Look Younger Without Looking Like You're Trying


How to battle old age and still respect yourself in the morning.

By Jennifer Goldstein, Alice Oglethorpe, and Marissa Stephenson
Photos by Alberto Oviedo

When it comes to getting older, most of us react in one of two ways: Fight it tooth and nail, surrendering a good deal of self-respect in the process, or simply give in. There has to be a better way—a path to stay spry, healthy, even fashionable—despite the birthdate on your driver’s license. To find it, we cast a wide net, consulting with wellness experts, trainers, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, health coaches, stylists, and barbers. Not one suggested plastic surgery, a daily dose of HGH, hair plugs, or CrossFit. What they did recommend were ideas that, done regularly, will not only reboot your health, fitness, and style—but will also change the way you feel about your age. Not that you’ll look it.


“When you’re sleep-deprived, you have ashen skin and under-eye circles, and you look puffy because you retain fluid—plus, you just feel run-down,” says Michael Breus, sleep specialist and author of The Power of When. You also miss crucial hours when the body produces growth hormone and testosterone. Here’s how to set yourself up for better sleep.

Make mornings consistent

Wake up at the same time on weekends as weekdays—no matter when you got home the night before. “It is the absolute best way to improve sleep,” says Breus. “You can’t force circadian rhythms to change because you had a late night. It’s better to wake early and nap later if you need to.”

Enough with Facebook

People who check social media the most are twice as likely to have disturbed sleep as those who log on the least, according to recent research. Constant checking creates a vicious cycle: “When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” says researcher Gloria Mark. “If you’re distracted, what do you do? You go on Facebook.” Log on at specific times—say, on the way to and from work—and leave it at that.

Cut caffeine after 2 pm

Caffeine can take up to 10 hours to clear your system. Nix it after midday.

Take a hot shower right before bed

Rapidly cooling off increases the natural drop in body temperature that happens at night. This cues the body to release sleep-inducing melatonin.

Tweak Your Training

Aging means facing an increasing number of physical foes—a deteriorating body, a sluggish metabolism, gravity. But exercise can vanquish the most common enemies. Here’s how.

Banish Man Boobs
Extra flab at the chest can happen with a dip in testosterone but more likely it’s the result of putting on a few pounds. Combat either problem by adding tough intervals to workouts. Not only are they proved to raise T levels, “intervals are so intense that they continue to burn calories hours after you exercise,” says Martin Gibala, chair of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University. The key is making them hard enough to elicit that after-burn.  To do it, pick any cardio activity, and alternate between a minute of work and a minute of recovery for 20 minutes.  The first three sprints should be 80 percent of maximum effort. The second three, go for 85 to 90 percent. Crank to 95 percent for the next two, and make the final two bouts all-out.
Prevent a Hunch
Nothing says wizened old man like slumped shoulders, and the look can come on sooner than you think. “You’re bent over all day—at your desk, in your car, at the dinner table—and the more you hunch, the tighter your chest and weaker your upper back become, which pulls you even more into that position,” says Chris Matsui, fitness director at Fusion Performance Training in New York. To restore posture, you have to strengthen the upper back, says Matsui. Try wall slides, which can be done anywhere: Stand against a wall, arms in goal-post position; slide arms upward, maintaining full contact with the wall, until arms are straight overhead. Do three sets of 15 reps a few times a week.
Don’t Go Soft
Research shows that every decade after the age of 35, you lose 5 percent of muscle mass. All the more reason to strength-train regularly. Do some kind of resistance training twice a week and you can maintain the muscle you’ve got. One of the most effective methods, according to Men’s Journal contributor Laird Hamilton, is a body-weight routine. “Try three rounds of 20 squats, lunges, pushups, pullups, and bicycle crunches,” Hamilton says. “You’ll hit every muscle.”

Four Stretches To Do Daily


Lunge forward deeply on right leg, dropping left knee to floor. Keeping torso tall, shift weight onto right foot and press hips forward, hands on right thigh. You should feel a stretch in your left hip. Hold 30 seconds; repeat on opposite leg.


Stand facing a wall and raise one arm to shoulder height, straight out and perpendicular to body, forearm against wall. Rotate torso away from wall until you feel a stretch in chest. Hold 30 seconds; repeat on opposite arm.


Lie face up on back, legs straight, arms out to sides. Lift right knee to chest, then across body to left side, straightening leg; rotate head to the right. Hold 30 seconds; repeat on opposite leg.


Lie facedown with legs extended, hands planted on floor near shoulders. Slide left knee up and out to the side. Push through palms to straighten arms, keeping hips on floor. Turn head to left and hold 30 seconds; repeat on opposite side.

Stretching illustrations by Jason Lee

Advice from the Ageless

“Progress in fitness comes from failure. At least once a week, push yourself hard enough to fail—so you can’t do another rep or add more weight. That’s how you see results.

—Laird Hamilton, 52, waterman


Intermittent fasting, or cutting way back on calories a couple of days a week, can help keep a middle-aged gut at bay. “On days you fast, your body taps fat for energy—and the first fat to get used is belly fat,” says Mark Mattson, chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. “Don’t worry about losing muscle; that’s the last thing your body depletes for fuel.” To fast properly, two days a week, eat about 500 calories. That doesn’t mean one Big Mac. Try hard-boiled eggs, nuts, and fresh vegetables. Fasting this way is also proved to boost energy levels, lower blood pressure, and increase your heart’s ability to handle stress.


The two most effective ways to slow the rate your body breaks down is to quell inflammation and oxidation. Turmeric does both. “It fights degenerative diseases, as well as aging of organs, cells, and tissue,” says nutritionist Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Sprinkle it on eggs and veggies, add it to smoothies, or try a daily supplement.

A Gentlemen’s Guide to Getting Work Done

Not all nips/tucks are deplorable. Here, a trio of worthwhile procedures—and three to avoid.


Kybella for a double chin

This injection destroys pooling fat cells, says New York City dermatologist Adam Geyer; typically two or three injections (at about $1,200 each) are required. The upshot: It takes less than an hour.

Lasers for bad skin

Laser therapy can treat sun spots, enlarged pores, old acne scars, and more, Geyer says. A full-face treatment ($800 and up) takes less than an hour, and redness and swelling go away in days. Results can last decades if you get several treatments a few weeks apart.

Botox for wrinkles

For smoothing creases, there’s nothing better. Caveats: It runs upwards of $300 a visit, and you’ll need injections every six months to maintain results (See one man’s case for the procedure, below.)



The procedure, which freezes fat cells, isn’t as gut-altering as it’s made out to be. “CoolSculpting can remove only about one centimeter of fat, and it’s designed only for specific spots, like love handles,” says New York City dermatologist Paul Jarod Frank. In other words, if you have extra meat all over, you won’t notice much.

Cosmetic tattooing

A real thing man men do. A practitioner tattoos the skin at the scalp with a fine needle to portray thicker hair. “I have had several patients come in who’ve had cosmetic tattooing to cover up hair loss,” says Geyer, “But look closely in bright lighting and you can see the pattern of dots that have been placed.”

Lip filler

Two words: Mickey Rourke.

Advice From the Ageless

“When in doubt, straighten your spine and throw your shoulders back. The better your posture, the better you look.” –Tim Gunn, 63, style consultant.

How To Lose 10 Years

Keep hair short
Tell a barber you want it “sharp and clean with modern lines”, says stylist Jon Reyman, owner of Spoke & Weal salons nationwide. Crop even thinning hair close, Reyman says, instead of trying to hide scarcity with length. “Thinning hair looks old and wizardly if you let it get unkempt,” he says.
Trim ear and nose hairs
It’s not your imagination—these spots sprout even more hair in middle age, says NYC dermatologist Adam Geyer. (There’s no clear answer why; it may be linked to lower testosterone levels.) Use an electric nose and ear trimmer weekly. It’s quicker and less painful than tweezing.
Rethink facial hair
It ages you several years compared with going clean-shaven, according to a 2012 Behavioral Ecology study.  If you won’t part with a beard or moustache, then make sure to use beard oil. Facial hair gets coarser and drier with age, says Chris Salgardo, author of grooming guide Man-made, but a few drops of oil will moisturize strands.
Snip brows
“Scraggly, bushy brows make you look tired,” says Salgardo. That’s shorthand for old (or Andy Rooney).  Brush eyebrows up with a comb, then trim across the top edge with small scissors.
Avoid old-man cologne
Hallmark scents of the ‘60s and ‘70s—peppery, floral carnation (Old Spice Original), musty oakmoss (Brut)—along with notes like leather and spice all smell dated now.  Try a fresh citrus or herbal scent like Lacoste’s L.12.12 Yellow ($58) or Hugo Man Extreme by Hugo Boss ($62).
Wear sunscreen
Everything you’ve heard about the sun aging you? It’s true.  Get a daily moisturizer with SPF 30. Better still, “research indicates it may act as an antiager, improving skin texture and tone over time,” says Steven Q. Wang, a dermatologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


Some items never go out of style—but nothing on the first list makes the list. Replace them with these modern classics.

A too-big bomber in distressed leather screams dated. Leave the relic to Goose and Maverick.
Typically made of rough, cheap cotton and two sizes too big, it’s no way to commemorate the 5K you ran in 2006.
Suburban moms have stopped wearing these. So should you.
The boxy shape makes you look more square, and no foot needs a pound of cushioning.
Look for a minimal design and lightweight leather, as with this Schott jacket ($750; schottnyc.com).
Nothing gets as much wear. Invest in quality material and a size that doesn’t billow or hug. Our pick: Splendid Cotton Crew Tee ($58; splendid.com).
The antidote to acid-washed ($70; levis.com).
You don’t want to look like you’re wearing your kid’s Jordans. Try these Cole Haans ($150; colehaan.com).
Advice from the Ageless

“You want a formfitting suit with perfect cuffs. Michael Jordan—the greatest of all time—should be the most fashionable man on the planet, but the guy wears baggy suits.”—Reggie Miller, sportscaster and former NBA player.


You don’t have to overthink what you wear or squeeze into jeans made for a Jonas brother. But banishing a few passé and sloppy items in favor of clothes that actually fit will go a long way to help you look your best.

  • White tube socks—ever
  • Cargo shorts, pants, or jackets
  • Square-toe dress shoes
  • Cellphone clips; fanny packs of any kind
  • Argyle or striped socks
  • Chinos that fit well
  • Brown leather brogues or wingtips
  • A vintage watch