Paola Deocampo

Bikini Bodybuilding


I began my transition to a vegan lifestyle in April of 2010, after reading Skinny Bitch by Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman.  Before then, I had always admired the look of fitness models and hoped that, someday, I might be able to work hard enough to gain muscle and burn stubborn fat.  But I really, really, really love to eat.  When I made the transition strictly for ethical purposes, I found that even as a junk food vegan, I was losing weight!  I also began feeling energetic, so I started hitting the gym more consistently.  My growing love for lifting led to the decision of becoming a personal trainer and sport nutritionist.  A few months after becoming certified, I left my career as a medical coder.

The following year, I found myself in a very emotionally rough situation that affected my self-esteem and overall well-being.  But tough times make me stronger.  I decided to get out of my rut and register for my first bikini competition.  Using what I learned at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute and figuring out my own macros with Robert Cheeke’s Vegan Bodybuilding book as a guide, I stepped onstage for the first time in July 2011 as a vegan bodybuilder.  I’ve been competing ever since.  Currently, I am training for my last competition of 2017.  I have also just moved to Palm Springs where I am ramping up my personal training business for 2018.


  • What motivates and inspires you? My clients have always inspired me and kept me motivated. Many of them are consistent and focused. They don’t make excuses. They show up, because they know the importance of good health and fitness. When I start slacking with my own regimen, I can always draw inspiration from the hard work I see them put into their workout.


  • How would you describe your training? I prefer traditional weightlifting at the gym. I love working on one muscle group per day, often performing supersets and drop sets. Lifting this way gives me time to focus on the muscles I’m sculpting. To me, bodybuilding is as much of an art as it is a sport. I’m fascinated by the fact that you can reshape your entire body just by lifting heavy things and eating well. I also love the Step Mill and Spinning!


  • How many hours a week do you train? I train approximately 7 to 8 hours per week.


  • How long have you been training? I have been training for competitions for 6 years (since 2011). I usually have a long off-season in which I allow myself to lift as little or as much as I want, without the pressure of competing. Before becoming a competitor, I was lifting sporadically and running 5Ks.


  • Do you compete in any sports? I compete in Bikini Bodybuilding competitions and still do the occasional 5K or 10K.


  • Favorite exercise: Barbell Hip Thrusts and Curtsy Lunges


  • Location: Palm Springs, California