Looking at the cover of the book, Great Expectations, one might become perplexed. The bodybuilder featured on the cover is ripped, muscular and would be admired by any age group. It is a body that is typically only seen on individuals in their teens and twenties. Looking at the face, you realize that neither is true, and might think that technology was used to superimpose the face on the body. Then you realize, as you look down at the author, that this is legitimate. The image belongs to the fitness author of Great Expectations, Clarence Bass, a phenomenal bodybuilder, Olympic lifter, lecturer and competitive rower.
Born in 1937, Clarence has spent the majority of his life pursuing physical and mental excellence. As a youngster, Clarence admittedly was not large in stature, and this could have been a catalyst for his fitness pursuits that have become a lifelong quest. However, the greatest influence on this remarkable individual appears to be his father, a medical doctor who was a great multi-event athlete in track and field in high school, placing second as a team of one in the New Mexico State High School Track and Field Championship. Furthermore, his father was only a few inches short of the world record in the pole vault as a collegian. Clarence wanted to be like his father and stronger than his own peers. It is fitting that his father brought his first set of weights home when Clarence was in fifth grade. Those weights brought a great deal of confidence and goal orientation to his life. As he states, "It was sterling to set a goal and see the response. I could control my tasks and see progress through the pounds that were lifted." Clarence vividly recalled the story that took place around the age of thirteen when he and a classmate went to a movie. The classmate flexed his thigh and asked Clarence to feel his muscularity. It was at that moment that Clarence realized that his thigh did not have the pronounced size or strength of his classmate. This certainly was another catalyst to his quest to become an athletic force.
The weights and his internal drive paid off in folds. In 1954, as a junior at Albuquerque High School in New Mexico, Clarence won the state high school pentathlon championship. He also wrestled in high school, placing second in the state championship as a senior. He not only excelled physically, but his academic achievements were pronounced. He was accepted at the University of New Mexico and graduated from UNM Law School. During this same period, he participated in Olympic weight lifting. His best Olympic lifts were the standing press 275 pounds, snatch 245 pounds, and clean and jerk 325 pounds. What is even more remarkable is his stature. Clarence performed these feats at a height of 5'6" and a weight of approximately 180 pounds. Clarence admits that it was his father, once again, who may have influenced this passion. During his youth, his father asked him if he wished to go to an Olympic Lifting competition. He did not wish to attend as a 14-year-old; however, the next year his father's subtle encouragement led him to compete in his first Olympic Lifting competition. This had a profound impact upon his motivation and desire to become a strong and muscular individual.
At the age of 40, Clarence decided to shift gears and compete in master's level body building. He was able to win his class in the Past-40 Mr. America contest in 1978. The following year, he won his class in the Past-40 Mr. USA contest. In the USA competition he won the overall awards for Most Muscular, Best Abs, and Best Legs. He considers the Most Muscular award his greatest achievement in bodybuilding competition.
After winning these awards, he focused his attention on indoor rowing. In 1992, he ranked 21st in the world for light-weight men ages 50 to 59. In 2003, he had elevated his position and ranked fourth in the 500-meter row for light-weight men ages 60 to 69. As he indicated, the rowing provides an opportunity to develop strength and aerobic conditioning. Though he is competing with others around the world through computer-generated data, as always he maintains that his first and foremost competitor is himself.
Clarence's secret to maintaining a competitive edge is to never fixate upon the past. "No one who has been training consistently is stronger at 70 than they were at 30. The key is to focus on ways you can improve. When you stop doing that, you're toast." His workouts consist of a three day-a-week regimen. One day is devoted to weight training, one day to cardio, and the final consisting of both cardio and resistance training. He notes that a healthy, active lifestyle pays significant dividends with each passing year. "The gap between those that take care of themselves and those that don't is an ever-growing V."
Clarence has obviously remained at the apex of the V. His remarkable body composition is a testament to his hard work and nutritional efforts. His body fat has been measured to be at three percent or lower by the Lovelace Medical Center and the University of New Mexico Human Performance Laboratory. This is amazing considering the average man his age typically has a body fat composition of twenty-five percent or higher. Even world class marathon runners, as a group, do not have body fat measurements lower than Clarence.
Do not think that Clarence Bass has not had to deal with adversity. If you look closely at the cover of Great Expectations, you will notice a thin scar above his right hip. This was due to a hip replacement surgical procedure. Nevertheless, his dedication and drive allowed him to make a speedy recovery and continue to strive for physical excellence.
Clarence plans each workout for success and modifies the training as necessary to facilitate positive results. He relies primarily on sessions that engage fast twitch muscles. Therefore, he performs strength and cardio routines that are short, hard and dynamic. His mindset is continuous improvement. "Mentally, attitude drives everything. My mindset is to always get better. Progress toward a meaningful goal is a most powerful motivator." His advice to those wishing to maintain longevity and physical strength is simple, "Keep training. Remember that the only diet and training routine you are likely to stick to is one you enjoy. Make every workout a rewarding experience that you want to repeat over and over."
With a lifetime of achievements and awards, it is difficult to cite his greatest achievement. Some of his outstanding accomplishments are as follows:
- Selected as one of the top 100 graduates from the University of New Mexico
- Monthly contributor to "Muscle and Fitness" magazine for 16 years until 1996
- Developed a website in 1996 dedicated to health and fitness
- Authored nine books related to health and fitness
Clarence denotes his most prestigious accomplishment as the award he received from the Association of Oldtime Barbell and Strongmen. He was the recipient of the Vic Boff Award in 2003. Recipients of this award are the elite in strength and body building, and Clarence noted how honored he was to be considered a member of this elite group.
With all his awards and accomplishments, Clarence sets his sights on continued improvement in all facets of his life. His goal is to influence others through his DVDs, writings and the website. Clarence Bass truly exemplifies the essence of Ageless/Timeless. His lifestyle and accomplishments serve as a role model for all ages.