Posing, Cravings, Caffeine

Welcome back!

Before you dive headlong into Posing, Cravings, Caffeine, make sure you’ve read my previous contest update, Premediated Expectations, Refeeds, and Pickles. Having a backstory will add a fresh layer of context to this post.

In keeping with the tell-all theme of my last few update posts, I’m going to continue to talk about things like mindset, cravings, what I’m thinking and so on. Today, I want to dig into the following:

A. Posing (how comfortable the mandatory poses are becoming, and lack of routine).
B. Cravings (or lack thereof).
C. Caffeine (I assumed I would have attained junkie status by now).

Grab some coffee or a Monster ULTRA, kick back, and let’s get into it.


Posing, Cravings, Caffeine

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about. Few compare to Frank Zane’s iconic posing. Image courtesy of: musclenet.com

It’s been proven time and time again upon sweat dripped, brightly lit stages across the globe.

You can have most impressive, proportionate, and eye-catching physique in your entire class. But if don’t have the skill, the prowess or the awareness to present the physique you bring to the stage in a way that highlights your strong points, buries your weak ones and command the judge’s fleeting attention, you’re going to be massively disappointed with your result.

I haven’t stepped on stage yet and I can barely fathom how brutally demoralizing that must be. To spend so many weeks and months dieting, pushing your body and battling with your mind, only to fall short because of poor presentation…that hurts.

And I refuse to ever let this happen. Hell, I started practicing posing at 22 weeks out. Thankfully, the fruits of said practice are starting to pay off (I believe).

On Tuesday, I had a posing session over Skype with my coach (Yes, even coaches should have their own coach), Allen Cress. Honestly, I was somewhat expecting to have my posing ripped apart and rebuilt from the ground up. I’m grateful that that wasn’t the case. After going through each pose, we repeated them for a few more rounds only having to make small adjustments here and there. Talk about a boost of confidence heading into the final 10 days before the stage.

All that remains is to keep practicing every day until they become second nature and I can slip into each pose with my eyes closed. Oh, I do still need to come up with a routine. Or improvise a routine 15 minutes before stepping on stage…


In many of the contest prep blogs I’ve read, these articles become filled with repetition over the insatiable cravings for burgers, sushi, ice cream, candy, pancakes, the whole 9 yards. Thanks to poring over said articles, I was steeling myself for nights of tossing and turning because surely all I would be able to think of was rolling about on a bed of doughnuts, sushi boats and greasy, delicious burgers.

Again, I’m grateful that this hasn’t been in the case. I’m not sure if it’s a product of having a long, slow prep or if it’s just the way I’m wired, but I’m yet to have a single craving. And the result of not having to wage that mental battle is that I’m genuinely enjoying the entire process. To tell you the truth, it’s been such a rewarding, informative and challenging experience that I can say with utmost confidence, barring unforeseen circumstances, I will be playing in this arena for years to come. And that gets me really fucking excited for what’s to come.

Anyone I’ve known that’s competed in the past has spent weeks planning and talking about what they’re going to indulge in post-show. I mean, it makes sense. You spend months prepping, not eating out, sticking to your plan and pushing yourself to reveal the best physique you can come stage day. Why wouldn’t you celebrate your achievement with your favourite foods? For me, this is where I find my outlook on food ironic and amusing.

All I really want after this show is a massive bowl of oatmeal with cashew butter, ground moose and rice or endless tacos. Nothing crazy, just some of my favourite meals. Albeit in larger, unmeasured proportions.

Oh. And a (slice of) cheesecake. I could totally cheesecake.

Posing, Caffeine, Cravings

This all being said, I’m seriously regretting googling “strawberry cheesecake.”


“Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine, caffeine, I’m begging of you, please don’t leave my hand.”

MASSthetics bonus points if you can point out the song that’s adapted from.

As I’ve written this contest update, and the one prior, I’m starting to realize that I very nearly set myself up to make this whole process a hell of a lot harder than it need be.

Let me explain.

In Premediated Expectations, Refeeds, Pickles,  I went over how reading about other competitors experiences formulated my own vision and expectations for how my own prep would go. Casting aside any notion of individual context. That same scenario reared it’s head at the beginning of this post when I talked about a lack of carvings.

And now I’m finding the situation surrounding caffeine to be very much the same. Based off what I read about the perils of perpetually rock-bottom energy levels, no drive and being drastically under-recovered during prep, I assumed I would be hooked up an IV drip of caffeine by the time I was 6 weeks out.

The reality? I’m drinking less coffee, fewer energy drinks and don’t have any encapsulated stimulants (Yohimbine, Ephedrine, Caffeine itself) in the house. If I had to put a number on it, I’ve gone from a full french press, 8-10 shots of espresso per day and 2-3 Monster ULTRA’s per week – down to 4-6 shots of espresso per day with 1-3 cans of ULTRA per week.

Posing, Cravings, Caffeine

How could you NOT want to drink one of these? Energy drinks get a bad rap…but these are pretty much just caffeinated vitamin water.

To be fair, I drank that much coffee because I really fucking love coffee, and don’t suffer any ill effects if I cut my intake for days at a time. But I do find it quite interesting that I’ve instinctively cut my daily intake in at least half during a time in which many become married to the drug.

Talk of fluctuating caffeine intake aside, let’s take a look at some pictures. These were taken yesterday morning from my check in with Allen.

Posing, Cravings, Caffeine

By far my strongest and favourite pose. Just gotta focus on letting the hamstrings “hang” and keeping my glutes flexed.


Posing, Cravings, Caffeine

My ab & thigh pose started out absolutely horrid. But, with each round of practice, it gets smoother and more impressive.


Being 10 days out now, much of the work is done. All that remains is to become hairless, bring back the mohawk, get bronzed up and recover. I’m aiming to do one more update before stepping on stage, ideally 2-3 days before. Keep your eyes on the blog for that one!

Hugs & Protein Shakes,
Alexander Mullan

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