You may have heard of Thighmaster fitness instructor Denise Austin, but her daughter Katie Austin is a fitness force in her own right.  Given her mom’s job, Katie Austin says that health and exercise have always been a part of her life. Now, Austin works as a personal trainer and model, and works hard at spreading her message of positive body image and self-acceptance.

She sat down with Thrive to talk about her favorite simple tricks to sneak in movement throughout the day, how to regain motivation after a fitness lull, and her go-to healthy meals. 

Thrive Global: What is your morning routine? How do you set your day up for success?

Katie Austin: My morning routine is pretty simple. First, I chug a glass of water. Then, I visualize what I’m supposed to do that day, and drink a cup of coffee. Then I answer emails. I make sure to prioritize things that are most important first — that is key so I don’t get stressed out throughout the day. Then, I work out in the morning — working out in the morning really sets you up for success for the day.

TG:  What is your fitness philosophy?

KA: Simplicity! My fitness philosophy is something that is practical for my lifestyle because fitness goals that are way too out there, may not be achievable. Be practical!  

TG: Have you ever fallen off the fitness wagon?

KA: Yes! After I played Division 1 sports back in college, I didn’t know what to do without a coach. I felt lost. I had a routine in place from my coach back then, but after college, it was difficult keeping as fit. It took me a year to figure it all out.

TG: How do you get re-inspired when you have a lull?

KA: Setting new goals — smaller, attainable goals are key. I think what always helps is to write down your goal or a goal date. Also, if you surround yourself with people who inspire you, that’ll keep you up.

TG: What advice do you have for people who want to get back to the gym, but find fitness overwhelming?

KA: Just start. You can always progress over time. You don’t have to overdo it in the beginning; just keep it simple. You can even start by committing to a 10-15 minute workout each day, or even just decide to take more walks — you can go up and advance yourself from there.

TG: Are there ways to sneak in movement throughout the day, other than the obvious? 

KA: Absolutely! 10 minutes of little things can definitely add up here and there. It could be something as simple as taking the stairs versus an elevator, and walking to work instead of getting in your car/bus, etc. Also, you can totally throw in 20 squats at your work or school desk — that will add up.

TG: How has your personal fitness routine evolved?  

KA: A ton. At first I was a Division 1 athlete doing my workouts, but once I graduated college it completely changed. And it was fun to switch things up; switching things around can help keep you going  and stay consistent with your workouts.

TG: What is your go to healthy meal?


Breakfast: Two poached eggs on toast with avocado

Lunch: Salad with quinoa

Snack: Hummus with carrots, or apples with almond butter

Dinner: Rice, chicken, zucchini, and broccoli

TG: What are some easy food swaps?

KA: Healthy pasta alternatives are really popular right now — and delicious. I love zoodles (zucchini noodles) instead of regular pasta. Instead of regular rice, cauliflower rice is an amazing substitute. Also instead of frying your French fries — bake them! They’re just as good.

TG: What are some ways to avoid snacking/grazing?

KA: That is a hard one, but I would say to not mindlessly eat and not have too many snacks around you — especially at your work desk. Staying hydrated really helps, actually, and adding stuff to water is great, and makes it not boring — like fresh fruit or something with flavor.

TG: Any solutions for stress eating?

KA: It’s so natural to find yourself doing this — so many of us stress eat — you’re human. But, keep yourself busy — go for a walk instead. If you are hungry, definitely eat! However, don’t confuse your being thirsty and stressed for being hungry.

TG: What are some easy, small things we can do to improve our nutrition?

KA: Cooking at home! When you think about it, it’s really hard to eat clean if you are always eating out or ordering takeout. And cooking doesn’t have to be difficult at all — stick with four to five ingredient options. It’s super easy to make five ingredient bowls. Nothing too crazy is needed to make a healthy and tasty meal. I recommend meal prep and making things at home to really improve nutrition.

TG: What are the benefits of stretching?  Are there a couple stretches that can energize us if we are feeling the morning or mid-day slump?

KA: Everyone forgets to do this, but this is so important! I had to learn how to take 10 minutes out of my day to stretch. It helps my stress levels, too. I feel calm and relax. 

TG: How do we move more and sit less?

KA: My mom, Denise Austin, always says, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Start with some simple things that you can use at work or school. Some alternatives could be: asking for a standing desk or bringing an exercise ball to use whenever you have a few minutes. Also, while you are on conference calls during the day, try squats! Multitasking is key.

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

KA: That is a tough one — I am still working on it, for sure. Do your most important tasks of the day first and also remind yourself that not everything can be done in a day sometimes — even I have to realize that. If you can’t get things done first, Timeblock your schedule.

It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to take some things off your plate when you are feeling overwhelmed. It’s OK to have people surround you, as well. You have to realize that your health and happiness are the most important thing to prioritize at the end of the day.

TG: What are a couple quick and easy ways we can encourage our family to be healthier?

KA: Challenge each other! Challenge one of your friends with a small fitness goal and keep each other accountable. Sharing fun recipes with each other can definitely be encouraging too.  

TG: How do you stay focused?

KA: It can be hard to stay focused sometimes, because there will be time periods where you won’t always feel motivated. I don’t want to work out every day. Once you make it a habit, you stick to it. It’s a part of what you do already. Staying focused is setting new goals all the time. Always get involved in new projects.

TG: How do you stay hydrated? 

KA: I have a water bottle that reminds me of where I should be in the day, and it really does always help me to keep myself hydrated.

TG: How do you sleep? What is your winddown routine?

KA: Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. I go to bed around 11 and wake up around 7. Sleep is the most important thing to have a successful day. My workout sucks if I don’t get a good night’s sleep.

Also, my absolute favorite wind-down routine is my skincare. I have a pretty strict skin care regimen. When I do my skin care routine, it really does wind me down, because to me, it is so calming and therapeutic.

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