Jillian Michaels

October 16, 2018

6 KEYS

INTRODUCTION

We've all heard that old saying that nothing in life is certain but death and taxes. The taxes I can’t help you with, but did you know there is nothing in our genes that tell us to die? 

That’s right—NOTHING. 

So, the big question is: why aren’t we immortal? Why does one person barely make it to retirement age while someone else gets to blow out candles on their 98thbirthday? How come some are more susceptible to certain health issues as they get older (ranging from Alzheimer’s and cancer to heart disease) while others seem immune? Why do some people look frail, gray, and shriveled as they age, while others remain vigorous, potent, and powerful into their second century of life? 

If you haven’t asked these questions yet, at one point in your life—you will. 

For me, that need to truly understand everything about growing older hit me on a random night out to a local Santa Monica beer garden with my younger siblings. Much younger in fact, since my brother is 28 and my little sister is just 24. Admittedly, I don't find myself at bars filled with millennials often, but my little brother recently had his heart crushed in a break-up and my sister and I were determined to help him get over it. 

So, there I was, 43 years old, hanging out at a bar packed with twenty somethings, dressed low-key: no makeup, hair in a ball cap, wearing a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. 

And I get carded—for real. 

At first, I was like, this guy either thinks I'm some sort of undercover cop or he feels bad for me. But no. He took my ID, glanced at it, looked back up, immediately did a double take and said: “Wow! You’ve maintained really well.”

My little sister—the highly educated, idealistic, politically correct young woman that she is—was furious and offended on my behalf. On the other hand, I was ecstatic. I thanked him and could tell he was genuinely shocked to discover I was 43 years old, but as I walked away, something struck me.

Why was he so shocked? 

In my mind, I looked and certainly felt my age. Meaning, I felt wiser, stronger and more successful than when I was younger, possessing a confident beauty that only comes with time and experience. So why wasn’t ‘that’ what forty-something looked like to him? 

As the night went on and I mingled amongst the crowd, people continued to be astonished by my age. 

“You do NOT look 43!”

“You don’t SEEM like you’re 43!”

 At first, I was super flattered. But by the 8th person, I started to get annoyed. ‘What the hell?!’, I thought to myself, “What exactly is 43 supposedto be and look like anyway? Why does everyone else think 43 is old?” More importantly, what do ‘you’believe 40+ (or any age higher than the big 4-0 for that matter) is supposed to look like and feel like? 

Let me guess. Getting older means you’re most likely going to be:

  • Tired (well, I can feel a little tired, but I blame that one on my kids—not my biology)
  • Forgetful and out of touch 
  • Overweight and out of shape
  • Inflexible and achy all the time
  • Experiencing hair loss and gray hair
  • Dealing with sagging, wrinkled skin
  • Heading into pre-menopause or menopause
  • Having trouble getting or keeping an erection (not for me of course, but this one’s for you, my male readers.)

 

Well, guess what? I am none of the above. 

         In fact, I am the exact opposite of ‘all of the above.' (OK, to be honest, I am super forgetful, but that’s nothing new. I was born with that one.) But for weeks afterward, I started paying attention to everyone around me and trying to guess people’s ages in my head. I couldn’t help but wonder how people of the same age could be so different from each other when it came to their energy level, immunity, memory, productivity, physicality, personality, and physical appearance. I couldn’t stop thinking about what the cause could be for these huge chasms and variances in how people age. My fascination with aging led to the need to discover, dissect, and decode the habits and behaviors of those that seem to effectively manipulate aging to defy time. It led—to the book you now hold in your hands.

         The Six Keysis the most comprehensive and effective approach to “anti-aging” on the market. And while I know that term has become a dirty word in most PC circles, can we just call a spade a spade? This book isn’t about being afraid to get older, it’s about aging well! 

It reveals everything presently known (not just the bits and pieces) about how we age and integrates all that information into one approach that facilitates optimal expression of our genetics and full exploitation of our physiological potential. It’s not a book full of half ass bullshit making false promises and offering magic bullet solutions based on what’s trending. Instead, it’s literally an owner’s manual for a long-lived body, complete with honest instruction. It’s science—not fiction. And while it’s true that results may vary based on your dedication, the information herein is irrefutable, and extremely potent when applied. 

         Now I get it. Maybe you don’t really care about all that science stuff and it seems overwhelming. And yes, even though this book is about a lot more than looks, let’s cut the crap for a second here. Maybe you just want to know how to look hot at 50, 60, and beyond—and if that’s the case, not to worry. In fact, good for you!

         There is nothing wrong with caring about your appearance, provided you don’t allow it to define your value. And if you’ve picked up this book because that’s what you care about, that’s perfectly ok. Because if you’re looking for a fountain of youth, this book will be as close as you can get at this point in our evolution. And after all, ‘aging gracefully’ doesn’t have to mean giving up and accepting decay. It means keeping yourself in fantastic health, inside and out, for a hell of a long time. 

After all, would you want to live in a dilapidated home? Should you neglect your car until it breaks down? Would you wear stained, dirty, or wrinkled clothes (unless you’re in the privacy of your home on a Netflix binge?) Of course not. There’s a sense of pride and self-worth that comes along with caring about yourself—and for yourself. This is your body we are talking about—your one and only true home. You know, that physical shell that quite literally houses YOU for your entire life. And it’s the only one you’re ever going to get, so you should care for it and about it! How it looks. How it feels. How it performs. And most importantly, how long it lasts.

         So just in case you mistakenly feel that caring about your appearance, sex life, energy, and vigor is arrogant, selfish, or shallow, this book will put that notion to bed for good. How you feel about yourself, carry yourself, present yourself, and what you are physically capable of all dramatically impact the way you relate to your environment and other people in it, and in turn, dramatically impacts your quality of life and how you age. I mean, longevity is great, but longevity without vitality, immunity and everything else I’ve mentioned—well, that’s not so great. But you can have it all. This book will teach you how. 

         Don’t get me wrong. 

         I can’t make you immortal—but I can make you enduring.

 

Want in? Read on. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART ONE: THE LOCK

 

CHAPTER ONE: UNDERSTANDING HOW WE AGE

 

I have a question for you: how do youwant to age?

  • Do you want to live to 150—or even 200? Professor Stuart Kim ofStanford University believes the first person to do so is alive—right now! 
  • Would you like the ability to reprogram your body—and the bodies of your children—to make it impossible for cancer to grow as you get older? Sounds impossible, but we’re a lot closer to doing that than you might think.
  • Would you like to be in amazing shape—possibly the best shape of your life—at 50, 60, 70, 80, or even 90? Not possible, you say. Yuichiro Miura scaled Everest at 80, Jack Nicklaus shot a hole in one at 75, and Diana Nyad swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida when she was 64. One of the world’s most lauded yoga instructors, Tao Porchon-Lynch, is 96. And at 54, Texas native Mark Jordan set a Guinness World Record in 2015 for the most pull-ups in a 24-hour period (4,321!)

 

I know what you’re thinking. I’ve picked genetic anomalies, wealthy entitleds, or life-long athletes—all outliers of epic proportion, right?

Wrong. 

It’s NEVER too late, and the things you think impossible or out of your reach aren’t—not by a long shot. For the first time in human history, thanks to advancements in medical science, we are on the cusp of incredible revelations that will allow us to not only comprehend why and how we age—but to slow, lessen, delay, and reverse aging with the potential to avoid age-related illness completely. 

Now, these accomplishments aren’t effortless. They require dedication, appreciation, and a profound love for yourself. They require a strong understanding of the science of aging, immunity, longevity, and vitality. They require the courage to make necessary changes emotionally and physically—at any age. And perhaps most importantly: they require an open mind, a shift in thinking, and a new perspective about aging. 

That’s what The Six Keys is all about. But before we dig in, just between us, tell me: how old are you—I mean really.

         Sorry, too personal of a question? OK, I get it, but the whole point here is that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. And in fact, redefining age in your mind will be a pretty critical component to how you age. So, tell me. 

In truth, I don’t care at all about your age. I am actually asking to illustrate a point. Your “age” has many different factors that you are likely not considering, and each dramatically impacts the other to cumulatively affect how you look, feel, and perform for how long. 

 

  • For starters, there’s your chronologicalage, which is the number dictated by your birth certificate. It's officially how long you’ve been alive for and technically the age you can't escape. Not to worry. Spend some time with me and you won’t want to. 
  • There’s your biological(or physiological) age, which is how old your body ‘seems’, based on how well you move, look, and function. It’s an age that can vary depending on a number of factors, such as lifestyle choices, diet, genetics, stress, and bad habits for example. 
  • There’s your emotionalage, which is how well you manage your feelings. For example, do you handle stressful situations more rationally than someone your chronological age or instead tend to act like a hot mess?
  • There’s your socialage, which is based on the expectations society imposes on us about when life’s major moments should occur (such as graduating from high school, starting a family, or retiring) and what is perceived to be appropriate or inappropriate behavior for someone of a certain age.
  • Finally, there’s your psychological age, better known as ‘how old do you feel?’. It’s the age that’s entirely up to you because it’s honestly however you see and carry yourself. That can mean being the young at heart type or considering yourself an old soul—that sort of thing. 

 

 

HOW ALL YOUR AGES ADD UP

If you’ve been trying to cheat time by focusing strictly on your biological age (through exercise, diet, supplements, creams, or whatever else you’ve been trying), I commend your efforts, but you’re going at the whole thing ass backwards. The first step in turning that around is understanding that ‘all’ of your ages—that includes your emotional, social, and psychological ages collectively—must be considered as a whole to make the greatest impact. 

         For example, you may not think that acting irrationally would age you faster—but it could. Many studies have proven that the higher your emotional intelligence is—the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself (and others) and to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships—the more likely you are to make better decisions, manage anxiety (which has also been shown to improve memory)[1], and be more resilient to stress,[2]all of which can help minimize the damaging effects of certain age-altering factors I'll show you in a later chapter. 

         The same respect should be paid to your social age. Society pretty much dictates exactly when we should be hitting certain milestones in our lives based on our age. In your late teens, you graduate high school and by your early 20s, you better be at the start of your career. Between your late 20s or early 30s, you settle down and start building a family. By your 40’s, if you change careers or do something profoundly stupid, no one bats an eye—you get a free pass because it’s officially a mid-life crisis. Hit your mid 60s and it’s time to retire—and that’s pretty much the social age rat race in a nutshell. 

         Nail these markers at the expected times and your social age is right on track. But if you dare deviate from those markers, then your social age may fall much younger or older than the norm, which could affect you in ways you might not expect. Being a teenage mom, feeling the pressure to be in a serious relationship or on a career track, going back to school in your 30’s, or not being financially able to retire are just a few deviations from the norm that could bring on what scientists call ‘social stress.’ 

         Research[3]has shown thatsocial stress may actually interfere with cellular aging and DNA repair, and according to recent data[4], where you rank within the social hierarchy could play a major role on how vulnerable you are to chronic stress. Struggling in social settings may also put you at a greater risk for mental and physical health problems,[5]particularly depression and anxiety—two conditions that make you more vulnerable to accelerated aging[6]for many reasons, including lowering your testosterone[7]and impairing white blood cells[8](the cells that protect your body from diseases and infections.) 

         Finally, there’s the often-disregarded, but equally important psychological age. A lot of how well we age is affected by how culture defines it. Many western cultures tend to view aging as putting someone out to pasture. But it shouldn’t be like this, and with plenty of other cultures—it isn’t. Instead, the “elderly” are treated with reverence and respect as a source of wisdom and information—a receptacle of accumulated mental and emotional strength—cultivated through experience and resilience that can be tapped to help move society forward and aid progress via experience and knowledge.

         Age can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you believe affects your behavior, and how you behave then affects your reality. Once a person believes they’re frail and tired, most people stop moving their bodies in ways that help with bone density, flexibility, mobility, etc.—so they literally become frail and tired. Once they feel ineffectual or “outdated”, they stop using their mind in ways that keep it sharp. Simply put: once you accept you’re old—you become old.        

Your psychological age affects your body and your mind. New research[9]from North Carolina State University found that having a positive attitude about aging makes older adults more resilient under stress, while having a negative attitude about aging has been confirmed[10]to affect physical and cognitive health in later years. To make matters worse, research[11]led by the Yale School of Public Health discovered that people with negative beliefs about aging are also more likely to have brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. Just ‘believing’ that getting older sucks creates stress that can cause pathological brain changes!
         Why do I bring all of this up? Because what you’re about to embark upon with The Six Keys goes beyond the conventional approach typically explored in most ‘anti-aging’ programs. What you’ll be doing will go beyond improving your biological age because in order to truly change our bodies, we first need to change our minds. The way we think. The things we believe. And subsequently the way we behave. And while this might sound like a cliché, it’s actually a reality. And accepting this reality is the first step in getting it to work in your favor—especially when it comes to longevity and vitality.

         It is possible to decide how you age. You can affect the expression of your genetics. You can have a long, tremendous, spectacular healthy life—but not without giving yourself over to this process. Mentally and physically. You will need faith. Faith in the science, faith in the program, but most importantly, faith in your ability to believe it and achieve it.         

         And I’ll tell you this much, if I can do it, you can do it. There is nothing exceptional about me. Don’t get me wrong, I feel capable and worthy of all things great that life has to offer, but I know you are too. I’m not beautiful like a supermodel, I’m not a genius, I wasn’t born into money, and I have zero special skills or talents. 

Now, what I do have working for me is that I had great teachers. Teachers who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Teachers who taught me that I was capable and who gave me the tools and proper information so that when I took action, I got powerful results that helped reinforce my belief in the process, my abilities, and my motivation. And that’s what I’m going to do for you with The Six Keys. 

You picked up this book so you must believe to a certain extent that I know what I’m doing. You’ve likely seen the results I’ve helped people achieve over the years and hopefully, you’re looking at me and thinking that I am doing pretty good at 43. So, if you believe in me, know that I believe in you, and by this virtuous circle, you ultimately must believe in yourself. 

         And maybe you think that’s bullshit. I’ve never met you, so how can I possibly believe in you. I know it because I know the science. I know that when applied, the results are inevitable. Beyond the hundreds of studies I’ve read, many of which we’ll discuss—I’m living proof. Knowledge is power. And the reason is because it empowers us to make informed decisions and take precise deliberate actions that yield incredible results.

Yes, it is possible to look your best, feel your best, fend off disease, stay sharp, and be your most robust, fit, and flourishing self for years to come. And soon, you’ll have the keys to making that possibility reality. 

All that said, I make no false promises and offer no magic bullets. These changes will require effort, vulnerability, and some sacrifice. Anything worth having always does. And in order to follow through on all those things, you need to have a why. I’m sure you’ve heard me toss this quote out a thousand times, and for good reason, but “if you have a why to live for… you can tolerate any how” —the ‘how’ being the work associated with achieving the goal. 

So, I need you to have a hard think on why this matters to you. How will your life be positively impacted by the changes you are about to make? And I don’t mean for you to come up with sweeping generalizations like “look better” or “feel better”. I mean specifics, but most importantly, specifics that you can form an emotional attachment to. 

         I already know why aging badly isn’t on my agenda. Because I love being on the slopes with my kids, not waiting for them at the bottom of the mountain with hot chocolate. 

I love being strong physically because I find it empowers me in all facets of my life and reminds me of my resilience and ability to endure, persevere, and overcome adversity. 

I love that professionally, I have only continued to grow more successful as I’ve gotten older because I don’t just talk my message—I live it. 

I love feeling good about how I have “maintained” because it gives me confidence in all my interactions. 

I love that at 43, I am far more fit than I was at 33—and even 23. Because it fills me with hope and positivity for what has yet to come. 

I love that I am super comfortable in a two piece.

I love that I am doing everything in my power to fend off cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. And even if they do get me, I will have zero regrets that I could have avoided it. 

I could go on and on and on here… but that is a book unto itself and this book is about you. So, I’ll stop, as I’m sure you get the idea.

 

Bottom line, I know that age doesn't have to be a slow descent into decrepitude. It is possible to age fully empowered with grace, beauty, wisdom, and integrity. I have—and will continue—to defy its’ preconceived notions and redefine it on my own terms—physically and psychologically. 

 

         So the real question we have here is: how ‘bout you? 

 

 

BUY THE BOOK!  

 

 

 

 

 

[1]Christopher Lee, Myra Fernandes. Emotional Encoding Context Leads to Memory Bias in Individuals with High Anxiety. Brain Sciences, 2017; 8 (2): 6 DOI: 10.3390/brainsci8010006

[2]Ramzan Shahid, Jerold Stirling, William Adams. “Assessment of Emotional Intelligence in Pediatric and Med-Peds Residents.” Journal of Contemporary Medical Education, 2016; 4 (4): 153 DOI: 10.5455/jcme.20170116015415

[3]Denise Aydinonat, Dustin J. Penn, Steve Smith, Yoshan Moodley, Franz Hoelzl, Felix Knauer, Franz Schwarzenberger. Social Isolation Shortens Telomeres in African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus erithacus). PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (4): e93839 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093839

[4]Larrieu T., Cherix A., Duque A., Rodrigues J., Lei H., Gruetter R. and Sandi C. Hierarchical status predicts behavioral vulnerability and nucleus accumbens metabolic profile following chronic social defeat stress. Current Biology, July 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.027

[5]Chris Segrin. Indirect Effects of Social Skills on Health Through Stress and Loneliness. Health Communication, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1384434

[6]B S Diniz, E Sibille, Y Ding, G Tseng, H J Aizenstein, F Lotrich, J T Becker, O L Lopez, M T Lotze, W E Klunk, C F Reynolds, M A Butters. Plasma biosignature and brain pathology related to persistent cognitive impairment in late-life depression. Molecular Psychiatry, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2014.76

[7]Endocrine Society. "Declining testosterone levels in men not part of normal aging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2012.

[8]Mikael Wikgren, Martin Maripuu, Thomas Karlsson, Katarina Nordfjäll, Jan Bergdahl, Johan Hultdin, Jurgen Del-Favero, Göran Roos, Lars-Göran Nilsson, Rolf Adolfsson, Karl-Fredrik Norrback. Short Telomeres in Depression and the General Population Are Associated with a Hypocortisolemic State. Biological Psychiatry, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.09.015

[9]Jennifer A. Bellingtier and Shevaun D. Neupert.eNegative Aging Attitudes Predict Greater Reactivity to Daily Stressors in Older Adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, August 2016

[10]Deirdre A. Robertson, Rose Anne Kenny.SNegative perceptions of aging modify the association between frailty and cognitive function in older adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 2015

[11]http://news.yale.edu/2015/12/07/negative-beliefs-about-aging-predict-alzheimer-s-disease-yale-led-study

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