Ernestine Shepherd’s Journey: A Day In The Life Of World’s Oldest Female Bodybuilder
“I really don’t need an alarm clock to awaken me. I wake up at 2:30 every morning. I get up. I say my devotions. Then I’ll eat. I will eat ten egg whites. They’re scrambled, sixteen ounces of water, and a handful of walnuts. I have a certain song that I sing every morning…‘Oh I can’t sit down. Got to keep on rolling…Today I am happy and free…Nothing in the world is troubling me’.” So begins the day for the now 82-year-old Ernestine Shepherd, the world’s oldest female bodybuilder.
In an original documentary short from Prevention, we follow a day in her life and learn that for Shepherd breaking a world record has fulfilled a life goal for not only her, but also her sister.
Her Sister’s Keeper
Ernestine and her sister, Mildred Blackwell, were inseparable. One day, at the age of 56, Ernestine was trying on clothes with Mildred. To the sisters’ disappointment, the clothes didn’t fit the way they wanted. Mildred suggested that they begin exercising. So they began weight training together – and it became an essential part of their lives.
Clearly, doing the same thing every day wasn’t Mildred’s style so she proposed a new, higher goal to Ernestine. “You know what we’re going to do. We’re going to be in the Guinness Book of World Records as two of the oldest female bodybuilders. And what’s gonna’ happen is we have something else. We’re sisters…Within a year’s time, if anything were to happen to me, I would want you to keep this up.”
Ernestine was unaware of her sister’s health problems as they began training for this new goal. Sadly, Mildred suffered a brain aneurysm and passed away as a result. Consequently, Ernestine suffered from depression, high blood pressure, panic attacks and acid reflux. You can imagine that this sucked the energy and will out of Ernestine who “didn’t want to do anything.”
As soon as she gave up, her sister came to her…in a dream. Ernestine recalls her sister saying in the dream, “Get up and do what I asked you to do!” Two weeks later, Ernestine decided to…