July 13, 2010— -- At 74, Baltimore grandmother Ernestine Shepherd is the Guinness World Records' oldest female bodybuilder.
But less than 20 years ago, she was a pudgy, middle-aged woman who hated what she saw in the dressing room mirror as she tried on swimsuit after swimsuit.
"I was too prissy to exercise," she said. "I just didn't want to have my hair messed up. Didn't want my fingernails broken."
That all changed when Shepherd decided her health trumped all and hit the gym.
Here's how Shepherd made her jaw-dropping transformation:
Shepherd said she eats several small meals a day as part of a diet plan she formulated with her trainers. She takes in 1,700 calories a day, mostly comprised of boiled egg whites, chicken, vegetables and a liquid egg white drink. And she is adamant that she does not use performance-enhancing drugs or even supplements beyond vitamin D.
From Flab to Fab: Ernestine Shepherd's Amazing Transformation
"I have old things in my body," she said.
But when Blackwell died in 1992, a year into the sisters' training, Shepherd vowed to continue on in her memory.
In addition to working as a personal trainer, Shepherd leads exercise classes for seniors at the Union Memorial United Methodist Church in Baltimore.