Ernestine Shepherd is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s old competitive female bodybuilder. Although she no longer competes, she holds two titles and has completed 9 marathons.Shepherd still works as a personal trainer and she also leads exercise classes for seniors in Baltimore. She says she feels better today than she did when she was 40. At age 56, she was a self-described ‘slug’: an out of shape, sedentary school secretary who had never worked out a day in her life. But following a shopping trip for bathing suits with her sister, they decided they needed to start exercising. Her sister died just a few years later of an aneurysm, but Shepherd decided to carry on with their plans to get in shape to honor her sister’s memory. She has written a book called Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined To Be Fit. Shepherd has approximately 10% body fat, is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 120 lbs.
Ernestine Shepherd’s Diet
Shepherd takes her nutrition seriously. She eats 5-6 times per day, spaced 2-3 hours apart. Her diet is very plain, and consists of things like egg whites, chicken breast, plain brown rice (no salt), vegetables and nuts. She eats about 120 grams of protein every day, starting with a 10-egg white scramble before her early morning run. In her early days of training, she worked with a nutritionist to perfect her diet. She eats more or less the same thing each day, and says she does not crave things like sweets.
- Low Carbs 20% 20%
- Mid-High Protein 30% 30%
- Low Fat 25% 25%
Lean and Mean
Shepherd doesn’t mess around with her diet. She trains like a professional, counts every calorie and eats virtually the same thing every day even though she no longer competes.
A.M. Power Up
Shepherd says she’ll have 10 egg whites for breakfast and a handful of walnuts before her 10-mile run at 3 a.m.
Shepherd is a big fan of water, which she drinks all day long, starting with 16 oz. along with her egg white scramble.
Shepherd says sometimes she’ll cut loose by having some sugar-free cherry Jello.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Food with Preservatives
Shepherd on Junk Food
‘I really don’t have a desire for it.’
‘I have the words ‘Determined, Dedicated, and Disciplined to be fit’ and that encompasses everything I do. If you use your mind and follow the 3 Ds, you can’t fail.’
Shepherd on Taking Charge of her Health
‘Instead of lamenting about our bodies, we decided to make a change, get into shape and become the best version of ourselves.’
Ernestine Shepherd’s Fitness Routine
Most people wouldn’t think it was possible to take up competitive bodybuilding in their 60s, but Shepherd didn’t let that stop her.
Shepherd was deeply depressed after her sister died, but her other sister convinced her to put on her tennis shoes and get moving in tribute to their sister’s memory.
Shepherd regularly runs at least 10 miles per day, 80 miles a week. Her exercise routine is very simple: her cardio is running and her weight resistance is lifting. That’s it.
Shepherd gets her run in early every day, no excuses. Her 5K time is 28 minutes.
After her morning run, Shepherd hits the gym and lifts at least 4 days per week. She can bench press 150 lbs. and lifts dumbbells that weigh 15-20 lbs. Her workouts last about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Shepherd’s work as a personal trainer allows her to get even more exercise every day. She also teaches aerobics classes.
Make It Up
Still a ‘prissy’ girl at heart, Shepherd does her hair and makeup before going on her daily run.
An Ernestine Shepherd Routine
Cardio: Run. Shepherd does 10 miles, but you can start wherever you are.
Lift: Shepherd does a combination of Nautilus equipment and free weights for a total of 45 minutes to an hour.
Shepherd on Her Total Transformation
‘Believe it or not, I used to be a couch potato.’
Shepherd on Her Old Attitude Toward Working Out
‘I was too prissy to exercise. I just didn’t want to have my hair messed up. Didn’t want my fingernails broken.’
Shepherd on Her Killer Physique
‘I love my body and I work hard at it. When others see me, they smile and say, “If you can do it, I can do it too.”
Shepherd on Exercise
‘I know what exercise has done to my life profoundly — not just my body, but my mind. It makes a difference for all aspects of your life and your body.’
Ernestine Shepherd’s Supplements
While Shepherd says she doesn’t use any kind of supplements or performance-enhancing drugs, but she does take vitamin D.
Shepherd says exercise is her anti-inflammatory, anti-aging secret.
Ernestine Shepherd’s Lifestyle
Shepherd gets up every day at 2:30 a.m. to meditate and read the Bible. After that, she puts on makeup before setting out on her 3-hour run.
Manicured Muscle Machine
Shepherd takes care not to chip her French manicure when lifting weights.
When Shepherd went on the Steve Harvey Show, she beat him in push-ups.
Day of Rest
Shepherd says she loves to go to church on Sundays and sing in the choir.
Shepherd on Age
‘Age is nothing but a number.’
Shepherd on Age, Part II
‘I feel better than I did at 40. I am very, very happy.’
Shepherd on Motivation
‘If your are going to try to motivate people, you have to live that part. You have to look that part.’
Shepherd on Rocky
‘Sylvester Stallone is my man.’
Shepherd on Self-confidence
‘Years ago, I concerned myself about what people said concerning me. But when you get to 70-something and you don’t have that many years left in front of you, you don’t concern yourself with that.’