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.