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Tough Stuff

Tucker’s co-owner Dee Kestner shares how she stays fit and fierce

By Angie Fenton | Photos by Tony Bennet

Deane “Dee” Kestner  is no stranger to the world of sports.

She and her partner in business and life, Trey Myers, own Tucker’s American Favorites, a popular sports restaurant/bar located at 2441 State Street in New Albany, which is frequented by regulars, families and in- and out-of-towners seeking good eats and great viewing of televised matches and games.

and2But as Dee hustles and bustles around her venue, it’s hard not to notice the diminutive 42-year-old packs more than a ready smile and commitment to do her customers right: Watch her carry a tray of food to a table, and you’ll peep a fit femme who clearly takes her health seriously. Recently, Dee competed in the figure division of the NPC Derby Festival Championships, a bodybuilding competition produced by Brent Smith of Kentucky Muscle.

“This was the fifth show I’ve done,” she said.

And her hard work paid off.

Dee was awarded third place in her class and was awarded sixth place in another category.

“I got a sword” – the prize for top finishers – “which was pretty cool,” she admitted.

Dee and Trey, her significant other for what will be 20 years in August, “live together, work together and train together.”

In fact, she added, “Trey is my coach and my trainer.”

Although she’d made a commitment to being fit years ago, it wasn’t until she started working out with Rob Conway (of WWE fame) and hired Stavan Bhatt to direct her nutrition that Dee realized she might be able to take her fit lifestyle to the bodybuilding stage.

“My first show was the (NPC) Tricky Jackson Classic. I got third in open in masters,” she said.

Then, she placed third in the figure divisions of the 2013 Kentucky Muscle Championships.

“I never thought that I was going to place. I just wanted to go in and do it, and look like I belonged.”

Dee did. And then some.

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“I thought it’d be fun to do the suit, the makeup, the hair, the eyelashes. I liked the training, and I’m also a very goal-oriented person,” she explained about why she took her fitness off the floor and on stage. “If I have a goal to work for … it keeps me more accountable.”

After this year’s successful foray back into figure competitions – she’s competed every year since 2013 but took 2016 off – Dee isn’t sure when she’ll step back on stage. “I want to address some of the things (the judges) told me to work on, and then will probably pick out a show.”

As co-owner of a sports restaurant/bar that is known for its hot wings, meaty ribs and cold beers, Dee often fields questions from people who want to know how she’s able to maintain her figure to, well, compete in a figure competition.

“I probably eat four meals (at Tucker’s) every day,” she said, though the competitor eschews the (delicious!) queso and fried products for grilled chicken and shrimp, the salmon or salmon burger, sirloin and bison burger (sans bun), with a side of sweet potato and/or steamed broccoli or green beans, all of which are on the menu. “I also use vinegars for my salad dressings,” she said.

And, Dee relies on Trey, her partner in nearly every aspect of her life. “The majority of time, we’re together – at work, at home and in the gym. He’s my best friend. … We really don’t know any different.”

TOP TIPS

How does Deane “Dee” Kestner maintain her athletic figure and health? We asked, and she answered.

• “I go to Katy Hearn Gym, 310 Mount Tabor Road in New Albany, five times a week. It’s a very positive atmosphere. It’s really good to be around people like that.”

• “I have rheumatoid arthritis and was diagnosed at 19, but they think I had it before then.” In addition to being on medication, Dee said, “I stay away from inflammatory foods: peanuts, certain starches. Stavan Bhatt taught me how to eat. … My rheumatologist thinks I am doing so well because of how I eat and how active I am plus the medication.”

• “I think anybody can (get fit). You just have to decide you want to do it. You have to be motivated.”

• “I eat 4 oz. of protein with every meal –whether it’s chicken, fish or beef – a cup of veggies and 4 oz. of sweet potatoes on certain days.”

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