Great Expectations – Health Fitness Leanness Without Suffering By Clarence Bass

At seventy years of age, Clarence Bass continues to set and achieve physical goals that would challenge many people half or even a third his age. It’s the challenge that Bass enjoys and has kept him training for all these decades. “Great Expectations” is his newest book, and in it he shares wisdom that he has gained not only through study of fitness and health, but by applying his study to his own life and using his body as an experiment in health, fitness and longevity.

One of the things I particularly like about Clarence is his complete honesty and willingness to share not only his triumphs but his difficulties as well. I thought it was courageous to discuss his medical conditions with such blunt honesty and openness. Learning about how he underwent hip replacement, and reading about his tale of the catheter where enlightening in that while I hope I never have to undergo either, I recognize that as we age we all will face different health concerns and knowing that by keeping ourselves in good physical condition we can better cope and overcome these difficulties. Clarence’s telling of how he overcame his medical difficulties, including showing the scar from him hip replacement on the cover of the book, will undoubtedly encourage others to overcome and triumph over their own difficulties regardless of their age.

Another thing I really like about all of Clarence’s books, this one included, is that he not only shares resources, but the practical ways he incorporates his research into his training and lifestyle and then encourages the reader to make healthy training and eating their own. Not to copy exactly what he does, but to take the principles that he teaches and make the training and eating habits that will ensure your own success. I also enjoy the stores and examples he shared by others, especially Dan Sawyer’s advice in the last chapter.

It is also interesting to see how Clarence’s training has changed over the years. This is a natural progression. As all of us age and go through different periods regarding our physical goals, our training will change as well. I really like that Clarence writes about what he does, and why; what he has changed, and why.

Here is a little of what you will learn in this book:

Chapter 1: Great Expectations. Learn about attitude, expectations, and the competitive edge among other mental elements of training.

Chapter 2: Overcoming. This is the chapter where Clarence tells of his medical problems. He shares his stories and experiences so that you can learn that your fitness level will impact your outcome, you can learn that you are in charge, and that the ultimate responsibility to help yourself resides with you.

Chapter 3: Take It Off, Keep It Off. Learn about metabolism, exercise, fat loss and eating.

Chapter 4: Exercise for Life. Learn about exercise including strength training and aerobic exercise.

Chapter 5: About Training. This chapter covers concepts such as overload and rest, training frequency, slow lifting, balance and more.

Chapter 6: About Diet (Not Dieting). An excellent overview of healthy eating. I also like how Clarence tells you things that he eats and why. The section on every meal counting is also very important to know.

Chapter 7: Eating for the Peak. Throughout the years, photos of Clarence at his peaks have been extremely motivating. The photos of him at 70 still inspire. Many half or even a third his age would like to look that good. In this chapter he explains how he prepares for peaking.

Chapter 8: Training for the Peak. Bass continues with his advice on peaking by sharing how he trains for peaking as well.

Chapter 9: Motivation and Change. Clarence says you should plan for success and start with motivation. Good chapter with advice not only from Clarence but some great words from Dan Sawyer as well to help you get and stay motivated toward healthy living.

“Great Expectations” is an excellent addition to anyone’s health and fitness bookshelf. It is motivating and informative. In fact, if you only had room for a few health and fitness books, Clarence’s “Lean For Life,” “Challenge Yourself,” and “Great Expectation” should be on the short list. These three books together provide such a wealth of information and are extremely motivating to see how Clarence and his wife Carol have lived these principles and the success they have achieved because of their healthy lifestyle.

On pages 145-146, Clarence states that some people in their 20s didn’t relate to his writings in Muscle & Fitness back in the 80s, but now that he is older and they are in their 40s, they relate to his message more. Perhaps they can follow in his footsteps by benefiting from his methods and example. Personally, I always enjoyed his columns in M&F back then. But now in my 40s, I relate even more to the messages in his last three books – the ones I mentioned above. And yes, I will use some of his methods and use him as an example to live healthy for the next three decades. And then, when I’m in my 70s, I’ll read about how Clarence continued to train till 100 to motivate me to train another 30 years.