Containing their power and conserving their energy, they move slowly, deliberately. They feel every muscle twitch as they go through the final fine tune for their glistening, peaking physiques. Huge and beautiful, they pump, they pose, they prowl.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - I should never be allowed back there. At best I would spontaneously combust. At worst, I'd end up spendiing the night in jail. Or hospital. Or both. But thankfully there are those who are made of sterner stuff, like the bods at NPC News Online and the schmotography legend Gene X Hwang. And it's thanks to them that we - at a safe distance - get a peek at the biggest backstage of them all.
Contest photos can be a bit samey, and standard backstage or check-in photos tend to be shot from a single position, so GeneX should have been applauded for simply producing something different to look at even if he hadn't quite nailed it. But he did.
We all hope this was the first of many Rising Phoenix Women's World Championships. And the first of many such events, where the women - the elite female bodybuilders - are the headline act. So I especially like GeneX's black and whites because his choice of film and filters have given the images an (entirely appropriate) historic feel.
And you can make them really, really big and still you get all the detail, which I'm sure, dear reader, is something that you always - as I do - greatly appreciate. Particularly so when there's so much prime, swoonworthy female muscle detail to take in.
Yes, I know what you're thinking - That's swell Swell, the black and whites are very nice and all, lovely, in fact, but you can't beat colour and motion though, can you? Well, when Debi's doing push-ups on the floor and there's fun from rear with Virginia. When Aleesha turns round and the camera follows her before she walks out of frame and we pan across to the crazy detail all over Rita's back and then it's Debi and Virginia again, sharing a mirror... Well, I just might have to agree with you there.
View the clips on YouTube (half speed is good) here and here.