife complained that he was
pushing himself too hard.
Then Guinness called last fall, offering him
an all-expenses-paid trip to London for a signature appearance with the
world's shortest woman and others.
He went, but then the controversy started.
Strangers claimed online that he used steroids or had implants in his
arms. Others speculated that he might have injected his muscles with a
synthetic oil substance, synthol, used by bodybuilders to fluff muscle
"It is hurtful," Ismail said, noting that he
has no scars that would have resulted from surgery and that supporting a
wife in the U.S. and family members in Egypt doesn't leave him with
spare cash to buy pricey synthetic oils.
He even went to Tokyo to appear in a Fuji TV
documentary program in which independent doctors collected blood samples
and X-rayed his muscles. They found nothing abnormal, he said.
Still, Guinness hastily removed references to
Ismail from its website. Spokeswoman Sara Wilcox said in October that
Guinness was conducting research with medical specialists and reviewing
Ismail's category. She did not respond to emailed questions later
seeking details about when Guinness would conclude the review and what
Some fellow amateur bodybuilders at his gym, however, support Ismail and say they believe his arms are natural.
"When I first saw him I thought 'Oh my God,
he's a freak' - the big Popeye arms, he's incredible, but he works out
hard, so good luck to him," said Janice Vincuilla.
Ismail has lifted as much as 600 pounds but said he doesn't typically focus on how much weight he is hoisting.
"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."
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