The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Shepherd

The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Shepherd

age is only a number and you can get fit (4)

I aspire to be like this woman Ernestine Shepherd, the Guinness Book of World Record’s oldest female competitor body builder in the world.

Watch Prevention Magazine’s original documentary short, where they followed a day in her life.

At 77, Shepherd does the same thing day in and day out. She eats the same way day in and day out. It’s only the 4 bottles of liquid egg whites a day I don’t think I could handle, but everything else is an inspiration to us all!

With no high blood pressure medicine, or medicine for panic attacks or acid reflux, which are all too common as we age, it’s her daily get up and determination that’s keeping her in good nick!

She wakes up at 2.30am every morning, says her devotions, then eats 10 scrambled egg whites, 16 ounces of water and a handful of walnuts before going for a run in the dark with a head light on. And that’s just the morning!

I laughed and almost cried when I heard the song she sings each morning – I Can’t Sit Down by Porgy & Bess Cast.  I have never heard of this song before, but the lyrics she sings are so StandUpHealth!

Oh I can’t sit down
Gotta keep a rollin’ like the rollin’ of a song
Oh I can’t sit down
Gotta keep a rollin’ like the rollin’ of a song

Today I am happy an’ free
Nothin’ in the world is troubblin’ me

Oh I’m on my way

After the death of her sister, she developed anxiety and depression, but she said that by going out running and walking, the depression and anxiety just left her.

She does it all because she has to practice what she preaches.  She leads an exercise class in Baltimore, MD.  I can relate to this also with being an Exercise Physiologist. I can’t tell anyone to do anything unless I’m also doing it myself! And I can’t tell people to lead a stand-up life, unless I live it myself!

I love it how she started small. There was only 10 people in her class to begin with, and now, that class has grown to the point that on some mornings, everyone can’t get in the room! I would love for that to happen with my Cardiac Rehab classes!

I love her heart.  She says she knows what she can do, but she wants to help the others.  That’s my heart too!  My mission has always been to help people help themselves to better health.

Here’s what “the others” (her class participants) are saying:

“I’m so inspired by her.  I am 66 years old and I just celebrated a birthday and I feel like I’m 21!” Linda Hollis, 66.

“You see Ms Ernistine and she’s just goin’! And you’re lookin’ at her and you say ok, I’m 61, and she’s… So you’re like…something inside of you is like rrrrrrr! It’s deeper than just coming to this class and working out. It’s deeper!” Alicia Weathersby, 61.

“And if we go out to the community, to churches, to the supermarket. Where ever  we go, we are examples of what she has put on the inside of us. For a lot of times we don’t take time to put back and nuture our ownselves and that’s so important because we impact the community so greatly”.

“She made me want to live again. Mentally. The spirit of this woman grabbed me back. I bless her and honour her because  she’s the greatest woman on this earth”. Naija Brown, 68.

“Most of the people in our community haven’t done something since school, during high school. And now you see thins many people in the room working out.  This doesn’t usually happen”. Deltra Dorsey, 69.

Ernestine Shepard Quotes

“Not everyone wants to be a body builder. Not everyone wants to be a runner. But find what you like to do”.

“Don’t forget age is nothing but a number and we can get fit”.

I laughed at that quote! It’s something my mother always says, but she says it like this:

“Age is only a number and the heart never wrinkles!”

And I say back to her:

“But it can get diseased, so we must move!” And we laugh, because we know we’re both right!


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