For Baby Boomer Frank Sole, having the right healthy aging attitude is more important than absolute fitness. This is coming from a professional triathlon and swim coach who believes fitness is attainable at any age – but only with willingness and a confident mindset.
“At 62, I feel like a million dollars. I feel like I’m 18,” he says, beaming. “My wife and I are enjoying the hell out of the ride.”
Healthy Aging Attitude
It’s that mindset and confidence that makes Sole a standout for healthy aging and inspires him to work even harder to push back against popular conventions on aging.
“I’ve been a coach for 22 years, and I’m seeing more and more Boomers who are just folding up the tents so early. They say, ‘What am I supposed to do? I’ve got bad knees.’ or ‘The doctor says I can’t do this.’ We have given up on our dreams. We’ve given up on our hopes and ambitions.”
Sole, a New Jersey native, understands the realities of an aging body. The aches and pains of arthritis have him seeing a physical therapist every two weeks to help him manage the disease.
“I’m also in the weight room five times a week, and there are times when I’m on my hands and knees in pain, but I will just not give into this,” he says emphatically. “I will not let this be the deterrent from allowing me to do what I want to do.”
Mind Over Matter
Sole firmly believes that when people truly understand their ‘why’ and what really drives them, that’s when they invite change into their lives.
“As we get into our 50s, some people have been in a rut for so long, it becomes absolutely overwhelming to think about learning to eat right, joining a gym, and exercising,” Sole says.
“I tell people, ‘You seem to have a zest for life, but you’re allowing other people to put your fire out.’ Don’t do that. Instead, find someone who understands your philosophy and your thinking,” he says. “When you identify your ‘why,’ the ‘how’ and ‘what’ come so much easier.”
He holds up his wife of 37 years, Laura, as an example. “The most positive and influential person in my life has been my wife. She refuses to be negative. She’ll turn lemons into lemonade every single time. She says it’s a waste of energy,” he laughs.
Make Daily, Healthy Habits a Priority
Sole’s daily morning ritual includes gratitude, journaling, listening to a business mentor podcast, devotional time with God, and writing out notes for the day ahead.
“The moment we wake up in the morning, we have the ability to make it a great day or a lousy day,” he says. “I’m constantly trying to better myself.”
Sole is a strong believer that reinvention can happen at any age. “I always encourage individuals to go live their passions,” Sole says. “If I don’t like the direction this track is going, then I’ll go to another one.”
He’s also a crusader for healthy aging and showing people the joy of life after 50. “The more I do this, I feel like I’ve been given a responsibility to educate people and to help people wake up. We have given up on our dreams. We’ve given up on our hopes and ambitions. And we’ve been led by the media to believe aging should look a certain way.”
Do What You Love
Sole’s role as an educator wasn’t immediately apparent early in his career. After spending several years as a refrigeration mechanic and owner of a refrigeration appliance and repair business in his hometown of Red Bank, New Jersey, he and his wife made the decision to sell that business. He then found himself working a 9-to-5 job at a local hospital and moved up the ranks to Director of Engineering.
“The world seemed to be my oyster, but I hated what I did,” he recalls. “The money was there. The prestige was there. It was just not what I was supposed to be doing.”
With that, he and Laura decided he would resign from his job to pursue his passion. His love of swimming led him to the pool at the local YMCA where he spent 13 years as a swim instructor and became assistant director of the aquatics department.
He also returned to college and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in history and political science, which led to a stint as a high school history teacher.
It wasn’t until 2005 that the Soles made the big leap and moved to Arizona to be near family. That same year, he launched his athlete coaching business, Sole Swim Solutions, and was back at the pool teaching.
Today, Frank Sole is doing what he loves, training triathletes and endurance swimmers of all ages and ability levels. He is also a corporate health and wellness trainer and active triathlon competitor.
Sole advocates for Baby Boomers to be proactive about health and fitness before it’s too late. “Ultimately, we should be educating ourselves on nutrition, heath and wellness, spirituality, mindfulness and spending time in purposeful self-actualization,” he says.
The Soles have been following the Paleo Diet for more than 20 years, consuming lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, berries, meat and fish.
“We have chosen to eat that way for our health. We stay away from sugar and processed foods. And we also go out on Saturday night and enjoy ourselves, but during the week, we are disciplined.”
Sole reveals a tattoo above his heart that says “kaizen” in Japanese letters, meaning the practice of continuous improvement.
“I think that the one thing that has been a very, very dominant part of me is the ability to be mindful at all times and make the necessary corrections. The more I do it, the easier it is for me to make self-corrections,” he explains.
“I’m willing to have that hard conversation with myself now, when for many years, I tried to avoid it at all costs because I didn’t like what I saw. Once I was able to put on the boxing gloves with myself and have it out then and there on the spot, I became open to those opportunities.
“Whatever life has to throw at me, I’m very much at peace right now.”