You have to hand it to the National Physique Committee, the sanctioning organization of American beefcake and of the 2008 NPC Southern States Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Championships. By making people’s physique not only the tool, but the very field of competition, it transmogrified narcissism into a sport. Why, that guy’s cobblestone abs aren’t meant to give dames vapors — they’re a carefully honed attack, like a pick-and-roll in basketball. Those bulging, beachball thighs aren’t just an affront to off-the-rack pants — they’re the equivalent of a well-coached defensive line.

Flexing’s fun and all, but competitors will also have to, you know, do stuff. The women will perform a choreographed routine that no doubt will answer any questions about their remaining flexibility; the men will try to pound each other into submission with pull-up and push-up marathons. But in case you feel the need to see displays beyond mere strength and endurance, the event also guarantees a roster of “guest posers” — world-class bodybuilders, you could call them, or perhaps master tacticians. Get your bod on at 6 p.m. Friday (and on Saturday) at War Memorial Auditorium (800 NE 8th St., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets are $20 and $30. Call 954-523-3309, or visit
Fri., July 11; Sat., July 12, 2008

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Sam Eifling
Contact: Sam Eifling