A Strong Mind In A Strong Body

At a Glance: Brian Bourkland

Age: 52

Occupation: Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Art Model at Indiana University Bloomington School of Art, Architecture, and Design

Education: Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Music Education, Master of Music History and Literature, Bachelor of Exercise Science, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Certified R.I.P.P.E.D. Instructor

Family: Married to my wonderful wife Gail for 24 years, daughters Julia and Rachel, son Matthew

Current Residence: Bloomington, IN

Years training (total): 38 years

Height: 5’ 9"

Weight: (Off-Season) 215, (Contest) 194

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: UMP Pancakes made with 1 cup of egg whites, 1 scoop of vanilla UMP, 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, and 1/2 cup of oats

Favorite supplements: UMP helps me meet my daily protein requirements and is a great lean protein choice that keeps me feeling full. I like to mix Muscle Synergy and Glutamine Select together in a shaker and drink pre- and intra-workout for a great pump and to maximize recovery. I take 1 tablet each per 10 pounds of bodyweight of Mass Aminos and Ultra 40 during contest preparation to ensure I always have the full spectrum of amino acids available in my body at all times

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? I would recommend a combination of UMP, Mass Aminos, and Ultra 40. This is a basic stack that will maximize protein availability.

Music: I have a huge music library. Depending on what mood I’m in, it could range anywhere from Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, to Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, or Little Big Town or even James Taylor.

Most Inspiring Book: The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield.

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Ballroom dancing, spending time in our national forests

Words to live by: “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” —Socrates


A Strong Mind In A Strong Body

Since the age of 14, training with weights has brought me tremendous satisfaction over the years. The physical benefits are evident, but the time I’ve spent with weights has been just as productive mentally. Over the last 38 years, training with weights has been my companion as I’ve challenged my mind earning multiple degrees in the field of music, and later, a degree in exercise science. The traits of consistency, patience, and perseverance that are key to success in bodybuilding are also keys to succeeding in life.

The great old-school bodybuilder and former Mr. Universe, Dave Draper, has had a profound influence on my approach to bodybuilding. He is an extremely entertaining writer and I highly recommend his Brother Iron, Sister Steel book. Those of you who are familiar with his style will acknowledge that he is strictly no-nonsense, very thoughtful and witty with words, and not swayed by fitness trends. I try to emulate his approach to my work and in my own training. Here is some advice I can offer:


  • Bodybuilding is best done by feel and gut I treat bodybuilding as a mind-body connection much like yoga—continuously analyzing the feedback I am getting from the muscle group I am working on and being in the present.
  • For a year-round nutritional plan, I recommend one of Beverly’s Gain Muscle and Lose Fat diet When you are ready for contest prep (or to just get into the best shape of your life), choose their Contest Countdown meal plan.
  • Whether you are going through a bulking or cutting phase, choose one or the other and stick with Don’t be indecisive and not give either phase enough time to be successful. Don’t think you’re going to maintain a chiseled look while bulking – with bulking comes some fat gain. There is no avoiding it. The key is to choose a nutrition plan for your current goal and stick to it. Avoid influences from internet forums.
  • Always be a gentleman (or a lady), be positive, and be as helpful as Especially be helpful to someone who is just starting out. Always be kind.
  • Competing is not for everyone and that’s Dave Draper talks about how he disliked competing and he went on to accomplishing something truly awesome with his life! I use competitions as sort of a checkpoint and like to meet other athletes like myself.

If you keep this up for several years, there will come a time when people will start noticing you – in a good way. Always have a smile and positive demeanor.


My background in art, music, and bodybuilding has led me to view the human body as a work of art. This mindset influences how I approach training, contest preparation, and also posing. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of practicing posing early on in contest preparation. I setup a timer so that the pose lasts one minute with 10 seconds rest. Holding each pose for a full 60 seconds in practice will allow you to breeze through your time on stage while other competitors are struggling and winded. It also will help put the finishing touches on your conditioning. At many shows with a lot of divisions/classes the prejudging runs at a fast clip, so don’t take a long time getting into your pose, or you risk the judges going on to the next pose before you have even hit the previous one they called for! That will not bode well for you.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had not started lifting weights 38 years ago. A lifestyle that does not include the gym seems so foreign to me, if not downright frightening! I have no regrets whatsoever and not for one second wish I were someone else. I just have the innate feeling and knowledge that I’m living the life I am meant to live, and Beverly International’s products have helped me greatly along this journey that is far from over.


My diets come from the Beverly International Pre Contest Bodybuilding Workshop Manual – Diet and Supplements section. One of my favorite off-season diets is:


Meal 1: 2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites; 6oz very lean meat; 1/2 cup oatmeal

Meal 2: (Choose one option):

Option A: Protein Drink with two scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein; two tbsp healthy fat source (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter) or heavy cream

Option B: 8oz lean beef or chicken or 2 cans tuna, one small apple or orange

Meal 3: 8oz lean meat (chicken or other lean protein source); 6oz sweet potato or 2/3 cup cooked brown rice; 2 cups vegetables (broccoli, etc.) or green salad with 4 tbsp vinegar and oil dressing

Meal 4: (same options as meal #2)

Meal 5: 10oz very lean meat (chicken breast, fish, turkey breast, lean beef - sirloin, filet, etc.); 2 cups vegetables; salad with 2 tbsp vinegar and oil dressing

Choose one option:

Option A: Protein Shake or Pudding: 2 Scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, add enough water to make a shake or pudding the consistency you desire

Option B: 8 egg whites + 2 whole eggs or 6oz beef; 1-2 cup vegetables

When I am preparing for a contest, I like to follow Beverly’s:


Meal 1: 5oz lean beef or turkey, 6 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1/2 grapefruit

Meal 2: (Choose one option):

Option A: Protein Drink: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, 1 tbsp healthy fat or heavy cream, 4 strawberries (optional), 16oz water

Option B: 6oz can tuna or 5oz chicken, 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 tomato

Meal 3: 8oz chicken (weighed prior to cooking), 4 cups salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, green peppers, etc.) 2 tbsp cider vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil (or other vegetable oil) for a dressing

Meal 4: (Choose one option):

Option A: 6oz can tuna or 5oz chicken, 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 tomato

Option B: Protein Drink: 2 scoops Muscle Provider, 12 oz. water (if post training), or 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein

Meal 5: 8oz lean meat (chicken, turkey, fish or 93% lean beef, etc.), 2 cups vegetables

Monday and Thursday:  Add a 6th meal: 1.5 cups oatmeal (precooked) or cooked rice, 10oz sweet potato, 4oz banana, 1 cup vegetables, 1 tbsp butter, almond butter or oil at the end of the day.


Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP) - I like to stick to the basics with supplements. Being a personal trainer and art model with a tight schedule often means that I rely quite heavily on Beverly’s UMP. It’s a great on-the-go choice for the times when I can’t prepare a meal and I find it works well to sip on during workouts.

Muscle Synergy powder is my all-time favorite. I mainly like it for its arginine ingredient which helps increase blood flow. It also helps with sexual performance and maximizes the pump when taken about 30 minutes prior to a workout.

I use Glutamine Select morning and night to help with recovery. There is never a time when I’m not sore somewhere and Glutamine Select helps keep me anabolic.

In order to make sure I always have the full spectrum of amino acids in my body throughout the day, I use Mass Aminos and Ultra 40’s religiously. Follow the recommendations on the side label to dose the right amount throughout the day.

One interesting Beverly supplement for men my age is Quadracarn. This product takes a few days to build up in your system. I take six per day and have noticed overall benefits in energy and general anti-aging effects.

As I come closer to competition, about 8 weeks out, I make some additions to my supplements with Density, Lean Out, and 7-Keto MuscLean, all taken according to their side panel instructions.

Muscle Synergy powder is my all-time favorite. I mainly like it for its arginine ingredient which helps increase blood flow. It also helps with sexual performance and maximizes the pump when taken about 30 minutes prior to a workout.



Instead of using a treadmill, elliptical, cycle, or other piece of cardio equipment, I opt instead for an hour-long R.I.P.P.E.D. class three days per week at my local YMCA. I am also one of the instructors for this class. The acronym stands for Resistance Interval Power Plyometrics Endurance and Diet. This class can get your heart rate up to 80% max multiple times. You will not be able to talk during many moments of the class if you are doing it right.


I mainly train for hypertrophy, which for me means a large number of sets performed in slow, strict form- some would say to ridiculous levels of volume. Weights are relatively moderate to moderately heavy. I wasted 10 years using the “more weight is better” approach to training, but with very little development to show for it. Instead of doing a pyramid approach of say 4-6 sets, where the weights are increased at each set while reps decrease, I take a couple of sets to build up to my working weight, and then grind out 6-8 additional sets of at least 10 reps each for an awesome pump.

The following workout is not set in stone. I use an open approach and if I feel that I need to spend more time on an area, I will take whatever time I need and may move other exercises off to the next day. My routine is split up into 8 days as follows:

Day 1: Legs (focus on quads, abductors, and calves)

Leg Press:
6-8 sets, 10 reps with various foot placements

Barbell Squats:
6-8 sets, 10 reps

Leg Extension:
(while crunching abs to remove back as leverage) 10 sets of 10 reps

8 sets, 10 reps

(I am blessed with large calves, so I use only bodyweight) 4 sets, 50 reps on a step

Day 2: Back

Deadlifts superset with Smith Machine shrugs:
8-10 sets x 10 reps for deadlifts, 8-10 sets x 20 reps for shrugs, 10 reps performed facing the bar and 10 reps performed with my back toward the bar

Performed using strict form for however many sets it takes to get to 50 reps

Assisted Pullups:
100 – 200 broken down into sets of 10 reps, concentrating on full range of motion

Day 3: Chest

Low incline dumbbell press:
6-8 sets, 10 reps

Dips, forward leaning with elbows out:
10 sets, 10 reps

Low Incline Dumbbell Flye:
6-8 sets, 12 reps

Pullovers, performed across the bench:
6-8 sets, 10 reps, keep elbows in

Decline Cable Flye:
6 sets, 10 reps

Day 4: Legs (focus on glutes, hamstrings, adductors, and calves)

Leg Press:
6-8 sets, 3 foot positions totaling 30 reps: 10 reps medium shoulder width, 10 reps high and wide, and 10 reps low and close together

Dumbbell Split Squats:
Performed with one foot extended behind on a bench 6 sets, 10 reps on each leg, try to get into the widest split possible

Dumbbell or Barbell Straight Leg Deadlifts:
6 sets, 10 reps

Glute Flexion (Kickback) Machine:
6 sets, 10 reps on each leg

Adduction Machine:
6-8 sets, 10 reps

Day 5: Back

Dumbbell or Barbell Rows:
6-8 sets, 10-12 reps

T-bar row, old-school style:
4-6 sets, 10 reps

Seated Cable Row with a very wide grip:
4-6 sets, 10 reps Elbows as even with the shoulders as possible to keep tension in the upper back

Lat Pulldown Behind Neck:
4-6 sets, 10 reps Weight light enough to focus on getting the most intense contraction possible

V-bar Pulldown to the clavicles:
4 sets, 10-12 reps

Straight arm pulldown:
4-6 sets, 10 reps

Reverse fly:
6-8 sets, 10 reps

Day 6: Shoulder Day Number One (focus on anterior deltoid and upper pectorals across the clavicles)

Arnold Press:
6-8 sets, 10 reps

High Incline Dumbbell Press:
6-8 sets, 10 reps; set the bench at a steep incline, maybe one or two notches from vertical, this builds the front deltoid/upper pec/clavicle area nicely

High Incline Dumbbell Flye:
6-8 sets, 10 reps, hands facing each other, then superset same number of sets and reps with hands facing forward

Day 7: Shoulder Day Number Two (focus on medial delts and posterior shoulder muscles)

Seated Smith Machine Press Behind the Neck:
6-8 sets, 10 reps, be sure bring the bar down only to ear level, no further

Seated Smith Front Press:
4-6 sets, 10 reps

Lateral Raises with dumbbells or cables:
One set start behind your back, the next from the front, 10-12 reps per set, do as many sets as you feel you need

Rear Deltoid Flyes lying face down on a bench:
(3 positions raise arms forward, out to the side, and to the rear), perform as a tri-set 4-6 sets, 10 reps each position

Day 8: Arms

Close-grip Bench Press:
4-6 sets, 10 reps

Skull Crushers:
4-6 sets, 10 reps

Triceps Pushdown:
As many sets as necessary using a variety of attachments

Strict form using 3 different grips for the biceps: a) close-grip with hands facing you, neutral grip to mimic the hammer curl, and slightly wider hands-facing grip just outside shoulder width to target the long head of the biceps, I do however many sets it takes to get to 50 reps, rotating through the grip variations

Low Pulley Cable Curls or Olympic Bar Curls:
6 sets, 10 reps

Preacher Curl:
4-6 sets, 10 reps

Various Dumbbell Curls:
Hammer, concentration, supine with wrist turned outward, etc.; as many sets of 10 reps as your heart desires

Posted in 2018 Collection, Mature Muscle (Men 40+).