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"You're not doing anything wrong; your body composition is changing." Cardio work at least three days a week is still important for keeping weight under control, but resistance training is crucial now.

"Women should be doing more weight training—and really going for it," says New York City–based celebrity trainer Kacy Duke, who is in her 40s.

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"You won't see that big a difference between 31 and 39 if you've been living a healthy lifestyle, but if not, you'll see a huge difference in muscle tone, weight, and shape." In this decade, experts agree, keeping fit means working harder.

Jenkins favors circuit training—a series of resistance and cardio exercises done swiftly and back-to-back.

And you routinely fail to appreciate what you've got.

This is the decade of anxiety—frantic exercise, fad diets, the mad pursuit of pinup perfection and self-hatred when you fail to meet it. "I tell my young clients, 'Forget looking like Jessica Simpson or Halle Berry, and forget weight; think health,'" says Jeanette Jenkins, a Los Angeles–based private trainer who has worked with rapper Queen Latifah and actress Taryn Manning.

But however you do it, Michaels advises strength training each muscle group twice a week with two days of rest between sessions.

Don't stick with heavy weights/low reps or low weight/many reps, she says; switch it around to keep your body from getting used to the routine. After pregnancy a program like Pilates can be invaluable in "pulling everything back in and up," says Brooke Siler, whose re: AB studio in New York City has attracted famous figures like Amber Valletta, Madonna, and Liv Tyler.

The catch is that a 50-year-old's body is not the same as a 20-year-old's; you can't push it the same way you once did, nor should you if you want to keep it in working-out order.

So listen to these coaches—they're talking not just professionally but also firsthand—on how to remain fit, and proud of it, through the decades.

This is because after age 20, your basal metabolism drops by 1 to 2 percent every decade, and as lean muscle decreases and body fat increases, you don't need as many calories to sustain yourself.

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