Are you looking for an energetic workout that invigorates not only your body, but your attitude as well? Then you'll love Part 3 of my workout guru review series, focusing on Denise Austin. This lovely lady has been working out on TV since her ESPN show back in the 1980s. She is always perky - this is great if you're in the mood, annoying if you're not (although her enthusiasm tends to be contagious, so even if her cheerfulness is grating at first, by the end of the show you'll be sounding "Amen" to her positive assertions, like "You're worth it!"). What I love about Denise's workouts is that many of them were filmed in some tropical paradise-type location, and so when I'm trapped in the house on a blizzardy day, doing one of her DVDs makes me feel like I'm in sunny Mexico instead.


As far as difficulty goes, I'd say that most of her fare is beginner level, especially since many programs are only 20-30 minutes. However, I do like that many of them use interval training techniques (alternating aerobics songs and lifting hand weights). I think that, as with Kathy Smith, her choreography tends to be brief, so you do the same thing a lot over and over again. This is partly so that you can really get the hang of it and work it, and also so that you're doing targeted toning moves. This is a good thing in those ways, but it can get a bit boring if you've done the video before and like the challenge of adding on to a routine. Personally, I think only Jane Fonda's songs have been dancy enough for me to momentarily forget I'm exercising.

Denise Austin, like her counterparts, offers a wide variety of DVDs, fromPilates to Yoga to Aerobics, etc. I really like her Hit the Spot series since most have 10-minute segments that you can use for a warm-up to, say, a long walk outside. Her Daily Dozen toning moves work this way as well. Or, if I want a day off from cardio to give my joints a break, I'll do all the segments to make a 1-hour or so toning session for that workout.

As I said before, Denise's positive affirmations can get repetitive ("Your spine is your lifeline; keep it healthy, keep it strong" is said in numerous videos). However, it's also great to hear her say that you deserve a pat on the back because you "overcame procrastination and did something good for yourself." That's the kind of attitude that keeps the people-pleasing, external rewards-loving part of me coming back for more.

Also, on a side note, I feel like I can relate to Denise Austin because she's petite, and I figure if she can stay thin even without a model's extra inches of height to help out, then maybe I can do the same with my short self.

Denise has her own Website now ( where you can sign up for a dieting and exercise program. I haven't tried that, but I do like getting her emails (called The Morning Stretch - sign up at Everyday Health: with recipes, thoughts for the day, and answers to common exercise questions. My family loves her Western Scramble and Double-A Applesauce Muffins!

Denise Austin also strikes me as a credible lead to follow because she advocates gradual lifestyle change and transformation of the whole person, body, mind, and spirit.