There comes a certain point in some people’s lives when they think they’re too old to get in shape. Sometimes the medical researchers only serve to reinforce their notion of being ‘past it’, talking about how losing weight and building muscle gets harder as the body ages. Well, one look at the life of Ernestine Shepherd should be enough to shut them all up and re-examine their thinking. Shepherd isn’t just another female bodybuilder, she’s over 80 years old. But that may not even be the most remarkable part of her story. The fact is, she didn’t even start bodybuilding until she was 56 years old.[amazon box=”B077J4X4BM” template=”horizontal”]
Shepherd had a vibrant modeling career before she became a bodybuilder. One day, she and her sister were putting on their bathing suits. They looked in the mirror and neither one liked what they saw. Their comely shapes had long headed south and their model-like figures had disappeared.They felt no longer photoshoot worthy, but instead of just retiring and blaming their looks on age, they took immediate action. The first stop was aerobics classes. Then they started bodybuilding. The progress they made was such that Shepherd and her sister began entering bodybuilding competitions and winning.
Shepherd’s sister past away. Instead of letting this traumatic experience end yet another one of her careers, Shepherd decided to revamp her efforts in honor of her sister. She ran nine marathons and continued to compete in bodybuilding competitions, winning two titles. At age 74, she became the oldest female bodybuilder according to the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2016 she published a book titled Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined To Be Fit. Today, she is a certified personal trainer, and though she no longer competes in bodybuilding competitions, she continues to be an avid bodybuilder, inspiring millions.
Ernestine Shepherd Diet
In 2011, Shepherd make a Facebook post regarding her eating habits. She shared that she eats 5 to 6 small meals a day and consumes about 100 grams of protein daily. She drinks a protein shake right before going to bed, but also relies a lot on egg whites to keep her protein intake up. According to Shepherd, egg whites are the Earth’s purest form of protein. Of course, her diet would have to include a lot of focus on protein to keep up her impressive muscle mass. Every morning at around 2:30 am she wakes up and eats ten scrambled egg whites and a serving of walnuts.
Shepherd prides herself on not taking supplements of any sort, besides pure liquid egg white protein. Her focus remains on eating healthy, whole foods. Beyond breakfast, her daily diet consists of brown rice, vegetables, and chicken. Her diet plan calls for approximately 1,700 calories a day. The importance of proper nutrition is something Shepherd realized early on in her bodybuilding career. To that end, she has worked with professional nutritionists to refine her eating habits.
Ernestine Shepherd Workout
When Shepherd was invited to appear on the Steve Harvey Show, she challenged him to a one-on-one push-up competition right there on stage, and she won. Still, calisthenics are not the focus of her workouts, that belongs to running and weightlifting. Her commitment to exercise is the fundamental change that came along in her life, as she talks about how she spent most of her life avoiding exercise because she was too “prissy’. She wouldn’t workout for fear of messing up her hair or breaking a nail, but all of that has changed.
After breakfast, Shepherd starts her days with a 10 mile run. In fact, her exercise logs show that she runs about 80 miles every week, especially when she’s preparing for a marathon. Her workouts are always in the morning, so after her run she heads to the gym to lift weights. Shepherd exercises every single day of the week. In addition to her own workouts, her work as a personal trainer helps her get in a lot good exercise time. Her own workouts last for about an hour and 45 minutes.
At 81 years old, Shepherd can bench press 150 pounds. Her workouts at the gym are all about weights, as running is her cardio. Then she instructs a senior fitness class. Afterwards, she trains about 4 to 5 women. Heading home, she returns to the gym a few hours later to teach one more class to end the day. It is a strict and demanding routine that has allowed her to defy aging.
Why You Should Be More Like Ernestine Shepherd
If you think age is a valid excuse for not getting fit, think again. Though Shepherd purposefully avoided exercise for most of her life, she embraced it in her latter years to the benefit of her longevity and her waistline. Today, she’s a 116-pound powerhouse of a grandmother with only 9 percent body fat. Every region of her body is buff, including her rock hard abs and well-built biceps. Not only is she loving her newfound life of fitness, but she’s encouraging others to do the same, spending a significant time training women and senior citizens when she’s not making personal appearances and posting inspiring messages on social media.
Shepherd’s sister remains a big part of her motivation, but it’s also how she looks and feels that helps her stay going strong. She reports never getting injured or being in pain as a result of her workouts. Though working out may have been a struggle for her at first, it isn’t now. Today, sticking to her demanding schedule and tough routines are a simple matter. No longer is Shepherd the “too prissy” model that would rather protect her manicure than pick up a dumbbell. To her, exercise is the fountain of youth, and she’s drinking deeply.
Still, it’s important for anyone who’s in their advanced years and finds inspiration in Shepherd’s story to remember that she had to start small and build her way up. For her, it was sticking to that first aerobics class and meeting inspiring connections that gave her a start into an impressive bodybuilding career the world is sure to remember.