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Exclusive: Denise Austin Dishes Her Stay-Fit Tips and Tricks

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/18/2009 5:42 AM   :  95 comments   :  29,689 Views

Chances are, you've worked out with Denise Austin before. After all, her "Getting Fit" TV program ran for a decade on ESPN and "America's favorite fitness expert" has sold more than 20 million exercise videos/DVDs during the span of her 25-year career in addition to penning 10 books. Now in her 50s (although you wouldn't know it by looking at her), Denise is still at it. If you ask me, she is the ultimate fitness guru, with the experience, credentials and an overall balanced approach to healthy living that has motivated millions.

I had the opportunity to interview Denise Austin herself via email (!!!), and I got her actual workout routine (she did not hold back!), stay-motivated tricks and top 5 tips for staying fit and healthy in your 50s.

Coach Nicole: How much do you really work out each day? What is your routine like?
Denise Austin: I work out 30 minutes each and every day. I always do some form of physical exercise on a daily basis. Usually, during the week, my husband and I will work out before the kids get up in the morning. Depending on the weather, we either exercise indoors or outside. If indoors, I usually do 20 minutes on the treadmill or stationary bike, then 10 minutes of body conditioning, which includes sit-ups and pushups. I also like to do yoga. Two days a week, I always do my boot camp routines which include interval training: 3 minutes of cardio, 2 minutes of weight training and then, continue those short bursts for at least 30 minutes . On alternate days, I do my boot camp workout pretty much as it is in my new upcoming DVD, 3-Week Boot Camp. Weekend workouts are different from weekday workouts because my time is not as regimented on the weekends as it is during the week. So on the weekends, I often walk with friends, bike with my husband or play tennis or other fun outdoor activities with family and friends.

CN: Many women shy away from strength training and lifting heavy weights. What do you say to women who are afraid of "bulking up"?
I'm a true believer in the best way to stay young is to have good muscle and tone. In order to keep the muscles conditioned, you need to do some form of strength/weight training. It can be in the form of light weights or just toning your muscles with Pilates exercises and no weights. Women don't have the same testosterone hormone as in men, so women won't bulk up the same as men do. Women will shape up [by lifting weights]. Women should use 5 to 8 pound weights and should always stretch afterwards.

CN: What's your tried and true "stay motivated" trick?
I stay motivated because when I exercise, I feel energized and I love how that feels. I love to have energy and feel good and after I exercise, I feel great so that makes me feel accomplished. My motivation is to feel energetic and to keep my body and mind healthy and strong. I also need to look good in a bathing suit or a leotard or workout clothes. I like to look and feel good, and want to stay young looking and fit.

CN: After such a long career and a lifetime of workouts, how do you keep your workouts fresh and fun?
I am constantly changing and mixing up my workouts and routines so I don't get bored. I like to change my workout routines monthly. I do a lot of traveling, so I am always looking for and learning new techniques and routines. I take different classes and have many great friends in the fitness industry so we always share new, fresh ideas. I truly listen to my fans and the people who work out and write to me on www.deniseaustin.com to tell me what they like and what they want to see and then I tailor routines to suit their wants and needs.

CN: What's your biggest indulgence?
Oh my, my biggest indulgence? I love coffee ice cream, Mexican food and guacamole.

CN: Tell us about your latest DVD release, and what other exciting projects we can look forward to from you.
We just released Denise Austin Best Bun & Leg Shapers, which is a great workout for the lower part of the body, targeted in seven short 10-minute sections to give your buns and legs a lift! Coming out in December is Denise Austin: 3-Week Boot Camp and Denise Austin: Body Makeover Mix.

The "3 Week Boot Camp" DVD is truly my "go-to" workout. I personally do this workout when I want to get fit fast! I use this boot camp workout to lose weight, tone up, burn fat, and look great in three weeks. You can do the entire workout or just do 15 minutes if that's all the time you have. It includes a kettlebell-inspired workout, but you don't need to invest in the the kettlebells. I use dumbbells in the DVD, and use the same motion, just holding them differently.

"Body Makeover Mix" is great to re-shape the body and lift the bottom. It is comprised of targeted exercises to shape all the different parts of the body: 15-minute workouts for the upper, middle and lower body. The workout includes a fusion of ballet-inspired moves, Pilates, and, the best of the fresh new moves to shape legs, lift the butt, work the core/abs and shape and tone the arms. You can do the entire 45-minute workout or do a different 15-minute section each day to work the different body areas.

CN: You've worked out and stayed trim and fit through your 40s and now you're in your 50s. Does it get easier or harder to keep up with your fitness routine as you age? What special challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
When I was younger, I guess I was able to take a few days off, but now, I can't really seem to take time off. I find I need to keep up with the exercising. Fitness doesn't stay "stored up" so I find it's easier to continue to do some form or exercise every day to keep the joints moving and the muscles toned. I do add more yoga to my routines. Yoga is easy on the joints and makes me feel good. I like to add or end with at least 10 minutes of yoga a day.

CN: Share your top 5 tips for staying fit and healthy in your 50s.
1. Body toning. Nothing will droop or sag if muscles are firm and taut. 2. Do cardio to burn fat from the entire body. 3. Stretching to stay flexible and lean. 4. Eat healthy and organic meals (lean protein, fruits and vegetables) and drink 8 glasses of water every day. 5. Be optimistic. Always think and stay positive. Don't beat yourself up. Think and act young with a positive attitude and always keep laughter and humor in your life. It's the best medicine.

CN: With a busy career and family life, how do you make time for healthy cooking and exercising?
I plan ahead, especially when cooking. For example, on Sundays, I use the day in the kitchen with my family to cook a big pot of soup or make lots of chicken that I can refrigerate and prepare different ways throughout the week. I always make a staple [like chicken] and figure out other uses and dishes for it during the week. The main thing is to stay organized. I plan my meals for the entire week on Sunday. My refrigerator is organized with lots of healthy, fresh foods that are in easy reach. I often boil potatoes and carrots and while they are cooking, I run upstairs to get in a workout while the food is simmering. I prepare home-cooked meals at least 5 nights a week.

CN: How have you successfully passed on healthy habits to your two daughters? Any tips for parents?
Well, being a mom, my kids always come first. Both of my daughters are athletes and I never miss a game. The youngest plays tennis and lacrosse and my oldest plays lacrosse. I guess both my husband and I do lead by example, because ever since the girls were young, we were all always very active athletically. In college, I was a gymnast and my husband plays tennis. So, we have always been doing some form of exercises and activities. We have always stressed staying fit together as a family ever since the children were very young. We were always active outdoors and even in bad weather, if the girls had friends over, I'd put on music and everyone would dance and get moving. Even now, when I go to the girls' games, I get the girls and the families up walking during different timeouts, etc. so everyone isn't always sitting still. I get them moving!

Thanks again to Denise Austin for sharing her workout routine and stay-healthy tips with dailySpark readers!

Are you a Denise Austin fan? Have you ever tried her videos or read any of her books? What do you think about her stay-fit tips?


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Comments

  • 95
    I am a Denise Austin fan!!! I love her DVDs, especially her best abs dvd, - 12/27/2009   11:31:57 AM
  • 94
    Thanks for the great interview! I use to do a D.A. Pilate workout every morning. Think I'll go dig that out tonight! - 12/7/2009   5:06:59 PM
  • 93
    Thanks for another great article and pic ;) - 12/2/2009   10:38:56 PM
  • 92
    When I was 12 or so I asked my mom to buy me my first fitness video (VHS). It was Denise' Austin's 30 minute non-aerobic workout. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this workout. I still have it and wish it was in DVD format. Denise rocks!!! - 11/30/2009   11:55:23 PM
  • 91
    I've been working out with Denise since I was 13. I used to tape her shows on VHS and repeatedly work out to my favorites. She is a source of inspiration for me. I am 30 now and unfortunately very overweight for many reasons (some medical, some not). I am amazed she looks just like she did when I was a teenager. She is a blessing to the world -- I might just have to invest in her latest videos. :) - 11/29/2009   3:05:21 PM
  • EARBITE
    90
    I have enjoyed Denise for years - since my youngest daughter was born and I worked out with her tv shows in the morning. I have several of her tapes and dvds and still buying more.
    - 11/25/2009   1:04:21 PM
  • 89
    I love her tapes. My Mom doesn't like how perky she is, but I find it really motivating. I'll take her over some of the meaner drill style instruction any day - 11/25/2009   12:49:09 PM
  • 88
    Denise is 5'4" and 112# (I wrote and asked her.) I've been a fan for years. She will be 53 in February and has 2 grown daughters. Her husband is an attorney and the brother of the famous tennis pro "Tracey Austin." - 11/24/2009   12:53:18 AM
  • 87
    great interview. Thanks coach Nicole. - 11/23/2009   7:09:17 PM
  • 86
    What a fantastic lady! - 11/23/2009   5:56:44 PM
  • 85
    Denise looks incredible. I had followed her two back to back shows daily and recorded them on tape. Now, we can't use the tapes. But I have some of her books. I had tapes that went back to when she wore a blue polyester jump suit, and one with a cowgirl outfit. I remember her with Jack LaLane.

    I had ordered a book on one of those shopping networks and got to talk with her on TV. I had purchased about 20 of her "Jumpstart" books and gave them as gifts. She is very much like SparkPeople.

    I gave one of the books to my DR, he wanted one, and I asked if I could ever look like Denise. He said, "No, but if you lose the weight, you'll look better than you do now."

    Thank you for the article. - 11/23/2009   2:51:37 PM
  • 84
    I worked out with Denise every day before work for several years after college. She really motivated me to get fit. I love the pilates for every body DVD that I have of hers. - 11/22/2009   7:54:59 PM
  • 83
    I used to workout with her every morning before work, but then they took it off. Sure hated that! Have bought her DVDs though. She's great and it's hard to believe she's in her 50's! - 11/22/2009   8:28:18 AM
  • 82
    Thanks. She is incredible. - 11/21/2009   5:05:06 PM
  • JUHOEG
    81
    Thanks for the info--really great - 11/21/2009   3:55:21 PM
  • MONA1684
    80
    She is so great! :) Definitely inspiring.. - 11/21/2009   12:48:20 PM
  • 79
    That lady has a butt I would kill for! I can't believe she's in her 50s. Wow! - 11/20/2009   7:49:20 PM
  • 78
    Denise is great - 11/20/2009   5:43:56 PM
  • 77
    What a great inspiration....and some very good tips. - 11/20/2009   3:00:55 PM
  • 76
    very motivational !!! Thanks! - 11/20/2009   2:37:33 PM
  • 75
    I love her. Have done he work outs for years I am going to be 75 next month and I still do her workouts. I have done Jack LaLane for a long time also. - 11/20/2009   9:17:34 AM
  • 74
    I love her. Have done he work outs for years I am going to be 75 next month and I still do her workouts. I have done Jack LaLane for a long time also. - 11/20/2009   9:17:33 AM
  • GRANDMO1
    73
    Thanks for a great info with lots of good tips. - 11/19/2009   10:20:27 PM
  • IZZYBEBOP
    72
    I own probably five of her VCRs. that's when they first came out. She's the one that got me into Yoga, and I still revert back to her original one sometimes. She's a bit perky, but that's okay. You've got to love the shape she's in, and now I just found out she's the same age as me. I feel like I've grown up with her, starting back in the 80s! - 11/19/2009   8:08:31 PM
  • 71
    I do love her. I use to do watch her a show and exercise along with her. But working from home - the phone alwys got in the way. But she motivated me enough and gave me enough confidence doing the routines that I joined a gym. Getting away from the phone, really makes me concentrate on my work out. I so enjoyed her show. I may have to buy her boot camp video and turn the phone off!!! - 11/19/2009   7:49:14 PM
  • 70
    I'm a Denise Austin Fan! She is so high energy and positive throughout her workouts. And as cheesy as I may think, "Be strong, stay fit, you're healthy!" sounds when I am working out with her, it works. I mimmic her and giggle with my friends, but I find those sayings still repeating in my head long after her workouts! And I feel great after them. Looking forward to her boot camp. Now I have a 10 minute personal training system of hers. It's great if you want to get a quick workout in, or if you want to do the whole thing. - 11/19/2009   7:14:03 PM
  • 69
    My son (then 6) and I used to work out with her when she was on tv back in the early 90's. I've never used her videos or read her book, but I like her workouts. And I didn't realize she was that old! - 11/19/2009   6:43:12 PM
  • 68
    I had some of her videos back in college. They were good! - 11/19/2009   3:09:27 PM
  • ALICOTTER
    67
    ok did she just not understand the question about women being afraid of bulking up so they don't lift heavy weights. Cause in one sentence she says women should not be afraid to lift and then in the other says women should be lifting 5-8lbs. Is that her idea of heavy weights????

    I bench press 80lbs, use 25lbs for arms, and 50lbs for squats and lunges. About 10 times what she is suggesting and I am 49. I credit these weights with helping me tone my over weight body. 5lbs might as well not use anything. - 11/19/2009   2:00:56 PM
  • 66
    I love Denise Austin and Rachel Ray! I guess my personality is a little like them. People accuse me of being happy all the time. lol - 11/19/2009   1:43:48 PM
  • WHEELS54
    65
    Workouts are OK; I too find her personality a little hard to take, kind of like Rachael Ray. I like them both but can you say PERKY? - 11/19/2009   12:59:53 PM
  • 64
    I do have several of Denise's workouts and do enjoy doing them. I am with others though about the 5 to 8 pound weights for women. I think it depends on what weight works for you - for me I currently use 5, 8 and 10 depending on what exercise I am doing.As long as the weight does not cause you to lose form and you get to the fatigue point then you know you have the right weight - 11/19/2009   11:22:22 AM
  • SARAGWYNE
    63
    Yes! I was disappointed when Lifetime took her morning shows off the air. By simply staying faithful to her daily workout, I was fit, healthy and about 10 pounds lighter! She packed a lot of fitness, information and encouragement into 30 minutes each day. Thanks Denise! We miss you!!! - 11/19/2009   10:50:40 AM
  • 62
    I started my fitness journey with Denise Austin! I love her upbeat attitude, some find it annoying, but I always felt like that was just who she is, and I got motivation and encouragement from it. Now I find her DVDs too easy (at least the old ones, this boot camp one sounds interesting though), but I still adore her. I reccommend to everyone just starting out to check out her DVDs. - 11/19/2009   10:37:33 AM
  • 61
    I must admit I have never heard of Denise, but I do appreicate her advice and hope that some day my efforts will be rewarded. The best advice at this point in my lifestyle change is not to beat myself up. - 11/19/2009   10:10:54 AM
  • 60
    I have worked with her every morning when she was on TV, and I used her pregnancy DVD and Power Yoga too. She is a great source of inspiration to me. I certainly would love to look like her at 50 - honestly, who wouldn't?!! ;-P - 11/19/2009   9:36:37 AM
  • 59
    Wow, Denise Austin at 50...geez, I am impressed! I remember when her videos first came out. She still looks like she's in her 20s! I would not want to be in the fitness arena...you would be judged on every pound, bump, and bulge that you have! I have to hand it to her for keeping fit for all these years. That in itself (even if she wasn't in the public eye) is an amazing feat! - 11/19/2009   9:22:49 AM
  • 58
    I have heard of her but never tried a Denise Austin workout video. I agree that staying positive makes a big difference. I also found it interesting that she is incorporating more exercises that are gentle on the joints, especially in light of the fact that she was once a gymnast. My step-daughter did gymnastics for years and stopped because of joint pain in her knees. She wanted to continue, but my husband put a stop to it when she came home crying more than one day. I have also read about a few prominent gymnasts that have had joint problems in later life to the point of having surgery - even hip replacement. Being active is really important and taking care of your body definitely includes being active. - 11/19/2009   8:22:01 AM
  • 57
    Nice article. Thanks! I especially appreciated her 5 top tips. Will save that little section as it is so concise and just what I've been trying to accomplish. - 11/19/2009   8:19:56 AM
  • 56
    I enjoyed reading this article and agree whole heartedly with the statement that Denise made regarding her motivation for daily workouts is to feel energetic and to keep her body and mind healthy and strong. It is that "healthy" feeling that keeps me active with exercise and mindful about what I eat. In reading some comments that are comparing their bodies or routines to Denise's, it is not surprising when they have a negative slant. Healthy living makes more sense when we pay attention to how our own bodies feel, not just on how we look...and especially not in a comparison to anyone else. - 11/19/2009   6:57:29 AM
  • 55
    Thank you - great interview! - 11/19/2009   5:58:01 AM
  • 54
    Starting weekday mornings with Denise on TV was always a positive move for me. Now her VHS tapes & DVDs get mixed into the routation during weekday mornings. Thanks for the interview. - 11/19/2009   4:26:20 AM
  • ALLEGRO1950
    53
    Thank you for an excellent interview with Denise Austin. Obviously, the proof is in the pudding. Denise does not promise any miracle quick fixes. She lives what she teaches. Even though we all have different body structures (my body never did or never will look like hers), we can learn from her tips on diet and exercise. - 11/19/2009   4:00:48 AM
  • 52
    I think her work-outs are great!!!!
    - 11/19/2009   2:21:32 AM
  • 51
    I love Denise Austin. She is perky but who wants to be with a grouchy person?
    Great interview! - 11/19/2009   1:19:27 AM
  • 50
    Before SP Denise Austin was the only workouts I did... her 30 minute target toner video was my all time favorite (could never find in dvd and my vhs sure was getting messed up) But I swear it was the BEST workout for those that have given birth - the best hip workout and I was able to get my body toned nicely...

    Now I use the SP workout videos - LOVE coach Nicole - and I no longer have to worry about the messed up vhs tape LOL - 11/18/2009   8:52:29 PM
  • 49
    I have been working out (on and off) with Denise for 20 years ! I love her spunk and vitality. HOWEVER, she is living proof that genetics are so very important in how you look. She works out 30 minutes a day???? And looks like that??? Maybe in her world, but not in mine. Even when I was in my 20s and discovering her TV show, I never looked like that. We love ya, Denise, but get real. - 11/18/2009   7:16:39 PM
  • 48
    5 to 8 pound weights?!?!?!? Are you kidding? That is a crock. I do like Denise's workouts but that recommendation is a little weird, in my humble opinion. - 11/18/2009   7:09:45 PM
  • 47
    I haven't really heard of Denise Austin before, but I'm not a big fan of her "5-8 pound dumbbells for women" recommendation. Women should use whichever weight is CHALLENGING to them, whether it's one pound or 100 pounds. - 11/18/2009   6:06:05 PM
  • FINITAM
    46
    I have been a Denise Austin fan for years. I used to tape her shows every morning while I was exercising. This way I could use them at different times of the day if the morning was not good for me. I think she was very motivating and her workout were great. - 11/18/2009   5:13:10 PM

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