Most people would consider their birthday a pretty good excuse to skip the gym and enjoy all their favourite foods and sweets. But for Jennifer Lopez, turning one year older means squeezing in a workout and having her cake, too.
Not that she's having cake very often-the 49-year-old singer completely cut processed foods from her diet and mainly eats organic, nutrient-dense meals, her trainer told People. And when it comes to fitness, J. Lo is just as committed, kicking off her birthday week with a sweaty gym session.
"#SundayFunday kind of... gotta get it in... now let the fun begin! #birthdayweekbegins," she captioned her workout selfie, which showcases her lean, toned body. It's easy to forget that Lopez is almost 50 years old, and even though she looks half her age, she feels more confident in her skin than ever before, she said in an interview with Us Weekly. "I see pictures of myself in my twenties and go, 'Oh, I look better now!'" she told the magazine. "I embrace who I am. I feel sexy, I feel youthful, I feel pretty sometimes!"
Clearly, she's doing something right! Here are five ways J. Lo stays fit and youthful by making her health a priority. Plus, how you can follow her lead to look and feel your best, too.
She never skips a workout
It's so easy to let excuses keep you out of the gym, but Lopez has learned to hold herself accountable for maintaining her strength and agility. "Very rarely will I skip my workout," she told Us Weekly. "Sometimes, I work too late the night before and I'm like, 'Ugh, I can't do this.' But I tell myself, 'Just do it. It's only an hour.' It's just talking yourself off the ledge of being a lazy bum."
Try this: Of course, it's not always so easy to incorporate regular exercise into a busy schedule. Especially for average women who may not have the same resources (read: a fancy gym membership and a trainer) as J. Lo. Find a form of self-motivation that helps you stick to your fitness goals, whether that's rewarding yourself with new gym gear if you workout a certain number of times per month or making plans with a friend to try out a new workout class. Setting realistic goals for yourself is key; for example, don't even pretend you'll make it to that 5 a.m. workout if you know you're not a morning person. Start small, stick to it, and you'll see results sooner than you think.
She fuels up with protein and veggies
Jennifer Lopez is not about starving herself to stay slim; instead, she opts for meals that leave her satisfied and full of energy. Lopez has worked with a nutritionist, Haylie Pomroy, whose Metabolism Revolution diet plan is designed to help your metabolism function efficiently. The diet involves eating lean proteins and non-starchy veggies along with some healthy fats and complex carbs (like brown rice and sweet potatoes). Lopez also cut out processed and refined foods along with alcohol and caffeine. Instead, she drinks plenty of water to stay hydrated-and as you probably already know, water is crucial for healthy, youthful skin.
Try this: It's hard to say no to cheesy pizza or sugary sweets but finding something that motivates you can help-especially if it's not related to esthetics. Lopez, for example, says she's motivated to stay fit to keep up with her children and set a good example for them. "I try to teach them the right things to eat: a lot of greens, fruits, and grains. They're starting to learn that's a way of life," she told Us Weekly. She explains to them: "I exercise so I can maintain a good weight and run around with you."
She leaves time for rest
As hard as she works at the gym, Lopez leaves time to rest and rejuvenate. Her number one beauty tip? "Always get enough sleep. I can’t stress this enough," she told InStyle. "Ideally I would love to get nine or 10 hours of sleep, but either way, I always make sure I get at least eight. I also definitely think beauty comes from within-you have to keep your mind, soul, body and spirit in sync. I am a firm believer in meditating, and when you are happy and feel joy and love, you radiate beauty." Relaxing with her children and snacking on some fruit and veggies is another way she loves to recover post-workout, according to Hello Magazine.
Getting ample sleep and taking moments to relax throughout your day is truly an underrated anti-aging habit. Research has shown that poor sleep quality can accelerate the signs of ageing, and severe stress has been linked to quicker shortening of telomeres, which are thought to indicate one's biological age.
Try this: If getting your beauty rest is often an issue for you, approximately 1.5 million Australian adults suffer with sleep disorders. Try these tips that are scientifically proven to help you get better rest, from snacking on magnesium-rich peanuts to wearing special blue light-limiting shades so you can scroll through your phone before bed without it messing with your sleep cycle.
She takes care of her skin
You don't need an expensive, multi-step skincare routine to keep your skin smooth and supple as you grow older. Even Lopez sticks to the basics, and it's clear that it's working wonders for her.
"I always, always wash my face after a workout. That helps keep my pores clean and my skin feeling healthy," she told Hello Magazine. "Then I'll usually put on moisturizer and sunscreen, with maybe a little makeup if I'm going out or moisturizer and eye cream if it's the evening."
Try this: Hydrate your skin daily and make sunblock your BFF. Sunscreen is proven to prevent premature aging from UV damage and reduce the appearance of dark spots. Using an eye cream is also incredibly effective for hydrating and pumping the skin around your eyes, which is super thin and more prone to wrinkling than other areas of the face.
She keeps her workouts fresh
If you're not changing up your fitness routine regularly, you're might be bored out of your mind every time you pick up your weights or hit the treadmill. (Keeping your routine the same also means that your body isn't being challenged.) Finding a way to look forward to exercise is key to sticking with it over time and reaping its benefits. J. Lo switches up her routine all the time, working with different trainers. "I like the balance that they both give me. They have two totally different approaches. I like switching it up with my body," she said, according to Hollywood Life. Whether she's doing planks and pushups with a trainer or dancing to a new song, Lopez stays active and makes sure she's always having fun.
"I am 100 percent convinced that working out is part of what makes me so happy," she told Hello Magazine. "Dance has always been a huge part of my life and taking the time to move my body and do something that's so good for me is key to my happiness."
Try this: Not all of us can fly cross-country to work out with different trainers, but there are still plenty of ways to keep your own workout interesting. Keeping score with yourself and trying to beat your record, whether that's miles you run or daily steps you take, is one way to add a bit of challenge and motivation. Taking your workout outside, rather than in your living room or gym, is another great way to switch things up, and it's been shown that people who exercise in green spaces are more likely to work out again soon.
If we've learned anything from J. Lo, it's that prioritising your health and happiness is key to living your best life for years to come.