When you see this fabulously fit and knock-out beauty, Ernestine Shepherd, in this video at age 74, you will have one of three reactions:
Reaction # 1 -- You may be one of those who gets excited thinking that "if someone of such an advanced age can get in better shape than the vast majority of young ladies, then there is hope for me!" You want to know what she eats and drinks, what exercises she does, how she thinks, and any other factors that have resulted in her transforming herself from an out-of-shape 56-year-old with no sports or exercise background to the Guiness World Book's Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder.
Reaction # 2 -- Or will you be one of the many who will get their hackles up and get defensive when they see such an amazingly fit and thriving 74-year-old? In other words, will you feel like "this old lady is showing me up?" And will you look for excuses as to why Ernestine Shepherd can be aging so well and why you can't and in the process argue for your own decline -- your own demise?
Reaction # 3 -- Or will you fall into the third category of folks? That is, you'll simply dismiss her as a fraud or hoax, thinking that she can't really be 74 or that her incredible body is the result of surgeries, injections, questionable supplements ... Maybe you want to dismiss her as a genetic aberration, just the result of a lucky roll of the genetic dice.
Which one of those three typical reactions will serve you best? Which one has the potential to lead to a much better quality of life in the years and decades surely to come? The choice, of course, is yours!
To better appreciate the CBN video of Ernestine Shepherd, let's look at some of the factors that may have contributed to her becoming such an outstanding role model for aging well.
- Exercise -- Despite her 10-mile morning runs, regular strength-training sessions (including bench pressing 150 pounds), and 5K, 10K and marathon racing, Ernestine has never had an injury in her 17-plus years of working out. This is because she started out slowly and gradually built her fitness under the guidance of an expert personal trainer.
- Diet -- Ernestine did not leave her diet to chance. She sought out the guidance of a nutritionist to improve her eating habits. She chooses to eat several small meals a day with an emphasis on getting sufficient protein to support her bodybuilding goals.
- A Strong Faith in God -- This is attested to by her 3:00 A.M. morning devotionals she enjoys before her 4:00 A.M. 10-mile runs. Her belief that she is doing God's work keeps her stress levels low and her spirits high.
- A Desire to be a Role Model -- Ernestine feels it is her mission to help and inspire as many people as she can to know the importance of being fit and that they can be fit no matter their age.
- Support -- She has the complete love and support of her husband, Collin, her Church's congregation and many others known and unknown to her.
- A Postive Attitude -- Ernestine sees all the exercise she does and the unique lifestyle she's chosen and that allows her to excel as FUN -- not work. This competitive bodybuilder, professional model and personal trainer is having the time of her life!
- A Good Gene Pool -- The fact that she had a good gene pool that she could dive into didn't hurt, either.
Some may zero in on the last factor, a good set of genes, and downplay the others. Here are some things to think about in this regard. First, what got Ernestine into a gym for the first time in her life was her deplorable physical shape at age 56. She had to make some changes in order to go from unfit in her fifties to the world's oldest performing female bodybuilder in her seventies.
Second is her marathon running results. Ernestine has been competing in the annual Baltimore Marathon for years. In her late sixties and at age 70, her times hovered around 6 hours 30 minutes (to be precise: 6:26, 6:30, 6:34 and 6:30). Having upped her training in the last few years, this last fall (Oct. 16, 2010) she posted a 5:14 or a 12:00-minutes-per-mile pace. In other words, even though she is several years older, she improved her endurance by nearly 3 minutes per mile! All this improvement occured while concentrating on competing as a bodybuilder -- not a marathoner.
We may not be able, or wish, to duplicate Ernestine Shepherd's results in the arena of fitness, but we can see from her remarkable example that declining physically as we age is not necessary. Ernestine shows us that we can get better with age. We can get fit. With the right exercise, an improved diet and a more positive attitude toward what is possible as we age, we can get in much better shape... maybe not Ernestine Shepherd shape, but better shape for us.
Before we take a look at this professional model and world's oldest performing female bodybuilder in action, I'd like to invite you to claim your FREE Fitter After 50 / Fitter for Life e-newsletter when you visit http://www.FitterforLife.com
From Ed Mayhew -- the author of Fitter After 50, Fitter For Life and other books, CDs, videos and articles on how you, too, can make falling apart as you age merely an option -- NOT a mandate. Why not make the rest of your life the BEST of your life? http://www.FitterforLife.com and http://www.amazon.com/Age-Blasters-Steps-Younger-You/dp/1598589083/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276528674&sr=1-1 (click here for paperback or Kindle editions of AGE BLASTERS)
To find out more about the age-defying Ernestine Shepherd, visit her website: www.ErnestineShepherd.net