Putting in the hard work to develop muscle and achieve aesthetic body form.

While many men go to the gym to simply keep fit, there are many others who take it to the extreme to achieve the body beautiful.

A man can have two bodies, the one he was born with and the one he makes for himself.

For the competitive bodybuilder, the objective is a display of a rippling pectoral and a swelling calf muscle.

Gaining muscle requires effort and men like Paddy Byrne put the work in gymnasiums like the Apollo Club in Dublin.

Young and not so young men are sweating their guts out to achieve a magnificent sculpturing of flesh and blood.

Many of the exercise machines found in these gyms look like something from medieval torture chambers. A squat rack is used to exercise thighs and calves. An abdominal board works the stomach muscles until they look like washboards. The latissimus machine develops the group of muscles covering part of the rib cage. There is also weight lifting with men lifting up to 300 lbs. The gyms are relatively well supervised and accidents while exercising are remarkably rare.

Billy Higgins, Secretary of the Irish Amateur Weight Lifting Association is a frequent judge at bodybuilding competitions. He explains the many reasons why these men want to achieve beautiful bodies. Some start out with the intention of improving their physique, others want to use weight training to help with their performance in other sports. Some of these men get bitten by the bug and focus their attention on bodybuilding. The men work out three to four times a week.

They work very hard at it.

When it comes to competition time, these bodybuilders display their bodies to their best advantage. Putting in the hours helps with other sports and creates good look for the beach. Billy Higgins acknowledges that there is an element of vanity and to some extent these men are seeking admiration. However, he is not convinced that bodybuilding competitions are similar to women's beauty pageants.

During a competition the judges are looking for good overall body development.

He must be all over well developed with a proportionate physique.

Bodybuilders (1967)
Bodybuilders (1967)

Bodybuilder Paddy Byrne is a former competitive swimmer and says that his objective is self-satisfaction rather than the admiration of others. He also says that while some girls find muscles attractive, others find them grotesque.

Another man Christy explains how he got into body building. He was slightly under weight and decided to gain weight through intensive exercise. Another man says he gets a kick out taking part in events like the Mr Ireland competition.

This episode of Newsbeat was broadcast on 27 June 1967. The reporter is Cathal O'Shannon.