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Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay Bio

Mamdouh Elssbiay

Bodybuilding is one of the most competitive and difficult sports in the entire world.

Becoming a bodybuilder requires a great deal of motivation, dedication, determination, and discipline. Bodybuilding isn’t just a sport, it is a lifestyle and a way of life.

Because bodybuilding is so tough, only a select few individuals stick with it.

Furthermore, even fewer individuals have the mental and physical discipline required to diet down and cut for a judged competition.

In order to be the best of the best in the world of international soccer, your country is required to win the World Cup.

In football, your team needs to win the Super Bowl. In bodybuilding, however, to be the best of the best, you need to win the Mr. Olympia contest.

Only a select few individuals in history have ever won the Mr. Olympia contest, because the competition is so fierce and because of what it takes.

One man that has won the Olympia however, is the man mountain that we’re looking at today, and his name is Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay.

Here’s a better look at the man known as Big Ramy, and at precisely why he is known as BIG Ramy.

DID YOU KNOW: After Samir Bannout in 1983, Big Ramy is only the second Arab bodybuilder to win Mr. Olympia.

Who Is Big Ramy?

Mamdouh Elssbiay, also known by his nickname ‘Big Ramy’, is an IFBB pro bodybuilder from Egypt, the undisputed Mr. Olympia winner of 2020 and 2021.

Ramy is best known for his enormous size and crazy conditioning and was tipped to win the Olympia many years ago, long before he won his first title.

He had the size, the only thing that let him down on show day was his condition.

He would often peak too early and would look amazing a couple of weeks out, posing in the gym or at home, but on show day his condition would typically be off and he’d either come in looking flat or holding too much water.

In 2020 however, he evidently found the secret to his condition as he blew the judges away and looked amazing.

He repeated that process this year, which is why he is the defending Mr. Olympia champ.

Standing at 5ft 9 inches tall, and weighing in at a whopping 295 pounds while competing and upwards of 310 pounds off-season, Big Ramy is a real unit of a man and is certainly the biggest IFBB pro bodybuilder currently competing at Mr. Olympia.

Early Life:

Mamdouh Elssbiay was born on the 16th of September, 1984.

He was born in a poorly developed, both socially and economically, part of Alexandria, Egypt, so he grew up fairly poor and not in the best conditions.

As he grew older, he started looking for work to pay his way in life and to survive, and so, while in his teens, he moved to Kuwait and became a fisherman as he had often fished when he was growing up.

While he was in Kuwait, he was a fairly big man and would sometimes work out and lift weights, just not seriously.

One day, however, he walked into the prestigious Oxygen Gym, and everything changed for Big Ramy.

Ramy, because of his large size, was a naturally strong man and was carrying a decent amount of muscle.

He began lifting weights and instantly impressed the regulars of the gym.

He was encouraged to try his hand at bodybuilding, and he took to it like a, well, a fisherman to water.

It was clear that Ramy had great genetics and fantastic muscle bellies, yet to begin with they only trained for aesthetics, rather than to actually compete.

Eventually, his friends at the gym, seeing his potential, convinced him to enter a bodybuilding contest and step on stage.

In 2012, Ramy entered his first bodybuilding contest – the Kuwait Golden Cup, and not surprisingly, he placed 1st.

He was so much bigger than the other bodybuilders and was in so much better condition, even his posing was on point.

Ramy would go on to compete later in the same year, entering the Amateur Olympia Kuwait. He again placed 1st and won, this time earning his IFBB pro card. After just two shows, Big Ramy was now a professional bodybuilder.

Ramy also packed on heaps of size, as he weighed just 200 pounds at his first show, yet at the Amateur Olympia Kuwait, he weighed 286 pounds.

Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay

Life As A Pro Bodybuilder:

Ramy, now a professional bodybuilder, waited a year to compete, making his first appearance as a pro in 2013.

Having only competed twice in his life, many predicted that the nerves would get to Ramy and that he would choke under the pressure of hanging with the pros.

He proved all of his doubters wrong, however, as, upon making his debut as a pro, and only competing for the third time in his life, Big Ramy won the New York Pro Championships 2013.

Now, the sponsors, magazines, gym owners, promoters, and supplement companies really took notice of Big Ramy, and they predicted great things for the man-mountain from Egypt.

Ramy’s next show was the pinnacle of the sport of bodybuilding, the 2013 Mr. Olympia competition.

Ramy was competing against the best bodybuilders in the world and some of the biggest names in the sport, including Phil Heath.

Ramy’s showing wasn’t quite as impressive here as it was at the New York Pro, but he still finished a very respectable 8th place, which, for a debut on the biggest bodybuilding show on the planet, was not too bad in the slightest.

Ramy was now hungry for success and the following year he would go on to place 7th, beating his previous showing.

He looked very good, but he knew that there were improvements to be made.

Wanting to taste the sweet success of gold once more, Big Ramy entered the 2014 New York Pro Championships and again placed 1st.

It was clear now that his success wasn’t just beginner’s luck, and that if he could tweak a few things, and keep his size while nailing his condition, he could be a real force to be reckoned with for years to come.

In 2015, wanting more experience, Ramy competed in the Arnold Classic shows in Brazil and in Europe, where, respectively, he would place 1st and 4th. As if that wasn’t enough, however, Ramy would again better his previous showing, placing 5th at the Olympia 2015.

He had finally cracked the top 5, which had been one of his goals.

In 2016, as if it was possible, Ramy would really train hard in the gym, packing on even more muscle mass to his frame and getting even bigger.

In keeping with tradition, Ramy entered the 2016 Mr. Olympia and again beat his previous best, this time placing 4th and narrowly missing out on a podium finish. Not only that, but at the IFBB Kuwait Pro show in 2016, he would go on to win that show.

Now, you would expect Ramy to compete at the Olympia in 2017 and to place 3rd, as had been the trend for the previous years.

However, that was not the case. Yes, Ramy did compete in 2017, but this time he placed 2nd, missing out to Phil Heath. He did, however, bag himself $150,000 in prize money.

In 2018, however, Ramy failed to nail down his condition and came in flat and holding water.

He had even more muscle mass and size, but because of his conditioning, the judges weren’t impressed and they gave him a 6th place finish.

Ramy took this “loss” to heart and knew that he had to make improvements.

He wanted to get better, not worse, so he took 2019 off and focussed on adding mass and symmetry to his physique.

He returned in 2020 and finally won the Olympia. All of his hard work had paid off, and he could finally say that he was the best in the world.

In 2021, Ramy defended his title and retained it again.

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Big Ramy Training:

As you can see from the size of Ramy, he can lift some serious weight and it is thanks to his heavy training that he has been able to pack so much muscle mass onto his frame.

Ramy does a lot of heavy compound exercises and tends to focus on larger muscle groups by adding more volume.

His back, for example, is enormous, and he will perform 8 – 15 reps per set, with 3 – 5 working sets per exercise.

Some of his favorite back exercises include T-Bar rows, barbell rows, and seated cable rows.

Ramy follows a 5-day split and trains individual muscle groups, rather than pairing them up. The only exception here is his biceps and triceps, as he will train them together on his arm training day.

Big Ramy Net worth:

Before we wrap things up today, it’s interesting to learn Ramy’s net worth.

Remember, he grew up in poverty and was forced to graft as a fisherman to earn a living, so it’s nice to see how far he has come.

As of 2024, Big Ramy’s net worth comes in at a very impressive $10 Million.

This is thanks to supplementing sales, sponsorships, endorsements, social media posts, and of course, prize money from competing.


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