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Book Review

Clarence Bass. Take Charge: Fitness at Edge of Science. Ripped Enterprises. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 2013.

Clarence Bass has been a leader in resistance training, bodybuilding, fitness, and nutrition for over 35 years. Besides his many earlier magazine columns, Clarence has published 9 books and is an active presence on the web at www.cbass.com.  Clarence’s prior well-written and conceived books have revolved around established and emerging evidence in health, fitness, strength, nutrition, and overall life style, and generally how Clarence has applied these findings to his own nutrition, training, and healthful life style. Among a number of points, these are ones that to this reviewer are most noteworthy: 1. Clarence learns from science, puts himself to the test, and practices what he preaches. An excellent example is that while earlier in his career Clarence primarily performed moderate intensity, endurance training, once his interest was sparked, he performed higher intensity and interval based aerobic training and demonstrated his high level of fitness through standard testing on the Balke treadmill protocol at the (then) Cooper Institute. He also was able to reach such a high level of fitness that he has achieved World Ranking on the Concept -2 Rower, quite a feat. 2. Well before the current nutrition research (well documented in this new book) and even during the low-fat diet era, Clarence had adapted his nutrition to a reasonable approximation of a Mediterranean or DASH nutrition plan – now with good evidence of health benefits - and without going overboard on protein. 3. Clarence has been able to continue with enthusiasm a high level of resistance and aerobic training at 75 and remain injury-free; 4. While no one will mistake him for a youth, he has been able to maintain an incredibly lean appearance, and maintain considerable lean body mass with minimal body fat. 5. Perhaps most impressively, even with all his prior success, Clarence is not resting on his laurels. The new book is, indeed, new and not ‘old wine in a new bottle’. Putting together a book that surpasses his excellent prior books is a great challenge. As Clarence has said for many years, we need goals and challenges to make life interesting and keep us living at a high level. ‘Take Charge’ is a great example of undertaking quite a challenge and meeting the challenge!

Clarence has been able within an accessible format to present the latest information, often in the form of summarizing scientific studies. What is most impressive is the span of the material he covers. These areas include the new findings on effort based resistance training, the powerful effects of brief interval training, how resistance and aerobic training can synergistically fit together, the effects of exercise on cognitive functioning, important research on sedentary behaviors (yes, we can exercise but, otherwise be sedentary), new ideas on what is healthy aging, the most current information on the effects of the macronutrients of dietary patterns, a sane and reasonable approach to weight management and overall lifestyle changes similar to a cumulative series of ‘small changes’, and new findings about behavioral and personality patterns associated with health and longevity. This is a wide range of research and the ability to put these areas together is a major achievement. Clarence gives credit to others (e.g., Drs. Ralph Carpinelli and Stuart Phillips) for steering him in the right direction, but he and his able editor Carol Bass deserve the highest credit for this book.

This book can be purchased at www.cbass.com or on www.amazon.com. Clarence has produced a new book about every several to five years. Each new book is not redundant and builds on the prior works. ‘Take Charge’ is a ‘tour de force’ and as noted, however, Clarence is not one to rest on his laurels and he always seeks new challenges. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

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Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 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. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 001-505 266-9123

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