Octogenarian bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd is a testament to the adage that age is just a number. At 82, Shepherd has the bikini body that many women half her age could envy, and it’s all due to a healthy diet and daily workouts.
Amazingly, Ernestine didn’t start lifting weights until she was 56-years-old, when she and her sister both got fed up with how dowdy and flabby they looked in their swimsuits.
“This exercising and training started as result of vanity,” Shepherd told the Chicago Tribune. “My sister Velvet was 57 at the time, and I was 56. I lost her not long after to a brain aneurysm, and I vowed to keep the promise I made over 25 years ago to continue this journey as long as I have the strength.”
After picking up her first set of weights at 56, Ernestine began competing professionally, and made the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 for being the world’s oldest performing female bodybuilder.
Shepherd has cut back on competing, but still teaches fitness classes at a local gym and works out every day.
“I have the words, ‘Determined, Dedicated, and Discipline to be fit’ and that encompasses everything I do. If you use your mind and follow the three Ds, you can’t fail.”
When Shepherd turned 80 last year, Twitter fans paid tribute by posting photos of her age-defying bikini body and chiseled abs.
Ernestine Shepherd just turned 80 - example of fitness in a country of overweight people. pic.twitter.com/pqJP0H4UgO— B-Magic ???????? (@Brasilmagic) June 19, 2016
Back in 2014, actor Blair Underwood expressed his admiration for Ms. Shepherd.
“She’s still got it!” Underwood gushed.
What?! 77 years old?! And she's still got it! Ernestine Shepherd Guinness Book's Oldest Female Body Builder. pic.twitter.com/dwODnlrDwJ— Blair Underwood (@BlairUnderwood) August 13, 2014
Ernestine has been married for 61 years to her husband, Collin Shepherd, who is 87. Ernestine has a 60-year-old son and a 20-year-old grandson.
She follows the same diet and workout routine every day (see video). Shepherd wakes up before dawn every morning, reads her bible, and runs a few miles before lifting weights at the gym. Later in the day, Ernestine teaches a fitness class.
Ernestine follows a high-protein diet consisting of about 120 grams of protein every day. She usually eats 10 scrambled egg whites for breakfast every morning.
Shepherd teaches exercise classes at her local gym because she loves to work out and wants to inspire others to embrace an active lifestyle.
“When others see me, they smile and they say, ‘If you can do it, I can do it, too,'” she said.
Another age-defying octogenarian who credits a healthy diet and daily exercise for their sleek physique is Oscar winner Jane Fonda. As the Inquisitr has reported, Fonda works out an hour a day, saying exercise keeps her physically and mentally fit.
“I know what exercise has done to my life profoundly — not just my body, but my mind,” said Fonda. “It makes a difference for all aspects of your life and your body.”
Similarly, singer Janet Jackson has credited weightlifting workouts for her 70-pound weight loss and youthful physique at 52.