Ernestine Shepherd was born on June 16, 1936. That means that the woman featured in all the fabulous photos below will be 80-years-old — Lord willing, as Ernestine might write on Shepherd’s very popular Facebook page — next month. Photos of Ernestine defy the image of what folks might have in their minds is an 80-year-old woman and prove just how much weight-lifting can help the body, mind, and soul.
With nearly 150,000 Facebook fans and a plethora of folks who have followed Ernestine’s fitness journey for years, it is no wonder that Shepherd’s new book, titled Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined to Be Fit: The “Ageless” Journey of Ernestine Shepherd, has experienced a surge of demand, according to the Ageless Journey website.
Meanwhile, folks who have received their books, wherein Ernestine gives tips about living so successfully and experiencing such a fit lifestyle, are letting Shepherd know how much they appreciate the tomes. A video on Shepherd’s website shows Ernestine herself flipping through one of her own books, and lets people hear her voice as she tells her viewers how excited she is about the book.
As reported by Time, Shepherd was named the oldest competitive female bodybuilder on the planet by the Guinness Book of World Records. Ernestine’s official title was World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder in 2010 and 2011. But what is even more amazing is that Shepherd didn’t start lifting weights until she was 56-years-old.
Ernestine began bodybuilding with her sister — a woman named Velvet. Unfortunately, Velvet didn’t live to witness their dream of both becoming bodybuilders — but died soon after they began lifting weights from a brain aneurysm. Shepherd, however, was determined to carry on their dream — and ended up competing as a female bodybuilder and ultimately became a personal trainer.
Shepherd helps others lift weights and teaches other seniors how to exercise. Ernestine’s weekly classes take place in Baltimore. Shepherd also enjoys her own personal trainer — Yohnnie Shambourger — who helps her continue to push forward with her bodybuilding goals and lifestyle.
Throughout Ernestine’s amazing journey is the thread of faith. Shepherd spoke fondly of her late sister, and of Ernestine’s promise she made to Velvet on her deathbed, who told Ernestine to keep going towards their bodybuilding goals, even if she didn’t make it. After Velvet died, Shepherd was mad at God, and she wasn’t exactly continuing the journey. But Ernestine spoke of going to church and hearing a song that “tore her up” inside, one that spoke of the Lord calling her back to him. As such, Shepherd spoke of giving her life to God and continuing forward. It’s the reason that Ernestine gives for waking up early for devotions prior to her busy day getting started.
“Before I do anything, I have my morning devotions. I have to thank God for what he has done for me. All the exercise in the world is not going to help if you don’t pray about it.”
Shepherd has a schedule and an eating plan that includes lots of clean protein, water and working out.
“2:30 a.m. Wake up. Meditate and read devotions from the Bible. Eat a snack of a bagel with peanut butter and hard-boiled egg whites. Drink 16 oz. of water.”
“3:45 a.m. Head to nearby park and run 10 miles. Go home and eat breakfast of oatmeal, three hard-boiled egg whites and a tablespoon of walnuts. Drink 8 oz. of liquid egg whites.”
“8 a.m. Head to the gym and work out for 1 hour and 45 minutes.”
“10 to 11 a.m.: Train a group of senior men and women. The oldest woman is 89 years old.”
“11 a.m.: Train four to five women in the gym. Drink another 8-oz. glass of liquid egg whites.”
“1 p.m.: Go home and eat a can of tuna, a cup of spinach, ½ cup of sweet potato and drink an 8-oz. glass of water. REST.”
“6 to 7 p.m.: Teach another class at the gym. Head home and eat turkey, brown rice, broccoli, more egg whites and drink lots of water.”
“10 to 10:30 p.m.: Drink one more glass of liquid egg whites. Go to bed.”
[Image via Shutterstock]