Before I started photographing boudoir, I didn’t know what an average 50 year old body looked like compared to someone who took extraordinary care of themselves.
Over the years, I’ve photographed women aged 20 to nearly 70, with and without kids, post 100lbs weight loss, and everything in between. From this unique experience I’ve also gotten to ask a lot of lifestyle questions from women who’s bodies inspired me along the way.
The bottom line is that people with beautiful bodies all have healthy bodies. Thus, if you want to look sexier at any stage of your life, you’ll need to:
Eat a clean diet (and don’t over eat)
Get enough sleep
Limit radiation… I mean sun burns.
Abstain (or only very lightly use) drugs / alcohol
This post is everything my clients with exceptional bodies taught me about slowing the aging process naturally and looking the best you can no matter your circumstance.
Consuming a good diet is arguable the most impactful thing you can for your health and your physical appearance. Old adages like “you are what you eat” and “you can’t out exercise a bad diet” are both accurate if not cliché.
Most people struggle with articulating what exactly a “good” diet is with the plethora of information we have available to us.
To simplify, the following is what the people with extraordinary bodies taught me about what they fuel their bodies with.
Drink Enough Water
The first part of a good diet is making sure you’re drinking enough water. Drinking enough water is like keeping the oil changed on your car. It will prematurely wear you down because you’re not giving your body the fluid it needs to pass toxins when you pee.
The Mayo Clinic recommends, women get about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day (source). You don’t need to memorize this number though or even track your intake
So long as you don’t feel thirsty, and your urine is light yellow or clear, you’re probably good on your water intake. If it’s moderately yellow or dark yellow your likely dehydrated.
Failure to drink enough water will manifest itself physically in your skin. Low water consumption will also lead to all kinds of nasty medical conditions like: joint pain, reductions in muscle mass, chemical imbalances, etc.
Want to lean out? Consume your Protein Target
Diet information is always so complicated and constantly changing with new research. That said, there are a few things I can pass along to you that are simple to understand.
First, protein is the primary muscle food. This is important because if you want to lower your body’s fat content, the most efficient way to do this is to simply 1) not over eat and 2) have a protein target. This is a good protein calculator if you want to calculate a protein target for yourself.
In short, you’ll need to consume between .6 and .9 grams of complete protein per pound of body weight to see results. All animal sources will work, but you’ll see best results with foods like: eggs, chicken, salmon, beef and milk.
For vegans, diet becomes more complicated because you’ll need to supplement to get a full amino acid profile that meat eaters get naturally. Primary among these are B12 and long chain omega-3 fatty acids. Failure to supplement these will lead to adverse health affects that will show in your physical appearance!
Whatever diet you choose, when you combine this protein target with exercise, your body will naturally build lean muscle and burn fat so long as you don’t over consume calories.
The Rest of a Balanced Diet
A complete diet consists of 3 macro nutrients: carbs, fat and protein. All foods belong to one of these 3 groups. Macro calculators like this one will help you understand what you should eat to maintain a balanced diet for your goals.
The key takeaway is to just make sure you’re within range of your macros for whatever diet plan you’d like to follow. Eat whole foods as much as possible, and stay away from hyper palatable foods and things in packages. For example eat an apple, or rice, or beans but stay away from cereal, hot dogs, chips, etc.
The non-negotiable part (no matter your diet) is your protein intake. If you don’t get enough protein, expect your body to compose itself of more fat than muscle.
Exercise is one of the most impactful things you can do to slow the aging process. Age-related muscle loss (called sarcopenia) begins after the age of 30. As this happens you will lose as much as 3% to 5% of your muscle mass per decade.
If you’re paying attention, this means that if you increase your muscle mass as you get older, you can actively fight aging in a very meaningful way.
To get the health benefits of exercise (and the visual results by proxy) you’ll need to exercise vigorously at least 3hrs a week. Do whatever exercise you enjoy doing so you can make it a long term habit. Consistency is where the magic is here and there is no quick fix!
That said, if you want to know the most efficient way to reach your physical goals, you can check out this post where I outline the basics of a good exercise plan to condition your entire body.
Getting enough sleep is arguably one of the most understated things you can do to for your health.
Sleep is when your body builds the muscle you’ve worked so hard for with your workouts. The food is the material used to build and maintain your body. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re basically giving the mechanic the parts to fix your car, but not enough time to install them.
In addition to repairing your muscles, sleep also maintains all of the other systems of your body. Your immune system is cleaning up infections. Skin cells grow at an accelerated rate replacing lost or worn cells. Toxins are removed from the brain to help us consolidate our memories for long term storage.
All of these things are critical for our health, and since a healthy body is a beautiful body, it’s definitely something you shouldn’t neglect!
Protect yourself from the sun
The third thing you can do to slow aging is simply to protect yourself from the sun. Since cars make such a fantastic visual comparison, think about an old classic car that’s protected in the garage vs the one that’s been parked in a field. Which car do you think will age better?
Sun exposure is one of those things that there is no going back on. If you’re tanning in your 20’s, expect your skin to be rougher with more wrinkles in your 30’s. If you abused your skin in your 20’s, you can protect yourself in your 30’s and slow the damage moving forward, but you can’t take back the damage already done.
If you’re 35 years old this will be self evident to you as you look at the skin on your breasts (or somewhere else that never sees the sun) and compare it with your arm that is always exposed.
If you’re younger and think I’m bullshitting you, ask an average person in their 40’s to show you their stomach (or some other area protected from the sun) and compare it closely with the skin on their hand. The difference you’ll see is what long term radiation burns from the sun will do to you if you don’t protect yourself.
When photographing women over 30, the most common areas I see significant sun damage are on the face (especially the chin and tip of the nose), the arms, and the upper chest.
The chin and nose area age fastest because while people don’t always wear sunscreen they’ll generally wear a hat when they know they’re going to to be out in the sun. Hat’s are great, but most leave the tip of the nose, chin and neck exposed.
Skin damage on the arms is obvious because most people usually wear short sleeve shirts when it’s nice and sunny out.
The upper chest on the other hand is something most women never think about until it’s too late. I see some of the most sun damage in this area because many women like to wear low cut tops in warmer weather. While I’m am fan of this look, the damage in this area becomes very noticeable in women as young as 30.
In short, to keep your skin looking youthful one of the best things you can do is cover up your body or apply sunscreen every time you go outside. Pay special attention to the areas mentioned and make sure to re-apply your sunscreen as recommended.
Abstain from Smoking, Drugs and Alcohol
It should go without saying that none of this stuff makes you healthier. Since health is correlated with attractiveness, smoking, drugs and alcohol should be avoided to slow the aging process.
Smoking for instance manifests itself physically as rougher skin, discolored teeth and eyes. All of these things are physical indicators of ageing.
Excessive alcohol intake manifests itself as fat in the body (which is primarily from excessive calories), irritation of the skin (especially around the nose), and clarity of the whites of the eyes.
While I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself from time to time, regular use of any of these things will have an impact on your health and thus your physical appearance.
A good tip for those who enjoy an occasional drink is to choose vodka, whiskey, gin, rum or tequila instead of beer or wine. The former choices are low or zero carb and have less calories than beer or wine.
No matter the level of conditioning you choose to maintain your body at, it’s important that you maintain it at some level with a clean diet and vigorous exercise.
Also make sure to prioritize your sleep, protect yourself from the sun and abstain as much as possible from smoking, drugs and alcohol. Following these guidelines will directly translate into aging slower, and enhancing your physical beauty.
A very heartfelt thank you to all the women who showed me what was possible. You changed my life and I appreciate you sharing your habits with me so I could practice them and make myself better.
If you found this post helpful, please like and share it! If you think I missed something, please let me know in the comments, so I can make this post as helpful as I can for everyone.
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