Building the body beautiful requires total dedication. It is a constant pre-occupation, a quasi-religious quest for physical perfection that consumes every aspect of your life. Bodybuilding is the fashion that happens before clothes. In fact, for bodybuilders, most clothing, although incredibly stylized for the gym or competition, is merely a distraction from the main event: a fucking massive, shiny, hard body made up of cement-like muscle balloons. We spent a gym session with Lucas Queiroz, a runner-up in the esteemed Mr. Titan body building contest, at his local gym in Dalston to see if we too could be infected by his zeal for the ultimate male form.
The gym is exactly what you’d expect it to look like – if you were in America in the 1980s. From the huge posters of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the sparse, brutal-looking range of equipment, the space is a true sanctuary of the bodybuilding purist, a no-frills shrine to total control over your physicality and lifestyle.
The Brazilian Queiroz is a smooth costumer who rules his empire with machismo charisma and constantly relates everything back to the maintenance of his buff form. He regulates his diet precisely, must take large amounts of amino acid tablets to increase his bulk, and trains intensively every day without fail. His obsession is size.
He seems physically wounded if he thinks you have in any way inferred that this guy could be bigger than he. Each time he passes the Arnie poster he pauses theatrically to compare himself to the Terminator, before winking and laughing off the competition.
His training partner was very upfront, admitting he body builds to frighten other men and attract babes.
Queiroz explains that he thrives on the respect he gets. All the grunting, shouting, and straining is electrifying. The fetishized paraphernalia – hand straps, bandanas and support belts – are a total look.
Photos by Alana Lake