It wasn’t until Romario Dos Santos Alves, 25, was at hospital on the day of the scheduled operation that his doctor told him there was an alternative – cutting out the “rocks”.
Now Alves, who lives in Brazil and modelled himself on the Incredible Hulk, is warning other bodybuilders to stay from the filler synthol – a cocktail of oil, painkillers and alcohol.
He started injecting the synthol into his arms after moving to a new town and being introduced to the substance by “some really big guys in the gym with huge arms”.
The married father-of-one began to find ever more dangerous ways of injecting himself with the oil, Barcroft USA reported.
“My muscles started to solidify and I couldn’t even inject my arms – they were full of rocks,” Alves said.
“I decided the only thing I could do was buy specialist needles to inject. The kind of needles used on bulls – there are no stronger needles around – I know it seems stupid, but I had to get my synthol fix.”
He tricked wife Marisangela Marinho into injecting him with the oil in places that he could not reach.
After she learned the truth, she told him he had to choose between the synthol or her.
By then his upper arms were an incredible 64cm around. The filler began causing Romario constant pain and he almost suffered kidney failure due to the toxins in the oil.
“That was the hardest part of our life because I had depression, and I was removed from my job because I tried to kill myself,” Alves said.
“I was hospitalised in a clinic and my wife was six months pregnant – it was just me and her, no friends or family.
“I decided to fix my ways and I never again wanted to take any drugs, we went through a really hard time and almost starved.”
His appearance creates a variety of reactions. Once when he was working in a church, a woman told him her 12-year-old daughter would not go in because she was afraid of him.
“She said that she thought I was a beast, a monster – I just put my head down and didn’t say anything.”
In contrast, one time when he was working as a bodyguard at a party some girls tried to take his clothes off to see his body.
Some youngsters told him he looked like the Incredible Hulk and hugged him. “I really like that as I modelled my body on the Incredible Hulk.”
Alves has not used synthol for two years but is still tempted by other muscle-enhancing substances.
Two weeks ago he bought a horse hormone.
“I put the needle in my chest and sucked in the air to see if I got a vein but nothing came out. I froze and started to sweat.”
He pulled back from the brink that time and remains ambitious to become a “clean” professional bodybuilder.