If there were a fitness expert we would want in our living rooms, cheering us on as we powered through one more push up or squeezed in one more squat, it would likely be Denise Austin – and we’re clearly not alone considering her title as “America’s favorite fitness expert.” Personifying the perfect combination of girl-next-door-sweet and hard-core-dynamo, Denise would have us smiling through sweat-drenched workouts  (where Jillian Michaels would have us in tears). Lucky for us, she’s available to do just that – and not just via her workout videos (which have sold more than 20 million copies!). Instead, in partnership with Smucker’s, Denise is launching NaturallyPoweredByYou.com, a website featuring not only tips and recipes to help you kick start 2011, but also a live, 30 minute exercise class too!

In case that weren’t enough, (trust us: it’s not,) we sat down to chat with Denise about her fitness tricks, her nutirion tips and her advice on staying fit on the run!

You’ve clearly remained in amazing shape throughout the years, please share your secrets!
Well, the big picture message is to stay fit when you’re young and continue throughout your life. That way, it stays with you. Your muscles stay firm, toned and lifted. And they don’t drop with age. Also, mix it up! I do Pilates, yoga, light weights, cardio, anything! If you surprise your muscles, you’ll stay fit for a lifetime!

You’re a busy woman on the go, what are your tips for staying fit when on the run?
I’m a mom and work full-time, so I can relate. My secret is to do little toning and stretching exercises throughout the day. Your muscles don’t know if you’re in the kitchen or in a pricey gym, so I do pushups on the kitchen counter to firm my chest, I do leg lifts where I lift my leg up and out to side to firm my thighs, when I’m sitting at the computer I do waist twists to cinch in my waist, I do leg squats while blow drying my hair! I turn idle time into toning time! And muscles work miracles on metabolism! If you rest, you rust, so don’t sit for too long – do easy things throughout the day – which you can easily do with toning and stretching. Nutrition is also very important.

6 exercises you can do even in heels!

Do you have a top nutrition tip you swear by?
I’m a firm believe in a good breakfast with protein with carbs to help you stay full longer. It can be a fruit smoothie with bananas, skim milk, 2 tablespoons of Smucker’s natural peanut butter  – and that’s 8 grams of protein!

I’m also a true believer in balance. I eat well 80% of the time and eat treats 20% of the time! I enjoy food, but everything in moderation. I also think it’s important to eat healthy snacks throughout the day, every few hours, to keep energy up. It can be an apple with natural peanut butter, yogurt, fruit – just to keep fuel up!

How do you remain so motivated? Or, more accurately, how do you suggest we stay motivated?
I’m a big believer in working out 30 minutes almost every day.  Don’t set unrealistic goals, don’t set your expectations too high. Don’t expect to workout for an hour or an hour and a half or more. I work hard for 30 minutes and it’s an express workout. You don’t need to feel like your taking time from your kids, don’t even need a gym if you’re on budget. You have to make fitness convenient so you stick with it. Just start with 10 minutes a day and build it up to 15 and then 20 and then 30.

4 ways to never get bored working out!

You’ve created quite the DVD empire, are there any fitness DVDs you particularly love?
One favorite is Quick Burn Cardio – it’s 20 minutes and you can get a great cardiovascular workout with toning. Hot Body Yoga is also a favorite – it’s two, 30 minute yoga workouts. They’re very different, but both great!

If you could give all women 1 take away message about fitness, what would it be?
Try to be active every day. Get off your butt and move every day!

How to do the perfect pushup!