You might not know her by name but you’d probably recognize her in a tight pair of workout pants and tank top. Her name is Denise Austin and she’s sold more than 20 million exercise videos and DVDs, authored over 10 fitness books, and starred in the longest running fitness show in the history of television.
So… what special talent and skills did Denise Austin have to get to the heights of fitness guru-dom?
In a California Sate University Long Beach Alumni newsletter article, (her alma matter and mine!) Denise shared how she got invited to a Washington D.C. (through her CSULB connections) dinner for the President’s Council on Fitness. Just a California-based fitness trainer with a growing business, it was at the dinner that Denise had the good fortune to meet fitness legend Jack LaLanne.
It was right then that Denise says she “gathered the courage” to ask if she could be on his TV exercise show. He gave her a start on his show, and within a month she became his co-host and he, her mentor. Her entrepreneurial spirit continued and Denise, passionate and driven, continued to grow and build her business.
When she went back to speak to the students at CSULB she told them “Go after it. Don’t wait for people to call you back.” She instructed them to be proactive in their phone calls and to reach out to whatever opportunities may come your way.
When she was proposing a fitness segment for NBC’s Today Show, Denise recounted that she had called the show’s producer 35 times, always having the assistant tell her that the producer would call her back.
He never did. Finally, the 36th time by her count, she called him up in the evening and he happened to answer. Denise was the NBC fitness expert for four years – so it looks like the 36th time was a charm.