Photo by Nelson Montero
Jennifer Nicole Lee has defied the odds when it comes to aging. In fact, this fitness coach and model, author, motivational speaker, and 45-year-old mom-of-two views the aging process as a privilege. “These can be the best years of your life if you take care of yourself,” she says. “Living your healthy lifestyle can even make it feel as if you’re aging in reverse.”
Beginning her personal wellness journey at age 28 after her second son was born in 2003, Jennifer set out to drop 80 lbs. Not only did she accomplish that goal, but overhauling her lifestyle to follow healthy protocols also launched an impressive fitness career. Now 17 years later, with 17 books penned and nearly 100 magazine covers shot, Jennifer has proved that all things are possible with the right mindset.
Jennifer transforms the lives of other women who started out just like her with the same tried-and-true success principles that she used to change her body. But she knows that what worked for her as a 28-year-old likely won’t translate to that of a 40-year-old, which is why she developed the following guidelines to find your most vibrant health as you age like a fine wine. “I’ll share with you what works for me, and what works for my clients around the world—some of which are well into their 40s, 50s, 60s, and yes, even 70s,” she says. “Age is nothing but a number.”
Jennifer Nicole Lee’s Rules for Your Healthiest Age Yet
1. Your Mindset Matters
As a transformational coach for close to twenty years, the one thing I instill in my clients is the power of the mind. Your mind is your strongest muscle, and everything you think will flow into your body. If you’re accustomed to speaking negatively towards yourself, your goal should be to make your mind your best friend, not your worst enemy.
Try This: Visualization can be a powerful tool for creating the reality you want. Put it to the test next time you’re in the gym by visualizing yourself lifting a higher weight at a higher rep before you attempt the lift. If you can see it, you can achieve it.
2. Embrace That Beautiful Bod
Your body is the only vehicle you have to live in, so make sure you treat it right. That means making sleep a priority, and moving your body 4-6 times per week. Consistency is key in order to get long-term results and to build upon your endurance and stamina, and increase your energy levels. As a coach who preaches a positive body image, I urge everyone to practice self-love and self-acceptance. It’s a gift to add another year to your life, so embrace all your beautiful signs of aging.
Try This: In terms of fitness, aim to keep lifting moderate to heavy to ward off the negative effects of aging, such as decreased muscle mass and osteoporosis. It doesn’t need to be complicated! Something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator can be enough to keep you moving.
3. Find the Joy
As an athlete gets into her 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond, you’ll start to realize the benefits of reflecting and slowing down. Set time aside in your weekly schedule to enjoy meditation, yoga, and slowing down your spirit to keep it motivated and recharged. Use this time to consider new goals you’d like to set. Not only will new feats or fit hobbies keep your motivation revving, but studies show that learning new skills keeps your brain sharp, too. And a word on comparison: Just because you’re not in your 20s anymore doesn’t mean you can’t be proud of your fitness level. You’ve come so far since then!
Try This: Have an attitude of gratitude. Take the time to reflect as you look back from the day you made the commitment to be the very best version of yourself, all the way up to the present. This is a surefire way to put joy into your heart.
4. Support Your Nutrition
As you reach your 40s and beyond, it's a good time to take a look at your nutrition, food, and supplementation to make sure you’re taking care of all your needs. I stock up on antioxidant-rich foods with anti-aging properties such as green tea, blueberries, kale, dark chocolate, and lemons. Lean proteins such as egg whites, wild fish, and poultry, as well as fibrous foods, should be mainstays in your diet, too.
Try This: Keep hormones balanced and premenopausal symptoms under control by filling your plate with whole-food sources. Packaged foods that are laced with preservatives trigger unwanted side effects such as chronic fatigue, low energy, bloating, and joint aches and pains.
5. Create a Network
Surrounding yourself with a strong support system is essential as you get older. Not only is it easier to achieve personal goals when you’re being hyped up by like-minded women, but you’ll also develop accountability to one another. Community will help you to enjoy regular exercise, to eat healthy, and to enjoy social relations that boost your mood, lift your spirit, and evoke a greater sense of wellness in all areas of your life. Remember, you are not alone in your wellness journey.
Try This: Get involved in something new. Whether you try a new activity to meet different people, or invite existing pals along for new adventures, expanding and deepening your social circle can add years to your life.
6. Recovery Is the New Workout
Recovery is essential, especially after you hit the mid-forties mark. Make sure you stretch, and enjoy Epsom salt baths, therapeutic massages, foam rolling, and active recovery days. It might take you a little bit longer to recover in between workouts than it did when you were 20, but that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. If you’re working out 4-6 days per week, add in a recovery day that includes a brisk walk, a swim at the pool, or quick “fitness snacks” throughout the day such as bouncing on a trampoline for a few minutes.
Try This: Boost your recovery efforts with supplements such as BCAAs and L-Carnitine.
7. Say No to Stress
As you’re living the best years of your life, become more self-aware of habits, people, thoughts, and activities that trigger your stress levels. Stress will not only bring on a slew of health issues, but it can also add unwanted belly fat. When you live under high amounts of stress, cortisol can course through your body. Cortisol is important for igniting our fight-or-flight response, but when it’s constantly being released and becomes a part of our everyday lives, it can lead to fatigue, irritability, intestinal issues, increased blood pressure, and weight gain.
Try This: Keep cortisol levels at bay by scheduling regular de-stressing activities such as meditation, power naps, deep-breathing exercises, and yoga.