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One of the fastest rising Physique athletes in the NPC is Team Bodybuilding.com’s Brandan Fokken. Not only a competitor, Brandan is making quite a name for himself as a trainer with Fokken Strong Training coaching competitors.

Naturally I jumped at the chance to interview a fellow colleague in the same profession as me and, obviously, Brandan will be making even more noise in his upcoming competitions and fitness modeling.

Tell me his image aren’t a great tool of motivation for the guys…and a nice read for the ladies on a Friday 😉

1) Brandan, you are making quite a name for yourself in the fitness industry. At what moment in your life did you know that you were going to be a part of the fitness industry?

To be honest I really didn’t know. I was told so to speak that I could do well etc. but I had never really thought that there was a place for me. I was at the 2011 Olympia where I met Jamie Eason for the first time at the Bodybuilding.com booth. She right away thought she knew who I was. I was like “Jamie Eason knows me??” I kept telling her that there was no way she could know me but was flattered that she thought she did. She asked me some questions about what I did and said that I could really do well in the industry. I hadn’t ever heard anything like that previously, so I really had to let it soak in for a while. After that I ended up signing up for the Bodybuilding.com BodySpace Spokes model contest where I made the top 5 and ended up competing in LA. From there I was added as a Team athlete. I really wanted to show them that I belonged on the team and that I was as capable as anyone else of making an impact in the industry. So from there I started writing articles, speaking, started my athlete page, etc. and really tried to make an impact. So far I’m blessed to say it has been.



2) Tell us about your training business.

I am the owner of Fokken Strong Training. I currently have 18 athletes on my team ranging from bikini, figure, and men’s physique. I train on the side from my corporate job so I have the luxury of training because I love it, not because I have to. Due to that I am able to be more selective and take on the athletes I want to work with, rather than have to worry about the financial aspect of everything. I have a selection process that starts with an in person or phone consult. Through that I am able to get an idea about who that person is, what type of person they are, if they have it in them to train the necessary way to be successful etc. I take on the person, not the athlete. I would rather have someone capable of a win that someone that’s never lost. I feel that you get more out of the client that way and you are truly able to pass on knowledge to them and have them use it for their betterment. I believe you have to have a good client trainer relationship to make things work, so if we don’t mesh then I pass on them and refer them to someone else.

I think we provide a lot for the people that train with us. By “us” I have taken on an assistant/partner Ashley Kurtenbach recently that helps me with the people I train. She has been with me for over a year and knows exactly what I expect from someone, knows my training methods, and has the same work ethic as myself. We also have differing strengths which make it easy to work together. By having both myself and Ashley to work with, my clients get the ability to go to two people when they need someone and also get the opinion of both a male an a female. Since I primarily work with females, sometimes there are things they would rather talk to another female about, that’s where Ashley comes in. In our training we provide everything someone would need to be show ready. Workouts, diet plan, supplement suggestions, help with posing, suit selection, hair and makeup and tan suggestions, etc. We are a one stop shop so to speak. We take all the guess work out so that our clients don’t have to stress about the little things.

We also take fun team trips to pro shows, other cities; have team dinners, and other fun events. Most recently we brought IFBB pro Felicia Romero in for a seminar to talk about how she’s gotten to where she’s at in the business. Offering things like this is a great way to build relationships with team members, and gives them different perspectives on the industry that a lot of people don’t often get to opportunity

to get to see. We are also looking at doing some team weekend camps in 2013 and also do some charity work and give back to those less fortunate.

My Training page *website coming soon* http://www.facebook.com/FokkenStrongTraining


3) Can you tell us about some of your favorite moments competing in the NPC?

My very favorite moment was in my first show in the Fargo Upper Midwest. I competed at a light heavy bodybuilder. I took 3rd out of 12 guys in my class. That show will forever reign as my favorite one. I was so excited to step on stage, yet nervous. I had worked for months prepping for that show and I was proud of how I showed up the day of competition. I had a great trainer and coach Ned Sacipovic who got me ready for that contest and many more after that. With his guidance I not only went on 2 weeks later to take 1st place in my next show, but to take 1st place the following year as a heavyweight. From there I went on to Physique under his guidance where I remain today.


4) With your name getting a lot of traction, you’ve also managed to land a few sponsorships. Tell us who they are and what your feelings were when these companies contacted you.

To be honest I wasn’t contacted by any of the companies I work with. They were all companies I personally believed in so I reached out to them and from there was added as an athlete. I have recently cut two companies from my sponsor list due to me personally wanting to go in a different direction, but with that I have two more I will announce in the New YearJ

To me is has been extremely humbling to work with the GREAT companies I do. I am just your average guy from the Midwest “South Dakota” and never saw myself capable of doing the things I do now or working with the companies I do. I am excited every day for what’s ahead and am blessed to be a part of all the teams I am, so to all my sponsors…THANK YOU.

Athlete page and sponsor websites: http://www.facebook.com/bb.combrandan http://www.bodybuilding.com/ https://www.highproteinbread.com/ http://questproteinbar.com http://www.cutandjacked.com http://phithairbody.com/ http://www.taintedindustries.com/


5) The IFBB and NPC have such a rich history of great competitors. Who inspired you in bodybuilding or fitness?

Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Arnold is my all-time favorite. His physique was out of this world. Arnold in my opinion is the father of modern bodybuilding, and is an example of what I try to follow. Arnold truly is the American dream; he came to America barely even able to speak English. He succeeded in everything that he went after, bodybuilding, acting, real estate mogul, Governor, etc. I think that Arnold had a great understanding of what the human body is capable of and knew that with a strong mind he could achieve, and has achieved everything he set his sights on. He was able to be the best in an era where the nutrition, supplementation, and overall knowledge of the sport was in its infancy, yet even today you don’t see people walking looking like he did way back then

I am inspired by so many athletes. Anyone who gets out there on stage is inspiring in their own way. Two friends of mine that would top the list would be my friend Ned Sacipovic and also IFBB pro Tim Johnson. They both have taught me an immense amount about everything ranging from workouts, diet, mental toughness, and even humility. I am blessed to know the both of them.


6) What is your favorite moment, thus far, in your young career?

Becoming a Bodybuilding.com athlete would top the list. That was a dream come true and I’m very blessed for the opportunity. They are an amazing group of people and I love working with them. I feel that there is no limit to where our relationship can lead. They are THE powerhouse in the fitness industry, and having them encourage you and be there for you makes you truly feel you can take on the world. So to everyone at Bodybuidling.com – THANK YOU.

7) What are some of your future goals with regards to competing?

I worked with Kim Oddo at the end of last season with great results. I came in the best shape I have ever been in my last show and with his help I am hoping to bring in a new and improved physique into next year. I am looking at two national shows right now where I hope to get my IFBB pro card. I am also working with many competitors as a coach and trainer helping them with their show prep, and am having a great time doing that! I couldn’t be more proud of my clients.

Outside of competing:

I want to be successful in all that I do. I am already a guest speaker, but would like to get more involved in that and speak in front of more groups. I would like to continue to educate myself and pass my knowledge onto others as others have to me. I would like to continue to train competitors for shows and help them achieve their goals.

I would also like to contribute to more websites and magazines and possibly maybe even write a book someday. I guess at the root of everything I want to be credible, and truly make an impact in others’ lives through helping them obtain all they want to on their own fitness journeys.

I also hope to hold my current sponsorships and continue to represent the companies that stand behind me in a positive way. My sponsors do a lot for me, and I do all I can to let the world know it.


Brandan, what does your training and nutrition regimen look like when you’re competing for a show? How does it compare in the off-season?

When I was younger all I wanted to do was lift as heavy as I could and be strong. I didn’t care about balance or longevity, and due to that suffered many injuries. Now that I am older I try to balance my workouts and lift far lighter, but with the same intensity as I did when I was younger. I believe you have to listen to your body and push it when you can, and hold back when it’s giving you signs of wear and tear. Sure I train tired, and sore just like anyone else, but when I’m injured and know that I am I take some time off to recoup and take care of myself. In the past I would have tried to push through and would make things worse.


On season:

Morning fasted cardio- 30/ 45 mins 6 days a week with an additional cardio session of 30-45 mins at night. Off season I do 30-40 mins of cardio 5 days a week.

I’m usually lifting heavier at the beginning of show prep and taper the weight down and take the reps up as I get closer.


Day 1: Chest 8-20 reps


•Barbell Incline: 5 sets 20,12,10,10,8

•Machine Flies: 4 sets 15,12,10,8

•Decline Hammer machine press: 4 set 15,12,10,8

•Flat barbell: 5 sets 15,12,10,8,6

•Standing Cable flies: 4 sets 15,12,10,10

•Abs- pick 3 exercises- 3 to 4 sets per movement/ 25-50 reps per set

•10-15 mins on bike or treadmill


Day 2: Arms


•Standing dumbbell curls: 4 sets 12,10,8,8

•Standing cable rope pull downs: 5 sets 15,12,10,10,8

•Standing hammer curls: 4 sets 12,10,8,8

•Standing Triceps push down: 5 sets 15,12,10,10,8

•Standing straight bar arm curls: 4 sets 10,10,8,8

•Dips on bench: 4 sets of at least 20 reps 20,20,20,20

•Seated concentration curls or seated machine curls: 3 sets- failure

•Single arm reverse cable pull downs: 3 sets of at least 20 20,20,20

•10- 15 mins on bike or treadmill


Day 3: Legs


•Leg Extensions: 4 sets of 25 – 50 reps 50,40,35,25

•Smith Machine or regular Squats: 5 sets 25,20,15,10,10

•Leg press “will sometimes incorporate into a workout, depends on energy”

5 sets 50,40,35,25,20

•Lunges: 4 sets 20 “10 per leg” reps

•Seated Leg Curls: 4 sets 25,20,15,15

•Seated Calf Raises: 4 sets of 25

•Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets of 25

•Abs- pick 3 exercises- 3 to 4 sets per movement/ 25-50 reps per set

•10-15 mins on bike or treadmill


Day 4: Shoulders/Traps


•Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 4 sets 15,12,10,10

•Smith Machine or seated db Shoulder Presses: 5 sets 15,12,10,10

•Dumbbell front Raises: 3 sets 15,12,10

•Dumbbell Shrugs: 5 sets 20,20,15,12,10

•Upright rows: 4 sets 15,12,12,10

•Seated rear delt machine, cables, or dumbbells: 4 sets 15,12,12,10

•10-15 mins on bike or treadmill


Day 5: Back


•Wide-Grip Pull ups: 4 sets 15,15,12,10

•Seated hammer reverse grip pull downs: 4 sets 12,12,10,10

•Seated Cable pull backs: 4 sets 12,12,10,8

•Machine Lat pull downs: 5 sets 15,12,10,10,8

•Standing front pull downs: 4 sets 20,20,15,12

•Hyper extensions: 4 sets 20,20,15,15

•Abs – pick 3 exercises- 3 to 4 sets per movement/ 25-50 reps per set

•10-15 mins on bike or treadmill


Day 6: touch ups


On my 6th day I will pick 2 to 3 body parts I think that are lagging and do a touch up. I may do a circuit, or I may pick 2 to 3 exercises for each group. I really focus on the muscle and take time to make sure I’ve worked it effectively. These days I normally lift very light, strict form, high reps.


Without nutrition I wouldn’t be where I am at today. So it is the foundation that everything else is laid upon. Depending how I want to look, or if I have a contest coming up, it’s through nutrition that I make those changes.

I eat about every 2.5 to 3 hours. I also have a shake and a banana after my training session. In my on-season diet, I taper my carbs down as I go into the show. I also have carb cycled in the past but for my next contest I will do a gradual deplete.



•Meal 1: 5 egg whites 3 oz. 96% lean ground beef and ½ cup oats

•Meal 2: Two pieces of P28 bread and a table spoon of P28 Almond Butter.

•Meal 3: 5oz. chicken or 99% lean turkey – 1 cup veggies – 1/2 cup brown rice.

•Meal 4: 5oz. chicken or 99% lean turkey -1/2 cup brown rice – a tbs. of P28 Almond Butter.

•Meal 5: 6 oz. 99% lean turkey- 1 cup veggies – 5oz. sweet potato.

•Meal 6: Casein protein shake 40g and 1 tbs. P28 Almond Butter

Thanks Brandan! We’re looking forward to seeing you tear up the stage and more “Brandan Fokken” news this year!


This entry was posted in: Uncategorized


My name Jennifer Van Barneveld-Pe and this is a collection of my experiences through blogging on balancing the life of a Fitness Expert/Nutritionist and brand new Mommy.


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