Why I’ll (probably) never compete in bodybuilding again

Long-time email subscriber and freshly minted Sorcerers Guild member Christopher Slatter dug up an old email from my fitness days.

The email he found was one I wrote a year ago about a man named James, a fellow lifter, and my occasional training partner.

>> Here’s the gist of this “lost” email:


“James is blind to his own progress, and it causes him to always be looking for a shortcut or a reason why he’s not where he wants to be.

Last time we trained together, he asked what my goal was.

My answer:

“To compete again in two years.”


(Note: if you weren’t around in my fitness days, I spent little over a year and a half prepping for and competing in three bodybuilding shows, making it all the way to the Canadian National stage.)

>> Which prompted Chris to ask:

“Hi Alex,
Was checking for past emails from you about your new endeavor [The Sorcerers Guild]. Didn’t find anything, but did find the one below about James and progress.
Got me wondering 2 things:

a) are you still planning to compete again in a year?

b) what was your method to determine if you would/wouldn’t?

Can you write about this process for determining when to drop a goal?

I see it a mix of pros/cons and value/cost. Likely some gems about applying this to a personal business venture (although that has other methods, eg ROI, NPV, etc).
How is James faring nowadays?



>> Here’s my answer of three parts:

A. I am
not planning on competing again in a year, and quite honestly, I’m not all that fussed if I never step on stage again.

B. For the past (nearly) three years I’ve subscribed to the following mentality of working towards a goal, gleaned from great fiction and comic writer, Neil Gaiman:

“Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal.


And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.”


Keeping that mentality in mind…

When I was actively building my fitness business, competitive bodybuilding moved me closer towards my destination.

It helped generate attention, signalled the kind of clients I wanted to work with, and acted as proof that I walked the walk.

But competing comes at a cost.

At my time of competing I was trying to juggle a relationship, I left the comfort of a stable paycheque a month or so after deciding to compete, and I was hellbent on building a business that would grant me the freedom to whatever the hell I please.

Training 6 days per week, eating out of tupperware, and doing double-days of cardio does not lend itself well to having energy, spare time, a healthy relationship, or the mental capacity to devote to building a business.

Surprise, surprise.

Was it worth damaging my health, tanking a relationship, and putting a whole lot of unnecessary pressure and stress on myself?

At the time, absolutely, because it moved me closer to my mountain.

So, to answer Chris’s second question,  my method for determining whether or not to keep a goal, I weigh out whether or not it will move me closer to my mountain.

If it does, full steam ahead. If not, byyyyyeeeeeee.

As your life inevitability changes, so too will your goals.

At one point I only cared about counting my precious fucking macros, ensuring I didn’t skip a training session, and writing yet another article about why nobody knows how to properly train legs.

These days?

I’m focusing on the following triad:

1. My relationships

2. Growing the Sorcerers Guild + cementing my freedom

3. Taking care of my physical + mental health

All of which push me closer to my mountain of leading a Revolution where people such as Chris (and all other Guild members) walk the path to building a lifestyle on their terms, and breaking through stubborn, self-sabotaging mental barriers.

If you’re ready to join the crew of Knights who are set down to path to building their ideal world, check out my monthly newsletter down yonder:


Your headmaster,

Alexander Mullan


As for James, I honestly can’t say for certain. We spoke a few months back and he’s still chasing the day where he tips the scales at 220 pounds of 90% lean shredded man-beef.

For his sake, I hope he gets there one day.

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