👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello! My name is Brandan Fokken and I am 40 years old. I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but am about to relocate to Lubbock, Texas.
I currently am a jack-of-all-trades. I am a wellness director, online trainer, speaker, writer and own my own line of peanut butter called, Fokken Nuts Peanut Butter. I am an IFBB PRO physique athlete and also an IFBB PRO judge.
I am married to my wife Amber for six years now and we have a three-year-old son named, Eastan. They are what get me up in the morning and motivated to take on every day and continue to grow in everything I do.
- AFAA personal trainer certified
- Life Fitness Group certified
- CPR & AED certified
- R.I.P.P.E.D certified
- First aid certified
- PIYO certified
- Group stretching certified
- Cardio Kickboxing certified
- Certified Nutrition Specialist
- Fitness Nutrition Specialist
- Icon Meals
I’ve worked with many industry leaders over the years like Dymatize, Bodybuilding.com, Beast sports nutrition, Quest Nutrition and many, many more. Today though I have cut ties with all of them other than Icon Meals to focus on my own business management and growth.
I have worked with, donated to, raised funds for and have participated in many walks and charity events in the past years.
Some of these include:
- National Kidney Foundation
- The Buddy Walk
- Breast Cancer Awareness/Tu Tus for ta tas event
- American Heart Association
- Make a Wish Foundation
- Seeds of Change
- Washington Pavilion arts program
- Various animal shelters
Contest history and other accomplishments:
- 2010 Fargo Upper Midwest light heavy 3rd place
- 2010 Minneapolis Gopher State Classic 2010 light heavy 1st place
- 2011 Fargo Upper Midwest heavy weight 1st place
- 2011 Minneapolis Gopher State Classic Physique 1st place
- 2011 Muscle and Fitness Gaspari Super Pump Challenge Online Winner
- 2011 Muscle and Fitness model contest “Olympia expo ” 3rd
- 2011 Minnesota State North Star Physique 1st
- 2011 Photo Vision model
- 2011 World Physique magazine competitor of the month and “promoting greatness” winner
- 2012 Bodybuilding.com Body Space Spokes model finalist
- 2012 Bodybuilding.com Body Space spokes model contest LA expo- signed contract
- 2012 Muscle and Fitness Online Winner *First two time winner*
- 2012 Bodybuilding.com “Amateur of the Week July 2012”
- 2012 Bodybuilding.com 2012 “Top 20 Extreme Physiques”
- 2012 Bodybuilding.com 2012 “Top 20 Extreme Physiques Part Two”
- 2012 Muscle and Fitness model contest “Olympia expo” 2nd
- 2013 Muscle and Fitness Online Winner *First three-time winner*
- 2013 Muscle and Fitness model contest “Olympia expo” 2nd
- 2013 Minnesota State North Star 1st
- 2013 Oregon Seven Feathers 1st
- 2013 NIKE promo model/athlete
- 2015 Pittsburgh NPC North Americans 1st IFBB PRO CARD
- 2015 Bodies of Work Model
I have appeared in over 300 magazines. I write for many major publications and online sites including Bodybuilding.com, TRAIN, Natural Muscle, Cut and Jacked.com and many more. I have been on 31 National and International Fitness covers including IRONMAN, MuscleMag and TRAIN.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Regarding training philosophy, 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 life, just try to take each day as it comes. Prepare yourself the best that you can, don’t be upset when you fail, failure means you’re still trying. Try to help others, be a good person, work hard, and good things will come your way.
I feel that the most effective routine for me is dividing my body into parts and hitting them hard once in the week and then touching them up later in the week. My reps, set, and weight always change and I incorporate different training methods into my workouts.
So my answer, whatever you feel challenges you and you get results from is the most effective routine. There is really no right or wrong answer to this in my opinion. I also train alone 90% of the time. I don’t have a gym bag, I don’t track things as I keep it all in my head.
I don’t need to take anything to the gym other than myself. I don’t use belts or wraps, etc. If I need a shaker Ill take that, but that’s it.
On-season: Morning fasted cardio- 30/ 45 mins five to six 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.
Off-season: I do less cardio, eat more, but basically lift the same.
My workouts change daily and weekly, but this is an example:
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
5 sets 50,40,35,25,20
Day 4: Shoulders/Traps
Day 5: Back
Day 6: Touch ups
On my 6th day, I will pick two to three body parts I think that are lagging and do a touch up. I may do a circuit, or I may pick two to three 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.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I got to the gym no matter what. It’s like clock work for me so even when motivation is “low” it’s still beyond the average person. So the gym session happens no matter what. Sometimes it’s a better workout than other days, but it always comes together.
I started working out at age 14, I am now 40. That’s a LONG time to do anything let alone put your body through physical stress. I’ve had injuries over the years, but always learned from them.
Now I train smart, I mostly try to maintain than anything. Of course, I will push here and there, but I just take joy in being there. I use chiropractic care, massage, eat right, rest and that all helps keep me going.
If I have something I need to get ready for, I start out slow. I add in more work week to week and over time it doesn’t feel like I added some large burden, instead you see results and it doesn’t feel like you are killing yourself to get there.
As far as time, after my son it was a lot harder. However, as I work in a gym most days it’s not hard to get a workout in and or be active.
I plan things around my son’s schedule and get my workouts in early in the morning to accommodate him. When I travel, I already have a gym picked and out and make sure I make time for it. It has to be a priority or you’nll make excuses.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced was a health issue (heart-related) I had to overcome. It wasn’t something I expected, but because I’ve always taken care of myself, my time away from the gym wasn’t long and before I knew it I was back on track to where I was at previously.
I didn’t let it beat me and I sure wasn’t going to let it take away one of the greatest joys of my life, which is fitness. People will make excuses for most anything, that’s not an option for me. I research and put a plan in place and go after what I want.
I have a cholesterol disorder. My lipoprotein A is really high. My grandfather died at 43 from it and his brother even younger. My mom had heart failure young and it’s something I didn’t expect, but always watched out for and kept up on my check ups, etc., and was always good to go.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I am doing great today. I turned 40 in October and haven’t missed a beat. I want to do some photoshoots in the new year and go after another major cover.
I also have a big thing in the works that if it happens will be a big deal to me and it’s something I will have to be in my best shape for. It revolves around TV so until it’s certain and announced I cant say anything more about it. So stay tuned!
The next five years are to continue to build my businesses, continue training others and myself and keep building the life I always wanted.
I want to be home more and am creating income streams to allow that to happen more and more. I want to coach my son in sports when he’s older, travel with my family and be present. The things I am doing now should get me to a place where I will fully live life on my terms.
If I could start it all over, I’d change nothing. I am the culmination of all the good and the bad in my life. There’s no me if it wasn’t all as is and I am happy with who I am.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
As far as handling injuries, I have a great team of people I work with between chiropractic, doctors, massage therapists, etc. They keep my at as close to 100% as I can be.
When I do have an issue, I address it immediately. I don’t try and push through it anymore, I will keep training, but I will train around the issue until it’s resolved.
I sleep about six to seven hours a night, which is enough for me. I am highly functioning on little sleep.
I travel often and so often that it’s a non issue for me and my lifestyle. I’ve done this so long I don’t need to have a plan in place when I go anywhere. I can find the food I need, gym, etc., and I am good to go.
Supplements I take currently are a pro biotic, multi vitamin, turmeric, collagen, reservetrol, Vitamin D, Vitamin V, B12, and protein. If I used protein powder, it’s usually Dymatize IsO 100.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
Currently, I do intermittent fasting. I eat from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. It works for me with my lifestyle now. Sometimes I will eat at lunch then finish about 9 p.m. But that’s usually related to a business lunch, etc.
When I am on vacation, I will eat breakfast with the family and lunch and dinner.
If I were to prep for something, I may fast or go back to old plans that worked for me, which could be four to six meals a day depending. It all depends how I respond really.
I don’t drink alcohol.
I drink a coffee maybe once every two weeks or so. No tea.
I shoot for a gallon of fluid a day.
I don’t eat fast food or candy.
I usually stay leaner year round. When I was first into bodybuilding, I would bulk and cut, but at this point that’s not necessary for me.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
When I was young it was Hulk Hogan and Superman. I was a kid, they were strong and did the right things.
As an adult, I’ve been lucky to have so many friends I admire and look up to who are also there for advice like Mike ohearn, Jay cutler, Todd Abrams, Phil Heath, Steve Cook and many more.
I more so appreciate people for who they are, I respect what they’ve done, but there are many who have done a lot and are complete dicks. I’ve been lucky to get to know many who are truly good individuals.
I also read a lot of positive writing, quotes, motivational stories, etc. I don’t really have one source but look to everything and everyone for that. You can be motivated and inspired by anyone you just have to give them a chance. Everyone has something to teach you.
The best advice I’ve received was from Jamie Eason. She told me to go after what I wanted in fitness. I was never told that before. When I did, I accomplished things I never thought possible.
Life wise from my grandmother. She told me to be a gentleman. To treat people how I wanted to be treated and to be as good to my son as she was to me.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
You need to first of all be ok with yourself at whatever you are involved in or what level you are at in anything you are doing “workout routine, diet, etc.”.
When you are ok with yourself and love yourself, you will make more of a commitment to the betterment of you.
You also won’t get discouraged when things don’t go exactly how you want them to. You will have the strength to carry on and continue to try to achieve the results you are striving for.
Everything takes time; it took time to put on the weight so it will take time to take it off. Set some realistic goals and then set a big goal at the end. Enjoy each incremental goal that you have achieved on the way to your big goal and celebrate those victories on the way to a better you.
If you are having a hard time with the plan you are on, take a step back and reevaluate what you are doing and make sure the plan is right for you. Make sure your diet and workout routine fits in accordance with your goals, diet being the most important. If you’re not eating for results you will never have the success you want.
Use the resources you have and educate yourself. Make sure you are doing a routine that is right for you and you have a good diet plan in place too, nutrition is 80% of the equation. If that doesn’t work, consider hiring a trainer.
Surround yourself with positive people and people that help you along the way. Negative people will just bring you down and make it that much harder for you to achieve your goals.
The people that bring you down are afraid of change, and feel that you’re positive attitude and hard work somehow makes them have to make those changes too, which scares people, so they will become your worst critics. Rise above that and work on you, you are the best investment you can make.
Don’t try to be just like someone else – that’s a recipe for failure. It’s ok to look up to, learn from, and be inspired by others, but don’t put yourself below them and assume they are better than you, be you. Blaze your own trail!
You can accomplish anything you want with a strong mind, strong goals, and hard work. So if you want something, go get it.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am taking on clients now. I only work with people online. I work with half athletes/competitors and the other are lifestyle clients.
I look for the person, not the name or the clout behind someone. I want someone who’s ready to work and be committed to a plan.
Results take time so I always suggest someone to keep an open mind and give themselves eight to 12 weeks to see “real” results.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?