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Ernestine  Shepherd

Ernestine Shepherd

World's Oldest Female Bodybuilder


Ernestine “Ernie” Shepherd, at age 75, is a personal trainer, a professional model, a competitive bodybuilder and happier and more fulfilled than she’s ever been in her life. In March of 2010, on stage in Rome, Italy she was formally given the title of World’s Oldest Performing Female BodyBuilder by Guinness World Records. How did Shepherd transform herself from an average middle-aged woman to bodybuilding diva? Read More >

In her youth, Shepherd is said to have been a “prissy” girl with little interest in athletics or exercise of any kind. As a 56-year-old, she was a sedentary, well-padded school secretary and “slug” who had never worked out a day in her life. The obvious question is: What happened to transform Shepherd into a role model for the rest of us, and senior women in particular?

At age 56, a bathing-suit shopping experience with her sister left Shepherd with the realization that she had to get in better shape. Shepherd and her sister joined a gym and started working out together. A short time later, Shepherd’s sister died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Devastated, Shepherd stopped going to the gym. After some months of mourning the loss of her sister, she returned to the gym with a reignited determination to get fit. Starting slowly and building her body step by step, she completely transformed not only her body but her life as well. She trains mostly senior women five days a week and “live(s) to inspire senior women to reach their physical potential.”   

Personally, Shepherd likes to compete in 5K and 10K races and run marathons. She’s up at 4 A.M. to get in her 10-mile runs and puts in upwards to 80 miles a week when training for an upcoming marathon. Shepherd also strength trains four or more days a week. In 2007, at age 71, she asked Yohnnie Shambourger (former Mr. Universe) to train her to compete as a bodybuilder. Seven months later, she entered her first bodybuilding competition. In this first contest, she took first place in her class at the Natural East Coast Tournament of Champions bodybuilding competition – out posing women decades younger.

This 5-foot 5-inch, 130-pound dynamo sports 9 to 10% bodyfat, which are percentages usually reserved for elite-professional male athletes in their prime! What’s her secret? She realized early on the importance of good nutrition and sought out the services of a nutritionist, has the full support of her husband of 52 years, Collin, and believes in encouragement and inspiration, living by the mantra, “Determined — Dedicated — Disciplined To Be Fit.”

Ernestine Shepherd is having the time of her life at an age when many folks only see themselves as declining and getting old. She’s in the best shape of her life by far, more successful than she’s ever been and a supreme role model to senior women everywhere — and to the rest of us, too. She has a lot to teach us about thriving at any age! Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Realizing Your Full Potential