With her youthful glowing skin, lustrous blonde locks and strong athletic figure, it is no surprise that people are shocked when Nikki Ellis tells them her real age.
The Melbourne mum-of-two says strangers often assume she is in her early thirties and sometimes even her late twenties.
But the wild truth is that she is actually not just years, but decades older than what most people have guessed.
“I’m getting ready to celebrate my 58th birthday this year,” the personal trainer told news.com.au.
“Most people just assume I am in my early thirties. I’ve even had 29 before.
“It is crazy when I look at photos of myself when I was that age, I feel like I look so much older at 30 than I do now.
“People are very shocked when I tell them how old I am.
“I met a lady this morning who nearly fell off her chair, and kept coming back to the same topic and checking I was 57, it was very sweet.”
Nikki, who has owns Cinch Transformation Studio in Melbourne’s North-East, has always been interested in health an fitness, which she feels has helped maintain her stunning physique.
Her passion for staying active stemmed from childhood, with her dad being an athlete and her mum battling a chronic illness, which reinforced to her how valuable it is to take care of one’s health.
While she used to be a diehard aerobics fan during the 1980s, looking back she can see how tired she was all the time due to doing so much cardio.
Now that she focuses on lifting weights and building strength, she feels and looks younger than ever before.
“I was always very aware growing up on the importance of being fit, and what a blessing it was to have a body that is able to move,” she said.
“Not everyone is that fortunate. I’ve certainly had times when I haven’t trained, and also had times where I was completely obsessed with aerobics.
“My eating was all over the place and the constant cardio made me feel sluggish, so I do feel younger now than I did back then.
“My measure for feeling youthful is how vigorous I feel. It is whether I feel like leaping out of bed in the morning, how happy I am, whether my brain feels foggy, whether I can run for a tram, and of course, whether I can lift very heavy things.”
A typical day for Nikki means she is up before sunrise to teach a few strength training and spin classes, before having coffee and breakfast.
She will usually strength train 4-5 days a week and will walk her dogs every afternoon, which helps rack up her 10,000 a day step count goal.
While Ms Ellis she does not adhere to a particular diet, she does her best to keep her meals healthy and balanced.
“My workout focus is very muscle centric. This means I prioritise my weight training over my other exercise modalities,” she said.
“I avoid sitting for long periods of time and do stick to the classic rule of thumb of tën thousand steps a day. Sometimes I don’t quite make it, but that’s the goal.
“I eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and aim for eating 100g of protein each day. I like to eat whole grains and some healthy fat.
“My goal is a diet that is going to keep me healthy for as long as possible without feeling at all restrictive, and I want to feel fuelled, satiated and enjoy eating.”
Her top tips for maintaining her youthful appearance are quite simple, but often difficult for some people to remember or commit to.
Along with weight training, drinking lots of water and eating a balanced diet, Nikki does not drink alcohol and believes this has helped keep her looking young.
She also wears sunscreen religiously and will reapply it throughout the day, as well as wearing big hats to protect her skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Ms Ellis also believes in the importance of mental health and will mediate, listen to music and journal throughout the day.
She also prides herself on taking good care of her skin.
“I love getting regular facials, whether by a professional or at home,” she says.
“I also don’t think alcohol, and drink plenty of water. I use sunscreen and wear hats to cover up from the sun.
“If you love travel, always have a trip planned. It gives you something to look forward to.
“It’s also so important to maintain a sense of fun and surround yourself with people who love you and laugh with you.
“I love getting outside and being with nature. No music, just you and nature. It is soothing.”
While she says it can be intimidating for women – especially older women – to have the confidence to get into, or back into, fitness, she shared some tips for those wanting to kick start a healthier lifestyle.
“If you can, find a place where you feel comfortable,” she said.
“Even now some public gyms don’t make people feel all that welcome, whether you are a young person, a woman, an older person, it can be very intimidating.
“So go to a few gyms and simply have a tour, ask questions and see how you feel.
“A lot of gyms offer older adult programs, however remember you want to get strong and maintain or build muscle, so look for studios where there are already some epic older role models, and they are lifting some pretty good weight.”
Ms Ellis’ final top tip for feeling and looking young was quite simple.
“Be kind! Nothing makes you feel better than random acts of kindness,” she smiled.
“I’m sure that helps us stay looking and feeling forever young.”
NIKKI’S TOP TIPS FOR LOOKING YOUNG
1. Lift weights
2. Eat a nutritious diet
3. Have fun and love people
4. Slap on sunscreen everyday
5. Walk as much as you can
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