Coco Chanel said

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.”

Having seen a number of people lose their looks not just from ageing but in a dramatic way that leaves nothing to even hint at their former attractiveness, I think this statement is very true indeed. These people I refer to have not always been the nicest people – often selfish and inward looking. But how does that relate to fitness and health?

Well first, I have just learnt a splendid bit of news which I thought I would share with you – science has proven that strength training boosts the skin’s growth hormones which increases collagen production thus improving the elasticity of our skin.

This is great because there are a lot of questions around sports and skin – running causes jowls and wrinkles, outdoor sports causes broken veins and red patches and strength training led to acne and rough skin. When I started training I got spots about a month in and research led me to believe that this was because of the testosterone being produced by the build in muscle tone. I kept getting spots and at one point wondered if it was worth the hard body if I had a horrible face?! However, once I cut out diary from my diet all the spots went and it had nothing to do with weight lifting or testosterone. Training did not give me spots and in fact it has helped my skin in the long run and I now have more consistently good and easy to manage skin then I ever have before.  You will have to excuse this terrible picture of me but I took it simply to show my skin – for someone who is in their 30s, grew up in Indonesia so got a fair amount of skin damage, is quite lazy in regards to moisturising and is not wearing any foundation, I think it looks pretty good. (ignore the jaggedly fringe and huge eyebrows!)


Often you see pictures of women who train hard and their faces looked wrecked! That sounds so very mean but alas it is true. They look hard, tired, often acne ridden and often masculine. Let’s get this straight – it is because they have taken some sort of drug to help them train and that is the side effect. Steroids and other enhancing drugs have high doses of testosterone hence the acne and hardened face as these have messed with the hormone balance. If you simply do as I have done and lift some decent size weights, it can only led to good things for your skin and face as your body will be repairing and creating on a constant basis fuelled by all the good food you put in it. Training and nutrition go hand in hand – I assure you once you start exercising properly you will not want to eat rubbish. Slowly but surely you will change the way you eat and your body will start craving different things that can help to build and repair like lentils, grains, vegetables – I remember a time when I liked nothing better than a bowl full of chick peas, broccoli and tomatoes – I actually craved it and yet that sounds like such a dull meal!

If you put effort into keeping fit and healthy, if you put effort into eating clean and avoiding all the things which slow your digestive system down stopping your liver and kidneys working as they should, you will reap the benefits and they will show in your skin through better skin, brighter eyes, possibly even whiter teeth and of course a willingness to smile and look people confidently in the eye. The tough meats pumped with drugs that stay in the colon for ages, the acidic diary products which upset the digestive balance, the artificial fizzy drinks which have no benefits whatsoever, the ready made meals filled with toxins that you body then has to fight, are the sorts of things which will age you, leave you with lifeless skin, yellow eyes, lines and spots.

Going back to the beginning of this post I will now say something quite strong – those more selfish, inward looking people never considered the ethics or principles around what they ate or looking after their health and trying to find a mental balance. They would eat whatever and people who do not have any thought to the impact of what they consume will get the face they deserve in the end.  We cannot stop the ageing process but we can prevent our faces becoming bloated, haggard, red, blotchy, grey and generally unattractive. It just takes a little effort but it is so worth it.