Trail native Burhan Pourmokhtari is a rising star in B.C.’s bodybuilding community, pumping iron and posing like a champ.
He recently won the Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic in the light heavyweight category in Kelowna on March 14.
When he heard his number called as the winner of the competition, he couldn’t control his excitement.
“There are no words,” he said. “It was just crazy. I just lost my mind. I should have kept my composure a bit better, but to be the last man standing, seriously, I just started screaming and swearing. I definitely lost control.”
The competition was fierce on the bodybuilding stage in Kelowna, making the win taste that much sweeter.
“It was a really close competition,” he said. “There wasn’t one guy who stood out as the worst. They were all number one quality. The margin for error was so small and just to win was really crazy for me.”
Pourmokhtari credits his success to his coach and mentor, Michael Martinz, and says he would never have been able to win without a strong support system.
“He keeps saying that I did all the work, but his guidance and knowledge was huge,” said Pourmokhtari. “I did not know anything before he got there. You think you know everything about training but I was doing so many things wrong. In high school, all I cared about was chest and biceps and day three was rest. Rinse and repeat. I didn’t have my back done, I didn’t have the symmetry. I had a lot to learn and I am glad I had a guy like him to help me become a champion.”
To prepare for the competition required 16 weeks of intense training and close attention to nutrition. For eight weeks, Pourmokhtari bulked up, eating more calories than he was burning, then for the final eight weeks, trained with a calorie deficit to lean down and minimize body fat – all while working a different part of his body on different days of the week.
The bodybuilder has entered competitions before, and looked to those for inspiration while preparing for the Muscle Classic.
“We really started preparing for this competition after I came in fourth at provincials last year,” he said. “The top three went on to the next step, and I came fourth. That sucked and it was frustrating. It was extra motivation for this competition. I had the wrong mentality last year. You should consider one competition a year and do your best at that one.”
Having his family support him during the Muscle Classic competition was important to Pourmokhtari, putting on the pressure from the spectator seats.
“It meant a lot to my parents,” he said. “It was my mom’s birthday on the Friday before, and it was nice to have them there. Two of my grandparents aren’t feeling top notch, so I told my parents not to come and to stay home and take care of them.
“Like my parents are, they always let me know things at the last minute and they just showed up at house, but I was psyched. It showed how much they love me and support me, so I am really glad they were there. I am glad I won while they were there, especially for my mom. It was a good present. No pressure or anything,” he said with a laugh.
Next up, he will be taking a bit of a break before hitting the gym again to prepare for a second appearance at provincials.
“Provincials is on another level,” he said, adding that while this year’s competition is in nine weeks, there isn’t enough time to prepare properly. “I’ve experienced it before and I don’t want to just participate anymore. Now, I want to show up and win. I’ve got ten more pounds to go, so we thought it was best to build for next year and take some time to recover and put on more size. I want to be perfect and I still have weaknesses. Plus, I want to live a little and enjoy my win.
“My goal is to win provincials and then to win overall. No more of this placing garbage. I want it all.”