This 81-year-old grandma is the world’s oldest body builder

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It’s a common cliché that age is just a number but when you see Ernestine Sheperd you realise exactly where this adage came from.

The grandma from Baltimore, USA, is 81 years old and is officially the world’s oldest bodybuilder – and that’s no exaggeration you’ll even find her in the pages of the Guinness Book of Records.

Sheperd didn’t start exercising until she was 56 after a failed swimsuit shopping session with her late sister – the two noticed their bodies were going ‘soft’. She told The Independent that before then was a secretary “who loved chocolate cake”.

She joined a gym, got a PT and slowly began to transform her body – appearing in her first bodybuilding comp at age 71. Since then she has run nine marathons and won two bodybuilding contests.

And if you think it’s awful when your alarm goes off at 7am, Sheperd has already been up for 4 hours. Yep, she wakes up every morning at 3am to meditate before hitting the pavement for a 16km run. The rest of the day includes strength training and teaching fitness classes for other seniors.

When it comes to her day on a plate, she only eats plain brown rice, chicken breast and vegetables. She also has a glass of raw egg whites three times a week.

On her website (yep, she’s tech savvy too), she lists the five rules she lives by to stay fit. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • A positive attitude
  • Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day
  • Having five to six small meals a day
  • And her husband Colin, who she has been married to for over 50 year. (He admits he ‘has trouble keeping guys away from her.’)

And if it’ll have us looking that good at 81, they are rules we’ll happily follow.

While you’re here check out this 70-year-old Perth grandma who is your new fitspo. Plus, exactly what to eat on the ‘Grandma Diet’.

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Fitness | body+soul

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