It’s that time of year to keep those fitness resolutions (if you made any). Check out my 2012 interview feature with one of the best fitness experts out there along with our good friend Jen Wallace.
Denise Austin wants to keep you fit in many ways including her two DVDs titled Shape Up and Shed Pounds and Sculpt & Burn Body Blitz from Lionsgate. Shape Up and Shed Pounds features full body workouts, especially for beginners, including a 30-minute low-impact cardio workout and a 20-minute stretching and toning workout (mat recommended).
Fitness fans trying for Denise’s trademark abdominal muscles can also try her Sculpt & Burn Body Blitz DVD, which features mixed martial arts, kettlebell-inspired exercises, and cardio sculpting. Both DVDs have a music only option. Austin’s website features her online program, which includes 15 online tools, including custom meal/fitness plans, recipes, message boards, online journal, and Denise’s blog.
Austin recently agreed to answer my questions about her various fitness experiences, her television show on Lifetime, and the DVDs.
With a daily TV audience on Lifetime you can reach a steady number of viewers to help their overall health. In shorter appearances, how do you get your health messages across quickly without overwhelming audiences and yourself?
I feel like when I am on TV, even if it’s for four minutes, I am trying to remind people to make health a priority. So every time I am on TV, I am spreading the message of “Come on, you can do it! You will feel better. Get out that DVD, go for a walk, do something that’s going to help your overall health as well as your attitude and you will just feel better.” I just want to be a constant reminder to people to improve their health.
How do you feel physiology has changed over the years?
Nothing has really changed in physiology. We have the same number of bones and muscles. It’s the science we use to test diseases that has evolved. Because of scientific tests, we know how physical fitness is the key to the prevention of so many different diseases. We now know cardio works to help condition your heart. We have advanced in science. Fitness and food choices are so important for prevention of disease. This is one of the reasons why I created the Shape Up and Shed Pounds DVD, to help people develop a healthy lifestyle at any age.
How do you incorporate your love for exercise and your long-standing physical activities, like in gymnastics, in each DVD?
Because I was a gymnast since I was a little girl, a lot of moves, especially balancing moves from Pilates which all stem from your core…it just became natural to me to incorporate some gymnastic core ideas into my DVDs. For example, a handstand uses the same core muscles you would use in Pilates. The basis for Pilates is truly the core so in every DVD, I try to emphasize those core muscles. It’s mainly about posture but I try to reflect and teach people, that it is even more than just posture but how you carry yourself – stand up tall and pull your tummy in. I try to remind people about good form, good technique and that all came from my training in gymnastics. Mainly the way I present the stretches and the movements with proper alignment, that’s what carries over to my DVDs, not the flips.
My new Shape Up and Shed Pounds DVD is perfect for everyone who wants to stay in shape and work on their heart, because heart disease is the number one killer for men and women. This DVD involves low impact moves, no jumping, no jarring to the joints and it’s easy on the body, especially the back, but it’s still fun and keeps your heart rate up making it a great cardio workout.
How do you inspire and pass on your health communications and tips to your wide audiences as well as individuals on a personal level?
I like to teach, I love to motivate, and I am a teacher first and foremost. Because I love people and am a little older, a little wiser and relate to more people now, I understand their issues and needs. I have seen so many people exercise over the years and my experience allows me to be a little more specific with my comments about how to achieve and maintain good technique.
Do you mainly take a retrospective look into your past home video library before planning a new DVD or do you focus on current exercise needs and current stages in your life instead?
I focus on current exercise needs, what is hot, what are the trends, where are we going to be in 6 months from now for fitness, etc. I want to always evolve and always stay current and that’s why I travel so much and learn from different parts of the country about what they are doing to stay healthy. I also take into consideration the current stage in my life, but not too much. I am making sure what I am doing is still relevant but also appeals to my audience. I reach out to millions of people through my website, and to the people who read my emails every day, and I ask them what kind of exercise DVD they want from me. So I am listening to the people who are Denise Austin fans. And of course, I do look at what DVDs I have done in the past three years, so as not to repeat myself, but most importantly, it is what my fans want and where fitness is headed that guides these decisions.
How do you combat unhealthy nutrition trends like the current 24/7 eating habits and help people resist temptations?
To know that you will feel better when you eat better. You feel like you are doing something good for your body when you eat healthy. And to see success if you are eating healthy and losing weight is a great motivator. I get wonderful letters from people who have lost inches, and I believe that success breeds success for yourself. Even losing just three pounds, people see a difference in their body.
What are some of your favorite drinks and food?
I like to drink lots of water with squeezes of lemon in it and I take a pitcher of water and put cucumbers in it and I have it in the refrigerator as my go to drink to stay healthy. I love red wine! I love to have a glass with my husband at dinners, not every single night, but on occasions and not a whole bottle, just a glass or two. I love Mexican food. I love guacamole and chips. I love good, healthy food like salmon and arugula salad. I don’t sit and eat kale all day long, I do let myself enjoy the foods I love but in moderation and I have learned how to balance it out. During the weekdays I try to eat very healthy, well-balanced meals and then on the weekend I really enjoy myself. When we go out to dinner I do not even think about how many calories certain foods are going to be, I plan for it by eating well during the week. I found that balance is key – you can eat, but you need to exercise!
What are some of your favorite family fitness activities?
We play tennis together as a family all the time. Tennis is huge in our family because of my husband’s background in tennis and that love for tennis has carried on through generations. I also love walking, especially on the beach, and I love to go hiking.
What are some of your future projects?
I am continually preaching fitness and spreading the word about keeping people healthy through my DVDs. I am working on a new book and some new TV ideas. My workouts are also featured on the new YouTube fitness channel BeFit with Lionsgate.
© Michael Siebenaler