Ernestine Shepherd

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Ernestine Shepherd
Ernestine Shepherd

(1936-06-16) June 16, 1936 (age 85)
OccupationCompetitive body builder
Years active1995–present
Known forOldest living competitive bodybuilder at one point Edit this at Wikidata

Ernestine Shepherd (born June 16, 1936) is an American bodybuilder who is best known for being, at one point, the oldest competitive female bodybuilder in the world, as declared by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010; as of 2020 she is 85 years old and still an active, albeit no longer competitive, bodybuilder.[1]


Shepherd was a model in Baltimore for years, but at age 56 she and her sister Mildred Blackwell went to try on swimsuits and found their bodies were out of shape; they then started taking aerobics classes.[2] Her sister began competing in bodybuilding shows under the name Velvet, and Ernestine followed under the name Ernie.[2] However, her sister died in the early 1990s following a brain aneurysm.[2]

Shepherd carries on her bodybuilding career in part to remember her sister.[2] Since the age of 56, she has won two bodybuilding titles, as well as run nine marathons.[citation needed] She also leads exercise classes for seniors at the Union Memorial United Methodist Church in Baltimore, and works as a personal trainer.[citation needed] She published a book, Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined To Be Fit, in 2016.[3]

She appeared briefly in “Black Is King” by Beyoncé.[4]


Her diet consists of 1,700 calories a day, mostly from boiled eggs, chicken, vegetables and a liquid eggs drink, and she runs about 80 miles a week[5] She is trained by former Mr. Universe Yohnnie Shambourger.[5]


  1. ^ AOL Editors (21 June 2016). "80-year-old body builder proves age is just a number". AOL News. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  2. ^ a b c d "Six-pack abs at age 74: 'Age is nothing but a number,' says Guinness World Record's oldest competitive female bodybuilder – The Washington Post". Washington Post.
  3. ^ "Home". Ernestine Shepherd. Archived from the original on 2016-06-04. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  4. ^ Braun, Lori. "84 year old female bodybuilder appears in Beyoncé's "Black is King" video".
  5. ^ a b "Don't Mess With Ernestine Shepherd-- Body Building Grandma Benches 150 – ABC News". ABC News.

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