Brenda Ragnot Asian Sensation

Brenda Ragnot  was a competitor that had a long competitive career. She was during the 1990s and 2000s one the few Asian American women to compete at the highest level of bodybuilding. Visibility is important especially for women of a different ethnic group. At the time there were very few Filipino American women bodybuilders on stage in the United States. Her competitive appearances were mostly at the Arnold Classic, Ms. International, and Brenda also graced the Ms.Olympia stage. Standing at only 5′ 3” she was a tiny powerhouse of pure muscle. Normally she would compete at 135 lbs and would be 160 lbs in her off season.  For her size her stats were also remarkable. Brenda’s arms measured 15 1/2 ” and a chest of 44.” Her quads were 24” and her calves were the same measurement as her arms. Born in Annapolis Maryland in 1966, her journey into the fitness world began in 1984. Her best wins include the Arnold Classic ( lightweight division) in 2000 and 2005.  Although she never got  a Ms.Olympia victory, she built a beautiful physique. Now at age 52, it seems she has retired from involvement in the fitness and sports world. Little information is available about her current projects and ventures. Brenda Ragnot had competitive longevity starting the sport at age 18 and retiring from competition at age 44. That was true dedication. Inspiration to do this sport comes for somewhere and for Brenda it was the documentary Pumping Iron II . 

As Brenda stated ” I saw a film called “Pumping Iron 2″ with Rachel McLish ( a Ms. Olympia in her days).” Brenda then realized that she like the look of muscles on the human body. The spark was ignited : “I was fascinated when I saw muscles on her and she was strong and sexy. ” At that moment she realized she wanted to train to be a bodybuilder. Brenda Raganot has said in a Models Observer.com interview “In the beginning, my parents weren’t too crazy about muscles on women but now they have accepted me as a bodybuilder and they have come to some of my shows to support me. ” This attitude is something common among traditional families when women enter fields that are not conventional.However, good parents support their children and seeing Brenda in competition would make family, friends, and fans proud. During her competitive years her schedule started as early as 3:30 in the morning. She would go do an hour of cardio then go to work by 6:00 am. During this time she was a postal worker. Brenda would be done with work  2:30 then go to the gym to train for an hour. Some days she would take a nap if really exhausted from work, then go train. Brenda Raganot would then go home, then eat. She would then add some more cardio into her workouts.

Working out to maintain mass is a chore, but so is food consumption. Brenda as she once articulated “ate seven to nine meals a day.” This certainly  was not cheap. Brenda Raganot claimed ” between the red meat & supplements, I’d say $2000 for me.” Other foods she would eat were vegetables, egg whites,  ground beef, and yukon Potatoes.  Competing is never cheap and the financial rewards are limited. The women that compete do it because they truly love the sport and want to see it flourish. The great aspect about Brenda was that she was not looking for fame, rather just the simple desire to have fun. She also had high respect for fans and their support revealing : Bodybuilding is my passion, my love and through bodybuilding I have met the greatest people the fans!” She also wrote on her website ” your support has touched me very deeply and has meant the world to me.” Sometimes it may seem that athletes may not appreciate the fans or from another perspective the fandom can be too suffocating. Brenda truly enjoyed interacting with fans and people who were curious about the sport. Brenda did get reactions to her physique, but most comments were positive. According to an interview she expressed ” I’ve always gotten nice compliments.” There were some stares she admits : ” people do stare at times but they look like they are just amazed or something. That look. ” Brenda Raganot’s advice to women interested in entering the sports was to find a knowledgeable personal trainer. She also strictly believes in keeping a journal as a means of tracking what foods an athlete consumes. Then enable to better control diet and manipulate the physique to a particular look. Her philosophy on posing was to do it with precision. Only then can a high quality posing routine be created and suitable for a competition stage. She became a professional in 1998 and began competing officially in 1993. Competing in a total of 25 contests the lowest she ever placed was in 15th place at the 2006 Ms.Olympia. One poor contest means nothing compared to the long list of events she appeared in. When she was not pumping iron Brenda loved to go dancing and going to the movies. Her favorite genres included comedies, romance, thrillers, and action.

Brenda Ragnot Asian Sensation

Femuscleblog is on Blogger

Femuscleblog Blogger

Femuscleblog Sports, Fitness, and Health Science will focus on videos, collected photographs of certain athletes, and sports science. There will also be topics devoted specifically to women’s health, anatomy, physiology, and biomedical science. There will be collections of articles from various sources around the internet and original written materials available to readers. The side menus show other places around the internet in which Femuscleblog can be found.   This section of the Femuscleblog online presence may not be updated as frequently as the main site. Female muscle fans in the past had limited options in terms of seeing physically strong women. Either you had to attend a contest, be at a gym, or a fitness expo. Social media and websites allow fans to get a huge amount of access to various materials related to women’s sports and female muscle. While mainstream media or traditional print publications do not give them exposure, the internet hold the key to expanding and connecting the fan base.

Femuscleblog is on Blogger

The Angry Asian Man Website Banner Art

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The Angry Asian Man

This is the banner from the Angry Asian Man  website. The artwork is for the subscriber drive of 2019. The interesting element of note is that it features a woman literally throwing a man up over head. It seems that the image of the physically strong woman has appeared in numerous forms of media. The website discusses issues and challenges facing Asian Americans from racism, discrimination, immigration policy, and the general political atmosphere. It also makes commentary on racial stereotypes in media, news,television, film, and literature. The  May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month which celebrates the community’s contribution to US society and history. In an era of rising white racism and xenophobia it is important to remember the contributions of our diverse communities. Visit  the Angry Asian Man  and learn more about Asian American history.

The Angry Asian Man Website Banner Art

Female Bodybuilder Sub-Zero Toy Company Figure

Collecting is an activity that devoted fans of a franchise, antiques, or subject matter love to do. There is a rare figure made by Sub-Zero a toy company which is a female bodybuilder. Few female bodybuilder figures exist from any toy company, which is why it is so special. The figure of the woman is well sculpted, but there is one minor flaw. The neck seems extra long on the figure. The long hair on the female bodybuilder figure covers this minor flaw. The biceps are well sculpted. There is some definition in the abdomen of the figure. The legs are more thin compared to the upper body. The glutes on the figure could be a bit larger. The lats are well developed.  This really is not an action figure seeing as it has no articulation in the joints. This model seems to have the muscularity level of a lightweight bodybuilder, but too big to be considered fitness or figure. The face is similar to that of a Barbie doll. Looking closely, the figure almost resembles Yeon Woo Jhi. Seems to be a mere coincidence. This product is not a toy you can find in the US or Europe. Looking on the back of the packaging, it appears to be a Japanese toy, which was made in China. Finding  this figure in a store would be difficult. The best chance of finding this is either to search ebay or Amazon. Keeping the figure in the package may be the best method of preserving its condition. It does not have a stand and cannot hold itself up. Overall, this seems like a figure worth having if you are a fan of female bodybuilding or muscular women.

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Female Bodybuilder Sub-Zero Toy Company Figure

Study of Female Weightlifters Crushes Stereotypes

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Women’s Muscle Fibers

At one time it was thought that males contained more muscle fibers required for elite weightlifting. A sports science study has challenged this assumption showing that elite female weightlifters either had the same amount and in some instances more. Rarely do exercise physiology studies focus on women athletes and this may be the first of its kind to study female strength capacity. The experiment was a collaboration between San Francisco State University, California Sate University, and Fullerton researchers. The results of the study were published in PLOS ONE. The results of the study should not be an immense shock. There are many factors that are related to physical strength. Muscle fiber type distribution can vary among individuals regardless of biological sex. However, it seems that the frailty myth persists along with other fabrications about women’s bodies. Jimmy Bagley professor of kinesiology commented “despite no high-level data, people thought that women had fewer fast twitch fibers and that was seen as a negative thing.” Seeing the results of the study has shown that claim is false. There are certain factors that could effect data. It seems so far, women may have more athletic and strength potential then realized.

        A basic understanding of cytology is required to fully comprehend the significance of this discovery. The human body has three types of muscle fiber cells. These muscle fibers have  a variety of  proteins known as myosin heavy chains. The myosin heavy chains function similar to a motor enabling locomotion of the muscles. Muscle fiber classifications include MHC I ( slow twitch)  and two specific types of fast twitch fibers. The IIa have more force generation. The IIx fibers have the ability to generate force, yet it is done at a higher rate. Certain muscle fiber aid an athlete better depending on the sport. Marathon runners benefit from having more type I muscle fiber. Powerlifters need type II to move enormous amounts of weight. The muscles of men and women do not differ at the cellular level. This means muscular contraction and the process of muscular hypertrophy functions in the same manner. This puts to rest the idea that there are men’s muscles and their are women’s muscles. When viewed through a microscope, it would be difficult to distinguish male and female muscle tissue.

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Women can gain strength from weightlifting
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The difference between muscle when relaxed and in a state of contraction.
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Training for size and strength are two different fitness objectives.

The muscle type that is of particular interest to this study is skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle is voluntary in terms of movement requiring conscious control. This muscle type normally is attached to bones. Skeletal muscle also contains endomysium, a connective tissue that encases each fiber. The perimysium bundles muscle fibers into units known as fascicles. The epimysium acts as a support barrier. The anatomy and physiology relative to skeletal muscle are the same in both sexes. There is however, a difference in strength between men and women. Muscle quality is just as important as amount.

         The study conducted a biopsy taking tissue samples from male and female weightlifters. Muscle fiber was extracted from the thighs of athletes. Six Olympic female athletes and nine national caliber athletes contributed samples. Only six males national caliber athletes contributed to the sample. The problem is that there are not equal numbers of men and women in the comparison. There are a wide variety of women, yet only a few men to compare them to. It could create distortions. If this were to be a biological fact a study should examine both men and women across various fitness levels. The highest performing provides at least a small sample to work with. The data was gathered from the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships. The women reported to have 67% fast twitch muscle fibers. Two of the world class and Olympic female lifters had 85%, which is more than any of the men in the sample. What can be concluded is that training and body mass can determine the amount of fiber fast twitch fiber rather than sex. The notion that muscle fiber type was an attribute one was born with and was unchanging appears to be false. Training can be very effective at enhancing physical fitness capacity in regard to strength.

          One wonders why men still have higher levels of strength when training regimens are the same. Alumna Kaylie Zapanta weightlifter and participant in the study brings the explanation down to body composition and hormones. The most muscular women still carry a higher body fat percentage compared to their male counterparts. Fat cells unlike muscle cells are not capable of generating extra force or muscular power. Male body composition has more muscle compared to women. Endocrinology has an influence on strength as well. Sex hormones perform various functions. When boys enter puberty their testosterone levels increase. Bones and muscles are change dramatically. Both boys and girls experience  growth spurts. The size of the skeleton does have an influence on strength. Seeing as the skeleton acts as support a large skeleton means more muscle can be contained on certain parts of the body. For awhile girls may actually have a height advantage completing their adult growth faster.The difference with boys is that during their slower growth a strength spurt occurs. The shoulders become broader and muscle mass increases. Testosterone increases protein synthesis enabling muscles on a male body to become bigger through training. The stereotype is that women are not capable of anything that requires physical prowess.Besides the basic endocrinology somatotype can be a large determinant regardless of sex. A woman with a mesomorphic body type has more strength potential than a man with an ectomorphic body type.

  This opens more possibilities. Further studies could be conducted to explore the similarities and differences relative to ligament and tendon strength.  Doing so could allow for more solutions for preventing ACL injuries in female athletes. This study demonstrates that the muscle fibers of men and women are not radically different. If another study was conducted a biopsy would have to be done. Then from those samples show it to other subjects and have them guess if the muscle fiber is either male or female. They would have to have no knowledge of  where the sample tissue came from. There still remains much to learn about the physiology and anatomy of the human body. The progress in muscle histology has been extremely slow. Stefano Lorenzini noted in 1678 that there were both red and white muscle fibers. Strange as it was, he was a Physician not a histologist like   Louis-Antoine Ranvier . It was the year 1873 that he was able to confirm two distinct myofiber types in vertebrate skeletal muscle.  Skeletal muscle biopsy procedure became a useful tool in exploring the physiology of athletic performance. This technique was reintroduced in 1962 and since then has been applied to sports science studies. Women have the most to gain from this in terms of improve athletic performance.

Study of Female Weightlifters Crushes Stereotypes

Caster Semenya Loses Her Case Against The IAAF

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The International Association of Athletic Federations decided to ban Caster Semenya  from competition. She lost her case in the  Court of Arbitration for Sport.   According to this ruling women with a certain testosterone level, intersex, or has differences in sexual development will not be allowed to compete in women’s divisions. There is a condition they can compete with hormone treatments. This decision was probably not the best one. It enables discrimination, while claiming to be about protecting fairness. If it were truly fair  women of all different biological and physiological types should have a platform to compete. The new testosterone rule will eventually effect all women negatively. Female athletes may all have to get their testosterone levels checked if they want to be part of international competition. The new testosterone ruling only seems to revive the sex verification tests of the 20th century.  Women in the past were subject to nude examination, chromosome testing, and other methods to prove their sex. It is no secret that the sports world has a problem with sexism and gender discrimination. Caster Semenya case only provides evidence of that. Racism may also be a factor. So far, the only athletes questioned about their the authenticity of their sex have been either African or Asian competitors. Dutee Chand an Indian athlete also faced similar harassment by international sports bodies.  The regulation on testosterone will eventually be dismantled when it becomes too arbitrary and problematic. This may take some time, but it seems a step backwards in terms of women’s progress in athletics. Hopefully, Caster Semenya will be allowed to compete again without targeted harassment by international sports organizations.

Caster Semenya Loses Her Case Against The IAAF