Posted on: July 5, 2016 at 10:00 am
Last updated: September 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Age is nothing but a number, and Ernestine Shepherd, the world’s oldest female bodybuilder, is living proof of that. Shepherd has just recently celebrated her 80th birthday, and she is still going strong and playing a prominent role in the health and fitness community.

Ernestine Shepherd: World’s Oldest Female Bodybuilder


Shepherd was born in Baltimore in the year 1936, but didn’t start exercising until more than half a century later at the age of 56. In fact, as a young girl, she was described as someone who had very little interest in any sort of sport of athletic activity at all.

Since she began exercising, she has won two bodybuilding titles and was also declared the world’s oldest competitive bodybuilder from 2010 to 2011 by the Guinness Book of World Records. She also regularly competes in 5k and 10k foot races.

Shepherd’s secret to success is nothing other than hard work. Every morning she wakes up at 4 a.m. and gets in a 10-mile run (she tries to put in 80 miles a week). She then does her strength training regimen four or more times a week, all the while following a strict diet of boiled egg whites, chicken, veggies and a whole lot of water.

Although Shepherd’s amazing physical attributes are the result of hard work and determination, she does have some tips for older individuals who are trying to get in shape. Here are some of them:

  • Begin slowly under the guidance of an expert personal trainer and gradually condition your body
  • Realize early on the importance of good nutrition (including sufficient protein and supplements) seek out the services of a nutritionist
  • Seek out support, Shepherd has the full support of her husband of 52 years, Collin, who prepares meals and makes sure the fridge is always stocked with her seven convenient small balanced daily meals
  • Makes sure you get the rest your body needs
  • Try to have a positive attitude about everything, view your workouts as fun and see your work as being a “long happy journey”
  • Know where you want to go and what you want to accomplish and do
  • Believe in encouragement, inspiration and family support, Shepherd’s mantra is “Determined — Dedicated — Disciplined To Be Fit”

For more information on exercise and how it can benefit you during old age, click here.


Ernestine’s Website

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