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I'm currently the Head Trainer at
a fitness center in
Last year, after I turned 40, my body seemed to be shifting into a fat storing mode. While I have always been able to get pretty lean and have gotten down to 6-7% body fat, I was struggling to get below 12-14% body fat. Practically over night, my waist grew about 2 inches. No matter what I tried, nothing was working. Although I was working out hard, I seemed to be gaining weight and fat very quickly. I had to buy bigger pants and was getting very frustrated. Almost in desperation, I decided to contact Clarence Bass. I had purchased some of his books and DVDs and remember reading his column in Muscle and Fitness. I knew of his success in becoming and staying lean and wanted to learn more about his philosophy of training and nutrition.
After reviewing my training and nutrition program, Clarence advised me in a phone consultation that I was not eating enough calories, carbohydrates or fiber, and that I was overtraining with weights and not doing enough cardio. I enjoyed the consultation; Clarence's analysis made sense. Afterward I was ready to rock.
I have never asked for advice from anybody in my 25 plus years of training, so this was a huge step for me. I knew I had a lot of changes to make and I was ready to implement them. I put my ego aside and tried not to let my formal fitness and nutrition education get in the way. I give advice to clients and members of our gym all day long, so I was looking at this as if I was my own client--take the advice, start implementing changes, and give plenty of time for the body to adjust.
Here are some of the changes I have made in my training and nutrition program:
|Purchase a large rice cooker
||Shop for whole grains: barley, oat groats, and kamut
||Start eating Clarence's “Old Reliable” breakfast
||Eat plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit
||Replace most meat protein with
dairy, eggs and beans||Track progress on the Tanita Body Weight/Fat scale
||Use heart rate monitor
||Read new books by Bill Pearl and Mike Mentzer
||Do Push-Pull split routine in Clarence's
book Lean for Life
||Reduce weight workouts from 5 days/wk to 2/wk
||Stop volume training, start
doing one hard set after warm-up
||Go from almost no cardio to intervals 2-3 days/week,
plus walking ||Begin using Concept 2 Rower
Below is a picture of me doing 380 pounds for 8 in the trap-bar deadlift. I use no lifting belt, wrist straps, or joint wraps. (Editor: Note good position: head up, legs bent, back flat.)
It has been 2 months, and the new fitness and nutrition program is going well. While I haven't lost much weight, maybe 2 pounds, I have gained strength and energy. My muscles are fuller and my vascularity has improved.
I have almost doubled my daily calorie intake, from about 2200 to 4000. I feel better and my metabolism has greatly improved. I'm also more calm after eliminating almost all meat from my diet. My coworkers, however, think I'm crazy because I bring in a huge bag of food and eat throughout the day (between meetings, clients and workouts). The first thing everyone asks me when I enter the gym is "what's on the Menu?" I delight in showing them my homemade burritos with grains, beans, green peppers and salsa. I also love to bring out my bag of fruit and yogurt and sprouted bread. Several people have even asked me to take them shopping.
Right now I weigh about 188. I am giving myself eight more months to get down to 168, which will bring me to about 5% body fat (assuming I can gain a couple pounds of muscle along the way). I will fine-tune my calorie intake as necessary, making small changes to insure that I don't slow my metabolism or make myself uncomfortable. I want to get Ripped, and I think that I'm headed in the right direction.
I'm not rushing the process. My target date is June 1, 2006.
Both Clarence and Carol have been been great, very helpful. I plan to continue consulting with Clarence and educating myself indefinitely. I'll keep you posted on my results.
Here's my story of how I successfully prepared for an
endurance event using the Tabata Protocol.
I'm a 32-year-old male, with a lean build. Last year, in my first 5K race, I ran 22:26; it turns out the course was somewhat short, such that 24:30 may have been my "real" time. My preparation had been low in volume, but otherwise normal for a beginning runner: moderate effort over moderate distances.
I continued running after last year's event, but discovered that it hurt my feet. The standard fixes--motion-control shoes, proper stretching, avoiding the sidewalk--didn't help. I quit running for the time being.
This year I signed up for the same 5K, a charity event managed by a friend of mine. Because I could not train in a normal fashion without hurting my feet, I decided to try the Tabata Protocol, which calls for a very low volume of activity. (I had read Clarence's Article #152, Sprints Build Endurance!)
My workout consisted of eight 20-second sprints, with 10-second rests between. I stretched and jogged for a few minutes before and after. I did the sprints on grass, to cushion my feet. I worked very hard, but not murderously hard.
Over the course of 2 1/2 weeks, I performed this workout five times. I also had one unofficial workout, in which I ran to get indoors during a thunderstorm; I tried to follow the 20/10 work-rest ratio then too.
I estimate that I trained a total of 24-minutes for the 5K:
six 4-minute workouts. To make sure that I was fully rested, I stopped
training five days before the race. I did no other aerobic work whatsoever.
The result: 21:14 on the short course, over a minute faster than last year.
I am not an advanced or experienced runner by any stretch of the imagination. If I could follow a full, 35-mile-per-week training regimen, I would probably run faster yet. Nevertheless, my experience suggests that the Tabata protocol is effective as preparation for an endurance event.
And when I sprinted for the bus yesterday, I certainly could see what it had done for me anaerobically!
Marlon (Last name withheld by request)
Dear Mr. Bass,
I want to write you with my story and thank you personally.
I am a 47-year-old male. I have generally kept fit my whole life, lifting and running since I was 21. But it seems my diet wasn't as healthful as it could have been.
I started the year at 189 lbs. I am 5'10" tall. I felt fat. I felt as if I had high blood pressure. My face was red and my neck was huge. I had chubby cheeks. A visit to the Doctor in June confirmed my suspicions. My blood pressure was 155 over 112. My total cholesterol count was 240 with LDL over 160. My Doctor put me on blood pressure medicine Lisinopril/HCTZ and warned me that if things didn't change, he was going to have to put me on cholesterol medicine.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Holroyd
I have been following you for years. I believed, based on your experience, that there was no reason why I needed to have high blood pressure and too much weight, purely based on getting older. I asked my Doctor if he felt that my losing 20 or 25 pounds would "fix" my blood pressure. He told me that it probably wouldn't matter. (Emphasis ours) Even on my medicine, my BP was still 130 over 95.
I had purchased Lean for Life earlier this year, and bookshelved it. I decided to dig it out and read it. It inspired me to change my lifestyle. I had always eaten fairly healthy, salmon twice a week, not too much red meat - but apparently it was not enough. I ran 4-5 times a week, 4-6 miles for most of my life, but it wasn't doing the trick.
I decided to make two changes. First, I had gotten into the habit of having several beers or glasses of wine in the evenings. I decided that that was going to have to change. I also decided to replace meat with the soy equivalents.
Now, I exercise no more than I used to. But I limit alcohol consumption to a couple on Fridays and Saturday nights with friends. If I want to drink a beer during the week, I now drink the alcohol free kind. I leave the option open on weekends to lift the restriction to soy-based meat products. If I want a lean cut of steak, I have a small one.
For breakfast, I
have two pieces of whole-wheat toast with cholesterol-free scrambled egg, a
banana or apple, 12 oz of orange juice with 1 teaspoon of psyllium fiber.
Lunch is a healthy soup choice with soy-based meat. I eat lots
of vegetables and whole grains with another soy meat serving for dinner.
In eight weeks, I have gone from 186 pounds to 173. I am scrambling around the house trying to find clothes that fit me. I'm on the last notch on my belt; I either need to get a new one, or cut more holes. My blood pressure is down to 102/72 resting and 110/77 during normal activity.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Holroyd
Last weekend, I was worried when I ate 8 slices of medium pizza. I needn't have been. I lost two more pounds this week. I am full all the time, and feel satisfied. Best of all, I feel GREAT!
I'm in no hurry to lose more weight. My target was to get below 170 by the end of the year. In two weeks, at my current rate of loss, I’ll reach my goal. I would like to get down to 165, but I am just going to continue in this lifestyle and see where my weight settles.
Cutting down on alcohol and switching to soy products was almost like throwing a switch in my body. It really hasn't been hard at all. I don't count calories. I have no cravings, except for a soy hamburger every once in awhile. It's incredible. I can't wait to see where my weight stabilizes. I have no desire to return to my former lifestyle. I don't miss a thing. I have the energy levels that I had in my 30's.
Thank you for your lifetime of work documenting and demonstrating healthy eating and exercise habits. You definitely inspired me in your books. If it were not for you, I might have "settled" for having higher blood pressure and getting fatter with getting older.
Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and make sure to include the following: 505 2669123
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Copyright © 2005 Clarence and Carol Bass. All rights reserved.