The 6 Keys

Unlock Your Genetic Potential for Ageless Strength, Health, and Beauty


With Myatt Murphy

By Jillian Michaels

Formats and Prices




$22.99 CAD


  1. Trade Paperback $17.99 $22.99 CAD
  2. ebook $14.99 $16.99 CAD
  3. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 29, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Reverse the effects of aging and maintain optimal health for life through the revolutionary 6 Keys program by New York Times bestselling author Jillian Michaels.

With Master Your Metabolism, Jillian Michaels showed us how to take control of the metabolic machinery underneath our weight and health struggles. Now she's ahead of the curve again — conquering the mayhem, myths, and misunderstandings associated with aging. After all, if you can decide your weight, why not your age?

Scientists and doctors have identified six major age inciters: metabolism, damaged macromolecules, epigenetics, inflammation, stress adaptation, telomeres.

The 6 Keys presents an ageless health, fitness, and beauty plan that addresses all six of them — and gets them working for you instead of against you.

Empowering and rigorously researched, The 6 Keys outlines powerful lifestyle interventions, dietary guidelines, exercise plans, and vanguard strategies for cultivating mindfulness that restore and protect human performance, keeping you fit, healthy, and beautiful for life.



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 tells 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 another gets to blow out candles on their ninety-eighth birthday? Why are some more susceptible to certain health issues as they get older (like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and 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?

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

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

So there I was, forty-three 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. I, on the other hand, was ecstatic. I thanked him and could tell he was genuinely shocked to discover I was forty-three years old, but as I walked away, something struck me.

Why was he so shocked?

In my mind, I looked and felt my age: I felt wiser, stronger, and more successful than when I was younger, possessing a confidence 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 among the crowd, people continued to be astonished by my age.

“You do NOT look forty-three!”

“You don’t SEEM like you’re forty-three!”

At first, I was super flattered. But by the eighth person, I started to get annoyed. What the hell? I thought. What exactly is forty-three supposed to be and look like anyway? Why does everyone else think forty-three is old? More important, what do you believe forty-plus is supposed to look 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. (Okay, to be honest, I am super forgetful, but that’s nothing new. I was born with that one.)

For weeks after that night out with my siblings, I paid attention to everyone around me and tried to guess people’s ages in my head. I couldn’t help wondering how people of the same age could be so different from one another when it came to their energy level, immunity, memory, productivity, functionality, personality, and physical appearance. I couldn’t stop thinking about the causes for this huge variance in how people age. I knew I needed to explore, dissect, and decode the habits and behaviors of those who seem to defy aging. My fascination with aging led to the book you now hold in your hands.

The 6 Keys is 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 we presently know (not just bits and pieces) about how we age and integrates all that information into one approach that optimizes our genetics and exploits our physiological potential. It’s not a book full of false promises and 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, 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 level with each other: maybe you just want to know how to look hot at fifty, sixty, and beyond. 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 self-worth. And if you’ve picked up this book because that’s what you care about, that’s perfectly okay. Because if you’re looking for a fountain of youth, this book will be as close as you can get.

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 important, 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, and present yourself dramatically impacts the way you relate to your environment and other people in it, which 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.

Want in? Read on.

Part 1


Before you can unlock aging, you need to understand the mistaken beliefs most of us have about the aging process.

There are so many misconceptions about what’s really bolting that door shut and keeping us from aging on our own terms. Is it genetics? Is it too much sun? Is it every bad habit you ever had in your life coming back to haunt you? The fact is, that lock is a culmination of a lot of things. But it’s knowing which ones are the most important to focus on that makes the lock much easier to open.

We’ll begin by looking at the different ways we define our age, and how all of those various ways come together to make us feel or appear our true age. I’ll then explain the facts around what aging really is and what others believe about why we have to grow old in the first place. I mean, there has to be a valid reason, right? Finally, I will share with you how I came to discover the 6 Keys among the emerging science that is now transforming how researchers and scientists perceive and address aging.


Which Age Defines You?

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

• Do you want to live to 150—or even 200? Professor Stuart Kim of Stanford University believes the first person to do so is alive right now!

• Would you like to be able 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 fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, or even ninety? Yuichiro Miura scaled Everest at eighty, Jack Nicklaus shot a hole in one at seventy-five, and Diana Nyad swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida when she was sixty-four. One of the world’s most lauded yoga instructors, Tao Porchon-Lynch, is one hundred. And at fifty-four, Texas native Mark Jordan set a Guinness World Record in 2015 for the most pull-ups in a twenty-four-hour period (4,321!).

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


It’s never too late, and the things you think are 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 have made incredible discoveries that help us understand not only why and how we age but how to slow and even reverse aging and avoid age-related illness.

There are keys—six to be exact—that collectively open that door, and ways to make those 6 Keys turn, without fail, in the right direction.

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—at any age. And perhaps most important, they require an open mind, a shift in thinking, and a new perspective about aging.

But before we dig in to the 6 Keys, just between us, tell me: how old are you? I mean, really.

Sorry, too personal of a question? Okay, 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 about this number. 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 others to cumulatively affect how you look, feel, and perform over time.

• For starters, there’s your chronological age, which is the number dictated by your birth certificate. It’s officially how long you’ve been alive and technically the age you can’t escape. Not to worry. Spend some time with me and you won’t want to escape.

• 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.

• There’s your emotional age, 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 social age, 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 about what appropriate or inappropriate behavior should be for someone of a particular 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 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.


If you’ve been trying to cheat time by focusing strictly on your biological age (through exercise, diet, supplements, creams, etc.), I commend your efforts, but it’s utterly incomplete. The first step in turning that around is understanding that all of your ages—including your emotional, social, and psychological ages—must be considered as a whole in order for your actions to be effective.

For example, you may not think that acting irrationally would age you faster—but it could. Many studies have shown that the higher your emotional intelligence—your 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,1 and be more resilient to stress,2 all of which can help you age well.

The same respect should be paid to your social age. Society pretty much dictates exactly when we should be hitting various milestones in our lives. In your late teens, you graduate high school, and by your early twenties, you better be at the start of your career. Between your late twenties and early thirties, you settle down and start building a family. By your forties, if you change careers or do something profoundly stupid, no one bats an eye—you get a free pass because you’re officially in a midlife crisis. Hit your mid-sixties 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, 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 thirties, or not being financially able to retire are just a few deviations from the norm that could bring on what scientists call “social stress.”

Research3 has shown that social 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 in 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 aging6 for many reasons, such as lowering your testosterone levels7 and impairing white blood cells8 (the cells that protect your body from diseases and infections).

Finally, there’s the often disregarded but equally important psychological age. Age can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you believe affects your behavior, and how you behave affects your reality. If you believe you’re frail and tired, you’ll stop moving your body in ways that help with bone density, flexibility, mobility, etc.—so you’ll literally become frail and tired. If you feel ineffectual or “outdated,” you’ll stop using your 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 research9 from North Carolina State University found that having a positive attitude about aging makes older adults more resilient under stress, while a different study found that having a negative attitude was confirmed10 to affect physical and cognitive health in later years. To make matters worse, research11 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. Simply 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 6 Keys goes beyond the conventional approach typically explored in most anti-aging programs. You’ll 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. Accepting this reality is the first step.

It is possible to decide how you age. You can have a long, tremendous, spectacular, healthy life—but not without giving yourself over to the aging process mentally and physically. You will need faith. Faith in the science, faith in the strategy, but most important, 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 showed 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 6 Keys.

You picked up this book, so you must believe 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 well at forty-four. 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 bullsh*t. 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 I’ll discuss—I’m living proof. Knowledge is power. 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 a reality.

All that said, as mentioned, I make no false promises and offer no magic bullets. These changes will require some work, vulnerability, and 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: “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 think deeply about 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 sweeping generalizations like “I’ll look better” or “I’ll feel better.” I mean specifics to which you can form an emotional attachment.

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 forty-four, I am far more fit than I was at thirty-four—or even twenty-four. Because it fills me with hope and positivity for what is 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 around how I tried to avoid 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.

The bottom line is that I know 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 defied and will continue to defy preconceived notions about aging. I will redefine it on my own terms—physically and psychologically.

So the real question is: how ’bout you?


The Truth About Aging

What is aging anyway? Think you know? Think again.

Aging is one of the most complex biological processes in existence, and defining it is not easy—even for the experts. I’ve heard scientists call aging “the time-based breakdown of the physiological functions needed to survive and reproduce.” I’ve heard other experts refer to it as “the accumulation of changes in a human being over time encompassing physical, psychological, and social changes.”

But in the most general terms, aging is just the process of growing older—period.

It’s a process that affects almost all of the body’s systems and the cells of every major organ at rates that can vary greatly from person to person. How well we age is typically defined by changes in our appearance, reaction times, metabolism, memory functions, fitness levels, sex drive, and the ability to see, hear, and even smell. Other signs of aging are a decrease in organ function, a weaker immune system, and various hormonal changes, just to name a few.

But a better way to look at it may be to understand what aging is not.

Aging is not the enemy

Aging is a natural and normal process. It can make us wiser, smarter, and stronger—both physically and emotionally. I’m proud of my age. Literally. Proud of it. Because it is an accomplishment. Life is not about perfection. It’s about progress. And progress only comes with age. I have survived forty-four years on this planet. In that time, I have done some great things and some stupid things—but each of them has helped me grow and made me who I am today. I truly believe that ubiquitous quotation: “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” And I am, with every passing day.

I once trained a sixty-five-year-old woman and her thirty-year-old daughter. The sixty-five-year-old was stronger—by far. She could do eighty-pound lat pull-downs—the daughter could only handle sixty-five pounds. She could leg-press two hundred pounds! Her daughter could only do a hundred and forty. And the list goes on.

It was fascinating. I figured the disparity couldn’t be caused by genes, because the daughter had her mom’s genes. It wasn’t that the mom was a lifelong athlete—she wasn’t. That said, she had survived a hell of a lot in her life, and I came to the conclusion that her mental resilience and psychological fortitude had transformed into a manifestation of physical strength. This woman had walked through fire, survived it, and felt anything else was child’s play. So a two-hundred-pound leg press? Please—easy!

Aging is not “time”

The passing of time is not the primary cause of decrepitude! The choices we make regarding the way we live are what cause our bodies to decay quickly or maintain and thrive.

Ultimately, we are not immortal, and eventually, we will die. But if you make the right choices, you will get many more years and extremely vigorous ones at that.

Aging isn’t what kills you

That’s right! Aging isn’t the reason we actually die. Research1 has shown that the very notion that people die of “old age” is a complete fallacy.

It is true that as we get older, some age-related changes have a greater impact than others. But while these changes may make us more susceptible to disease, they don’t inevitably lead to age-related pathologies such as type-2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or dementia.


Much like the science of nutrition and metabolism, the science of aging has been convoluted. There have been many theories and very little science up until relatively recently.

For centuries, philosophers and researchers have debated the true causes of aging. In fact, in 1990, Russian biologist and aging expert Zhores Medvedev categorized2 more than three hundred different theories of aging. That’s not a typo—I said three hundred different theories! (Side note: as I write this, Medvedev is ninety-two years old and still kicking, so maybe the secret to defying aging is simply researching it—why do you think I wrote this book? Just sayin’. But I digress.)

Now, while there have been many theories over the years on this topic, there are only a couple that have truly endured.

Some say it’s damage

Some theories propose that aging is the result of a constant assault on various molecules and cells in our bodies, ranging from proteins to DNA. Everything from exposure to the environment and toxic by-products (such as unstable atoms, ions, or molecules known as free radicals) to inefficiencies in our body’s natural repair systems causes this damage, according to the theories. The damage accumulates like junk inside us throughout our entire lifespan, prompting some biological systems to fail, which in turn causes and accelerates the aging process. In fact, almost all research and observation points to this being true. And while it isn’t quite that simple—our bodies react to these stressors differently based on our genetics—it’s without doubt a major component.

However, aging isn’t all about wear and tear. Your body isn’t like some old jalopy that’s broken down and busted. Or is it? Let’s think about this for a second. If we did use this analogy, what if that car had been cared for and maintained with routine service? What if it were kept garaged, given high-quality fuel, the spark plugs and oil changed regularly, and so on? That car would do a hell of a lot better and be around a hell of a lot longer than if it hadn’t been well maintained.


On Sale
Dec 29, 2020
Page Count
304 pages
Little Brown Spark

Jillian Michaels

About the Author

Jillian Michaels is an eight-time New York Times bestselling author and certified personal trainer. Michaels has dominated the health and wellness space with hit television shows, immensely successful fitness DVDs, her exercise streaming platform, an award-winning podcast, and live speaking engagements.

Learn more about this author