About Your Editor – Frank Wilhelmi
Frank Wilhelmi; BSE, ME, CFT – Health and Fitness Enthusiast, Striving to Improve with Age
Frank Wilhelmi, a Retired/consultant electronic engineer, researches and reports practical strategies for optimizing health and fitness into advanced age. “I have a passion for living life to the fullest, and helping others to do the same.” A rapidly growing body of knowledge now enables us to extend our health and fitness decades beyond popular expectations.
The science of optimal aging is complex and shifting, but some simple principles stand out. Primarily, diet, exercise and sleep control gene expression. We may be born with genes that favor longer or shorter lives, but a nutrient-rich diet, exercise that builds strength and endurance, and a high-quality sleep pattern promotes gene expression that fosters enduring health and longevity. What we put in our mouths, how we move our bodies and the quality of our sleep has a massive impact on our health or the lack of it.
On the other side of the coin, some habits like smoking, recreational drugs, excessive alcohol intake and overeating always promote gene activation that shortens our years and fills them with ongoing pain. Stupidity or ignorance in youth leaves scars, but at any point we can change the course of our health by fixing the basics. Much damage can be reversed and new or renewed health can be acquired. Strength can improved at every age, joints rebuilt, mobility enhanced, energy revitalized. Nutritional and hormonal supplements can be used to compensate for metabolic changes that come with age.
We all age, and the changes are inevitable; we all (so far) get to die. “In my thinking, later is better, and being pain-free, mobile and energetic for as long as possible is well worth the research, time, energy and money invested. Now, at 79, I thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my research”.
(Note: the picture is shortly after my 68th birthday – I don’t carry quite as much muscle 11 years later, but I don’t look much different either.)
You can hire me as your Personal Trainer at Fitness19 in Simi Valley CA and share in the strategies I use to to stay STRONG, LEAN, AGILE and Disease-Free; see below –
Frank’s Fitness Log
I focus on a strength-training routine that is easy to memorize, so you don’t need a trainer forever; one that most people can learn in a few months and then keep doing it as long as they live. I teach a workout that uses three sessions of about a half hour each for two days of the week. We do Pushing exercises on day one, Pulling moves on day two, and legs on day three. It takes a week and a half to get through all three workouts, giving plenty of time to completely repair the muscles we worked, and that lets you grow stronger with every workout, and stay strong for life. That spacing gives us plenty of time for actual living, without depressing our immune system so we don’t get sick. We never over-train so we never get tired of the routine and want to give it up. In the process we correct skeletal and muscle imbalances, giving you much-improved posture and resistance to injuries, with better mobility and balance.
I teach clients how to eat to stay lean for life (because building muscle is the fastest and best way to permanently lose body-fat), while being able to really enjoy eating without crazy diets and food fads. I teach how to use supplements to compensate for the functional losses that come with aging. I coach clients on motivation and thinking quality to get the best life you desire; I show clients how to get regular, restorative sleep, and how to have energy enough to enjoy living well into advanced age.
I also just finished a three month “contest” testing a new supplement known to boost cellular and plasma levels of NAD+, a coenzyme involved in perhaps hundreds of metabolic processes, that declines with aging, to see if boosting NAD+ levels can reverse some aspects of aging. The most striking result was the complete disappearance of two bright red patches on the back of my left hand that were rough and scaly, about a half inch across, and had been growing more thick and larger for several years. The abnormal tissue has been replaced by new smooth, normal-looking skin. I wish I had photographed the hand, before I started, but I wasn’t expecting any change, so only I know what it looked like, but I’m amazed at the change. I put on about 6 lb of what looks to be muscle, and haven’t been working out at all. I was taking nicotinamide mononucleotide (MNM) powder or tablets sublingually several times a day for a dose of 1 gm/day, 5 days/week for the three months. I wish I had been able to do my normal workouts to see if I could seriously bulk up, but any improvement at age 79 is a gift, and I felt continual improvement in energy, motivation and well-being. I will keep using this product, at lower doses for now, but plan to do another course of this when I get the shoulder healed up and can use higher loads in regular workouts. Please check out this rather amazing product from Alive by Nature.
I began having symptoms of heart distress like I felt before my 2001 quad bypass operation, and conclude that I am clogging up again. I’ve decided that I will try to fix it by using pomegranate extract at 2500 mg/day in spread doses. In the 2 months since I started I have seen significant improvement in exercise tolerance and reduction of symptoms after big meals, so I think I am gaining on it. I will keep posting improvements or the lack thereof. See Frank’s Column of 11/13/13
I launched a self-study on how stents close up and found that the smooth muscle cells of the artery wall proliferate through the stent and disrupted endothelium (expansion of the stent causes a crush injury to the artery wall’s endothelium, which the underlying muscle cell want to fix and start rapidly multiplying). I also found that the primary inhibitor of this proliferation is local production of Nitric Oxide in the artery, which has been badly reduced by the tearing of the endothelial layer of cells (by the stent installation), consequently allowing the stent to close.
I also set a new personal best in the inclined leg press; 9 plates/side or 810 lbs on the sled for 6 reps last week, and the knees are no worse for wear. I plan to upload a video of making 5 reps with that load 6 weeks ago.
Every other Pushing day I throw in the SCT Bench Press, every other Pulling day I do the SCT Dead Lift and every other Leg day I do the SCT Leg Press. This puts 21 days between the SCT moves, which is 7 days less than before my fracture, but plenty of time for advancement in absolute strength. SCT involves a single rep, though a reduced range of motion (the strongest range, avoiding joint damage) with a 5 second hold. If you can hold for more than 5 seconds, then the weight needs to be increased until that’s all you can do. Every workout the weight should be increased over the last one, and a record of the weight is kept to MEASURE real progress. If we couldn’t do more on the following workout, then either the weight increase was too much or there was too little time between workouts. Below is a short video of my last attempt at 295 lb. I did 285 lb 21 days before, so here I added 10 lb and just barely got it off the pegs. Next time I will add only 5 lb for 300 lb and I bet I make it. I had reached 315 lb last year before the back gave up, so I’m on the way back to that target, and then to whatever I can do beyond that.
I reasoned that I had not lost much strength, so lowered all the first workout weights by 20%, and set the spacing of workouts at 5 days. I started with workout B which includes the deadlift and used 405 lb. Five days later I did the shrug with 385 and felt a slight sting on the right side of my trapezius at the T1 vertebra. Thinking nothing of it, I did the next workout 5 days later and used 415 for the deadlift but this time it really smarted; stung like hell and stayed that way. My chyropractor affirmed that I had a tear of the ligament at the T1, and should let it heal for at least 2 months. I waited and used all the healing strategies I know and I’m now back up to 445lb for the deadlift and climbing, but I put the spacing between workouts back to 10 days right from the start – too much weight, too close together is the invitation to injury. The rule for starting over should be: review your record sheets and use the workout spacing associated with the proposed restart weight, and add a day for safety. Now I’m taking another break, training a friend to help him beat middle age obesity once and for all.
As the weights increased with every workout, I would run into a failure to lift more and add another day of separation. Next time around I could lift more, just like Pete taught. For the dead lift, I calibrated with 315 lb on the first day, and every workout I up’d it 20 pounds until I got to 425lb. This got a bit scary, so I started increasing by only 10 pounds for the next workout. Below is a clip of my dead lift on New Years day 2010 when I finally got to 495 (10 plates on the bar – reasonably impressive for this 162 lb, 70-yr-old). I was so stoked by the milestone that I grabbed a guy in the gym to record it for posterity. At this point, my workouts are 10 days apart, so it is 20 days between dead lift attempts. The popular thinking is that a gap between workouts of this length would negate any growth stimulus – it’s not the case! Every time I go I’m stronger and bigger! You run into a lot of false information in this game, and the three-days-a-week for everyone is a classic example.
I don’t know when I will find a limit at this, but I haven’t hit it yet. I plan to listen carefully to my body and proceed with caution. Note that this is completely separate from my aerobic training, and is strictly for maintaining strength and size. But with 10 days between strength workouts, there is plenty of time for other forms of aerobic exercise. Pete Sisco really has this technology figured out! SCT is as good as it gets for piling muscle on an aging body. He has clients far older than I that are still getting stronger as they age.
I’m an investor in the Synergy Performance Health and Fitness chain, in the process of developing a set of seminars to teach the principles of life-long health to Synergy clients and prospective clients. I work a 36 hour week at Alliant Techsystems (aka ATK) and spend much of my free time working on this website. The balance I spend with family or teaching Christ and His Church to those wishing to become Catholic, which I came to in 1975, and have been an instrument of that process since. I’m an avid reader, especially the sciences and medical material, with a love for theology tossed in. I do woodwork for fun and am truly a home-body, love architecture and decorating – if I could afford a 12,000 square foot house, I would have one in a heartbeat.
The theme of this bio is to highlight that I am at a crossroads; I am taking my future in a new direction as an advocate and spokesman for lifetime health and fitness. One way to demonstrate that commitment is to prepare for and enter a bodybuilding contest, to show how even a near-70 year-old body can be improved in a short time with existing technology, without illegal drugs. To that end I hired a trainer skilled at bodybuilding competition to lead me through the preparation and presentation skills. We are working toward a contest on July 19th in Culver City CA. Video clips of the preparation and the contest will be posted below as they unfold – I hope you find them at least a little inspiring.
On March 5th, 08, we video’d most of the Chest & Back day to chronicle the process of preparing for the competition on 7/19/08. Below are some of the shorter clips unedited. I plan to make sequential movie out of the clips and edit out the dumb stuff so the viewer can see the progress from month to month.