08/07/2013 06:17 BST | Updated 08/07/2013 06:30 BST

Lean, Fit And Slightly Terrifying: Bodybuilding Competition 2013 (PICTURES)

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Men and women compete in the Muscle Beach Independence Day bodybuilding contest on Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California, July 4, 2013. (Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Normally, pictures of lean, toned people make our hands waver when reaching for the Krispy Kremes. But perversely, pictures of these super toned, super fit body builders has the reverse effect - we're left with jaws hanging open because we can't ever see ourselves getting that hyper fit, nor, actually, would we want to.

The Muscle Beach Independence Day bodybuilders competition which took place last week at Venice Beach in Los Angeles showcased the best muscles around, with tourists piling in from all over to watch the competition.

Bodybuilders have to meticulously manage their weight, and monitor everything that they eat as the ratio of building muscle versus losing fat is a very delicate one. A lot of bodybuilders have their own theories about how best to get toned from cutting down sodium to increasing sodium, and almost all use protein shakes and caffeine to boost their metabolism and build muscle.

independence day bodybuilding contest on venice be

Although bodybuilding is praised for the focus and motivation it gives a person, the question hanging over the sport is what a high-protein diet and intense workout schedule means in terms of life expectancy on the heart.

Amid the bikinis, budge-smugglers, spray tan and hair spray, here were some of the most memorable shots from the day: