Ernestine Shepherd Diet Plan, Workout Routine & Supplements

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 10, 2024
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Ernestine Shepherd, born in 1936, has made a mark in history as the world’s oldest living competitive female bodybuilder, showcasing her incredible longevity and strength.

As a personal fitness coach, I've seen her incredible journey firsthand and learned how this 85-year-old trainer evolved and maintained her remarkable fitness level over the years.

What lessons can we learn about wellness, vitality, and longevity from Ernestine?

Read on, you'll be stunned by her determination, dedication, and discipline.

Her Body Stats

This 85 years old role model is 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighs 120lbs, and has approximately 10% body fat. As a fan of her work, I bring you the essential information on her exercise routine to inspire you.

Shepherd’s Workout Plans

Following Ernestine Shepherd’s fitness regime has personally transformed my approach to exercise. Her resilience and the strength she embodies have inspired me to push beyond my limits, just as she does for women everywhere.

Ernestine's regimen is finely crafted to exceed older individuals' physiological demands, revitalizing their golden years.

She has a fitness routine that focuses on cardio with a morning run and maintaining her weight with strength training.

Ernestine Shepherd’s day begins at the early hour of 2:30 AM. Each morning is dedicated to meditation and daily devotions, setting a tone of mindfulness and focus that is then followed by a nutritious breakfast.

Shepherd runs 10 miles daily, drawing inspiration from Rocky, Sylvester Stallone's iconic character, for her fighting spirit.

After the morning routine, Shepherd hits the gym at 7.30 AM. She spends on average four hours a week in the gym.

Her weekly exercise schedule is pretty simple:

  • Mondays: Shepherd’s focus is on the chest and biceps.
  • Wednesdays: she focuses on the shoulders and triceps.
  • Fridays: she works on her back and legs.

Her average workout lasts from 45 minutes to an hour. She can bench press 150 lbs and lift about 15–20 lbs.

After working out, Shepherd goes back home for a refreshment before she heads back to the gym for her class, where she teaches group workouts for people aged 20–86.

Other Workout Routines:

Ernestine Shepherd’s Diet Plan

sliced tuna on a chopping board, bowl full of potatoes, and cabbages

Adopting Shepherd's nutritional strategy, I've structured my diet around 4–5 meals a day, rich in lean proteins and complex carbs. This simple yet effective plan has been crucial in maintaining my energy levels throughout my fitness journey.

Each component of her diet is a cog in a well-oiled machine, meticulously contributing to overall health, muscle building, and longevity.

The balance of proteins, carbs, and fats is not just a random assortment but a scientifically backed combination that amplifies her physical prowess.

Ernestine Shepherd’s nutritional discipline is admirable. She begins her day with ten egg whites, a practice that not only energizes her morning exercises but also contributes to her substantial daily protein intake of at least 120 grams.

Her macros include low carbs, mid-high protein, and low fat.

She eats foods like:

  • Egg whites
  • Skinless chicken
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Handful of walnuts
  • Green vegetables
  • Sweet potato
  • Brown rice

She avoids:

  • Beef
  • Saturated fats
  • Processed carbs
  • Food with preservatives
  • Junk food
  • Sweets

Ernestine Shepherd exemplifies professionalism in every aspect of her life. Her commitment to counting every calorie and adhering strictly to her diet plan is unwavering, a practice she maintains even when not preparing for competitions or lifting weights.

She also ensures adequate hydration with at least 16 oz of water daily and previously collaborated with a nutritionist to optimize her diet.

Her daily diet is consistent, with minimal cravings for sweets, allowing for occasional sugar-free treats like cherry Jello.

Also Read: Heidi Klum Meal Plan & Workout

What Supplements Does She Take?

person with a hand full of medicine pills

Like Ernestine Shepherd, I've found that a commitment to natural wellness, focusing on healthy foods and minimal supplements, works wonders. Vitamin D is also my go-to supplement, supporting my body's needs without relying on performance enhancers.

She says that exercise is her anti-aging and anti-inflammatory secret.

One of her best motivation quotes is on self-confidence:

"Years ago, I concerned myself about what people said concerning me. But when you get to 70-something, and you don't have that many years left in front of you, you don't concern yourself with that."

- Ernestine Shepherd, Personal Trainer 

Her Way to the Book of World Records

ernestine sheperd with a trophy at hand

Ernestine Shepherd, born in 1936, has carved her name in history as an iconic American bodybuilder. In 2010, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized her as the world’s oldest living competitive female bodybuilder, a testament to her enduring vitality and strength.

As of 2020, Shepherd isn’t active in competitive bodybuilding, but she still teaches exercise to seniors in Baltimore, Maryland. However, her path to the Guinness World Records is unlike other fitness stories.

A search for a swimsuit led the sisters to discover their bodies were out of shape, so they decided to sign up for aerobics classes, start exercising, and get in shape. Shepherd's sister started competing in bodybuilding under the name Velvet, while Shepherd took the name Ernie.

The loss of Shepherd’s sister to a brain aneurysm in the early 90s was a pivotal moment in her life. Each step of her ongoing fitness journey is not just a pursuit of physical excellence but also a heartfelt homage to the memory of a beloved sister.

Since the age of 56, Shepherd won two bodybuilders’ awards and ran nine marathons. Shepherd also works as a personal trainer, sharing her secrets with as many people as possible to make their lives better.

In 2016, Shepherd published her work— Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined To Be Fit, and starred in Beyonce's Black is King [1].


Shepherd’s Lifestyle

Woman drinking coffee

Shepherd loves her life, and people can see it. She has more energy and feels better than when she was 40.

Still being a prissy girl, Shepherd does her hair and makeup before every run. After all, running for fitness doesn't mean she has to look unkempt to show her dedication.

She also pays special attention while lifting weights, as she doesn’t want her fingernails to break or her French manicure to chip.

Beyond her physical pursuits, Shepherd’s spiritual journey is equally profound. Her Sundays are dedicated to church services, where she not only engages in prayer but also lends her voice to the choir. Every act of giving back to others is a reflection of her deep-rooted faith and compassion.

Her new mindset and mantra led to fantastic health. Shepherd hasn't suffered an injury in the last 17 years of her life. It is a testament to the effectiveness of her lifestyle when it comes to fitness.

Other workout routines:


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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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2 thoughts on “Ernestine Shepherd’s Bodybuilder Workout Routine, Diet Plan & Supplements

  1. Ernestine “Ernie” Shepherd, you are such an inspiration, a true role model. Truly one of a kind!

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