Denise Austin is a pioneer in the exercise and sports industry. A five-foot-four-inch dynamo, she has sold more than 20 million exercise videos and DVDs, authored more than 10 books on fitness, and starred in the longest running fitness show in the history of television.
Denise's trademark zest for life, positive outlook, and can-do attitude have endeared her to millions of fans across the country — and around the world — and earned her the reputation as "America's favorite fitness expert." A multimedia talent, Denise is a top-selling author and a highly sought-after speaker and TV personality. Her upbeat energy and unique ability to make people feel that she's right there with them, cheering them on, have inspired the millions who watch her on television, read her books, or follow her videos and DVDs.
A native of San Pedro, Calif., Denise started gymnastics at the age of 12 and earned an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Arizona. In 1979, she graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education, with an emphasis on exercise physiology. She began her career teaching aerobic exercise classes in the Los Angeles area and went on to cohost the The Jack LaLanne Show in 1981. (Denise considers the late Jack LaLanne one of her role models, and remained great friends with the fitness legend until his death in 2011.) In 1982, she earned her own television program on KABC in Los Angeles and released her first two workout videos, Rock Aerobics and Rock Hard Abs. From 1984 to 1988, she was the fitness expert on NBC's Today Show.
During more than 25 years promoting health and fitness, Denise has created 85 workout videos or DVDs. Her enormous number of sales led to her 2003 induction into the Video Hall of Fame. Her latest workout DVDs include 2010's Shrink Your Fat Zones Pilates and Quick Burn Cardio (Lionsgate), and her new book, Get Energy!, was released in January 2011.
On television, Denise has created a loyal audience with her two major television shows: Getting Fit, which ran for 10 years on ESPN, and continued on under the new name Denise Austin's Daily Workout, when it moved to the Lifetime Television Network. Daily Workout and a second Denise Austin show, Fit & Lite, both appeared on Lifetime through March 2008. Denise can currently be seen every morning on The Balancing Act on Lifetime, which premiered in January 2011.
In addition to her role as a popular spokeswoman for such major brands as Idaho Potatoes and Nature Made, Denise has championed the benefits of heart health and good nutrition throughout her career. She is serving her second term on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, a position she was first appointed to by George W. Bush in 2002. She has also testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and helped launch the new food guidance system of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (mypyramid.gov) her contributions to heart health were honored by Woman's Day magazine and the American Heart Association when she was presented with the Red Dress Award in February 2008.
Denise has been married for more than 25 years to Jeff Austin, a sports attorney and brother of tennis champ Tracy Austin. They have two teenage daughters, Kelly and Katie.
Photographs by Hilmar Meyer-Bosse