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Everything You Need to Know About One of the World’s Oldest Bodybuilders

You have to really admire people who prove that age is just a number and that if you work hard and put your mind to it, your body is capable of incredible things, including being a bodybuilder at age 81. It’s hard to believe that the words “bodybuilder” and “aged 81” even belong in the same sentence, but they do, thanks to Ernestine Shepherd, and below is everything you need to know about her.

First things first, she is a Guinness World Record holder and was awarded the title of World’s Oldest Performing Female BodyBuilder in 2010. She is now aged 81, and she’s still continuing to inspire people to achieve happiness, as well as reach their physical potential.

She wasn’t always a bodybuilder, in fact, she started training as a senior. When Shepherd was aged 56 she decided to work towards a new exercise goal; becoming a bodybuilder. According to her website, she was a sedentary senior who had a few extra pounds and had never worked out a day in her life when she first decided to start her fitness journey.

Her motivation came in part thanks to her late sister, Velvet. The pair reportedly began going to the gym together in an effort to get fit after a swimsuit shopping trip, but when Velvet died suddenly Ernestine was left heartbroken without motivation to continue working out. It was not until a friend convinced her that her sister would have wanted her to continue that she did. And she never looked back.

She has a protein-powered breakfast every day, which according to Men’s Health consists of a handful of walnuts and ten scrambled egg whites, as well as 16 ounces of water. But she also drinks egg whites, telling The Independent she was inspired by the Rocky movies, in which the title character Rocky Balboa drank egg whites. She also revealed, “When you call my phone, you hear Sylvester Stallone’s music because I was inspired by his movie … and how he had to get his life back together … ”

A typical day in the life of Ernestine involves waking up at 4 a.m. every morning for a 10-mile run (her website claims she does more than 80 miles a week when she’s training for a marathon). She strength trains four days a week and is motivated by the thought that “dedication is key to success.”

She is clearly an impressive and inspiring woman, but one of the most surprising things about her is just how little sleep she needs. She has a busy and demanding schedule, and during an interview with The Independent they noted how she would have just three and a half hours from the time she goes to bed, to before she wakes up and starts her routine, but that’s OK with Ernestine. She told the publication, “I find that is enough sleep for me. I don’t take naps. I’m so happy to do what I do and I thank God for giving me the energy, strength, and willpower to do this.” Wow, just wow.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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