Female Fitness Force: Denise Austin, The Mother of At-Home Fitness

She has been a staple in many basements and living rooms for over three decades, using her trademark can-do attitude and enthusiasm to inspire women (and men) to get in front of a TV in workout gear, ready to tone, strengthen, and burn fat with her. You most likely know her by name, you probably grew up with her too: Denise Austin, world-renowned fitness instructor, author, entrepreneur, and THE Mother of At-Home Fitness.

A pioneer in her field, Denise became known to advocate for traditional methods of staying fit, and through her fitness classes, TV shows, VHS tapes/DVDs, and books, which collectively sold more than 24 million copies, encouraged her fans to avoid fads and instead follow a “balanced program of proper nutrition and regular exercise” to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Her tone hasn’t changed and she carries on this same message today. Through her personal website, DeniseAustin.com, and the power of social media, she continues to help women stay in shape naturally and conveniently.

 

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So, what motivates this living fitness legend to keep going all these years? Denise says, “I am constantly grateful and motivated by knowing I am helping others. My family and friends are also an ongoing motivation for me. I have always worked out not because of weight, but because I know how great I will feel afterwards. My outlook has always been to stay optimistic and upbeat regardless of age.”

Her level of success comes with many rewards. But what does she find most rewarding? “I have enjoyed feeling very approachable to women, being in their living rooms for years, I am still reminded almost every day how I have helped women stay healthy for decades now.”

She continues, “I have had young girls come up to me expressing their mothers’ love for my workouts, celebrities share their stories of how I have been a part of their lives, and I have people almost every day commenting on social media, sharing their stories of how I have changed their lives for the [better]. It now feels very full circle, especially with my daughter, Katie, continuing my legacy and following my path in the fitness industry. It is rewarding to have nothing but positive attributes to look back at throughout my career.”

 

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The rise to the top is never a smooth ride, even for someone who paved the way like Denise, there are even greater challenges to overcome. What she found most challenging? She explains, “Throughout each decade, I have faced different challenges. When I was first starting my career, I often faced being asked if I was old enough to be on TV, especially as one of the first women on ESPN with a consistent presence. In past years, I have faced the challenge of being older in a young market, and most platforms becoming [digital] has been a unique change. Balancing being a mom and having children has always been a priority throughout my career as well.”

But this loving wife and working mom of two has mastered the challenge of maintaining a work-life balance, although her everyday isn’t always the same. “Every day is about staying active and happy for me. I incorporate workouts into each day, but my typical routine is ever-changing and has altered with each phase of my life. One thing I have kept consistent is being there for my family each day, and making home cooked dinners every night. My husband is also my biggest supporter, and we have always done everything as a team.”

 

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When she’s off camera, she’s like you and me and enjoys “walking with my girlfriends, cooking, and I’m always entertaining family and friends.” Her vice? “A great glass of red wine.”

Just like with any trade, the fitness industry is a dog-eat-dog world. Her words of encouragement to fitness professionals who want to achieve her level of success? “I have always encouraged my daughter Katie, who is following in my fitness footsteps, to be herself, and let her personality shine through. Always love what you do whether it is a career in fitness or any other industry. It is important to try your best for not only your audience but for you.”

At 60+ (Yes! You read it right–60+!!), Denise is still going strong and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. She even serves as the Fitness Ambassador for AARP to help other 60+ members stay healthy and strong.

Whatever age range you fall in, you can get back in the basement or living room and workout (plus more!) with Denise. Visit www.DeniseAustin.com for more information on how.

Photo: via Facebook

Jonaliza D. Ceklic, Fitness Adventurer

Author: Jonaliza D. Ceklic, Fitness Adventurer

Jonaliza is an adventure storyteller who enjoys exploring the great outdoors and sharing stories about these experiences to inspire, give hope and remind people about the magic. When not at play, she works as Community Affairs Manager for NY-based solar developer, Eden Renewables. Her favorite activities include standup paddling, trail running and hiking, hot yoga, playing the djembe drum, and cozying up to a good book, astrophysics being her subject matter of choice.