THE NEXT GENERATION OF FITNESS WITH KATIE AUSTIN
Words by Ginny Ellsworth
There’s no denying that in the last decade or so, technology has changed the way we consume information and entertainment. It has changed the way we communicate with each other, the way we exchange money, and even the way we work out.
Wait. The way we work out?
We have endless options of how to burn a calorie (or 600). Within a two-mile radius of where I’m sitting right now, there are no less than eight (eight, y’all!) CrossFit boxes, seven fitness clubs or traditional gyms, six yoga studios, five Pi-lates studios, four high-intensity interval training (HIIT) studios, three spinning studios, two boxing gyms, one rowing studio, and a dance fitness place.You might want to sit down before I tell you this, but I actually pursued a career in the fitness industry before I finished journalism school. If there is one thing I learned in working with dozens of clients, and in my own perpetual efforts to lose 10 pounds, is that if it’s not convenient, it’s not going to last. Technology has taken “convenient” workouts to a new level. Searching“fitness” in the App Store will have you scrolling for so long, it may just give you your cardio workout for the day!
Fitness guru Katie Austin is reaching young women right where they are, and I don’t just mean on their phones! You might be thinking that name sounds familiar, and you’re right—it does. Katie is the 25-year-old daughter of fitness icon Denise Austin, who built a career in fitness through television in the 1980s, when TV was the latest for bringing convenient workouts into your home. Growing up with a fitness superstar mom and recording her first workout video at age seven, you might think a career in the industry came as second nature to Katie—but it didn’t. Katie’s passion was sports. She even spent some time as a sportscaster before pursuing a fitness career. (See y’all, fitness and journalism do go together!)
“Those workouts [with my mom] gave me the confidence to do anything—follow my career, do better in school, be more social. It really had nothing to do with outer appearance,” Katie says.
Although anyone can use her app and membership program to get fitness plans and recipes, Katie’s target audience is young women from high school age to mid-20s. “I try to focus my brand around more body positivity, to make sure that girls feel comfortable in their own skin through working out,” she says.
Having experienced her own struggles with weight—being accused of being too skinny to play lacrosse in high school and then gaining an extra 20 pounds in college—Katie relates to the challenges millennial women face when it comes to getting and staying fit. “I didn’t want to go to the gym because I’d
never been without a coach before. Not knowing what to do was the scariest part for me,” a feeling to which I think we all can relate.
“Girls in high school are not taught how to work out according to health.They’re taught more how to aesthetically please their bodies (aka getting a bigger booty) or how to lift a certain amount of weight for their sports, but it’s not really about their mental health in high school. That’s what I want to spread.”
Katie’s programs set out to educate. “I don’t want to be like a trainer, but more like a peer to girls,” she explains. Her follow-along videos (that you can stream from your device) are designed to be a guide and to build confidence rather than to be a drill sergeant on a screen.
“The more relatable I am, it helps others,” Katie tells me, as she explains how she gets her message out there by keeping it real on her Instagram stories. “When I was in high school and in college, I never saw girls in the media with acne or with cellulite. Being real is becoming more prevalent online, and I love that movement because it’s showing girls that they don’t have to be perfect.”
While many apps give you programs accompanied by photos or video clips,Katie’s app is pure follow-along videos, where she is doing the workout with you. “It’s not like I can fake it,” she laughs, “I am doing the whole workout too.”
“Technology has changed things. Everything is digital. It’s changed in the sense that workouts are just done differently,” Katie says, reflecting on the evolution of the fitness industry. “Consumers want quick and easy—and very practical.”
Denise Austin brought fitness to our living rooms, and now Katie is bringing it into a new era.