Like Mother like daughter.
Katie Austin, the 29-year-old daughter of legendary ’80s aerobics coach Denise Austin, 65, is following in her mother’s fitness footsteps by appearing as Sports Illustrated’s Rookie of the Year in the 2022 swimsuit issue, one year after winning the coveted Swim Search.
But unlike her mother’s VHS and DVD heydays, Katie has used TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat to build her fit fam following of more than 700,000 on social media. And she takes a more unfiltered approach to toning and sculpting on her popular Katie Austin fitness app.
“It was surreal. It’s been such a lifelong dream,” Katie, who grew up in Virginia, told The Post of being featured in the glossy magazine, reminiscing about the early days of her mother’s fitness career and meeting the likes of Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons.
“I’ve been an athlete all my life. I played lacrosse at USC and never really considered following in my mother’s footsteps. I traveled with her for the workout TV shows, the DVDs, I was there almost every day and watched her choreograph her shows and videos. Maybe I subconsciously had the idea that I enjoy being in front of the camera and teaching workouts, but I never really thought about it.
Katie recalled encountering dozens of women who stopped their mother from sharing their personal stories after seeing Denise’s workouts.
“When we were out, people would come up to my mother and say, ‘You changed my life.’ These women would sob to my mom at the airport or at the grocery store and really tell her how much confidence my mom instilled in them and those crazy stories like “You helped me leave my husband” or “You helped me lose 100 pounds “. .’ Looking back now I thought that’s one of the main reasons I want to get into the fitness industry because not only is it doing what you love but you’re helping other women and it’s such a rewarding business. ”
The mother-daughter couple teamed up in the early days of the pandemic to livestream workouts to fans from their homes, a first for Denise, who pioneered the video trend in the 1980s and ’90s before social media took off did training at home.
“The biggest difference in my workouts compared to mom is that I can see the feedback right away – I can fully engage with my followers. I make sure they are fully submerged. I’m talking through the screen like they’re your best friends, like they’re your equal. I have 99% of the girls on my app, so it’s important to make them feel comfortable,” she said of posting content on platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram. “[Outside of that] It really isn’t just a plain old workout anymore – it shows another side so they can see that I’m a real person. Anyone can teach you how to squat, you have to like the person teaching you.”
“She is [my mom] always very impressed with how much I do. She can’t believe how many platforms I’m on,” Katie said.
And while she might not be doing squats, lunges or mountain climbers in leotards to ’80s music with blaring neon lights, everything old is new again when it comes to fitness fashion and choreographic exercises.
“My mother kept literally everything about her [old] equipment and activewear. They call themselves leggings leotards to this day,” she quipped. “Fitness fashion from the 80s and 90s is very trendy right now. Everyone’s rocking their leotards and leg warmers and my mom’s like, ‘Oh my god, I still have these.’”
When creating content for the masses, Katie says Denise has her finger on the pulse of what’s going to be a hit and often takes her advice on which series to start for her own fans.
“She was there and did everything,” Katie said, recalling a phone call with her mother in which she suggested resuming her best-selling 1990s workout series Hit the Spot, a workout series that focused on ” Problem areas” like buns, thighs and concentrated the stomach.
“She says, ‘You need to do a thigh workout, that’s going to be your best.’ And she’s right. Fitness is an evergreen, which I love. I create a workout that’s appropriate for any level, any year,” Katie said.
Growing up in the age of social media, Katie said, shaped the way she built her own brand — and that means she doesn’t have to go full makeup to go live, or get her hair blow-dried to go live all to sweat during one of her “skinny leg” series. She also said her followers would troll her if she even posted a video of herself in a sports bra.
“I never want anyone who follows me to feel bad. I don’t want anybody to open their phone and watch me and say, “Well, I didn’t work out today” and then feel bad. It ensures that your followers feel motivated and empowered by your content. I’ve set boundaries on social media and made sure I’m true to myself, both offline and online – and I’ve realized that at the end of the day it’s my business, so I need to make sure I’m keeping social media from the real thing Separating life is hard. People say, ‘You don’t make fitness intimidating,'” she said of her app’s subscribers, who are 99% women.
While mom may be an aerobics icon, sometimes she doesn’t always know best, Katie fondly joked.
“She’s like, ‘Why don’t you put on a leotard and go to the beach and then film the booty workout?'” she said, laughing. “I say, ‘I don’t know if this is going to be okay, Mom, but thanks.'”