Hilary Rifkin, 56: Fitness for Joy and Wellbeing

At 40, Hilary Rifkin started lifting weights then, at 45, helped launch a bespoke fitness boutique in London. Now teaching 13 classes a week in addition to her own strength training, she is promoting joy and wellbeing through fitness: “If you aren't having fun then why do it??”

Self-care means not only maintaining one’s body and mind but also having a great time doing it — life is not meant to always be some grim march through the trenches. Pleasure, in our minds, is a human right. Hilary is a living example of what happens when one aligns one’s passions with one’s lifestyle.

A former publishing exec and mother of two (three if you count her beloved dog Bo), started lifting weights at the age of 40 and became a fitness professional at the age of 45, helping launch one of the first bespoke fitness boutiques in London. From one-on-one mind and body coaching to cycle and group classes of every kind, she is helping people discover confidence and strength both in and out of the gym. For her, training isn’t about a temporary fix but a lifelong commitment to wellbeing, and having a great time doing it.

Where are you living?
Right now? Connecticut.

Were you sporty when you were younger?

What caused you at 40 to become more interested in fitness?
My family moved to London and I suddenly became a stay-at-home mom…fitness was my one-hour gift to myself every day.

Then what happened at 45? How did you change your routine?
At 45, I began training with a coach who was opening his own space in London. I came on board to help market the launch and decided then and there I wanted to be on both sides of the biz.

Fitness Isn’t Only for the Strong

How did having your kids affect things?
Having children gave me a greater appreciation for what my body is capable of but more than anything it made me want to stay fit to set a good example and to just keep up with them!

What do you find is one of the biggest misconceptions with people starting a fitness routine?
The greatest misconception is that it’s only for the strong. I mean, we got strong because we are disciplined and made fitness part of our lifestyle. Which is what it should be for everyone: a way of life, training for everyday life.


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A post shared by Hilary Rifkin (@hilaryrifkin)

What would you tell someone who is wanting to start a fitness routine, but is not sure what to do?
Reach out to friends you might like to exercise with (it’s always great to have a training buddy) and check out coaches on Instagram and Facebook, observe how people communicate and make sure it resonates with you or you won’t be compelled to stick with them.

Give us an idea of what you are eating.
I eat about 4 meals and 2 snacks a day. Pretty well balanced between carbs and protein with fats from healthy sources. I drink in moderation (red wine, tequila only) and never skip pizza Sundays!

What is your personal workout routine?
Along with teaching about 13 classes a week (group fitness, strength, HIIT, cycle) I strength train myself 5 days a week. Split training (back, legs, shoulders, chest, legs).

“I am motivated by the feeling of joy and accomplishment”

How do you stay motivated?
I am motivated by the feeling of joy and accomplishment: both my own and that of my clients. We are a tight-knit group and we have been through a lot together this past year —our hearts are full and focused.

What time of day do you work out?
Mornings, if I can.

How would you describe your mind and body coaching?
It is a very personal experience working with someone to enhance both their mental connection to movement but also their confidence in movement. For me, it is a moving meditation between myself and my client.


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A post shared by Hilary Rifkin (@hilaryrifkin)

Snow-Season Bikini Workouts

Let’s talk about your snow-season bikini workouts. That looks really cold.
It began as a dare for a friend’s birthday in 2015 and people loved it so I kept doing it! Now I just love the feeling of cold on my skin. Going to train with Wim Hof is on my bucket list.

Do you have a recovery routine that you find helpful?
For me, it’s about proper nutrition; feeding your work means feeding recovery too, and rest. If I can’t be 8 hours a night then feet up and chilling out — meaning no screen time!

You do some of the hardest moves, but you always seem to be having fun. Have you always had that spirit?
YES!!!!!  I have my moments of being serious, of course, but if you aren’t having fun then why do it??


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A post shared by Hilary Rifkin (@hilaryrifkin)

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Someplace less hectic: the beach, the mountains, writing a book for sure, still coaching but perhaps at a less frantic pace! Then again, I think I said that 10 years ago 😉

Connect with Hilary on Instagram @hilaryrifkin


  1. Hilary is the most devoted person who enjoys what she does and how she helps others.
    She becomes part of your family. An absolutely Special Person!


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David Stewart
David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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