We are fortunate to have Ernestine Shepherd, the former world’s oldest female bodybuilder as declared by the Guinness Book of World Records, on staff at Youfit. Ernestine is a YouGX group exercise instructor at our Randallstown, Maryland, location. Her mindset and positivity have had a tremendous influence inside and outside the gym. We were lucky enough to get some one-on-one time with her and instantly understood why she leaves a lasting impression on everyone who crosses her path.
Ernestine’s mantra: be determined, dedicated and disciplined to be fit. Below is some of Ernestine’s story.
The Beginning of a Bodybuilding Journey
Ernestine became interested in bodybuilding at 56. Her sister had a plan for them to become the two oldest female bodybuilders in the Guinness Book of World Records. After the passing of her sister, 76-year-old Ernestine continued fulfilling her’s and her sister’s plans. In 2010 and 2011, she was declared The World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder by the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2011 she was also featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Ernestine’s Big Why
Ernestine says she’s driven by the promise she made to her sister that she would continue with their plans. Her motivation also comes from being able to inspire other seniors to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. Ernestine also maintains a positive attitude through daily prayer.
Why Ernestine Continues With Youfit
Any gym would be fortunate to have Ernestine on staff, but she chooses Team Youfit. “The management and staff are friendly and have always treated me with the utmost respect,” she said. They are always helpful. I cannot say one bad thing about the Youfit Team.” When it comes to her favorite group exercise class to teach, Ernestine said all classes were important and can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Advice for 50-plus Looking To Get in Shape
Age is just a number, and Ernestine says she feels that exercise can be compared to an anti-aging pill. She teaches seniors to keep moving, eat healthy, drink plenty of water and incorporate strength training and cardio into their routines. After all, exercise is good for the mind, body and spirit.
Ernestine says she does not indulge in unhealthy foods because of her acid reflux. With time, she has also been able to curb cravings. Each day consists of 5–6 meals. Her day starts off with two boiled eggs, oatmeal and 16 oz. of water. After her morning 10-mile run/walk, she drinks 8 ounces of liquid egg whites. Before heading to bed, she drinks another 8 ounces of liquid egg whites. Her diet mostly consists of chicken, tuna fish, baked sweet potatoes and white potatoes, frozen veggies and plain rice cakes. For a treat, Ernestine likes to eat sugarless strawberry jello.
Ernestine’s Main Role Model
According to Ernestine, Sylvester Stallone, as well as his character Rocky, are inspirations. After her sister passed, Ernestine suffered from depression and health complications. When Ernestine’s son bought her the Rocky DVD, she said she was forever changed by the character’s ability to overcome all the obstacles in his life. She said this was the push she needed to move forward and fulfill her promise to her sister.
Ernestine told us she would love to travel more to do motivational speaking. She said she loves being around people and feels that she can inspire people, young and old, around the world. Ernestine also said she would love for Under Armour to sponsor her and create a line of fitness apparel for seniors. She says there are many seniors who attend her class who love Under Armour and would like garments that would cater to them. Last but not least, another one of Ernestine’s goals is to be on another cover of a magazine.
Greatest Memory as a Bodybuilder?
Ernestine told us her greatest memory in the bodybuilding industry was traveling to Rome to receive her medal and certificate for the Oldest Female Competitor Bodybuilder in the World. Ernestine said this is a special memory for her because she accomplished what her sister wanted.