20Ernestine Shepherd is not a name that you may recognise, but she is absolutely a person you should know. She is the Guinness World Record Holder for being the oldest female bodybuilder. At age 79 she is a personal trainer, model, and competitive bodybuilder who firmly believes that “age is nothing but a number”.

Earlier In her life, she said she had little interest in athletics, and as a profession, she was a school secretary with a sedentary lifestyle. All it took was one bathing suit-shopping trip with her sister at age 56 to convince her it was time to start getting in better shape. She and her sister joined a gym together and worked out together until her sister passed on suddenly. After mourning the loss and quitting the gym, a friend advised that her sister would have wanted her to continue the challenge they had started together, and this advice convinced her to return to working out with a renewed vigour.

Ernestine-Shepherd-e1339431406886She started slow, but kept working, and completely changed both her body and her life. With the addition of a healthy diet full of protein and nutrients to her running and bodybuilding routine, she says she’s happier than she’s ever been, motivated, and says she feels better at 79 than she did at 40. She has 9-10% body fat, runs in 5k and 10k races as well as running nine marathons, and has won two bodybuilding titles.

She’s become something of an activist for healthy living and vitality no matter your age, and dreams of working with Michelle Obama on her work in combating obesity and unhealthy habits in children, but also leads events like an AARP Walk of Ages, and works to motivate seniors to get more active in their lives like she did.

She wrote a book, coming out April 30th, 2016, which you can check out on her webpage.

Watch this original documentary short from Prevention Magazine starring the lovely lady herself. The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Shepherd: