Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Exercise by Internet: Do Online Videos Work?

Editor Carrie Porter: Heard some news you want us to check out? Let me know: carrie.porter@patch.com

The Workout

The Internet has videos for everything, including some great exercise routines. If you can find them, that is.

I have to confess that I'm all about the legs. Running, biking, spinning: I like the cardio fix. As a result, I tend to overuse my legs and neglect all-over toning. I do yoga and functional training, but only as tools to stave off injuries from my biking and running habits.

But as I stood in front of Gray Boutique the other day, admiring the beautiful arm- and back-bearing sundresses in the display window, I realized that my cardio-only focus has left me unprepared for spring fashions.

Granted, I don't exercise to look pretty. In fact, exercise usually has the opposite effect on me. When I run, my face gets so red that strangers on the street stop to ask if I'm okay. Biking leaves me with helmet marks on my forehead for hours. And after spinning, my hair, which looks limp even when freshly washed, ends up plastered to my head by a layer of sweat. Pretty, it's not.

Looking at those dresses at Gray, I recognized the error of my ways. Suddenly I was jealous of the Pilates devotees and the barre worshippers. They may not get the endorphin kick that comes from a hard run, but they probably look fabulous in summer clothes. My need for an all-over body conditioning routine became clear.

However, the last thing I can handle right now is another activity. Would a personal trainer three times a week get me some fab Michelle Obama-esque arms? Possibly, but that would require both time and money. So, I decided to see if I could buff up a little bit on my own. The question was where to begin.

I've already extolled the virtue of phone apps, and I've turned to the on-demand cable options for some ab workouts in the past. This time I decided to check my laptop, specifically YouTube. With all those videos of cats on treadmills, there had to be some decent arm-toning workouts, right?

It turns out, there are quite a few. About 20,000, in fact, and those were just the upper body ones. Clearly, I needed some better search parameters. I tried narrowing my search for exercises that did not require weights. Then I narrowed it to videos aimed specifically at women.
Still, the options were endless, and a lot of them, quite frankly, were goofy and amateurish. The celebrity trainer workouts, such as those featuring Denise Austin and Jillian Michaels, were more polished, but it took a while to find them, and when I did, it was all I could do to avert my eyes from the idiotic comments that people posted beneath them.

After surfing around for a while, I decided to stick with the videos on BeFit, a YouTube channel that features celebrity trainer workouts. But even then, there were a lot of videos slog through (I'll pass on the Dancing with the Stars workout, thanks), and the ads became annoying. I liked some of the Jillian Michaels workouts, but there were a lot of opportunities for my innate laziness to creep in. Jillian would say “Now do 12 sets of those,” and instead, I'd check my email.

In the end, I decided that while YouTube exercise videos might be great for many people, they just aren't right for me. Instead, I think a subscription service might be a better option, more similar to actually hiring a personal trainer.

One I checked out was The Regimen, which was started by Chicago personal trainer Katie Morse. The videos are structured to go in order, from easy to hard. I'd probably get the most out of the premium membership, but the limited-access membership is free, so I'm going to start with that and see how it goes. In the meantime, I plan to swing by Gray a lot. Hopefully, admiring those summer dresses will keep me motivated.

About this column: Sue Gelber writes about all things fitness in The Workout. You'll find everything exercise-related in this column, from new ways to stay healthy and fit, to staying motivated during the winter, to Sue's stories about training for marathons. Have a question, tip or story idea for Sue? Send her an email or leave a comment.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Denise Austin Gold Leotard

Uploaded by Spandex Stilettos on Mar 23, 2012

No description available.


Denise Austin No Sound 220 - YouTube
Uploaded by empireofdenise on Aug 12, 2009



Denise Austin No Sound 221 - YouTube
Uploaded by empireofdenise on Aug 13, 2009



Denise Austin - YouTube
Uploaded by hakoshi45 on Oct 18, 2008

Aerobics Denise Austin in Nice Gold Leotard and Blue Leggings. RARE CLIP


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Starting a fitness break at work


Vicky Hallett
March 10, 2012

Vicky Hallett reports on how far she has come. Can you see yourself trying something similar? 1. Get the boss on board: Express editor Dan Cacavarro twisted and punched along with Denise Austin but hasn't joined in on our daily routine. It's nice to have his permission, but it'd be even better to have his participation.

2. Survey co-workers: My survey turned up some conflicts. (“I really want to dance.” “Anything but dance.") But everyone seemed to agree that midafternoon was when the break was most needed, which is how we settled on 3. I've also learned you can't completely trust people's responses. The answers helped get the program started, but the better data is coming from watching what people are actually doing.
3. Recruit a team: Copy chief Aimee Goodwin rounds up the troops in the newsroom and runs recess when I'm not in the office. But I would like to recruit a guy to take a leadership role and help make the activities coed. (This is a common problem in other similar programs.)
4. Start small: One of the reasons plank o'clock has been so successful is that you can do it in almost any outfit, and it's scalable. Some people can't hold the pose for the entire 60 seconds  yet. But everyone can join in.
5. But think big: I wanted a showy kickoff, and Denise Austin definitely delivered. Now I wonder how to generate that kind of excitement again and keep the program fresh. We're off to a strong start, but we also have to keep moving forward.

Get the office movingHourly minute of movement: Each hour, everyone in the office stops working to stretch arms overhead, lean side to side, twist at the waist, kick and punch.

Group activity: Establish a break at the same time every day when everyone does the warm-up segment of a workout DVD, goes for a walk or dances to music.

Stand and deliver: Borrow a challenge from the Motley Fool and have everyone stand every time they answer or make a phone call, or write or receive an e-mail.

A workout at work?
The Post’s infographics department tested 12 exercises to see which ones real people could incorporate into a workday. At washingtonpost.com/wellness, see how to do each of these exercises.

In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Denise Austin gets office workers out of their chairs

Vicky Hallett
MisFits Columnist



Video: Fitness guru Denise Austin shows the Express staff how to stay fit while at work.

By Vicky Hallett, Tuesday, March 6, 11:36 AM

Here’s a question I never thought I would ask my boss: “Is it okay for me to bring Denise Austin to our next staff meeting?”

I had invited the fitness guru to the offices of Express to help debut my plans for a daily activity break. My pitch to her was that we’d gotten too glued to our desks in the process of putting out the commuter newspaper owned by The Washington Post and needed encouragement to take “recess.” To my surprise, she said yes. My boss did, too.

Which brings us to a morning in late January, when Austin burst into a conference room and demanded that various people touch her tummy.

Her abs turned out to be quite the icebreaker — and rock-hard, in case you were curious. I’d gotten several skeptical looks, and even a few grumbles, when I’d explained to my co-workers what we’d be doing. But Austin mesmerized the room instantly.

(Marge Ely/MARGE ELY) - Denise Austin leads a stretch at the offices of Express.
She has plenty to say on the subject of exercise at work. Austin, who lives in Alexandria, has been tackling the topic since 1983, when she wrote a pamphlet titled “Tone Up at the Terminals” for the company Verbatim. She might not have the typical desk job, but she travels frequently and can’t be on her feet as often as she’d like. So wherever she is, she makes it count by adding leg lifts and other simple strengthening movements.

That’s not a substitute for a workout, Austin said, and a couple of seconds certainly won’t give you much of a cardio benefit. But a quick stretch and a reminder that you have muscles can boost your mood, clear your head and help prevent some of the damage created by inactivity. “I’m a true believer that sitting still is our enemy,” she said.

It’s great if you’ve hit the gym before work, but that doesn’t absolve you from physical activity throughout the day. “I tell people to think of the day as 16 waking hours,” she said. “To implement fitness for 30 minutes is great, but what are you doing the other 151 / 2 hours?”
Back at Express, the grumbles were all gone. Instead, everyone followed along as Austin showed us how to stretch our arms over our heads and lean from side to side.

We twisted at the waist for some standing core work. We kicked and punched. And we were ready to fight our formerly sedentary ways.

Austin told us, “You’ve got to remind yourself, on the hour, do a minute,” so when I returned to the office later that afternoon, everyone was up with their arms above their heads. I thought I was launching an in-office exercise program, but I’d inadvertently started a cult. “If she’d told us to rob a bank, we would have done it,” said copy editor Adam Sapiro, whom Austin dubbed “Big Guy.”

For the next few days, practically the whole staff jumped out of their seats every hour to follow the moves she’d taught us. People marched through the office when it was time to convene for the daily news meeting. Austinisms became part of the vernacular. One favorite: “If you don’t squeeze your butt, no one else will.”

My most enthusiastic co-workers also helped me establish the 3 p.m. workout, a slightly longer break that involves a wider variety of moves. To get a sense for what people will actually do, we’ve experimented with several formats, including playing the warm-up segments of workout DVDs, going for group walks and cranking up some tunes for an impromptu dance party. The most successful innovation so far seems to be announcing that it’s “plank o’clock,” which means it’s time to gather in one corner of the office, select a motivational song, get down on the ground and hold the pose for a minute.

But a month after that staff meeting, it’s impossible not to notice that the initial zeal has worn off. People are still stretching fairly regularly, but it’s gotten tough to persuade them to step away from their cubicles and offices to do anything more than that. So the quest for the best recess activity continues.

Or maybe I can convince Austin to come back.


This article also appeared in The Columbia Daily Tribune (3/12/12) under the headline "Denise Austin helps employees get active on an exercise break,".

Denise Austin on staying fit in the workplace (1:07)

Mar. 6, 2012 - Fitness guru Denise Austin shows the Express staff how to stay fit while at work.
(Pratik Shah)



Friday, March 2, 2012

Workout: Denise Austin wants you to get moving

Healthy Life magazine

Body. Mind. Spirit.

Power Play

By Larissa Lytwyn/HealthyLife

What keeps fitness guru Denise Austin going after more than 30 years in the business? “I’ve never been afraid to jump right in!” the petite powerhouse laughs. With the same honey-blonde hair and smooth skin she sported a decade ago, it might come as a surprise that Austin is turning 55 this year. The explanation may be a seemingly endless supply of positive energy and an even stronger sense of self. Austin was never someone other than who she was — a naturally athletic, effervescent California girl who caught the fitness bug in the late 1970s and never looked back.

What Austin advocates — a combination of dance, yoga, mixed martial arts and old-school aerobics — reflects virtually every cross-training trend out there. Yet, underneath it all, not much has changed. “It’s about getting off the couch and doing basic, cardio-blasting moves,” Austin says. Whether kettlebell-inspired or ballet-driven, the principles of the workouts — incorporating jumping jacks, squats and lunges — are basically the same as the Jane Fonda moves of the early ’80s.

Austin’s biggest inspiration was mentor and friend Jack LaLanne, the industry’s first mass media fitness pioneer who started his popular TV fitness show in the 1950s. “He was before his time,” Austin says.

She met LaLanne while he was out for dinner at the same restaurant. “I just went up to him, introduced myself and said, ‘I love you! My mom works out to your tapes! I’ll be on your show!’” Austin says. “You should never be afraid to jump in. You get the confidence, and you just do it!”

Austin found great success on the Jack LaLanne Show, serving as co-host in 1981. She stayed closely in touch with the fitness legend over the decades, until his death last January, at age 96. “I gave a speech in his honor at his (memorial) service,” Austin says.

In between, Austin carved out a fitness career that surely made her mentor proud. In 2003, she was inducted into the Video Hall of Fame for creating — at that point — 85 workout videos or DVDs. In the nearly 10 years since, Austin has released about a dozen more, including, most recently, Sculpt & Burn Body Blitz and Denise Austin: Shape Up & Shed Pounds, which came out in December.

The focus of Sculpt & Burn is high-intensity cross-training. “It’s a very powerful workout involving mixed martial arts, athletic conditioning and kettle-bell inspired moves,” Austin says. The DVD provides a choice of 10-minute mini-workouts, including mixed martial arts, athletic conditioning (classic sports drills and interval training), kettlebell-inspired and cardio sculpt (dance-based moves), eventually building up into a longer routine. The DVD also includes a specialized 30-day workout program in which people can see results in weeks thanks to specific combinations of mini-workout routines.

Shape Up & Shed Pounds, in contrast, is aimed mostly toward beginners or people coming off an injury. The workout is comprised of a 30-minute low-impact cardio routine that incorporates power walking, kicks and even the mambo, all leading to a fitter physique. The 20-minute portion that follows focuses on plank variations and core exercises. And, of course, a thorough warm-up and cool-down precedes and completes both.

Through the years, Austin has seen fitness trends come and go. (One thing she won’t release anytime soon is a stripper-pole video.) But if you think she’s someone who exercises for hours on end to keep her slender build (and insanely youthful vitality) in check, think again. “I mix it up during my 30-minute workouts, never try to do anything twice,” Austin says. “Some days I’ll do a little yoga. Or maybe it’ll be some cardio from Sculpt & Burn. Or it will be a yoga/pilates combination. But it’s just to get that heart rate up, get that metabolism burning.” She also says she has never had a stitch of plastic surgery. Austin is proud to be all-natural, 30 years after her career started.

She is particularly fond of yoga for its meditative soul-calming benefits. It’s the focus of several of her workout DVDs, including her personal favorite, Hot Body Yoga, which incorporates light weights into basic yoga moves such as Sun Salutation and Downward Dog. “You know, I had a foundation when I was young and was a gymnast as a little girl, and it just grew from there,” Austin says. “You learn a lot over the years, and you learn how to incorporate the new, but the foundation has gotta be there. Eat moderately, exercise moderately, and you will have success.”

And her top secret for staying so youthful-looking? “Dance and stretch and move as if you were 25 again,” Austin laughs, “and you will be.”

Photo courtesy of Denise Austin.

Posted in Body, General, HealthyLife [March 2012]


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Record Number of Attendees at the Annual USC Women's Conference

By Kayla Colin
Thursday, March 1, 2012 | 4:50 p.m. PST

The fourth annual USC Women's Conference, "Inspired and Empowered: Moving Forward!" was held Thursday and featured a line-up of speakers including fitness expert Denise Austin, ABC7 reporter Subha Ravindhran and Hollwywood fashion and beauty correspondent Christien Schwab.

The conference had over 800 women attend-- a record number in the event's history.

For the past three years, the USC Women’s Conference has brought together more than 1,600 USC alumnae, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends and provided them with programs concerning professional development, women’s health, personal wellness and financial strategies.

Panel discussions, interactive workshops and facilitated networking activities all were used to promote connections to USC, strengthen and build personal and professional networks, and to teach attendees new strategies for success various aspects of life.

The conference is held by the USC Alumni Association and is one of their most popular signature events, according to their website. The presenting sponsor this year was Bank of America.

Workshops and panel discussions covered a range of topics including women's health, career development, leadership and financial strategies.