The US-based pensioner embarked on her fitness journey later than most but has since become a world-renowned bodybuilder. After years of hard work dedicated to her physique, Ernestine has spoken out on age being “just a number” and why discipline is key to maintaining her ripped figure.

The 86-year-old started working out and focusing on a healthy diet 30 years ago, at age 56.

Over the course of 15 years, Ernestine trained rigorously until she built up enough strength and confidence to compete as a bodybuilder.

At 71-years-old, she entered her first competition and has never looked back.

With a world-renowned title now under her belt, the inspirational pensioner has continued to focus on her fitness and health to hold onto her record-breaking status.

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A post shared by Ernestine Shepherd (@shepherdernestine)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ernestine Shepherd (@shepherdernestine)

And the secret to her success is down to a strict diet and intense gym routine which help her to stay disciplined.

In an interview on TODAY in 2022, the bodybuilding pensioner said “I still got it”, adding that she doesn’t let “anything get in the way” when it comes to exercising.

She told hosts: “My mantra is determined, dedicated, disciplined to be fit.

“And that is why I do the things I do.”

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While Ernestine is committed to maintaining her impressive figure, the motivation to embark on the journey in the first place was down to events out of her control.

The Daily Star reported that the pensioner was inspired to start investing in her health after her sister Velvet sadly died.

She made a promise to herself at this point to remain dedicated to a healthy lifestyle.

Her regimented routine consists of stringent gym workouts and lighter cardio exercises.

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A post shared by Ernestine Shepherd (@shepherdernestine)

The record-breaking bodybuilder can be found in the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7am.

But while early starts and an intense exercise plan have become second nature to Ernestine, she insisted that others can start their fitness journey with a simple walk.

She recommended a daily half-hour walk that you can then build up from there.

Despite being named the world’s oldest competitive female bodybuilder by Guinness World Records in 2010 and 2011, the pensioner insisted that age has no bearing on your physical ability.

Speaking to the TODAY hosts in 2022, she said: “I have done eleven marathons and three weeks ago I did a half marathon. I don’t feel like I’m 85 – age is absolutely just a number.”

The world record holder previously lost her title to Edith Conner though her status was restored after she passed away in 2020.

While Ernestine no longer competes in the sport, she is still incredibly active and can bench press an impressive 50kg, fuelled by a diet rich in protein.

She consumes a range of nuts, chicken, eggs, and vegetables to maintain her toned body.

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