Chel­tenham po­lice has its own Sch­warzeneg­ger

Glenside News - - OBITUARIES - By Linda Finarelli

He may not wear a cape or pos­sess “su­per pow­ers,” but un­der­neath that shirt and tie — or po­lice uni­form de­pend­ing on the day — is a pretty strong guy.

Chel­tenham po­lice Lt. John Frye, a com­pet­i­tive body­builder, achieved pro­fes­sional sta­tus this year, a goal he em­barked upon in 2009. Frye won the May 5 Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Com­pet­i­tive Body­builders At­lantic Su­per Show, a nat­u­ral am­a­teur body­build­ing com­pe­ti­tion, in the men’s 40 and up class, earn­ing his mas­ter’s pro card. (See www.then­at­u­ral­mus­cle­net­

While Frye pre­vi­ously won the June 2010 OCB Cen­tral Eastern Se­aboard States over­all ti­tle, the May 5 show was a pro-qual­i­fy­ing event, Frye ex­plained. The dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing an am­a­teur and a pro­fes­sional, he said, is that am­a­teurs com­pete to be­come a pro and win tro­phies, while pro­fes­sion­als com­pete for money.

But for Frye, who de­scribes him­self as “an ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive per­son,” it’s never been about money.

“The goal was to earn a pro card,” he said in a July 31 in­ter­view. “I told my wife I’m re­tir­ing,”

A grad­u­ate of North Catholic High School, where he played base­ball, Frye said, “I al­ways had an in­ter­est in weight lift­ing and body­build­ing. I was a big Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger fan. He was prob­a­bly the best body­builder of all time.”

Frye main­tained his in­ter­est while earn­ing a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in crim­i­nal jus­tice at Tem­ple Univer­sity, fol­lowed by a mas­ter’s from St. Joseph’s Univer­sity af­ter be­ing hired by the Chel­tenham Po­lice Depart­ment in 1995 and work­ing his way up to cor­po­ral, sergeant, and in 2011, lieu­tenant. Pre­vi­ously a pa­trol sergeant, Frye now over­sees the de­tec­tive division and is a leader for Chel­tenham’s SWAT team.

Hav­ing lifted weights for close to 25 years, Frye said, “I al­ways wanted to com­pete as a body­builder, but never had the time … I just made a de­ci­sion to do it.”

So in 2010 he hired a pro­fes­sional trainer who put to­gether a nu­tri­tion and weightlift­ing plan geared to­ward com­pet­ing and fo­cused on his goal.

“It takes about 20 weeks to get ready for a show,” Frye said, which means fol­low­ing a strict diet and spend­ing two hours a day at the gym five days a week to lift weights and do car­dio ex­er­cises.About a month be­fore the show, time at the gym es­ca­lates to twice a day.

The diet, com­pris­ing pro­teins, fats and carbs, re­quires eat­ing five to six times a day and drink­ing one and a half to two gal­lons of wa­ter, he said.

“I nor­mally try to main­tain a healthy life­style,” Frye said, “but [the strict diet] made spe­cial events, like birth­days, a lot harder. I have to bring my food with me.

“There are big-time sac­ri­fices in­volved. It takes a lot of time away from fam­ily life,” said the 40-year-old mar­ried fa­ther of two. “I pretty much had to eat dif­fer­ent meals all the time,” but “my wife was very sup­port­ive.”

“I never re­al­ized how time-con­sum­ing it is,” he said. “The most chal­leng­ing, part is nu­tri­tion; the lift­ing part is easy.

The show started with a two-hour event in which ev­ery­one in his class was on the stage at the same time, re­quired to hit manda­tory poses.

“This is when [the judges] de­ter­mine who wins the show,” Frye said, but the awards are not an­nounced un­til the end.

Af­ter a break and prior to the awards, each com­peti­tor does an in­di­vid­ual one­minute rou­tine, he said. With parts of the movie score from “The Dark Knight” play­ing in the back­ground, Frye “struck some manda­tory poses, but put an em­pha­sis on try­ing to en­ter­tain the crowd.”

With his ca­reer still mov­ing for­ward — he at­tended the North­west­ern School of Staff and Com­mand in 2008 and will be go­ing to the FBI Na­tional Academy in Quan­tico in Oc­to­ber, and his 11- and 13-year-old chil­dren main­tain­ing full sched­ules, Frye said, “The time it re­quires to do this is not there for me any­more. Af­ter three years it gets to be too much.”

Hav­ing served as a OCB judge sev­eral times, Frye said he will prob­a­bly stay on as a judge, but “will take a year off and eval­u­ate whether I want to com­pete.”

“This was some­thing I chal­lenged my­self to do. I set out to ac­com­plish a goal and I ac­com­plished it.”

Chel­tenham po­lice Lt. John Frye.

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