Name: Davita Parks
Year of Birth: 1982
Current Residence: TN
Sports: WBFF Bikini/Fitness Competitor, Garden of Life Athlete, Yoga, Pilates, Weight Lifting,
Why did you become vegan?
I was always more of a herbivore growing up. I never really cared much for meat and would
lean more towards fruits and veggies, as opposed to meat (which is the exact opposite of my
siblings). Following complications with my health in high school, I began focusing more on my
training and what I ate. As I got older I began noticing that my body would respond negatively
to certain types of foods and I began eliminating them from my diet. After a few years of
following a vegetarian diet I began researching vegan diets and lifestyles, but at the advice of
numerous competitors I kept ﬁsh in my diet. After my second season of competing I reached
out to a couple of vegan competitors who graciously answered all of my questions and
encouraged me to toss out the “standard” bodybuilding diet and take my nutrition in to my own
hands. At that point I began phasing ﬁsh out of my diet and focusing on my body’s individual
needs. In addition to earning pro status, I am out to shatter the notion that you can’t build
muscle and compete on a plant-based diet.
When and why did you become interested in ﬁtness?
I grew up participating in dance, gymnastics and cheerleading. In high school, I experienced a
major setback that would unknowingly change the course of my life. I was away at a
cheerleading event when I began having chest pains and trouble breathing. What I later found
out was that I was having a severe asthma attack that was closing off my airways. Grace
doesn’t even begin to describe what I received that night. The doctors in the emergency room
described my attack as a double-edged sword; it could’ve taken my life, but it also saved my
life because I had misdiagnosed with bronchitis. Later that same year I experienced another
setback. I was hospitalized with pneumonia when my left lung collapsed. I couldn’t believe this
was happening. I was forced to give up everything.... cheerleading, gymnastics, dance. My
body was completely broken down; I couldn’t even breath on my own. Rather than succumb to
my diagnosis, I turned this negative into a newfound source of motivation I knew that no one
could improve my health but me.... I just needed to identify some new habits and practice them
until I improved my health. This strategy paid off, as I have since gone on to compete in ﬁtness competitions where I have consistently placed in the top ten and top three. Through this
experience, I learned that being active begins with a choice and eventually evolves into a
How would you describe your nutrition program?
Steel cut oats, quinoa, almond/hemp milk, kale and fresh blueberries are staples in my diet. I’ll
pretty much eat any vegetable out there, and what I keep on hand is determined in large by
what’s in season. I don’t count calories, but I do pay attention and adhere to portion sizes. I
focus on eating a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
How would you describe your training program?
My goal is to maintain a slender and aesthetic physique. With that in mind, I’ve found that my
body responds better to CrossFit or Tabata type workouts that include conditioning exercises
and HIIT. I become bored with repetition very quickly so I am constantly mixing up my training
routine in or to stay interested and keep my body guessing. My workouts are designed to
include a combination of upper and lower body training with the goal of really stimulating each
muscle group. With the help of a friend and colleague, I am now incorporating some olympic
lifts into my regime.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I use Garden of Life RAW Protein, BCAA’s and all natural fermented L-Glutamine after my
workouts and before bed. Since becoming a vegan I have learned how to obtain the majority of
my nutrients from food. I’m not fond of having to take a handful of pills in order to stay healthy.
How do people react when they ﬁnd out you are vegan?
I tend to get mixed reactions, especially when people ﬁnd out that I compete on a vegan diet.
The number question is, “Where do you get your protein?” If I had a dollar for every time I
heard that question, I could retire at age 30! LOL Each time I hear this question I get excited
because that’s my opportunity to use it as a “teaching moment” to educate people on the truth
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
Where do I begin?! LOL The biggest misconception is that vegans do not get enough protein,
vitamins or vital nutrients. Another would be that we can’t build muscle without eating meat.
Both of these are simply not true. There are a lot of misconceptions ﬂoating around out there,
many of which are due to a lack of proper information and/or education.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did
you go about it?
I understand that this lifestyle is not for everyone. My main goal is to educate and debunk the
fear or myths surrounding vegan lifestyles. My “Meatless Monday” posts on my blog have been
a huge aid in at least getting people talking and thinking about it. Other than that, I try to lead
by example and make myself available to anyone who may have questions or concerns.
What do you like best about being vegan?
I love just knowing that I am fueling my body with the proper nutrients without the added
hormones, ﬁllers or artiﬁcial substitutes. I now have the satisfaction of knowing that I am
making more educated choices when it comes to the foods I eat and my health.
What do you like best about being ﬁt?
The most important aspect of being ﬁt is striking a balance between physical, mental and
emotional ﬁtness. All three are important and rely on one another in order to function properly. I
make sure that I have short and long term goals in place that will allow me to maintain optimal
health in each of these areas.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
My ﬁrst piece of advice would be to determine ‘why’ you are doing it, and be certain that it is
for you and no one else. This may sound a little selﬁsh, but at the root of it if you are not taking
proper care of yourself and performing at your best, then you can’t properly care for those
around you. My second piece of advice would be to sit down and map out your goals and
determine what it is that you want to accomplish or improve in each area of your health. Once
you’ve done this, acquire the advice and/or help of a trained professional who can help you
meet those goals.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Reach out to other vegan athletes. I did and I found an entire network of like-minded
individuals who were there to answer my questions, encourage me when I had second
thoughts and support me along my journey. I’ve learned so much from the experiences of
What motivates you in life?
My own personal struggles with my health are what motivate me to continue improving my life.
Based on these setbacks, I believe that with drive and determination anyone can take control
of the physical challenges in their lives regardless of circumstances. I have now combined my
personal experience with my passion for health & wellness. Fitness completely changed my
life, and looking back 10 years later, my journey is now focused on helping and inspiring
others. When I am asked about my life as a competitor and personal trainer, I tell people that I
have had a lot of success at young age, but I have also had my share of trials and obstacles to
overcome. I choose to look at each chapter of my life as an experience and lesson from which I
can learn something and then use to inspire or motivate someone else. Every experience has
made me the person I am today.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
I stumbled upon this website when I Googled “vegan bodybuilding.” I can’t tell you how
ecstatic I was to ﬁnd so many vegan athletes and competitors! I loved the idea of having a
community & support system of fellow athletes who were willing to share their stories and
information with the rest of the world. I took it as a sign from God and conﬁrmation that I was
making the best decision for my own individual health.