Ernestine Shepherd, the world’s oldest female bodybuilder according to the Guinness Book Of World Records, says that “if there
was ever an anti-aging pill, I would call it exercise.” You would think Shepherd was a lifetime athlete looking at her impeccable frame. But nothing could be further from the truth. The 75-year-old mother and grandmother from Baltimore, Maryland told The BBC she was not very athletic at all as a younger woman and didn’t start exercising regularly until she was 56-years-old.When she was working a secretary in the Baltimore school system some 20 years ago after 30 years with AT&T, the gym was not part of her schedule. “I was too prissy to exercise,” she told ABC News in 2010. “I just didn’t want to have my hair messed up. Didn’t want my fingernails broken.”
What prompted her to start hitting the gym, you might ask?
“My sister and I were invited to a picnic. We were told we could wear bathing suits. Boy, we didn’t like how we looked. So we decided we would start exercising,” Shepherd told The BBC. So they began working out regularly and loved it.
But tragedy struck when Shepherd’s sister tragically died from a brain aneurism, an event that caused her to have panic attacks and high blood pressure. Shepherd holed herself in her home lived in miserly. But she says her sister came to her in a dream one night and told her she wasn’t doing what they had originally set out to do together. So, at age 71, she entered her first bodybuilding competition–and won. She worked out for more than half a year to get ready for that competition.
Shepherd wakes up at 2:30 each morning and runs ten miles–everyday! And those fingernails she worked so hard to protect as a younger “prissy” woman now hit the pavement every time she does push-ups. For those who say that their metabolisms won’t allow them to shape their bodies as they wish, take a look at Ms. Shepherd. Her physique looks better than most women under the age of thirty. Shepherd regularly participates in bodybuilding competitions and wins or places highly in most of them.
She maintains her amazing physique through a very disciplined diet of 1,700 calories per day, mostly consisting of boiled egg whites, chicken and vegetables. And she teaches physical fitness at her church where she preaches her mantra of “age is just a number.”
We’ve heard that saying thousands of times. But Shepherd shows us how true it really is.