ISLM #10 | Clarence Bass | The Ripped Guru


“I always try to work things out so I can get a little better than I was before.”
– Clarence Bass

Clarence Bass is an 80+ year-old writer, fitness expert, and the subject of one of the world’s most comprehensive long-term studies of human aging.

He burst onto the scene in the late 1970’s when he won the 40+ Mr. America and Mr. USA bodybuilding titles with a measured body fat of just over 2 percent; for comparison, world-class marathoners customarily top out at about 5-6 percent!  His best-known book and DVD series, Ripped: The Sensible Way to Achieve Ultimate Muscularity, chronicled his unique-for-the-times training methods and lead to becoming a columnist for Muscle and Fitness magazine, one of the earliest bibles of the health and wellness movement.

Bass' fitness achievements continued after he retired from competitive bodybuilding when, in the early 1990’s, he started concentrating on indoor rowing, which culminated in becoming the 4th ranked rower aged 60 to 69 in the U.S. at 500-meters.

He’s been named "one of America’s greatest fitness visionaries” and has meticulously chronicled his almost 70 years of study and practice of optimizing human performance, much of which is found on his website and at the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at The University of Texas at Austin.

In this episode, we talk about the keys to motivation, bucking conventional wisdom, the role of technology in fitness, adjusting throughout the aging process, the power of optimism, and much, much more.

Please enjoy this age-defying episode of In Search of Lost Mojo with fitness guru and living legend, Clarence Bass.

Listen to this episode and see past shows on iTunes

Listen to this episode and see past shows on Spotify

Listen to this episode and see past shows on iHeartRadio

Listen to this episode on Libsyn

Listen to this episode on and see past shows on

Stream and download this episode by clicking here

Want to hear another episode of a masters athlete that has harnessed the compounding power of consistency to achieve amazing results?  Check out this episode with ultrarunning legend Wally Hesseltine!

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY:  How could you make the power of small gains made every day help you achieve a big, hairy audacious goal?  Please let me know in the comments!

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Learn more about Clarence Bass at his Personal Website



  • Show intro--"Just a couple of baldies..." [0:00-5:18]
  • Clarence's earliest influences, adaptation, and the power of getting a little better every day [5:19]
  • The motivation and process to achieve lofty goals, and bucking the conventional wisdom that with age comes steep declines in performance [6:36]
  • Writing Ripped and how Clarence got his column in Muscle and Fitness Magazine [16:14]
  • Is there really anything "new" in what's popular today in fitness and wellness? [19:50]
  • What does Clarence believe that no one else believes? [29:17]
  • If someone wanted to dive into the treasure trove of information on Clarence's website, where should they start? [32:39]
  • Playing the long game for fitness, health, and wellness [36:16]
  • The weakness of willpower [38:20]
  • The role of mentors, coaches, and thinking of yourself as an n=1 experiment [39:10]
  • What does Clarence do to recover from tough workouts and avoiding the "black hole" [44:52]
  • Confronting limitations and health problems; being "the decider" [52:44]
  • The role of technology and the benefits of real-time feedback [59:27]
  • Retaining a positive outlook and navigating through challenging times [1:05:04]
  • Memory, using your brain, and the mind-body connection [1:06:32]
  • Show conclusion [1:09:25]