Clarence Bass is the Epitome of Effective Living, creating his own unique philosophies and practices for a healthy life.
From a passion in fitness to a personal example on Aging Well, Mr. Bass has earned the respect and following of
people around the world. His words have helped many discover their own formula for success and encouraged
countless women and men to adapt their habits in-order to profit physically. A library of resources and years of
experimentation, comprise of the wisdom you will find in one of Clarence Bass’s books. Now seventy, this Athlete of
generous age still demands the best of himself. It is the Great Expectations he upholds for a quality life which favor a
happy, healthy existence!
Q: When did your interest and passion for fitness begin?
I wanted to be like my Dad, who was practically a one-man track & field team in high school (broad jump, high jump,
pole vault, and discus); he came within inches of the world pole-vault record in college. A medical doctor, he brought
home a barbell set for his own use when I was in the 5th grade. Within a short time I had moved the weights into my
bedroom and was using them more than he was. He eventually stopped lifting, but I never did. He encouraged and
supported my efforts early on, and remained my biggest fan until his death in 1987.
Q: How did it grow into a relatable set of philosophies and principles?
That’s a long story, but the short answer is that I continued improving and competing in the Olympic lifts until my
mid-30s, when I moved on to bodybuilding competition, eventually winning my class in the Past-40 Mr. America and
the overall “Most Muscular Man” award in the Past-40 Mr. USA. I read everything I could find on training and
nutrition, always trying to improve my results.
Other than my father, my early interest in nutrition and health came from reading Strength & Health magazine,
especially articles and editorials by Bob Hoffman, the publisher. Hoffman kindled my early interest in eating a healthy
diet. His influence led me to be the only boy in a high school class on nutrition; I still have the textbook in my library.
Q: Is this how your 3-book Ripped series came about?
Yes, Ripped, my first book, told how I reduced my body fat to 2.4% in preparation for the Past-40 Mr. America and Mr.
USA contests. My training was guided by under-water body composition tests at Lovelace Medical Center in
Albuquerque, New Mexico (my hometown). Lovelace did the early testing on our first astronauts, which gave added
credibility to the body composition test results, which provided verifiable scientific support for the findings presented
in the book.
Joe Weider, the publisher of Muscle & Fitness (the most widely read bodybuilding magazine in the world), read the
manuscript and invited me to write a monthly column, he called it “The Ripped Department.” The column became
the longest running column in the history of the magazine, continuing for 16 years, until 1996. Needless to say, writing
a column every month for 16 years motivated me to keep learning and trying to improving my results. After the
column ended, I continued writing monthly for our website www.cbass.com
. We’ve posted 209 articles in 10 categories
Q: The first book was published some time ago, what has changed in your methods?
Ripped, was published in 1980, and I continued to write books, nine so far as my training evolved. Spanning more
than 27 years, each book presents a unique perspective; for obvious reasons, I tried to cover new ground in each book.
My latest book, Great Expectations, gives my perspective on diet, training, and motivation from the vantage point of a
70-year-old who has been training continuously and successfully for almost 60 years. Several core ideas do, however,
persist in all of the books.
In Ripped, I encouraged readers to avoid concentrated calories, foods low in volume and high in calories. In all of the
books, I explain that whole foods—high in volume (and nutrition) and low in calories—satisfy your appetite without
overshooting calorie needs. The details vary from book to book, but the core idea remains the same.
Although the proportion varies, my training has always included weights and aerobics. I believe both forms of training
are needed to build and maintain a lean and fit body.
Finally, I believe in short, hard and infrequent workouts (weights and aerobics) that provide maximum benefit in
minimum time. As a practicing lawyer, I couldn’t spend all day in the gym and didn’t want to in any event. I have
consistently emphasized the importance of rest—stress and rest—for optimal results. While some adjustments are
obviously necessary, these basic principles hold true at any age.
Q: In your recent book Great Expectations, there are many references indicating the evolving science of fitness
and health. Are there a few principles that apply regardless of new developments or is it crucial to follow research
daily and remain flexible?
As I said, some basic principles remain the same. But we live in an exciting time where new discoveries come almost
daily. Fortunately, the Internet and other modern media make it possible to follow developments as they occur.
Happily, modern technology is constantly uncovering new reasons to exercise and consume a healthy diet. For
example, scientists are uncovering more and more about the benefits of exercise at the cellular level; turns out that
exercise is almost magic in its effect on the body and the brain. Clearly, it’s wise to remain flexible and open to new
ideas. I find marvelous things to write about almost every month.
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