An Inside Look at the Littlest Bodybuilder

Dwarfism hasn't stopped Aditya "Romeo" Dev from becoming a bodybuilder.

April 24, 2009 — -- At 2 feet, 9 inches and a mere 19 pounds, Aditya "Romeo" Dev isn't like other bodybuilders.

The 21-year-old from Punjab, India, weighs as much as the body armor worn by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, but that hasn't stopped the little person from becoming a body builder.

Dev told "Good Morning America" today that the most he's ever lifted is 10 pounds -- about half his weight.

"From the very beginning I liked lifting the dumbbells and lifting weights," he said through a translator. "I used to watch wrestling when I was a small kid and that's how I got inspired."

His hard work has paid off -- three years ago the Guinness Book of World Records named him the world's smallest body builder.

When he hit a Crunch gym in New York City, people flocked to him, picking him up for a pose and taking pictures.

And ladies, he's available.

"I don't have a girlfriend," Dev said, with a shy grin.

But since his workouts have been trimmed to one hour per day for medical reasons, Dev said he's been using the time to work on his other hobby-- singing and dancing.

"I used to watch a dance video, Indian-style," he said, "And I got inspired by looking at it."

Little Body, Big Dreams

For the last two years, Dev has trained to be a bodybuilder and he considers himself the strongest dwarf in the world.

Using a regimen that includes 3.3-pound custom-designed dumbbells from his trainer, Dev has bulked up and is the size of an average 2-year-old.

His chest measurement is 20" and his exercise routine also includes aerobics and dance. Dev trains at the Leo Health Club in Phagwara, India and his trainer is the health club owner Ranjit Pal, "Mr. Punjab."

Dev said he's never let his size stop him from doing anything, though his height -- which is about as tall as a baseball bat -- does make him shy around girls.

Still, Dev's father said his son has never been bothered about his height or had an inferiority complex.

While Dev said he is "always in the gym," all his workouts are unable to combat his serious health condition. His family fears he doesn't have long to live because he suffers from brain aneurysms and his family is too poor to finance necessary medical treatment.

What Is Primordial Dwarfism?

According to his Web site, Dev is one of approximately 100 primordial dwarfs anywhere the world. His condition makes him susceptible to a range of medical complications.

It's unknown what causes the rare condition.

Unlike other dwarfs, primordials have what are considered normal proportions, but their growth is retarded almost from the moment of conception.

In fact, the name of the condition comes from one of the definitions of the word primorial -- "from the moment of conception."

In January 2008, researchers made a discovery that could help improve understanding for this type of dwarfism. They found a genetic culprit for the condition.

In the study from the journal Science, an international team of researchers led by Anita Rauch of the Institute of Human Genetics in Erlangen, Germany, examined a number of individuals with a condition known as microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II -- or MOPD II for short.

What they found was that a key mutation in chromosome 21 likely led to the condition -- a finding that represents a first-of-its-kind genetic explanation for this type of dwarfism.

Click here to learn more about dwarfism.