Denise Austin

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Qualifications: Consultant to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Author of two books on the subject of good nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Personal History: My mom and dad were involved in athletics. My earliest recollection is, at the age of five years, I developed a love for cartwheels, ballet, and the trampoline. At twelve, I was competing nationally and internationally with a gymnastics team. That set my course. After graduation from college with a degree in exercise physiology, I started my own company setting up fitness programs at corporations and health clubs. With my background in gymnastics, I took to aerobics with great gusto! My start on television began with the Jack LaLanne show and, shortly after that, I landed my very own fitness program on KABC in Los Angeles. This later brought me to my very successful national TV show on ESPN, 'Getting Fit With Denise Austin.' In 1982, I met Jeff Austin, a sports attorney, and we were married a year later. He is the most wonderful, supportive husband in the whole world and we have two beautiful daughters, Kelly and Katie.

Workout Philosophy: I feel passionately that everyone deserves to feel good and embrace life. I try to encourage people to feel good about themselves, to improve their self-esteem, to believe in their abilities, and to take action and control of their lives. If a half-hour daily exercise workout cannot be scheduled, increase energy levels and reduce stress in small ways. Sit or stand tall, take deep breaths, and expand the capacity of the lungs. Take a water break. Try a brisk 5-minute walk, it really gets the oxygen flowing! Stretch the arms, massage the fingers. It will revitalize and even enhance concentration. Energy is the ultimate commodity.

Success Story: I was really moved by a letter I received from Iowa. The writer, Brenda, said she was terribly lonely, fat and miserable. She began watching my show and was drawn to my high spirits. My energy inspired her to take action. So far, she has safely and successfully lost 71 pounds with approximately 50 more to go. She knows she can do it, because I inspired her to think she was worth it. She thanked me for making something so difficult so much fun.

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