Mother and daughter fitness experts join forces to help expand each other’s vision.
Photographed by Jeff Berting
Katie Austin opens the door to her family’s gorgeous Hermosa Beach residence with a smile—her mother, health and fitness guru Denise Austin, standing by her side. Bubbling over with an enthusiastic and vivacious energy, the ladies are both incredibly fit and super-friendly. It’s easy to see how this pair has resonated so well with their multitude of fans.
With 30 years of experience and a level of success that includes starring in her own television show, authoring 12 books and selling more than 24 million exercise videos and DVDs, Denise has become a staple in America’s fitness industry. And now her daughter Katie is looking to follow in her footsteps.
“Being that I did television all those years, I would bring my daughters to film on location, and Katie always gravitated to being on with me,” Denise says.
But Katie also gravitated to sports, landing a spot on USC’s Division I women’s lacrosse team. While on Trojan Vision, however, Katie found herself once again drawn to television and decided to make a change.
“While I was a Division I athlete, it was almost impossible to think about anything else. So my sophomore year, I quit lacrosse and decided to get started on what I wanted to do for my career,” Katie explains.
Since then, she started her own website, getfitwithkatie.com, and has worked on group projects with her mother and mentor. “We’re building our career together, but she also has her own vision, which is cool because is so different now from when I started,” Denise says. “It used to be all about television, video and DVDs, and now the world has changed to online. She understands that area.”
With virtually her entire career’s work accessible on her site, deniseaustin.com, Denise has transitioned her outreach from television to online. “My mom teaches me everything I’d ever need to know about fitness, and I teach her about the digital world,” Katie explains.
Through their own individual platforms, the ladies target their correlating markets. “I focus on teen girls and college girls,” says Katie. “I’m all about self love and confidence. I also focus a lot on bullying and online bullying. It goes beyond fitness as well, because teens struggle with so much.”
Denise, on the other hand, focuses on women 40 and over. “They grew up with me,” she says with a smile.
But it’s the mother/daughter workouts that people seem to gravitate to the most. “We’ve done the Today show and The Doctors, and people love it,” says Denise.
With family so clearly at the epicenter of the Austin household, the holidays (and all of the indulgences that come with them) may seem counterproductive to maintaining an inspirationally toned physique. But the ladies take these celebratory months in stride.
“We have a big family, and I love to cook. I just try to make sure I’m getting a well-balanced amount of veggies and good healthy foods in,” Denise explains.
Part of that includes utilizing a trick from her book Side Effect: Skinny. “I make skinny mashed potatoes. Instead of sour cream and high-fat milk, I use a little non-fat milk with a touch of chicken stock for flavor.”
At holiday parties, Denise suggests “having water in between your drinks. And don’t stand near the appetizers; you don’t realize how much you’re eating.”
For Katie, it’s all about moderation. “The holidays only come once a year. If you indulge, just make sure you’re back on track the next day and that you’re working out hard leading up.”
With a cast list that includes singing politicians, cheeky celebrities and dancing elves, JibJab’s side-splitting videos and greeting cards have been welcome additions to the inbox for a decade. Gregg and Evan Spiridellis started the entertainment company in 1999 out of a garage in Brooklyn.