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Lean For Life Reviewed in University Weight Management Letter

Dr. Kevin Fontaine, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, recently reviewed Lean For Life for the school's Weight Management Newsletter. Fontaine has both a professional and personal interest in leanness, fitness and health. As a research psychologist, he works with obese individuals at the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. A serious weight trainer for about eight years, he's quite lean himself, but struggles with high cholesterol and hypertension. So, he's unusually well qualified to evaluate Lean For Life.

We think you'll be interested in his review. Keep in mind that he's addressing people who work with or suffer from lifelong obesity, not elite athletes. He tells us that he purposely downplayed Clarence's athletic achievements.

Book Review

The focus of this 240 page book is on a topic of profound importance to anyone attending our program; how to alter your lifestyle permanently so that you can maintain a reasonable and healthy weight for the rest of your life. It's author, Clarence Bass, is someone who has devoted the better part of 40 years toward pursuing health, fitness, and longevity. Now 60 years old, Bass has consistently maintained his body fat under 9% for most of his adult life through the application of an intelligent nutritionally-sound eating plan combined with modest amounts of aerobic exercise and weight training. His periodic preventive health care visits to the renowned Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas have confirmed the success and effectiveness of his lifestyle practices. Specifically, he recently scored in the top 1% for men of his age in strength and cardiovascular fitness. He also displaced bone density levels above those expected of even 20 year olds..

Although there is little doubt that Clarence Bass is genetically endowed with respect to maintaining a healthy body weight and cardiovascular fitness, his approach is based on sound diet and exercise principles that he has applied consistently over the past several decades. In this book he shares his "secrets" for staying lean and healthy. Perhaps more importantly, he talks very candidly about what he has done over the years to stay motivated so that he continues to practice the lifestyle activities that have brought his such robust health. One of the key motivators that keep Clarence on tract was the death of his father from a stroke. He is aware that he is likely to have a propensity for a similar fate (manifest by his previously elevated cholesterol) unless he makes great efforts to manage his cardiovascular health. The other major technique he uses is the setting of challenging but attainable short-term goals (e.g., to surpass his last treadmill stress test; to do one more repetition on a certain weight training exercise). These performance-based goals keep him sufficiently interested without being overly burdensome.

One of the useful things about this book is that he illustrates through personal experience virtually all of the lifestyle modifications that research tells us give a person the best chance of keeping weight off. (our emphasis) For example, he keeps food records, he weighs himself periodically, and he practices a diet (he prefers to call the term eating style) that is characterized by the consumption of high volume low-calorie foods that never has him going away from the table feeling hungry of deprived. He describes his eating and exercise patterns in great detail, but encourages readers to modify the basic approach to suit their own needs, strengths and goals.

Personally, I have found this book to be a great source of practical, useable information. It is also very well written and intensely personal. As such it leaves you with the sense that Mr. Bass genuinely cares about the health, fitness and well being of his audience. In short, if you are looking for some helpful ideas on how to stay lean, healthy and inspired, I think you will find this book to be of great value.

Kevin Fontaine, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858,  e-mail: cncbass@aol.com. FAX (505) 266-9123.  Office hours:  Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.

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Copyright © 1999 Clarence and Carol Bass. All rights reserved