528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87108
PO Box 51236, Albuquerque, NM 87181-1236
(505) 266-5858    E-Mail:  cncbass@aol.com



Mr. America Past 40, Short Class
 Clarence Bass by Russ Warner


Fitness Success Stories (14)
We've heard many success stories over the years, and here are some of them that are especially noteworthy and inspiring.

  About Clarence Bass  

Success Stories





 From The Desk of Clarence Bass



Diet & Nutrition


Strength Training




Fat Loss & Weight Control


Fitness & Health


Age Factor


Physiological Factors


Psychology & Motivation


Fitness Personalities



















































































































































Exercise Helps Man Cope with Loss of His Wife

My story is how I survived after losing my wife of 53 years one year ago. Losing Frances almost killed me. This story is to tell how exercise relieved stress and gave me a will to keep on living.

I have routinely exercised since 1975. Before Frances’s death I weighed 156 with 24% body fat, according to my Tanita scale. After her death I lost 25 pounds due to grieving and no appetite. I did nothing but sit and cry for the first weeks. Finally, after feeling terrible and sluggish I knew I had to get back into my exercise routine. My appetite slowly returned and I dove back into exercise.

I now run 3.5 miles on my treadmill every other day and lift light weights two to three times a week. I also do abdominal exercises two to three times a week. My body weight is now 133 with 14% body fat.

This July 4th 2015 I entered a 5K race in Deltaville, Virginia. I placed 1st in my age group of 70+. (I'm 73) My race time was 30:18.20 with a pace per mile of 9:46.

[What Clarence is not telling you is that he finished 194 out of 506 finishers of all ages. A month later, he cut another minute off his 5K time, averaging 9:23 per mile. He is turning the loss of the love of his life into positive energy--and transforming himself into a lean running machine. Frances must be smiling down on him.]


We couldn't get Clarence to take his shirt off, but his new found vitality comes through
 in his well muscled arms and smiling face. We love you Clarence. You are an inspiration to all of us.

I have e-mailed Clarence at various times asking his opinions and seeking advice. I have also talked with both Carol and Clarence on the phone on different occasions through the years. They feel like personal friends to me. I even called them when Frances passed away and will always be grateful for their kind words and support.

Your friend in Virginia,

Clarence Hargus


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What a Difference a Scale Makes

Dear Clarence:

I recently hit my peak weight, about 15 pounds overweight/overfat. Don't worry, I have lost 5 pounds effortlessly by simply buying a scale.

I lost my Tanita scale a few years ago in divorce. Then my weight started creeping up two or three years ago. Recently, my treadmill and my twenty-year-old Concept 2 monitor broke. This is the second summer that my pants have been tight. The local hardware store had an electronic scale that reports weight in .2 pound increments; it looks like the Tanita scale, but at half the price. They probably use the same Chinese factory.

Suddenly, I have lost the urge to stop by convenience stores for junk snacks. Occasionally I take a walk in the morning or evening instead of surfing the internet. I remember to snack on carrots or apples. It is nothing conscious. But every morning I am curious enough to step on the scale.

Now I know how people get 100 pounds overweight. They gain it so slowly that they hardly notice; obesity creeps up on them. I remember reading in your books that you never allow yourself to gain more than 5 pounds. Maybe your threshold for self-deception is only 5 pounds, mine is 15 pounds, and for some people it is 90 pounds. But the regular feedback is critical. The scale can lie by 1 or 2 pounds due to water retention. But you usually know the bias, because it is temporary. But your ego can lie by a lot more.

Now I need to get my benchmark rowing times back to normal, and buy a treadmill. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

 This is Steve before his divorce--and where his newly acquired replacement scale is painlessly nudging him back.

Steve H.

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Suzy's Healthy Kids Program Takes Off

My name is Suzy Wamsley and I appreciate you asking me to tell your visitors about my involvement with kid fitness.

I've been exercising for 35 years at our local YMCA - racquet ball, strength training, and aerobics - sometimes more intense than others - but except when having children I've been diligent.

In 2011, I asked 4 middle school boys if they would like to begin a strength training routine with me to increase their athletic performance. I promised if they worked hard that they would see improvement in a short time. I worked with them for 6 months, 2-3 times/week......their progress was evident. My aim was to teach them how to strength train before some high school football coach got into their heads. I also incorporated some interval training to show them that 20 minutes would increase their performance. It did.

Through word of mouth other parents heard of our success and asked if I would work out with their children. These parents were asking because their kids were overweight. They were too young for weight training so I created a workout centered on the goal of running a mile, but also incorporated some bodyweight strength exercises. It was rewarding to see progress in kids at this level once they see improvement and gain confidence.

The Y then ask me to create a program that would be free and open to kids of all ages. We wanted to reach out to kids that had few opportunities for athletics, who may not even own gym clothes, and were overweight. (I love helping fat kids.) The goal is to teach kids how to be fit without overwhelming them with too much information, proving to them that the volume of work required is not daunting, and that consistent effort will get results. I promoted this program at a booth at the Y's Healthy Kids Day open house, a presentation to the Y's board, and this past winter some of my kids gave a demonstration at Kids Day.

The first program we had 16 kids. We measured BMI and waist size, being careful not to embarrass anyone. We started with a one mile run/walk which at first was more walk than run. We did bodyweight and dumbbell strength training, and interval training. It was difficult in the beginning, but the kids responded to getting better and better. I constantly stress doing an exercise correctly. It takes a lot of reps before their form is good, but at the end of 8 weeks they take over the workout.

 Suzy and a few of her fit kids show how it's done. Congrats guys.

I am very strict and do not take any back talk. This is a boot camp and they are here to work and learn. I honestly don't know why they like me, but they just want to master what I teach them.

Every week we do a nutrition lesson, such as baked vs. fried; choose your drink wisely; whole wheat vs. white...lots of examples. I provide healthy snacks to help them learn to make healthy choices. We give their parents a handout each week about nutrition with a recipe. One of the most important things I do is that every kid makes a commitment to give up soda for the 8 week duration of our program.

The spring program that just ended, we had to shut off enrollment after 20 kids. We had people asking to join after the program started. It was very successful. All 20 kids reduced their BMI, and all but two lost weight and inches off their waist.

Suzy Wamsley, Logansport, Indiana

Editor: What a wonderful example of teaching kids to set goals and work to achieve them. It's a lesson that will serve them well throughout life. Help comes to those who help themselves. Thank you, Suzy. GO KIDS!

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Renewed Passion Rewards


At around age 50, I began to get re-acquainted with riding a bike. It was something I hadn’t done much since I was a kid, though like lots of kids, my brother and I went everywhere on our bikes. We Loved it. By the time I picked up riding again, I’d been lifting weights—powerlifting and mostly bodybuilding, for 34 years. During that time, I often did other fitness stuff or sports, too, just for fun or variety. My wife Marsha and I started riding bikes casually, then I got a mountain bike and rode that for a couple of years along with my bodybuilding. We watched the Tour de France, so of course after that I had to get a road bike and got into serious riding. I couldn’t help it. It was addictive.

I cobbled together an informal training program, half the year I concentrated on cycling while the other half I concentrated on bodybuilding. Not your usual mix of sports, I know. Though I originally resisted the urge to consider any kind of competing, having had enough of that in the weight sports, again, I couldn’t help it. After five years I entered a master’s (age division) time trial.

I assumed I was going to get shellacked and I did. After all, there were a lot of cyclists and racers out on the roads where I trained, so I knew they were going by me. They were faster and better than me. I got that. I knew there were elite national contenders at all the area races. I began racing with humility, hardly anything else. There are no easy races. So why race?

The excitement. The challenge. The test of yourself. No miracles, though; my first race I finished last. Not just in my group, but out of all ages, divisions and varieties of cyclists. My wife was worried I’d be discouraged. Hardly. I was excited. Thrilled. I did the 20 plus kilometers of rolling hills in 43:01, at the un-blazing average speed of 17.6 mph. As far back as I finished (I could be no farther, right?) I actually went faster than I thought I would.

I remembered my first weight training workout when I was 16, where I lifted only a 20 pound bar at a bodyweight of 132 and a height of 5’11. Six years later I placed second in a powerlifting meet, tying for the highest deadlift. As a natural bodybuilder, eventually I built up to over 200 pounds in lean condition at my full height of 6-1. So starting out behind didn’t discourage me at all; I expected it. It’s the nature of things.

After that first race, I changed my training to go with what my intuition and experience told me: do more intensity and work harder. The long, slow distance thing that I’d done far too much of was not only retarding my progress, I think it was making me slower. By the end of the first season, I made the podium, finishing second in a time trial--admittedly a very distant second, but I’d come a long way already.

I trained that off-season with a single purpose, to get faster. Marsha bought me Graeme Obree’s sensational book, “The Obree Way,” which details the radical training methods of the famed hour world record holder. I trained hard indoors that winter (we live in Ohio) on the turbo trainer and in the 2013 racing season improved my times and speeds to 38:20 (just under 20 mph average) and medaled in three of five races in the tough TT series. I was the unexpected winner of the season championship on points, due to my second and third place finishes. Other riders were still better and faster, but I was the champion. It shows what can happen with some work, some luck, and a lot of passion.

Many cyclists have commented on my dramatic increase in speed. When asked how I did it, I freely explain my methods, which many dismiss. (This reminds me somehow of the response I often get when I advance my unconventional natural bodybuilding methods.) Yet some have said they rode a five-hour ride the day before our time trials. Why, I thought, ride a five-hour ride for a 30 to 40 minute race? That certainly wouldn’t work for me.

Many serious cyclists and racers still do enormous amounts of long, slow/steady distance. There’s a place for that, particularly if you are training for events of 6 to 10 hours. Yet all races are won not by distance but by speed. Every one of them. The fastest rider gets the prize, whether you are racing the 1 kilometer pursuit on the track or 6 hour climb up the Alps. Distance is a prerequisite, yes, so you have to have that endurance. But whatever the distance, you have to have the speed. So to develop that, you must include that intensity and effort to achieve and sustain that speed, somewhere in your training.

As far as whether you might want to race, I go back to passion. Passion. Enjoyment. Racing is a frenzy; it demands more of you than you’d give on your own. But passion--that will propel you along whatever adventure you undertake. It’s great to do well in a race, to get on the podium, and to win a medal or a championship is a thrill. But the greatest thing is literally, with the bike, enjoying the ride. Or the race.

I encourage anyone to pick a fitness activity or a sport and go for it. You don’t have to compete, though the ultimate competition is always with yourself, your limits. You can get better. Everything won’t always go well, but the effort will be worth it and you’ll likely get a great measure of satisfaction and enjoyment, because whatever you choose to do, you can do it.

Greg Sushinsky, Ohio

Premier Bodybuilding & Fitness: http://www.premierbodybuildingandfitness.com


 Greg crossing the finish in personal best time--and making the podium on points

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Man Finds New Sport at 56--Aims for the Podium

I've been following Clarence and his teachings for almost 30 years. I took an interest in fitness and exercise relatively late in life, around age 30. Clarence used to write a "Ripped" column in one of the major "muscle mags" and something about his shredded but everyday guy style and appearance really appealed to me. I got into the typical gym rat lifestyle and started lifting weights and eating right. Over the years I was in and out of shape and finally got serious at age 45. All that time I continued to read and follow Clarence's amazing progress. Ten years of very serious bicycle racing allowed me to build outstanding cardio fitness, but I was paying a price in broken bones and injuries; road racing is not for the feint of heart. A short stint working out at a Crossfit gym led me to the Concept 2 rower (also called an ergometer, or "erg" for short) and I immediately knew I had found my new sport.

The years of bicycle racing led to a quick adaptation to rowing, along with some excellent early instruction from Joe Wilsbach at Jersey Devil Crossfit in Hammonton New Jersey. I was pulling decent times pretty quickly. I looked at the Concept 2 rankings and thought I could be competitive in my division. Part of it was a matter of me being a proper fit. Indoor rowing competition is broken up by age groups and weight. 165 pounds and under are considered lightweights, everyone else competes as a heavyweight; there are some real monsters in the HWT division. At the time I weighed 172 pounds; some dieting could probably get me down into the LWT class where my height (six foot) and wingspan (my wingspan is two inches longer than my height) would be an advantage.
I purchased a Concept 2 erg and got to work. With three months of dedicated erg training I went to the World Championships in Boston in February of 2014 (called the CRASH B's) and through some hard work and a little bit of luck (several faster competitors did not show up for the race) I ended up on the podium with a bronze medal. It was all a little surrealistic to say the least. The irony is I plan on going about 15 seconds faster this year and I seriously doubt I'll crack the top three. But that's the way competition goes, ya never know.

My training has been what is now being dubbed "polarized" training. It means simply that you spend the bulk of your time doing fairly easy training, and twice a week or so you go excruciatingly hard. This is something Clarence figured out 15 years ago; he calls it "Barbell Aerobics." The brutally hard stuff forces adaptation, the easy stuff allows recovery while still building aerobic pathways and general fitness. There are two "no man's lands" in training. The first one is going easy all the time. The body easily adapts to the modest loads and no further adaptation occurs. And the other dead zone is hard, 90% to 95% aerobic work day after day. Fitness builds to a point until a plateau is reached. The problem here is not enough stress to drive adaptation past a certain point, but enough stress so recovery does not occur. The athlete ends up in a chronically depleted state and fitness begins to crumble.

I currently erg about 70,000m to 90,000m per week. Eighty percent of these meters are done at 75% heart rate with a cap of 80% heart rate. Two days a week are hard core. Tonight was three sets of 30 seconds on x 30 seconds off ten times. The "on" segments were done at or faster than 2k race pace. (2000 meters is the most competitive distance.)

So far I've done well. My current 2k erg score is a 6:59.1, which ranks me 6th of 90 on the Concept 2 World Rankings for age 55-59 LWT men. I have some work to do for another podium shot at the world level; it probably will not happen this year. But that is really what training and goals are all about--the journey. The process is what makes it all worthwhile. People think I'm nuts training all year for one seven minute shot at Boston. They totally miss the point. It's the process that gets me in the gym and on the erg. Working at the fringes of human performance, seeing what works....and what doesn't. Celebrating the break throughs.....and analyzing and dissecting the break downs. It's a fantastic experiment in human performance. I haven't even delved into the experiments with diet. The accompanying photos will show an extreme level of leanness and what I believe to be sub 10% body fat that was relatively easy to achieve with a little disciplined eating.

If I can summarize. Pick a goal. Any goal, some target event. Maybe a wedding, a class reunion. Run a marathon, do a century (100 mile bike ride). Anything that excites you. Once there is a solid target in mind, everything will fall into place and your training will take on a sense of purpose that will yield amazing results.

Ed Peterson, New Jersey

*Feel free to email me with any indoor rowing questions at edwardpeterson@hotmail.com


Now that's lean! GO ED. We'll all be pulling for you at the next CRASH B's.


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