The story behind how Denise Austin met her future husband, Jeff, couldn’t be more fitting for the workout instructor. The two, who have been married for almost 30 years, met in 1981 at a fitness studio where Denise was teaching and Jeff, a former professional tennis player, was practicing with his sister, Tracy. The manager introduced the two and they have been together since. (Cute, right?) We asked the world-renowned fitness expert, who just launched a new book, Side Effect: Skinny, how she and her husband stay fit and her tips for a healthy relationship.
You and Jeff both have busy schedules. How do you make time for fitness and quality time together?
We like to mix it up and do different activities together. We play tennis, go on bike rides. We work out together in the morning, before kids would wake up.
How can other couples squeeze fitness in their routines?
It’s so much fun to have your spouse working out with you. Jeff puts together playlists, or our daughter would put together playlists, and we talk about music. Riding bikes is also an easy way to hang out. You become each other’s motivation, like a personal trainer. Pre-plan based on each other’s schedules. My husband is a guinea pig for my workout DVDs. I make sure that my exercises are still good for guys too.
What about when you have different fitness preferences from your husband? Say he’s a runner and you’d rather take classes at the gym.
The simplest thing you can do is stretching at home. Whatever you’re doing, stretching is usually ignored. You can help each other stretch, which can be sexy. Everyone has the same set of muscles to stretch. That’s an easy thing to do at home. Especially if your husband doesn’t exercise, you can encourage him and get him started. I don’t play tennis as well as my husband, but we play together and have fun.
What do you two have planned for Valentine’s Day?
We’re just going to have a nice healthy dinner with red wine. We’ll work out in the morning. It’s also my birthday the day before (Ed’s note: Happy Birthday Denise!), so maybe we’ll mix the two celebrations.
Do you have any fit date ideas? What about ways you can make the dinner and a movie date healthier?
You can go for a walk, even if it’s just around the neighborhood. Play golf, play sports. It can be anything, like playing Frisbee. Jeff and I play ping pong together. We also do plank challenges.