Lifting or Cardio First?

Here is an article that explains a lot about slow twitch and fast twitch muscles and what they are used for. Our bodies use carbohydrates before they use fat for energy. So, from this article we can see doing weightlifting first will burn up the carbohydrates. Then, when you do low intensity cardio, you should be burning fat. Good luck!

The muscles that hold your skeleton together and allow you to move are called skeletal muscles. They work voluntarily, meaning you consciously control their movement. Skeletal muscle is divided into fast- and slow-twitch fibers; fast-twitch muscles provide short bursts of power while slow-twitch fibers endure longer use without fatigue. The fibers will appear red or white, depending on their composition. While each has its own attributes, your body needs both types for optimal function.

Skeletal Muscle Fiber
The fibers in your skeletal muscles are striated; they have alternating light and dark bands that run perpendicular to the length of the fiber itself. Muscle fibers also differ in color based on the amount of myoglobin — a substance that stores oxygen until it is needed by the cell — they contain. Fibers also have different contraction rates, based on their ability to split the energy molecule ATP. Slow-twitch fibers, or type I fibers, contract as the name suggests — slowly. Fast twitch fibers are sub-divided into type IIA and type IIB fibers, both of which split ATP quickly.

Red Fibers
Type I and type IIA fibers contain high amounts of myoglobin and are capillary-rich, making them red in color. Both fibers generate energy aerobically, or with oxygen. Aerobic respiration produces little lactic acid, which fatigues muscles, allowing these muscle fibers to withstand longer use. Type I fibers, however, contract and split ATP more slowly than type IIA fibers and have lower amounts of creatine phosphate, a molecule needed for quick, explosive movements. Slow-twitch fibers are found in muscles used often, like those in the neck. Type IIA red fibers have high amounts of creatine phosphate and split ATP faster, making them more useful during sprints or jumping to dunk a basketball.

White Muscle Fibers
Type II B fibers are considered “white” muscle fibers due to their low content of myoglobin and fewer capillaries. They contain large amounts of glycogen, a stored form of carbohydrate energy that your body depends on for intense activity. Muscles use glycogen during weight or resistance training, for instance. White muscles generate ATP anaerobically, or without oxygen; this process leads to fatigue more quickly than red muscle fibers. Type II B fibers do, however, split ATP quickly and contract rapidly. The muscles in your arms are largely composed of type II B fibers.

Balance in the Body
Both white and red muscle fibers are needed by your body. You can, however, hone the amounts of certain types to suit your athletic endeavors. Sprinters and power lifters, for instance, need higher amounts of fast — white or red — fibers, while a marathon runner benefits most from large amounts of slow-twitch fibers. For the average person, however, performing activities that target both types is beneficial. Overuse of one type can break down muscles, tendons and ligaments, leaving you prone to injury; mixing up your workouts can prevent over-training.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/466169-cardio-white-muscle-vs-red-muscle/#ixzz2PDxeQBMF

Guinness World Records – Gone Wild

Here is my Guinness World Record attempt. For the record, no woman actually got 20, they just picked a number to beat. It was tough. So much fun!!

I Published Myself

I am going to start writing articles on powerlifting tips. If I post them on Article Base then others can use my article on their websites for content. Awesome, huh?!!

Check the article out here:

High Bar or Low Bar Squat – What Is the Difference?  Which is Better?

Let me know what you think.  Also, email me article ideas!!  becca@beccaswanson.com


Bench Press Form for Power!

A Tribute to Dawn Reshel Sharon

I just wanted to share a little bit about a woman who was significant to me through my powerlifting career, yet I never met her. Her name is Dawn Reshel-Sharon.  When I received a world record, more likely than not, my predecessor was Dawn.  She was a pioneer.

This is an article take from www.ashersharon.com.

Trail blazer of a woman and a dominant force in women powerlifting between 1985-1991
Dawn started powerlifting in a fluke, watching Greg and his training partner Ed Weed deadlifting back in 1981, at the time she was a ‘hobby’ runner with Asthma weighing 118lb at 5’4″.
Never before lifting any kind of weight, she decided to try to lift the barbell they had just finished performing a set of deadlift with. It took her ‘forever’ as she later described it, and she could barely walk for 4 days afterward, the bar was loaded with 285lb. …
That was the point of no return, Dawn found something athletic she could excel at.  In 1983 she enter her first meet, a state USPF meet and qualified for Nationals where she won 2nd place after missing a 496 lb Deadlift that stalled at knee level.
Four years later, lifting in the Wisconsin APF state meet,on May 15 1988. Dawn became the first woman to total over 1500lb with a squat of 633lb., bench press of 327lb., 604lb. deadlift and 1564lb. total.  All in a bodyweight of 191lb (a light 198lb).
These record set before the the mono-lift era. Before canvas suit and ultra support gear.
Her accomplishments did not end there, in the process of blazing the the trail to women lifters and shattering the myth that women are to weak too lift “men’s weights” Dawn broke over 100 world records (Milwaukee Magazine october 1989).
Dawn Retired from competitive lifting after WPC Worlds in Vegas 1991 after winning 6 consucitive world titles (including “best lifter” in 1987 and 1990).

In May 1999 Dawn was diagnosed with advanced renal (kidney) cancer, for 10 months she bravely fought the desease, but to no avail.  On March 26 2000 she passed away. Her all time best total was broken few months later, so as long as she lived she was female powerlifter with the biggest total ever…

Dawn’ Lifting resume
6 times WPC World Champion 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
Best Gym Lifts
688-sq at bodyweight of 193lb
355-bp at bodyweight of 193lb
Dl in Rack from knees – 655×3
Bench Lockouts in Power rack top ½ range – 405×3

Best Competiton Lifts :
165lb. Class – 617-sq 318-bp 567-dl. 1504ttl (6/13/1992)
181lb. Class – 590-sq 303-bp 590-dl. 1483ttl (8/30/1988)
198lb. Class – 633-sq 327-bp 604-dl. 1564ttl (bdwt 191)
SHW. Class – 523-sq 297-bp 567-dl. 1388ttl (12/1989)

Promote Yourself

When I was in my prime, training for meet after meet, I wanted to get my name out there. I learned I needed to self promote. Here is a picture I sent in to Powerlifting USA with the idea drawn out on a piece of scratch paper. Low and behold, it happened. They published exactly what I had requested.

Strongest Ever – Dr Marshall Jacobs Featured

Injury is something that is in the contract when you sign-up for becoming the strongest woman on the planet. I have 3 zippers (scars) now. Incisions for both biceps tendons to be attached and now one triceps tendon.

Besides these lovely scars, I have sprained my upper back, which has contributed to long term nerve pain for my shoulders. And, as you will see from this video, I tore an inner thigh muscle. It eventually bleed out (when you tear a muscle the blood supply is ripped open and it will bleed internally, looking like a dark bruise).

Over all, my body feels fantastic and I continue to lift fairly heavy (for a female). However, longevity did contribute to the end of my powerlifting career. That and the fact that I had reached all of my goals.

This clip is from STRONGEST EVER, a documentary about my lifting and my life while reaching the goal of totaling over 2000 lbs, hundreds above any female to date. The documentary has been played in Germany, Italy and Finland, to name a few. I hope it is played in the USA someday. I do not own any rights to the movie, so I can not get you a copy… maybe some day.

Please subscribe to my Youtube Channel!


You Gotta Try This

When I was hanging out at the Muscle Beach powerlifting show two weeks ago,  Jason Blackwell approached me.  He asked me to try his grip competition.  So, I wondered over to his Liquid Grip booth and tried my hand at the grip challenge, pun intended.  It was a cone shaped handle attached to a plate loaded apparatus.  As seen in the pictures.

I think I might have been able to pick up about 65 lbs without using Liquid Grip.  That cone would slid right out of my hand from then on out.  I think we increased the weight by ten pounds per attempt.  Jason would dab a bit of Liquid Grip in the palm of my hand and I would rub it into all the nooks and crannies of my palm, just as I would have done with powder chalk.  I let the liquid dry for about 20 seconds and then pulled the 75 lbs with out problem!  The weight went up and up.  I asked Jason not to tell me what the weight was, I don’t like to know.  A couple times, I would miss the weight and then add more Liquid Grip, turning that missed weight into a successful attempt!

Well, I broke the previous female’s record by about 60 lbs that day.  I ended up lifting 120 lbs off the ground for the grip challenge.  SO MUCH FUN!!

I am definitely a huge fan of Liquid Grip!!  I could not have destroyed the woman’s grip record without it.  I know it seems strange, but even as the strongest woman in the world, I hate having gritty chalk on my hands.  Liquid Grip solves my problem.  It felt so smooth on my hands, even with multiple layers.  No messy powder everywhere, nothing for health club owners to complain about.  THANKS Liquid Grip!!  I am a big fan!

USPF Meet at Muscle Beach

I am spending the day in Venice, CA. Steve Denison is promoting a two day powerlifting meet. Today highlights Military/Police/Fireman competitors.

My new friend Ron Moormeister just set a world record in the bench press. He is a Vietnam Vet who had temporarily lost his sight in the war. His Ophthalmologist was herr today cheering him on. So cool!

I will post pics of the fun people I have met.

Active Day

I didn’t sleep great last night.  So, when I stumbled out of bed to go jogging I thought it would be a lazy jog.  On the contrary.  I wasn’t jogging… I WAS RUNNING.  I felt great!

An experience I had quite often when I was training for powerlifting.  Some days you would feel tired and lifting weights was the last thing you wanted to be doing.  No matter how much caffine you would ingest nothing would wake you up.  You were almost positive your lifts would be sub-par.

Then you would start to warm up, get your blood flowing, and come to find out…. You were strong as EVER!!

Never can tell how that workout is going to go.  You will find out on the battlefield.  Just get to the battlefield!