Maria Wattel (Netherlands) is a 41-year-old professional athlete, bodybuilder, personal trainer and a specialist model. 

Standing at the remarkable height of 182.7 cm (5 ft 11.92 in), she holds the record for tallest professional bodybuilder (female), as confirmed on January 15 2021.

Born in the Netherlands, Maria resides between her home country and Greece.

After a childhood spent playing soccer with the boys, at 19 she discovered her passion for bodybuilding and entered her first competitive event in March 2005.

Maria Wattel flexing her muscles

She thought that, through weight training and fitness, she could really do something out of the ordinary - she could become invincible.

"I wanted to do something extraordinary because that's the kind of person that I am." - Maria Wattel

However, the world of competitions proved to be challenging. 

Due to her height, Maria recalls that she would often be defined as "too tall". 

At times, the jury didn't know how to judge her or where to place her next to the other female contestants. 

"I had competitions where I was not judged or judged only through something genetic that I cannot help, like being tall," she says.

Maria Wattel and another female bodybuilder

Proud of her strength and figure, Maria follows an intense diet and training regime.

Her weekly routine includes weight training in the gym five days a week, along with 30 to 60 minutes of cardio five days a week.

The number depends on which phase of training she is in at the time, but you’ll never catch her slacking off!

The rest of her day consists of eating, rest and admin work. 

But her healthy lifestyle doesn’t only consist of training and keeping herself fit: Maria also takes care of her body with massages and physio treatments as needed.

Maria Wattel with arms crossed

Maria is currently working on many future projects and - although bodybuilding remains her day job - not all of them are related to this particular discipline. 

However, holding a Guinness World Records title is a "little crown on her work", the record-breaking athlete says. 

"To be recognized by Guinness World Records was a big surprise, but it's a very good surprise. Being tall and female and working as a bodybuilder is immensely hard and tough."

Surprisingly, it was her friend Olivier Richters, who is in turn the tallest professional bodybuilder (male), who first brought the record to her attention and encourage her to send an application.

Now they both feature on the pages of Guinness World Records 2022.

Here they pose side by side, flexing their muscles and showcasing their amazing skills.

Maria Wattel and Olivier Richters

Read more about Maria's record in Guinness World Records 2022, out now.