One of the world’s oldest female body builders, Ernestine Shepherd, just gained another year in what she’s called her “long happy journey” of life. Now 80, the fitness trainer, model, competitive body builder, and new author celebrated her June 16 birthday with a Facebook post declaring her continued determination, dedication, and discipline. “I am 80 years young today and I thank God for bringing me this far. I’m still determined, I’m still dedicated and I’m still disciplined to be fit!” Shepherd wrote, inspiring more 18,000 likes of encouragement.
After being named the oldest female body builder by the Guinness Book of World Records in both 2010 and 2011, Shepherd began to publicly share the story of how she came to live a life of tenacity and perseverance beginning at the age of 56. What started as a modest curiosity about working out turned into a life-changing route to happiness once her sister died suddenly from a brain aneurysm, she told HooplaHa. In an attempt to fulfill the fitness goals Shepherd had created with her late sister, she developed a following and a legacy admired by people of all ages.
Shepherd celebrated her current success with the release of her book The “Ageless” Journey of Ernestine Shepherd, in which she writes about the secrets to her health and well-being. The book, which was released earlier this month, details the keys to her motivation, including:
- “Age is nothing but a number.” In addition to her mantra, “Determined, dedicated, disciplined to be fit,” Shepherd believes that “being out of shape as we age truly is merely an option – NOT a mandate!”
- Eat clean. Shepherd sticks to a daily diet of 1,700 calories, which includes egg whites, chicken and vegetables.
- Do the same workout every day. In an interview with Oprah, Shepherd revealed, “I do the same thing day in and day out.” This daily routine includes a workout that begins at 3 or 4am with a 10-mile run.
- Find what you like to do. The fitness trainer teaches classes of her own, but encourages people to exercise in whichever way they like. “Not everybody wants to be a body builder, not everybody wants to be a runner. But find what you like to do,” she told Oprah.
- Have something that motivates you. Although Shepherd finds strength in prayer, she says she owes most of her motivation to her late sister.