I’m the oldest living competitive bodybuilder in the world – I started in my 50’s and have looked unrecognizable since I was a teenager

THE oldest living competitive female bodybuilder in the world had proven that you don’t need age on your side to achieve your fitness goals.

At the ripe old age of 86, Ernestine Shepherd is in the best shape of her life – and even runs her own physical education classes to teach young people a thing or two.

Ernestine Shepherd, 86, proves age is just a number with her fitness skills

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Ernestine Shepherd, 86, proves age is just a number with her fitness skillsPhoto credit: Instagram
She was crowned the world's oldest living female competitive bodybuilder by Guinness World Records in 2010

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She was crowned the world’s oldest living female competitive bodybuilder by Guinness World Records in 2010Photo credit: Instagram
The 86-year-old had never exercised until he was 56 - and still managed to become a fitness prodigy

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The 86-year-old had never exercised until he was 56 – and still managed to become a fitness prodigyPhoto credit: INSTAGRAM
The powerful granny showed off her incredible transformation over the years

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The powerful granny showed off her incredible transformation over the yearsPhoto credit: Instagram

Grandma can easily overtake the majority of gym-goers after downing ten egg whites and a handful of walnuts every morning.

She credits the high-protein concoction with fueling her body to run 80 miles each week and get up at 4 a.m. for her workouts.

The Baltimore fitness fanatic didn’t embark on her health journey until she was in her 50s.

Ernestine was “squeamish” about exercise in her teens and had never exercised a day in her life – until the age of 56.

She had been shopping for swimwear with her beloved sister Velvet, 57, as the pair vowed they were getting in better shape.

The sisters, encouraged by the support of their local church, hit the gym and soon noticed a big difference in their physiques.

After taking up weightlifting, the sisters dreamed of one day making it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

But tragedy struck when Velvet suddenly passed away after suffering a brain aneurysm – sending Ernestine into a spiral of depression and anxiety.

“I went to pieces; I didn’t want to do anything… It was a horrible way to live,” she said.

But after her grandmother’s friends gathered around her and her late sister came to her in a dream, she was inspired to start her fitness journey anew.

Motivated by her love for Sylvester Stallone in the acclaimed Rocky films, Ernestine set out to achieve health and happiness.

Determined to set a world record in Velvet’s honor, she began sculpting her physique into the perfect shape for bodybuilding.

She got in touch with former Mr Universe Yohnnie Shambourger, who offered his expertise to help her achieve world fame.

Ernestine changed her diet and increased her weightlifting to get her enviably toned physique before competing in her first competition just seven months later, at the age of 71.

She won first place – when the Guinness Book of World Records contacted her to crown her as the world’s oldest female bodybuilder in 2010.

The older wonder confessed she scattered some of her sister’s ashes while accepting the title on an Italian TV show.

“I will never forget standing on this stage when I picked up my medal and certificate,” she enthused. “‘I did what you wanted, Velvet,’ I remember saying as tears filled my eyes.”

Ernestine’s triumph sparked a flurry of interest in her lifestyle and saw her earn a spot in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Book 2011.

I will never forget being on that stage when I picked up my medal and certificate. “I did what you wanted, Velvet,” I remember saying as tears filled my eyes.

Ernestine Shepherd

But she continued to focus on her fitness, competing in several more bodybuilding events and completing nine marathons.

The 86-year-old claims chat show host Oprah Winfrey even Skyped her once for workout tips.

Ernestine’s strength has continued to grow as she saw her bench press 115-pound weights to keep her muscles defined at age 86.

Now she offers her knowledge to other seniors who want to get fit by leading fitness classes and working as a personal trainer.

But she’s still downstairs with the kids, donning form-fitting leotards — and sometimes even heels — when she’s burning up a few calories.

In addition to being a role model for her husband, son, and grandson, Ernestine has even “adopted” a group of teens at the gym who they refer to as “mother.”

Her incredible transformation even caught the eye of global superstar Beyonce – who landed her a cameo in her 2020 visual album Black is King.

The grandma flexed her muscles and donned a bright orange t-shirt. The grandma gave the music icon the best she could.

Ernestine gushed, “It was a wonderful, wonderful experience. Beyonce made me feel like a queen. I felt so honored.

“I felt like I had the strength to smile again. Beyonce has no idea what she did for me.”

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Ernestine — who follows a strict egg, chicken, and veg diet — shared the secrets of her fitness journey in her 2016 book, Determined, Committed, Disciplined, to Be Fit.

The lycra lover takes readers on her body transformation journey and proves you can teach an old dog new tricks.

With her fitness courses, the 86-year-old is now teaching the youngsters a lot

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With her fitness courses, the 86-year-old is now teaching the youngsters a lotPhoto credit: Instagram
The super strong grandma wanted to honor her late sister Velvet by achieving bodybuilding fame

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The super strong grandma wanted to honor her late sister Velvet by achieving bodybuilding famePhoto credit: Instagram
Ernestine in the best shape of her life after starting her health journey in her 50s

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Ernestine in the best shape of her life after starting her health journey in her 50sPhoto credit: Instagram

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6861519/worlds-oldest-living-female-competitive-bodybuilder-unrecognizable/ I’m the oldest living competitive bodybuilder in the world – I started in my 50’s and have looked unrecognizable since I was a teenager

DevanCole

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