Deb Muskatel - Bikini Competitor

Growing up I had always been overweight. After my freshman year of college I decided to lose some weight, and after teaching myself about nutrition and losing 50 lbs I decided that I wanted to get into lifting. Last summer I started going to the gym with my brother and fell in love with it. I kept tracking my food the way I had to lose weight and changed my goals to build muscle. After lifting for fun for 6 months a concussion forced me to take a semester off from school. During that time, I got a job at my local gym and people started noticing how fast I was making progress. I had always had competing in the back of my mind but having people who had been in this sport for years telling me I could do it pushed me to go for it. I had set foot in a gym for the first time just 11 months before starting prep this past summer so I was keeping the mindset of just doing it for the experience.

A post shared by Deb Muskatel (@v_eggielifts) on

There wasnít too much of a change in my diet or training from my offseason to prep. I usually track my food and eat pretty clean so the only difference was slightly higher protein and fewer calories. I had to do 15 minutes of cardio 4 days a week for about 3 weeks before I started dropping weight too fast and had to stop. A strategy that worked very well for me was to have two consecutive high carb refeed days every week at maintenance calories. As a result my calories had to drop a bit lower for the other five days, but the refeeds gave me both a mental and physical break from dieting.

This was my first season competing so I havenít tried any other competition diet plans. When I lost weight a couple of years ago I dropped my calories too much too fast, so I was careful to make small changes only when necessary this time around.

I canít say that I consciously worked to gain confidence throughout the process. Having a routine where I was pushing myself past my limits and seeing my hard work pay off from week to week is what really caused the biggest change in my confidence. It only got better when friends, family, and even complete strangers started recognizing the progress I was making.

My training is centered around lifting with little to no cardio, as my metabolism is very fast and adding in cardio usually makes me drop weight too fast and lose too much muscle. I really prioritised trying to maintain my strength throughout prep to try to minimize muscle loss. As I mentioned before, every week I had two back to back refeed days. I coordinated those with my shoulder workout and heavy leg workout as those were areas where it was most important for me to minimize muscle loss.

A post shared by Deb Muskatel (@v_eggielifts) on

My most recent competition was one that I actually almost didnít do. I didnít think that I would still me holding enough muscle at this point to be competitive in an open class at an NPC show. My coach, Tina Peratino, reassured me that I would be competitive and pushed me to go for it. I wound up winning True Novice and placing third in Open.

This sport is different than any other because of the role that nutrition plays. Over time my friends and family have gotten used to me rarely drinking and making most of my own food, but at first it was definitely difficult for them to understand. Now everyone is very supportive and they love learning more about the sport.

My current plan is to take a long offseason to build more muscle for next year. I was very happy with how I placed at my first two shows and I know that with a bit more time to grow Iíll only do better in the future!


Competition Prep e-Books