Leanness Puts Wind at Your Back
I bought the Ripped books and Lean for life with some money I
received for Christmas. My family was like, "What’s with the books." I was 5'11"
and 225 pounds with around 30 percent body fat. Basically a pear with legs.
That was my profile as of
December 2, 2005. I now weigh 205 and have a solid muscular base. I feel great
and I look solid now. The weight loss isn't a ton but my shape has changed. The
funniest things have happened to me as well.
I went to an alumni event
downtown one night and had to park about 30 blocks from the event center. As I
walked over, I began to say to myself, "Man it’s windy out here tonight. The
fact is that there was no wind that night, I looked down and realized that I was
"haulin ass" without even thinking about it. I couldn't believe it; I wasn't
even sweating or breathing hard.
At the grocery store I buy the same giant dog food bag every couple of weeks.
Two weeks ago I went to grab it from the shelf. I prepared my self for it to be
heavy. I grabbed and accidentally flung it to the other side of the aisle.
People thought I was nuts. My whole body composition had improved so much that
the bag felt like about five pounds.
Thanks for such great work in the books. I am truly enjoying my fitness
Loses 60 Pounds
with Patience and Satisfaction
I am a 49-year-old woman, who has always had problems with my weight. I have
always done some weightlifting. In fact, I used to do powerlifting, but got away
from it, and most exercise, the last couple of years. Several factors were
involved. I nursed my mother through cancer, until she died. I also had a badly
strained rotator cuff from falling on the ice, and terrible Carpal Tunnel
problems with both hands. Finally, I became a vegetarian a year ago, for moral and health
reasons, but found out that vegetarians can be fat too!
I read your books a while back, and decided what you said made good sense. Among
other things, I knew I wouldn't stick to anything I didn't like! I found a nice
little organic market near where I live, and now my diet is mostly fresh fruit
and vegetables, whole grain bread and cereal, and organic soups. I don't have
time to cook, so ease of preparation is of utmost importance!
I have also added about 40-45 minutes of exercise almost
every day, doing rowing on my new Concept 2--which I love! This is in addition
to quite a bit of walking during the day (I have a pet-sitting business). The
bottom line is, I've never felt so good before! I have loads of energy, and
sleep really well. I don’t weigh myself very often, but my clothes are already
feeling a bit looser! (Editor: Her
clothes must be feeling a lot looser, based on her weight loss; see below.)
As for other things
about me, I'm a very spiritual person, and care very much about animal rights. (Editor:
She’s also a skydiver; see postscript and photo.) My goal, as far
as weight loss, is to get to 160, no less. I was at 240 lbs last year, and since
I've been eating mostly whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, I am now at 180.
I'm sure those extra pounds will be history too, now that I am incorporating
regular exercise. I’m not in a big rush, because I know from my own experience
that if I try to do too much at once, I fail from frustration. I’m not saying
I don't cheat now and then. Like you say in the book, if I want a
dessert, I have it. When I go out to dinner, I have whatever I want. I really
only eat dessert about once every couple of weeks, so I figure that's ok, and it
keeps me feeling satisfied.
After all this rambling, I just want to say thank you for
your terrific books, which convinced me I didn't have to suffer to eat healthy
and lose weight! (I really like the Food For Life breads!)
also sending you a photo of me. I had wanted to do skydiving for a long time, so
last year I did a tandem jump and thoroughly enjoyed it. I plan to involve
myself more in the sport when I can devote the time and money.
Susan says, “The earth looks really fantastic flying around at 13,000
Traveler Fights Family History of
Don’t be misled this is not yet a “success
story,” but it certainly is one “in the making.”
I started writing this in
January 2005, but you are reading it in November. Originally I had intended to
chronicle my journey as I prepared for a second visit to the Cooper Clinic, but
then I read Clarence's article “You’ve Got a Bladder Problem” and the advice
about viewing problems as maintenance needs really struck home – so I went
back and re-focused my thoughts. Let me explain.
I have always been a believer in the Clarence
Bass philosophy. Over the years I
have read about and tried to apply many of his suggestions and experiences.
It hasn't been easy. For a
start my job requires me to travel internationally in excess of 200 days each
year. [Editor: Originally from New Zealand, he works for Hong-Kong based Cathay Pacific
Airways and lives in Bangkok, Thailand. His wife is Thai and prefers to live
in Bangkok, 2.5 hours by air from Hong Kong. Working in the International
Affairs Department, his responsibility is to liaise with all the air traffic
control authorities that provide service across Cathay’s network; he travels
everywhere except South America and the parts of Africa. It's very much an
"out of office" job.] This brings special challenges in maintaining a
"Clarence Bass" lifestyle and so my resolve has not always been as
strong as it should have been. Nevertheless,
I have always been relatively fit, strong and not carried too much excess
One personal goal I had, directly as a result of
reading about his experiences, was to visit the Cooper Clinic in Dallas.
Living in Bangkok, this was not a particularly easy goal to achieve.
In October 2003, at the age of 46, I did it!
My particular interest lay in 1) the treadmill
test, and 2) the EBT scan to assess coronary calcification - in that order.
I had been intrigued by the treadmill test ever since reading of
Clarence's early experiences. Not having
regular access to a treadmill with a 25-degree incline capability, I had tried a
modified protocol on a 15-degree treadmill, using kilometers per hour instead of
miles per hour. The maximum I
had ever achieved on this protocol was 21 minutes 15 seconds, some
two years before my visit to the Cooper Clinic; and in the preceding 9 months
before the visit I had not undertaken any real training for this torture.
My performance at the Cooper
Clinic was a dismal 16 minutes 21 seconds (with a maximum achieved heart rate of
186). This placed me around the 50%
mark for people in my age range. I
was angry. But when I got the
results of the EBT scan this paled into insignificance.
The scan results showed that I had a significant degree of
calcification in one coronary artery, which placed me in the worst 1% of the
population for my age. I only had one risk factor - family history - but what a risk
factor: Everyone on both sides of my family had a history of CAD and this
was mostly the cause of death. My
brother had a triple bypass at age 49!
To say I was depressed is an
understatement. The follow-up
radiological studies eased my concern a little bit when I discovered that the
calcification was probably linear (i.e. distributed relatively evenly along the
artery) as opposed to a narrowing at a specific point - which probably would
have led to an invasive procedure of some sort. So even at this point I said, "thank you Clarence"
as I am sure that following his advice (albeit irregularly) to that point of my
life had counted for a lot!
So to the year 2005, and my decision to again
visit the Cooper Clinic - that would be two years since the first visit and I
should be able to see what had changed.
One thing I knew I could directly influence was
my treadmill time. But I hadn't
really done much aerobic training since early 2004, concentrating instead on
weights: I was in the best muscular shape of my life and stronger at
47 than when I was 20. I looked and
felt great so I had made a New Year resolution to beat my 16:21 time and set
some broad goals to achieve this.
Resolutions are easy to make and hard to follow.
Everything went well up till July; I held secret hopes of breaking 20
minutes and certainly 19. I held a
mental picture of the Treadmill Technician displaying amazement and using words
like “fantastic, never seen such progress before” etc, but these fantasies
soon disappeared due to killer travel schedule from July onward.
The Treadmill-Technician fantasy quick faded to nightmare scenario
(“worst deterioration I have seen” and similar words).
The easiest way to describe why my resolutions failed is to say that
extended extreme jet lag is a very debilitating experience – if you are not
sure what I mean then you have never had it.
Finally on October 7, I returned to the Cooper
Clinic. As it turned out I managed
17:20 (at a maximum achieved heart rate of 187), substantially better but not great.
“Great” will have to wait for next time.
However, the important thing and the real point
of this not-quite-success story is that the preventative strategies (maintenance) that I had
put in place on the advice of Camron Nelson, MD, my doctor at the Cooper Clinic,
and from your publications worked. While
my arterial calcification score had increased, it had done so by less than the
average increase. My blood workup
showed that all the numbers were exactly what Dr. Nelson wanted.
My blood pressure was lower (it was ok before) and my pulse had dropped
10 bpm at rest, even though my body fat was slightly higher (a
product of hotel and airline food).
So from a coronary artery
perspective, I was now gaining control. The problems still exist but I am now
encouraged, rather than depressed.
I know that I can manage them even better in the future.
So I must say “thank you Clarence Bass.”
Through your website and publications you have provided me with 1) the
knowledge, 2) the examples which allow me to motivate myself, and 3) the tools
to actually save my life or at the very least considerably increase the quality.
You have done all this essentially free of charge!
The amount of money I have spent on your books and other products is minuscule compared
to the value of the advice I have received over the years.
So powerful is your advice that I eagerly anticipate the 1st
of each new month so that I can see what treasures will appear on your
I could go on, but suffice it to say that
Clarence and Carol use their lives to make a difference in the lives of others and you certainly have
made a difference in mine. “Transit
umbra, lux permanent” - Shadow passes, light remains.
Owen in his Copper Clinic tank top--every
patient gets a tank or T-shirt after completing the treadmill test--shortly after
intervals on his Concept 2 rower. He’s
obviously done his share of weight sessions as well.
Lifestyle Controls Rare Diabetes
No one ever forgets the day they learn they’re diabetic,
and I’m no exception. As I sat stuffed and sated from perfectly rare filet
mignon, garlic mashed potatoes, and croissants for dinner, chocolate truffles
and mousse for dessert, and Irish cream liqueur and red wine for beverages, my
diabetic friend decided now was the time to test my blood sugar with her home
meter. She had recognized the classic symptoms I’d failed to notice or ignored:
excessive thirst, hunger, weight loss, fatigue, and sugar binges with no end.
When I saw the number on the screen flash 211 mg/dl, I did what anyone in my
position would do--I ordered another drink. A normal person should never have a
blood sugar reading over 140 mg/dl, so there’s no room for denial with a
reading over 200. From that moment on--I was 22--and for the rest of my life, I’d be a
The next morning, a doctor’s visit officially confirmed
my diabetes. I would be several more years, however, before anyone would
diagnose the type. It turns out that I have a rare form of diabetes known as
Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY). Found in only 2-5% of cases, my
version of diabetes leaves people with a “lazy” pancreas. I currently
produce half of the insulin I should, not nearly enough to properly
metabolize a normal diet. MODY is the most genetically heritable form of
diabetes known, explaining why my great grandmother, grandfather, and mother are
I left the doctor’s office that day with a bottle of
diabetes medicine, a glucose meter, and a typical diet prescribed by the
American Diabetes Association. But I knew these were not the tools that would
“fix me.” The doctor gave me nothing to control the emotional roller coaster
caused by my blood-sugar gyrations, the cravings and consequent sugar binges. He
gave me no diet designed to rebuild my cells to take up more insulin on their
own. His goal for me was to survive the long road ahead with this condition. My
goal was to thrive with it. Why can’t a diabetic be as fit and healthy as
everyone else, if not more fit and healthier?
It was that day that I began to face the emotional ups and
downs that drove me to reach for a doughnut the same way an alcoholic reaches
for a drink. I learned about intense forms of exercise, such as interval training
and weight training, that allow the body to utilized glucose more efficiently. I
studied sports nutrition and the habits of lean people. My solution has taken me
further than any shot of insulin or bottle of pills ever could.
By consistently following a precise but doable set of
eating habits day after day after day, I’ve been able to control my blood
sugar for the past 5 years with only two medications: food and exercise.
I’ve brought my total cholesterol from 211 down to 164, with a good HDL of 86 [Wow!].
But most importantly, I’ve brought my hA1C, a 3-month measure of blood sugar,
from a high 7.5% to a low 4.8%. Below 6% is non-diabetic. Meanwhile, my thyroid, liver, and
kidneys are perfectly healthy.
Although I have to maintain very strict control of the
amount and type of carbohydrates I put into my mouth, my habits are the same
as anyone striving for ultimate vitality and leanness:
- Eat 5-6 times a day, every 2-3 hours.
- Refrain from consuming foods high in refined carbohydrates or sugar.
- Focus on natural, unrefined carbohydrates, such
as those in fruits vegetables and whole grains.
- Consume flax seed oil daily, eat fish in abundance, and enjoy nuts and
seeds as snacks (all rich in Omega-3).
- Consume at least 25-40 grams of fiber and drink over 100 ounces of water
- Get adequate amounts of high quality protein from eggs, beef, chicken,
fish, and whey protein powder.
For strength training, I focus on the basics: squats, deadlifts, over-head
presses, pull-ups and chin-ups with weight, etc. [Editor: He’s strong.
At 5-6 and 160, he dead lifts 505 for reps, sumo style without a belt;
dips for reps with an extra 130 lbs; and pull ups with over 80 lbs.] For
cardio, I do three Tabata Protocol sessions per week. These high intensity
forms of exercise have allowed me to maintain stable blood sugar, without medication. My weight has remained stable, my body fat percentage has steadily
dropped into the single digits, and my muscle tone has slowly increased.
Check-out Aaron’s thick
musculature. Powerful hips show right through his sweat pants.
One of my biggest challenges has been preventing bouts of hypoglycemia while
exercising. I’ve hit blood sugar readings in the 40s, 50s, and 60s on numerous
occasions. My muscles gobble up the sugar. Preventing these lows requires careful attention to daily habits,
especially consistency in proper eating. With practice, however, it has become
much easier to manage.
I’m told that I will probably wind up on insulin like my great grandmother and
grandfather. The genetic predictability of MODY practically demands
it. If I do, it’s no great defeat. For the rest of my life, I know the habits
I've developed will place me among the leanest and healthiest of people, not
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