Paula Ribeiro

Name:Paula Ribeiro
Birth Date:07/26/1983
Birth Place:
Current Residence: Chatham, Mass.
Height & Weight:

1. What made you want to compete?
I spent years and years of my life trying to be ‘skinny’. I was over-dieting, doing cardio at length every day, and no resistance training. I was paddling against the tide! Then I met my strength coach, and owner of my gym, Colin Eitelbach. He taught me that strong is beautiful, and helped me to see the potential that my muscular body had. Through resistance training I transformed my body from tired and depleted to strong and healthy. I want to compete to show other women that beauty comes in all forms, and that the socially accepted ‘standard’ of physical beauty is outdated! I want my daughter to strive for strength and health, not weak and small!

2. What do you do to stay inspired?
I am constantly reading fitness magazines, and following my favorite Pro’s on social media. Their journeys and tips encourage me to keep moving forward, and remind me that everyone has to start somewhere! And, of course, when I look into my 6 year old daughters face, I know I need to set an example for her. I want her to learn that when you set a goal for yourself, you have to pull out all the stops to achieve it. The best things in life are hard earned!

3. What shows have you already been in or plan to be in in the future?
This is my first show, and I am beside myself excited! No matter what the outcome may be for me, I plan to continue in the WBFF on this journey to see how far I can go! I love fitness, it is my great passion, and I am feeling so blessed to have found this creative outlet.

4. Who got you started?
My dear friend Colin Eitelbach approached me in his gym, Bodystrong Athletics, Chatham Mass., one year ago. He told me I had what it takes to compete, and that I should consider weight training more seriously. I had spent my whole life feeling ‘big’ and ‘wide’. Growing up in the ballet world, I was always one of the thicker girls. I was always killing myself with excessive running and cardio, trying to be thinner. With Colin’s love and tutelage, I grew to appreciate my potential. I saw changes in my body that made me feel empowered and proud to be doing something that not everyone can do!

5. Who do you look to for help now?
While Colin still trains me daily, Bonnie Papas Switzer (IFBB Bodybuilding Pro), has been instrumental in taking me the last miles in my journey. She is my Posing Coach, my Nutrition Coach, and my friend. Her positive energy, honesty, and tough love have gotten me through some of the most challenging weeks of my show prep.

6. Where do you usually workout?
I work out at Bodystrong Athletics in Chatham Mass. I have belonged to over 9 gyms on Cape Cod over the years, and this gym is by far the best. There is a sense of community there that truly makes it feel like a second home… that and the fact I practically live there!

7. Do you use any suppliments? If so, what ones (brands, names, etc)
I use whey protein every day. Right now my favorites are Isopure, About Time, and Dymatize. Gaspari Nutrition makes great products too, their BCAA’s taste great!

8. What are your most noticeable results?
One year ago, I has NO bum. Totally flat! I’m very proud of the curve I have built in my hamstrings and glutes. Also, my shoulders. They have really popped in the past 6 months. Thank you Arnold Presses!

9. Has fitness changed your life? If so, how?
It has indeed. In my late teens and early twenties I battled depression, low self-esteem, and substance abuse. I was a lost young adult, unsure of my place or direction in life. Since finding the gym at age 24, and regularly setting fitness goals for myself, all of that turned around. I have built a career for myself in the industry, and I set a positive example for my child every day.

10. What personal fitness goals have you set for yourself?
I want to see my strength continue to grow in the coming years. I am always trying to push beyond my current personal bests when lifting; I always try to run a little faster, for a little longer. Life is all about progression and becoming the best you can be. I try to apply these concepts to my training, I think I will always view myself as work in progress. Truly, deeply, and honestly, I want to go Pro. This is my greatest and most dear fitness goal right now.

11. Describe your diet.
I eat very, very clean. I have a dozen egg whites daily (try them with cinnamon and peanut butter!), I eat loads of veggies, and I can boil the heck out of some chicken! I use the clean-eating basics of oatmeal, brown rice, and cream of rice for my healthful carbs. I stick to nut butter, coconut oil, and avocado for fats. White fish, chicken, and egg whites supplemented with whey, for my proteins.

12. What does your workout schedule look like?
SUN~ REST!!!!! Ahhhhhhhh…..

13. What do you do for a living?
I am a Certified Personal Trainer and a Hatha Yoga Instructor. I run the health and wellness program for the world-renowned resort, Chatham Bars Inn. I also teach Functional Training for Children at 3 summer camps on Cape Cod every summer, teaching children ages 4-12. Additionally, I supplement my income as a waitress/bar tender a few nights a week at Joe’s Barley Neck Inn in Orleans Ma.

14. What are your personal non-fitness goals?
My highest aspiration in my personal life is to be the best mother I can be. My daughters father lives in his native Brazil, so it’s really just Ava and myself at home. I have struggled at times, as a single mother, emotionally, and financially. Every morning I look into her beautiful face and I am reminded what a privilege it is to be a parent. I put a smile on my face, I tell her she is smart, and strong, and wonderful; and that every day is a chance to make a dream come true. When I see my sweet girl happy and smiling, I feel like I am succeeding!

15. Have you participated in any other sports?
I grew up dancing ballet semi-professionally, until age 22. I found yoga and Pilates in my late teens, and have continued with these practices right up to now; having become a certified yoga instructor myself at age 25.

16. Here you can mention your family/thank you’s.
My mom and dad, Paul and Patricia, are absolutely the root of all my inner strength. They have BEEN the missing parent in my daughters life… She is truly a ‘village child’! My mother, an RN by profession, has encouraged me my whole life to seek my bliss. To find what makes me happy, and live it. And my father… my daddy! The most special man in my life… yes, I’m a daddy’s girl! Aren’t all Italian girls!? My dad is my biggest cheerleader. He believed in me from day one. When I said to my family ‘I’m going to lift weights, get ripped, and go Pro!’, it was my dad that said, ‘You can do, I believe in you, what’s your plan?’. From the bottom of my heart, I say thank you to the most wonderful family a girl could ask for; my mom and dad, my sisters, Rebecca and Alysa, my brothers Alex, Alan, and Aaron, my baby-doll Ava… And my best friends, Colin, Leslie, Katie, Megan, and Nicole. I would be nowhere without ALL OF YOU.

17. Do you have any hobbies?
I love the beach in the summer time! Paddle boarding, sun bathing, and building sand castles. In the winter I enjoy skiing, snow boarding, and sledding. I am also an avid reader. I have a wood shop below my apartment, and I refinish vintage furniture as a creative outlet. And obviously, all things fitness!

18. What are challenges that you face that may keep you from reaching your fitness goals?
Balancing single motherhood, a very full work schedule, and rigorous training and dieting can be quite challenging. Finding the time to invest in myself has been tricky at times. Thankfully my loved ones help me to make it all happen.

19. What obstacles have you overcome to be where you are?
At times in my life, I have been my own worst enemy. I haven’t always recognized my value, or loved myself as we all should. Periods of excessive drinking punctuated my years from ages 17 to 23. My family asked me for years to care for myself better, but it wasn’t a change I was able to make until I found the resolve inside myself. It took years of changing my way of thinking, time in the gym, yoga and meditation, and motherhood to teach me that life is precious, life is short, and there is no time to waste in negativity. I have learned to live in a place of gratitude.

20. Is there anything else you would like to add that you think we’ve missed?
Thank you, WBFF, for giving women a forum to celebrate their strength and femininity. I feel so blessed to be a part of your organization.