Though she’s only competed in four body-building championships, Michelle Camina is apparently doing something right. On Saturday, Nov. 2, the Lahaina resident took first prize in the Woman’s Figure division of the Paradise Cup in Honolulu.
Recently I chatted with Camina about her life, goals and what it’s like spending so much time every day in the gym.
MAUITIME: Congratulations. How long have you been training and bodybuilding?
MICHELLE CAMINA: I’ve only been competing since 2011. I’ve been an athlete all my life, but as far as competitions go, 2011 was my first. It was the Paradise Cup as well, and I took first place in the Women’s Masters Figure Division.
MT: How long have you lived on Maui?
CAMINA: I’ve lived in West Maui for 23 years. I moved here from Sacramento, California to be closer to my dad. He was retired military, and I’d never been to Maui before.
MT: How big a role does fitness play in your life?
CAMINA: I have a lifestyle of training. I was doing body sculpting classes, and they evolved into taking karate. I now have a purple belt in Japanese karate. I also do stand-up paddling, surfing and basketball. I keep a very active lifestyle, and I’ve done crossfit for several years.
MT: That’s great, but what got you to focus so much on bodybuilding?
CAMINA: Being athletic all my life, I have always enjoyed a good fitness challenge. I think it may have something to do with the timing of my choice to pursue bodybuilding. When I turned 40, I was recently divorced and on my own path. I was channeling my energy in the gym and plugged into many aspects of fitness. Through strength and confidence, I lined up some photo shoots. I was making connections and had my sights on being a MMA Ring Girl. As luck would have it, a photographer friend suggested I enter a figure competition (that he happened to be involved with). So bottom line, a photographer friend thought I would do well–and he was right. His name is Robert Tolentino (former Oahu resident doctor and photographer, now living in Las Vegas). Everything else has been up to me!
MT: How much time to you spend in the gym each week?
CAMINA: When I’m prepping for a show, I’m in the gym at least four hours a day. When I’m not, it’s about one to two hours a day. Fortunately I have a job that allows me to be flexible. I usually go in the morning, and start as early as 5am. I’m usually done by 11am. I also run a boot camp for local corporate people, and they have to be at work at 8am.
MT: What’s your diet like?
CAMINA: I have learned a lot about food. Most of what I eat contains high protein, moderate carbs and very low fat. Typically I eat a very high protein diet. On a regular day, I’ll have oatmeal in the morning and eggs after my workout. Then a few hours later I’ll have chicken breast with salad, or island fish. I drink a lot of water, and stay away from high glucose, high sugar drinks. I’m a very consistent, methodical creature. I’ll eat three to four small meals per day, just like a little machine. It’s a lifestyle that I choose. But I also have a 12-year-old son, so I can’t be too anal.
MT: What do you do for a living when you’re not training or competing?
CAMINA: I’ve remade myself a few times. I have a background in hotel concierge work, but now I have my own business doing property management for vacation rentals in West Maui. That keeps me pretty busy.
MT: What does the future hold for you?
CAMINA: I’m looking for sponsors. I’m also doing a little more research, but there are more opportunities for you when you have a title to compete on the Mainland. I have my sights on an amateur show in Vegas in August. I may do some local features, but I’ll probably not do multiple competitions–that’s very hard on you. But each time I compete, I learn something invaluable and gain beneficial tools to attain more goals.