By Emma Pearson @emma_pear
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Videographer / director: Guilherme LaMotta
Producer: John Balson, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal
Beefcake Valdir Segato’s huge biceps measure a staggering 23 inches as a result of painful synthol injections.
The 48-year-old’s arms have doubled in size from 12in after he began injecting the potentially lethal oil substance five years ago - and now he wants to get even bigger.
Valdir, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is inspired by the physiques of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Hulk and is proud to be known locally as ‘He-Man’ and 'the monster’ in the street.
Valdir, a construction worker, said: “This is a dream come true that I searched for and conquered.
“You look at your body and see that it’s growing and you’re going to want more.
“They call me Hulk, Schwarzenegger and He-Man all the time and I like that.
“I’ve doubled my biceps to 60cm but I still want to be bigger.”
Despite his humongous proportions today, Valdir hasn’t always been muscly.
In his youth, he was addicted to drugs and lost so much weight that people would call him ‘skinny dog’ and ‘little skull.’
Valdir said: “There was a time in my life that I got involved with wrong things.
“I got involved with drugs and I started losing weight because you don’t eat, you lead a wrong life.
“I started to look skinny and people started giving me nicknames like ‘Skinny Dog’, and ‘Little Skull’, and so I decided to change my life.”
Valdir joined a gym but wanted more extreme effects than he could achieve from exercise alone.
He was first offered synthol by a fellow gym-goer and soon became hooked on the muscle-enhancing substance, injecting it regularly in his biceps, chest and shoulders.
Now his weight has increased from 55kg to 80kg – but he says the oil doesn’t make him stronger.
He said: “The oil is mostly aesthetic, it models the body and makes the muscle swollen – it doesn’t affect strength.”
But Valdir’s obsession with bulking up could cause serious problems - including amputation – and he has had close shaves with his health in the past.
Valdir said: “There was a time that I injected a larger dosage of anabolic steroids and I ended up in the hospital.
“I mixed a cocktail is anabolic steroids that I was using at the time and I used it to excess. I was admitted for several days. It was a difficult time.
“The doctors tell me to stop it, the advice they give me is to stop using.
“But it’s my decision to use it because I want to, because I like to.”
Valdir’s inflated muscles have also made it difficult for him to find love, as potential partners are too intimidated by his brawn to approach him, he says.
He said: “At the moment, I am alone, I don’t have anyone.
“I do get attention, but people seem to be scared to approach me, I think that’s the problem.”
He also faces mixed reactions in public, with some people taunting and mocking him – whilst others ask him to pose for pictures.
He said: “In the street, I get a lot of looks when I walk by.
“Some people love my look but others are not so positive.
“There are times I hear people mocking me a lot, especially younger kids. They are always saying something because of my body.
“The worst thing is when people stop you and call you an ugly thing. But I don’t care what people say, if I like myself, that’s enough.”
Valdir’s friends are also concerned about his excessive use of synthol but nothing will stop him in his pursuit.
Valdir’s friend Fernando Carvalho da Silva, a construction worker, said: “I think the oil thing is stupidity.
“He thinks it’s good and I’m a friend so I stay quiet, but deep down I want to tell him to stop but he doesn’t want to. He’s happy like that.
“It’s the risk he takes - he wants to look good and wants to be famous.”
Now Valdir is aiming to pump up his biceps by a further 10cm and hopes his muscles will lead to stardom.
He said: “My dream is that with my musculature I try can achieve something – make a career from my body.
“I don’t have any regrets. I look at myself in the mirror and I like the way I look.”