My 34th birthday is approaching rapidly this week. In fact, I was expressing some excitement after one of my boot camp classes in that there would be a special “birthday workout” for them based around the number. Apparently, unbeknown to me, there has been intense speculation among a few boot campers as to my actual age. (Just ask me, ladies, it’s all good – seriously, its just a number, I don’t care!). AND their guesses were far far faaaaaar younger than I am. Which was flattering, interesting, and well, explains why I got carded for buying a regrettable white wine for cooking escargots (recipe forthcoming) the other day.
NOW, as much as I would laugh to see some of my male friends in those hilarious outfits, the above video is not the case here… sorry to disappoint, your journey to a youthful look is not as simple as chugging a vial of magic potion, pills, etc. The other bad news is, as we have seen with celebrity after celebrity – the plastic surgeon is also sooooo not the answer. You cannot just buy your way out, you must take action! Here’s what I have come up with – this is not all inclusive and some of these items will become their own article topics (and sections) later:
1. Stress Management – you must absolutely put this as a major priority. No buts “but my job, my kids, my bad relationship” – you can manage these all better – make changes – in some cases, making these changes could actually save your life. That being said, there will always be things we cannot change, and stress is a natural part of living. How we manage it is up to us – be sure that you are breathing well, not cringing and contorting yourself as a matter of habit and look into a regular practice of a body/mind exercise program such as Qigong, Yoga, or even something as simple as taking a few moments to relax, breathe slowly, pray, etc. Similarly, don’t use “being too busy” as an excuse to get crummy food, get in the habit of planning ahead and being prepared for situations where you may not have time for a proper meal – I always have some type of extremely nutritious snack (usually protein and healthy fat based like a Greens+ bar, whey shake in a blender bottle – just add water later, mixed nuts etc) with me for instance.
2. Give up drinking (alcohol, silly!) or cut back significantly. Never have I seen someone age so quickly as my first roommate in college – beer every night in amazing quantities – where did it go? It was swiftly stored on her body – she was nearly twice the girl she was when she moved in at the beginning of the semester. Similarly, the alcohol also took a severe toll on her skin, brought out some problems on her face and according to her (I wasn’t about to look) OMG, CELLULITE!!!
3. Exercise… REAL exercise, not the typical b.s. women do after reading some meaningless pap in our oh-so-acceptable “womens magazines” from the grocery store. You know the ones with the chocolate cake picture and the diet plan on the same cover? FORGET IT. In order to maintain, or even create beautiful curves and fight the effects of gravity, YOU MUST LIFT WEIGHTS, heavy weights… its ok though you can work up to it. Vanity aside, weightlifting will spur on bone mass and stave off or eliminate the risk of osteoporosis. Don’t worry, you won’t get “bulky”, geez can we ever put that one to rest? Ughh “womens magazines” drive me nuts… they also seem to think that cellulite is an eventuality. I can tell you right now from personal experience that it does NOT have to be that way. If you are patient, willing to work very hard consistently, and show great discipline with your eating, then it can and will go away – just be patient and dilligent. The type of high intensity training common with RKC style kettlebell training is extremely effective for this – ASK ME HOW I KNOW. Also, bodyweight exercises like we do in our fitness boot camps and TRX are great for alternatives to picking up something heavy and you can do them virtually anywhere. I do the exercises from Convict Conditioning throughout the day, if you come to my boot camp class a little early do not be surprised to see me upside down doing handstand pushups against a light pole. Fitness marketed specifically to women is typically dumbed down, toned down, and sadly ineffective – don’t be afraid to get a little macho and step outside of your comfort zone. NO ONE got a hot body walking for hours on a treadmill and waving around little 1lb weights – you get more exercise shopping at the mall with that big heavy purse of yours.
There, that’s more like it… and omg its an image map, click on the books and stuff!
4. Skin Care. If you are not using a skin care line, start today. I don’t care if its just from the grocery store, but pick a brand, pick a line, and stick with it – they are pH balanced to work with each other, when you mix and match brands, this is defeated. Personally, I’m totally stuck on Mario Badescu products. I am not one to go through a 5 product process every day and night – you CAN find products to suit your skin type and your personality, so go out and do that. Likewise, be super sure to protect your skin from the sun – cancer aside, sun damage will age your skin faster than just about anything (except excessive alcohol?). There are many moisturizers out there in all price ranges (and in the skin care line you have chosen) which include SPF protection. USE IT every day, no exceptions.
5. Be aware of how you move… when I first started training women, I noticed that a large percentage of them complained of having “bad knees.” Rarely was there an actual diagnosed medical condition, and I would watch how they moved – and often – that was the reason. BAD HABITS, with bending, sitting, walking, reaching, etc. One client, a housekeeper, was constantly picking things up off of floors and leaning WAAAAY over onto her knees in ways they were never designed to function. I asked her to be mindful of her knees for one week, having taught her to squat, and sure enough just one week later her “bad knees” started feeling much better. Watch yourself, have someone else watch you, or better yet, seek out a CK-FMS certified instructor and learn all you can about healthy ways to move. In addition to helping you avoid injury, moving in a youthful, graceful, athletic way will take years off of your appearance.
Similarly, being aware of the way you move your face can stave off wrinking as well. Habitually wrinking your brow or squinting will absolutely make a bit tell-tale wrinkles form. When I started studying voice again, I noticed a wrinkle forming on my forehead – and realized I was furrowing my brow while singing. A few weeks of conscious effort later combined with proper skin care and it faded away – not everyone is willing to do this, but just putting that out there for those of you that are.
6. Maintaining a healthy weight. Its amazing how much older you will appear with some extra weight hanging around, what always surprises me when I see before/after transformations is how much YOUNGER the people look after they have lost the weight. Dig around on the internet for before/after photos, it is uncanny.
7. Consistency and dedication – none of these suggestions are do once, or do for a week and then stop type of suggestions. They are permanent lifestyle changes. Well meaning friends, family, etc will make suggestions to the opposite of many of these things – I am not saying that they are absolutely wrong, because everyone is different, but if you find something that works for you, stick with it. Keeping with your programs and good habits is not that different from making a small contribution to a savings account everyday – it adds up big way over time – all the while earning interest…
OK, that’s not nearly everything, but best of luck to you and I will get back to my job of turning 34 this week…
Stop being a sissy and GET TO WORK!