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Great Fit:

A Tale of Two Books

by Dr. Kevin Vost

It just figures! Fit for Eternal Life: A Christian Approach to Working Out, Eating Right, and Building the Virtues of Fitness in Your Soul, (I’ll call it Fit for short), my first fitness book in six years, is scheduled for release, and BOOM!, Clarence Bass, Mr. Ripped himself, releases Great Expectations: Health Fitness Leanness Without Suffering, (we might as well call it Great – because it is) his first book in eight years, at darn near exactly the same time! 

Seriously though, it doesn’t bother me a bit. Fit will not be hidden in Great’s shadow any more than anyone who has read Clarence’s books has been hidden in Clarence’s shadow. It’s quite the contrary, I must say. Let me shed some light on this.

It was once said of the brilliant theologian and philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas: "Like the sun he heated the world with the warmth of his virtues and filled it with the splendor of his teaching." 

Well, in the world of health and fitness, Clarence has certainly been quite radiant himself, illuminating us all with his wisdom for decades now.  He continues to influence and enlighten me in both my fitness training and writing.

As I recently wrote to Clarence, “Mentzer was the muscular mentor of my youth; Bass is the muscular mentor of my maturity!” 

That’s why I think you’ll find that our approaches, though unique, are quite complimentary. In fact, by my estimate, our recommendations are 98.6742% compatible. (Where’d I get that figure? I just made it up, of course. You’d be better off reading both new books and deciding for yourself.) 

Here are my short and pithy synopses of the two: 

Great Expectations is the latest, greatest masterpiece of very possibly the world’s greatest master of fitness and leanness. Clarence has produced yet another artful integration of the most recent scientific research on exercise and diet with his lifetime of personal experience in the quest (and darn near attainment) of physical perfection. I say “darn near,” because Clarence so clearly makes the case that he too is human. Still, even his chapter on his own recent medical maladies makes for upbeat, inspiring reading. As for the rest, here we have Clarence’s latest on his own exceptionally well-reasoned approach to strength training, aerobic training, diet (not dieting, as he explains), motivation, and positive outlook on life. As any of you familiar with Clarence’s other books will already know, Great Expectations is full of that human touch, rife with nice stories of how the quest for fitness has impacted the lives of the Basses themselves, and of many of their fitness-loving friends.  Oh yes, for just a taste of the tasty details, Clarence is always at the cutting edge in discovering new food items or combinations that maximize nutrition and flavor. I can’t wait to find the new peanut butters he describes, and perhaps some day I’ll develop the courage to try adding canola oil to my own coffee! I devoured most of Great Expectations the first day I received it. I can honestly maintain that it exceeded my expectations, great though they were.

My own Fit for Eternal Life is aimed largely at beginners, (at least in the material devoted to strictly physical fitness), but includes special “Muscle Mastery Tips and Facts” boxes in each chapter that may appeal to more advanced readers as well. Aimed at integrating physical and spiritual fitness concerns, its key themes include the biblical precept of the body as the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and the idea that when Jesus called us to “be perfect,” this logically includes the perfection (improvement) of our bodies, as well as our souls. It also provides an innovative concept of fitness as virtue, integrating the classical virtues of fortitude (courage) with strength and endurance training, temperance (self-control) with sensible eating habits, prudence (practical wisdom) with putting the total fitness package together in your everyday life, and justice (fairness) by giving rightful concern to the fitness needs of special groups; namely, women, older individuals, and teens. Virtues, you see, are really just deeply-ingrained good habits. In the world of fitness, they involve both knowing what to do and knowing how to get yourself to do it! Fit is also jam-packed throughout with mind/body quotations from both scriptural and theological sources, as well as from the classic tomes of those mind/body loving ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. Indeed, both Clarence and I include quotations from the Roman orator, statesman, and philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Alright, any more and I’ll forfeit my claim to pithiness.  

Please, check the books out for yourself. I respectfully submit that Great and Fit together make for a Great Fit!

[You can see why one of us is a member in good standing of American Mensa. Weight trainers are smart.]

Kevin Vost, Psy.D.

For more information on Fit, go to www.drvost.com.

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