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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