Ten hours of sleep a night and a cheat day every week – how J-Lo looks this good at 52

·4 min read
J-Lo turning back time on the catwalk at the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week, 2019 - Shutterstock
J-Lo turning back time on the catwalk at the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week, 2019 - Shutterstock

When you look at the pictures of Jennifer Lopez celebrating her 52nd birthday on a yacht with her boyfriend Ben Affleck this week, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in a time warp back to the early 2000s. Not strictly because of the pair’s rekindled relationship, or the fact they recreated that famous ‘Jenny from the block’ boat scene, but because of J-Lo’s sculpted physique, which has barely changed since her 30s.

This isn’t the first time that J-Lo’s appearance has stunned fellow midlifers. Two years ago, she athletically climbed up a pole during a performance at the Super Bowl, while dressed in a skimpy bodysuit and leather black chaps. And last February she strutted down the runway wearing a green Versace dress that she had debuted 20 years earlier. Indeed, J-Lo herself admitted that she feels more attractive in midlife. “I see pictures of myself in my 20s and go: ‘Oh, I look better now!’ I embrace who I am. I feel sexy, I feel youthful, I feel pretty sometimes,” she told US Weekly.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

So, what is her secret? Partly, it could be down to her disciplined eating habits. Previously, Lopez has said she is mindful of what she puts in her body. “What you eat doesn’t just affect your body; it can also affect the way your skin looks,” she once told an interviewer. She starts her day with oatmeal with fresh berries, or a smoothie – her favourite is a medley of berries, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, honey, ice cubes, a squirt of fresh lemon juice and a scoop of protein powder.

According to her trainer and life coach Dodd Romero, J-Lo avoids processed foods and gets all her nutrients from “whole sources.” Her protein comes from egg whites in the morning, turkey, chicken and grass-fed beef, and she eats “a handful” of nuts each day for healthy fats. She prefers to steer away from vegetables that have high amounts of naturally occurring sugar, such as carrots, and instead opts for leafy greens like spinach and kale. She eats dinner early with her children – around 6.30pm – and the meal usually consists of a lean protein with vegetables and complex carbs like brown rice or quinoa. Throughout the day, she aims for at least seven glasses of water.

Guilty pleasures do exist in J-Lo’s world, but they are moderated. She allows herself one cheat day a week, which might include a chocolate chip cookie or chocolate ice cream – according to her ex-boyfriend Alex Rodriquez, they’re her weaknesses.

The star is also committed to getting a good night’s sleep. “The number one tip is to always get enough sleep,” she told InStyle US. “I can’t stress this enough. Ideally I would love to get nine or 10 hours of sleep, but either way, I always make sure I get at least eight.” Other no-gos for the singer are alcohol, caffeine and smoking.

A good diet and sleep pattern helps J-Lo to fuel her intense workout regime, which focuses on strength and muscle gain rather than weight loss. She told US Weekly that she works out three or four times a week – a mixture of strength training, HIIT, kickboxing, and ab-targeted moves. Refreshingly, though, she occasionally struggles to find the motivation. “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,” she said.

There is one workout that never fails to get her moving, though: dancing. She previously said that it doesn’t “feel like exercise”, and she freestyle dances with personal trainer Tracey Anderson (whose clients include Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow) five times a week. To make it feel like more of a workout, Anderson adds “light weights (3lb/1.4kg) for the arms and moves that focus on the butt and thighs and engage the core.”

However, genetics could also play a part in J-Lo’s flawless appearance. In a 2014 appearance on Today, she admitted: “I have to say, I have good genes, you know. My mum and my grandma have beautiful skin, so I was blessed with that, and I’m fortunate in that way.”

While many of us might not be that lucky, piling a few more greens on our plate might help us get some of the way there.