Maranda Pleasant: Any tips on slimming down for working moms? What are a few ways we can incorporate movement and fitness into our busy, everyday lives?
Denise Austin: Motherhood is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs a woman can have and a lot of the women today have a full-time jobs that they need to tend to as well, which makes it seem extremely difficult to have a consistent workout routine — but I am telling you that you can!
The minimum daily requirement to keep muscles in tip top shape is 10 minutes. Every morning, I get up 10 minutes early and do a few sets of targeted exercises to get my blood flowing and wake those muscles up and bring more oxygen into my body, which gives me more energy.
You are your own architect of your body and posture is an essential element of your health and work on being present and aware of your posture wherever you are. If you are commuting to work or sitting at your desk tighten your tummy for 10 seconds and then release, this simple action is equivalent to one sit-up.
Another thing that I do to sneak exercise into my busy work schedule is to have a set of 3 pound weights at my desk and while I am on the phone I will do shoulder rolls, tricep and bicep curls throughout the day.
Invest in a standing desk at the office. Standing burns twice as many calories as sitting and is great for your circulation, prevents varicose veins and improves your posture. An alternative to the standing desk is to replace your office chair with an exercise ball that will have you focus on your posture and activate your abs while doing your work.
MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? How do you handle emotional pain?
DA: The most vulnerable I have ever felt was when I lost my mom. My mom and I were close and she meant the world to me. To lose someone who raised you your entire life and has been one of your strongest rocks, is an indescribable feeling and the most emotionally painful thing I have gone through.
To get through the emotional pain of losing my mom, my siblings and I, (I’m one of 5), spend a lot of time together and to this day we are in constant contact with each other. My mom gave us the legacy of the importance of always having family come first and I live this every single day along with the rest of my family.
MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?
DA: Fitness is one of the best ways to counteract the stresses and anxiety of life. One of my go to practices is yoga. I have been practicing yoga for 20 years and it has helped me stay grounded and centered through the chaotic events that have been put in front of me. Whether it be running from the office or a meeting to shoot a live segment for television, or having a large unexpected group of friends show up at the house I have learned to take everything in stride, keep calm, and keep moving forward.
I attribute my ability to keep myself centered to fitness and a true foundation of knowing who I am. Exercise releases endorphins that are the happy hormones that make you feel good after a workout and help you focus at the task rather than being swept up into the chaos.
MP: What have been some of your biggest lessons so far in life?
DA: While I was growing up my father taught me that the harder you work the luckier you get and that is one of the best pieces of advice I have received and believe in.
MP: What is it that you do that allows you to have the wonderful relationships that you have with your daughters and husband?
DA: I have learned to truly listen to my children and maintain an open line of communication. Focusing on this has not always been easy, but has allowed me to form beautiful relationships with my daughters and we have developed a great deal of trust between each other. My husband and I have been happily married for 30 years and our relationship keeps getting better with age. I have such a high amount of respect for my husband and he makes me want to be a better version of myself.
MP: What truth do you know for sure?
DA: A healthy lifestyle that consists of exercise, eating right, a positive attitude and outlook on life and cherishing the people around you keeps you young. I feel great at 58.
MP: What has been important to you in raising healthy daughters?
DA: I am fortunate to have a great bond with both of my daughters and we truly care and enjoy each other’s company. It is always a treat when we get the chance to spend time together and talk about what is going on in each other’s lives and be completely honest with each other. A healthy and constructive relationship with your children is essential and develops their confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, outlook on life and gives them the tools to be successful in their endeavors and relationships with others.
Another important aspect that my husband and I instilled in our children is self-discipline and respect for others by having them involved in sports. My husband Jeff received an athletic scholarship for tennis and I got a scholarship for gymnastics. Both of our daughters played and were involved in various team sports and they each got lacrosse scholarships to the colleges of their choosing. Having them play sports helped them build their self-discipline
MP: Tell me if you have a yoga or mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life?
DA: I love yoga and started teaching it on television 18 years ago on my Lifetime show “Fit n Lite.” I practice yoga 3 times a week and one of the things I like about it the most is that it teaches you to stay balanced and breathe into each posture (especially the difficult ones). Yoga puts my mind at ease, keeps me balanced, stretches, and tones my muscles. I believe that everyone can benefit from practicing yoga and I have several videos on my website and in my programs that people can follow to ease them into the practice.
MP: Tell me about your latest projects.
DA: I have a 10-week, 360° Plan on my website DeniseAustin.com that helps women lose up to 25 pounds in ten weeks. The plan includes a yummy variety of recipes to choose from that will aid you in eating clean and getting you in shape. Each day there is a different area that the workout focuses on (along with some built in rest days) and each builds upon the other helping you progress over the ten weeks and I also send motivational videos to keep you on track!
Photos: Keith Munyan