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Ernestine Shepherd (June 16, 1936) was the oldest competitive female bodybuilder in the world, as declared by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 and 2011; as of 2011 she is 74 years old. In 2012 Edith Connor was declared the new oldest competitive female bodybuilder at age 77.
Sheperd also leads exercise classes for seniors at the Union Memorial United Methodist Church in Baltimore, and works as a personal trainer. Shepard had been a model in Baltimore for years, but at age 56 she and her sister Mildred Blackwell went to try on swimsuits and found their bodies were out of shape; they then started taking aerobics classes. Her sister began competing in bodybuilding shows under the name Velvet, and Ernestine followed under the name Ernie. However, her sister died in 1992 of a brain aneurysm. She carries on her bodybuilding career in part to remember her sister. Since age 56 she has won two bodybuilding titles, as well as run nine marathons.
Her diet consists of 1,700 calories a day, mostly from boiled egg whites, chicken, vegetables and a liquid egg white drink, and she runs about 80 miles a week; she does not take supplements. She is trained by former Mr. Universe Yohannie Shambourger.