’Austin Powers Forward’
Denise Austin has been helping America get and stay fit for 20 years. Her sensible, realistic approach to fitness and nutrition has won fans throughout the United States and abroad. As a mom and business woman, Denise is realistic about how much time people can devote to a fitness program and is a terrific example of a how one can maintain a lifestyle that balances healthy eating, exercise and professional satisfaction. A pioneer in the home fitness industry, Austin taped her first fitness videos – ‘Rock Aerobics’ and ‘Rock Hard Tummy’ – in 1984. Today she has over 35 exercise videos on the market, which have sold more than 13 million copies and five books. Additionally, Austin is currently the host of the longest-running fitness shows in the history of television – Lifetime television Network’s ‘Denise Austin Daily Workout’ and ‘Fit For Life’.
Just in time for summer, Denise Austin is back with a brand new video designed to sharpen the mind, strengthen the body and soothe the soul. Artisan Home Entertainment’s ‘Denise Austin’s Power Zone: Mind, Body and Soul’ works the body from the inside out with a stimulating 40-minute session focused on deep breathing and
concentrated exercises. Viewers are able to vary and keep fresh their regular workout by choosing from an exciting combination of standing Pilates, yoga and stretching exercises offered on the video. Additionally, Artisan will be releasing Denise Austin’s best-selling ‘Fat Blasting Yoga’ and ‘Yoga Buns’ on DVD for the first time ever.
Taking some time out with the self-proclaimed ‘America's #1 motivator’ (and sister-in-law to Tennis’ very-own Tracy Austin, knowing Denise was at QVC in Westchester, PA, I wondered what she was preparing to promote? ”My Denise Austin line of exercise accessories and books … and a treadmill. And I’m celebrating my 9th Anniversary for the nine years that I’ve come here. “
You’ve helped millions of people achieve their fitness goals, but way back when, what motivated you into this genre of employment? ”I’ve been a gymnast since I was a little girl and had a full athletic scholarship to the University of Arizona and while I was there I got my degree in Exercise Physiology and I really enjoyed that. And when I graduated the first person I met in my industry was Jack LaLanne and he gave me my first start on television in 1981. So, I started on his show and we hit it off so well, and I became his co-host with him and his wife, Elaine … Elaine LaLanne,” she laughs. ”My mom used to do Jack’s show when I was a little girl, so I kind of always looked up to him and when I got the chance to meet him I was so excited.”
The DVDs you put out have subject matters such as weight loss, body sculpting, toning, pregnancy exercise and waistline reduction, but which topic has been the closest to home for you personally and did you aid yourself by watching/using your OWN tapes!? ”Funny thing you should mention that, but just recently my husband turned on an old video tape of me doing a show I did on the ‘Today Show’ in 1984 and my hair was totally different which was the funniest part,” she laughs. ”But Yoga has made a difference in my life in the last seven years. It’s just a great way to relieve stress and I love the stretching aspect of Yoga as well as toning. I feel like you’re getting two workouts for one with Yoga. You’re getting flexible and strong all at the same time. So, if I had to pick one that’s made a change for me in my personal life, it would be Yoga.”
You’ve said before that working out with your version of Pilates was a lot more beneficial for you than a daily workout at the gym on all that machinery. Is that really true? ”Yes, and I still believe that, because Pilates has a focus on the center of your body, your core. And it kind of brings me full circle too, because in gymnastics I trained with sit-ups and certain ab exercises to be able to hold a handstand. So Pilates is kinda the same way I trained and warmed up as a kid. Pilates is great also because it really focuses on keeping your back healthy and I tell everyone: Your spine is your lifeline. Keep it healthy and keep it strong.”
‘Yoga Buns’ and ‘Fat Blasting Yoga’ are the two newest (re-released on DVD for the first time) titles from you – explain more about them and what people can achieve from watching them ”I took those Yoga moves to the next level for ‘Yoga Buns.’ I kind of designed this work-out by creating The Warrior and all the different moves that really help shape your buns and I took it to the next level. I created other exercises like a hybrid of Yoga plus toning to really target the buns. I always tell people that the rear end is the last thing that leaves the room. So leave a good lasting impression. I just think you can tell a body that’s in shape if they have a good, tight looking rear end.”
You’ve been labeled, on your own web site also, as ‘America's #1 motivator’ …. is this an easy claim to live with?! ”Oh, of course it is,” she laughs. ”My mission in life is try and get people charged up about this as I think people need to spice up a little new energy in their life and I think exercise is one of the best ways. And perhaps, what I’m trying to tell people is that you can do it, and you can feel good.”
Does there come a point – age-related or otherwise – where you’ll give the genre up and concentrate on another one less strenuous for that point in time? ”Well, I have two daughters and I really wanna do a whole program for kids to get them in shape. I’ve been appointed on the President’s Council of Physical Fitness & Sports and we know that our American youth needs to be in better shape and I really want to travel to schools all over our nation. I want to improve the quality of the PE and bring it back to schools. That’s what I think is kind of my next mission in life.”
Fast Fun Five:
1)Describe yourself in three words ”Energetic, sincere and Mom.”
2)Craziest/Silliest thing ever done … or at least, recently! ”Oh, yeah, probably at a wedding! I did a hand-stand with a long dress on and the whole long dress, when I did the hand-stand, completely draped down and exposed me,” she laughs. ”But, my husband quickly grabbed, and saved me.”
3)Standing naked in front of the mirror, which part of your body could still do with a ‘little work’?! ”It’s always my outer thighs. If I do kinda start to over eat and have more food than I should - because I LOVE to eat – I notice it on my outer thighs.”
4)And would you watch one of your own work-out DVDs to cure that?! ”Oh, of course I do! As soon as I see it, I jump right up and do my work-out.”
5)Do you ever watch anybody else’s work-out DVDs? ”Funny thing, I never have. I’ve been in the industry for twenty years and I’ve never watched them. Can you believe that? I just don’t wanna be influenced or anything. I’m my own personality and I stick to it.”
If you could watch any movie tonight, which one would it be? ”Er, ‘Bringing Down The House’,” she laughs. ”I just wanted to see that with my kids,” she laughs again. ”I loved watching with my daughter’s ‘Legally Blonde’ – that’s the BEST DVD! I can’t wait for the new one.”
Favorite CD to either sit back and relax with or get up and dance to? ”I just got the new John Hiatt and for relaxing I love Norah Jones. It’s very relaxing. And Enya for Yoga.”
Finally, what’s the most interesting thing to know about Denise Austin?! ”That I love to hang out on my couch with my kids and eat junk food,” she laughs. ”Oh, and I love coffee ice cream,” she laughs again for the final time.
Interviewed By Russell A. Trunk
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