Keeping Fit Behind Bars: The Story of a Convicted Bodybuilder Forced onto an Extraordinary Diet

Hossein Balapour, an Instagram bodybuilder known as 'Yakiboy', has been banned from working out in the gym after being arrested for an alleged street brawl with his former friend and trainer Marven Yacoub. The 29-year-old, who typically follows a strict high-protein diet and lifts weights six days a week, has had to eat canned tuna due to a prison strike that has seen inmates locked in their cells and unable to access the gym. Balapour, who makes a living from his 'ripped' body by posting pictures on Instagram and OnlyFans, is now confined to doing sit-ups in a tiny shared cell.

On Monday, the 29-year-old's lawyer Abdullah Reslan entered not guilty pleas to a charge of affray and one of possessing an offensive weapon before Magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis in the Downing Centre Local Court. On the outside, the towering six-foot-five, 107kg muscleman usually adheres to a strict high protein diet as well as lifting weights six days a week.

But inmates at Parklea prison recently had no access to the jail gym and were locked in their cells due to a strike.

When asked about how his client was doing, Mr. Reslan chose not to comment but said that Balapour was eating canned tuna. Tuna is an item that inmates are able to purchase through their 'buy-ups' list, which gives prisoners access to approximately $60 worth of goods each week.

Balapour - who has refused standard prison food - will be incarcerated until at least the second half of March when he can request to be let out on bail.

Two weeks ago, his bail was revoked when NSW Police Raptor Squad officers raided his gym at dawn, arresting him in handcuffs. Three days after video footage allegedly showed him fighting Marven Yacoub in broad daylight on a busy road in Sydney's east, the social media personality was arrested.

He was charged with breaching his bail, and after the police applied to have it revoked, he was sent to Parklea Correctional Centre. The Centre went into lockdown over the last weekend in January.

Since the guards' union is striking over safety concerns related to the jail's reputation as the state's most violent, inmates are under severe restrictions. Due to this, Balapour was not able to have visits from his family, including his wife Cherish and four-year-old daughter Dream, like all of the other inmates.

Balapour was one of the 1,350 prisoners who were locked in their cells and not allowed any time in the prison yards for at least 48 hours. 

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has stated that Parklea has the most significant number of serious assaults on prison officers in the state.

Before being incarcerated, Balapour did a daily weights regime, with only Sundays off for cardio, and ate a diet of egg whites, skinless chicken breast, kimchi, and lots of greens.

The muscleman makes a living by posting pictures of his body on Instagram, modeling clothes, and posting X-rated content on his OnlyFans page.

Although gym access is being restored inside Parklea, Balapour was reduced to doing sit-ups in a tiny, shared 2m by 3m cell to keep fit. His Instagram page, with more than 350,000 fans, has been inactive since he was incarcerated.

At the time of his arrest, Balapour was out on bail for a separate assault charge for which he has pleaded not guilty.

In video footage of the January 17 street fight, Balapour appears to attack Yacoub while the two are standing with a group of men on a road in the inner Sydney suburb of Zetland.

Balapour is an Iranian refugee, former jujitsu teacher, and wrestler. He arrived in Australia by boat and was detained on Christmas Island. While living in backpacker hostels in Queensland, he learned English

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