At 44 years old, Jillian Michaels says she is the best shape of her life. She disagrees that it’s all downhill after 40 when it comes to staying fit. “We focus too much on where we think we should be based on age. There isn’t a workout for a 50-year-old. There are workouts for beginners, advanced, and so on, but that has nothing to do with age.”
Michaels feels so passionate about dispelling the myths about aging and fitness that she wrote a book titled The 6 Keys: Unlock Your Genetic Potential for Ageless Strength, Health, and Beauty. It hit shelves in December.
In the book, she writes about how someone said to her, “You look good for your age,” — and though it was meant as a compliment, it rubbed her the wrong way. “For some reason, we have been led to believe that aging is bad. But aging is about growing wiser, more confident, stronger with life experience, and subsequently becoming sexier, too. I want every woman to know that it’s absolutely possible to look and feel strong, sexy, confident, and beautiful at every age. If we don’t value ourselves as we age or continue to care for ourselves, we let that stigma of aging become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she says.
We became a big fan of Michaels during her Biggest Loser days, and we were delighted to ask her a few questions about fitness, wellness, and beauty.
Do you feel pressure aging in the public eye, especially since you are known for your fitness and beauty?
There is a ton of judgment toward women, particularly as they get older. While I’ve never bought into it, I have experienced it, and many of my peers have allowed it to affect them. The key is understanding that when people judge you, it’s coming from their insecurities, not your inadequacies.
Keto, paleo, intermittent fasting — it feels like everywhere we look, someone is proposing a new way to eat to lose weight. How can women figure what is right for them?
There is no “right for them” except for personal taste. Biochemistry is a science, not a matter of taste. Weight loss or gain is all about the law of thermodynamics. It’s about energy/calories in versus energy/calories out. Period.
Health, longevity, vitality, and beauty are all improved when we avoid processed foods and eat macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) in their most whole forms. The more food you eat that’s nutrient dense (vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, etc.), the better you support your bodily functions to fight disease, cull dead cells, and rebuild cells. Avoiding overeating extends life span because it lessens oxidative stress. Again, this is science, and it’s all been proven. It applies to every human.
Fad diets are just that. They are fads. Will you lose weight on a keto diet? Sure. But it is terrible for your health. Any diet that recommends cutting out some nutrients and going overboard on others is not good for you. It’s about balance. Too much or too little of anything is bad.
What do you say to people who feel like genetics and their 50-plus metabolism make it impossible to get fit?
Age can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you believe affects your behavior, and how you behave affects your reality. If you think you are frail and tired, you’ll stop moving your body in ways that help with bone density, flexibility, mobility, etc. You’ll literally become frail and tired. If you feel ineffectual or outdated, you’ll stop using your mind in ways that keep it sharp. A person can be in the best shape of their life at 50-plus if they address the six keys that are aging them.
In your book you recommend meditation. Is this something you have always done?
No! In fact, I had the attitude that I would rather use five minutes to get something done than five minutes to meditate. But then I looked at the research and changed my mind. Meditation has a dramatic effect on our brains. It literally alters your brain physiology and combats the harmful effects of stress. Even just five minutes a day will have a dramatic impact.
How do you indulge?
Top of the list would be quality time hanging out with my family and friends — chatting over dinner, finding a unique piece of theater or show to enjoy together, that kind of thing. Spending time being crazy with my kids is always one of my favorites. And I am a huge fan of a full-body massage. Heaven!
There is a saying: When you get older, you get bolder. Do you think that’s true for you?
Absolutely. It’s kinda like that whole “zero f@&$!” statement. You just get more comfortable in your own skin and stop caring what people think.
Do you think being a parent of young children is part of what keeps you feeling young?
Honestly, no. I feel old at heart, but to me, that means wiser, stronger, and more secure.