Flip or Flop star Tarek El Moussa addressed his buff new body and cleaned-up style on Instagram Friday, wondering if he's going through a mid-life crisis

By Dave Quinn
April 01, 2017 02:16 PM

Tarek El Moussa knows he’s been going through a lot of changes lately — and even he is starting to worry.

The 36-year-old Flip or Flop star addressed his buff new body and cleaned-up style on Instagram Friday, wondering if he’s going through a mid-life crisis.

“OH NO!!” he wrote. “New #clothing.. New #hairstyle…. #No more sandals!! Half #naked pics!!! Is this a mid life crisis??”

The caption came attached to a photo of El Moussa’s hip haircut. “My sister hooked up the new #hollyweird hair style @l33hairartistry…,” he said. “Looking pretty fly for an #old guy!!”

El Moussa has spent the past three years battling thyroid and testicular cancer and suffering through a debilitating back injury — which took a tough physical toll on his body.

Credit: Tarek El Moussa Instagram

Tarek El Moussa

He previously told PEOPLE the time was “the most difficult of my life” – the worst part of battling cancer not being the radiation or surgery, but the months after. During that time, he suffered from heart palpitations and hormone imbalances that led him to gain 40 lbs. Tarek then threw out his back in 2014, and proceeded to lose 70 lbs. when he was stuck in bed after back surgery.

The HGTV celebrity was also going through tough times with estranged wife Christina. The couple, who had been married for seven years, announced their divorce to PEOPLE in December. They have two children together — daughter Taylor, 6, and son Brayden, 18 months.

“I looked like death,” he said, of that time. “I wasn’t the happy, outgoing guy I once was. I was so miserable. It was a struggle just to wake up in the morning.”

Now Tarek says he’s back to his “healthy” weight of 195 lbs. and working out regularly — as he showed off in a shirtless photo shoot posted to Instagram Thursday.

Credit: Pye Jirsa Photography

Tarek El Moussa

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He thanks his physical therapist Quintin Tucker, who helped give him a physical and mental rebirth after surgery.

“When he put me on his table on day one, I couldn’t walk,” the 6-ft.-tall house flipper and real estate agent said. “But by the end of the week, he had me lifting weights. The therapy he did on me made it possible for me to work on getting myself back.”

“I want to do everything I can to stay healthy,” El Moussa continued. “It just feels good to change your body and get in shape. It builds self confidence and just to understand you can accomplish goals.”

And whether or not he’s having a “mid-life crisis,” El Moussa is just motivated to stay healthy and active.

“I was really sick for a long time and, really, I still get tired because of all my medications. But I fight through it because I have a goal and I want to accomplish that goal,” he said. “In life — whether it’s business, fitness, family — in order to live the fullest life possible, you need to continue to challenge yourself and set new goals and make things happen. Never stay stagnant. That’s how I live my life.”