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Clarence Bass: Low Body Fat Percentages Year Round (to Decrease Estradiol and Feel Great) While Building Muscle

Clarence Bass is one of those authors where I constantly say to myself, “Oh, why O why didn’t I read this twenty years ago?!?”  Ripped 2 is my most recent read of his books and it’s a jewel:  he answered a dozen key questions I have had for what seems like forever.  In fact, this book is one of the biggest myth-busting books out there if you ask me, and I believe his principles for muscle mass retention during weight loss are crtical in the battle for your health and your confidence in the bedroom.

First of all, let’s be honest here:  the Western lifestyle is designed to make us look awful.  Sure, your wife or girlfriend is polite to you about how good you look as a “hunk” – that’s a code word for the spare tire around your gut – and so “rugged,” i.e. wrinkled and sagging.  But the truth is that the same things visually attract her today as they did when she was a teen:  a lean, trim, muscular body.  So put on some muscle and fill in those sags and iron out those wrinkles.  And get your body fat percentage down and give her something decent to look at!  Clarence Bass, in Ripped 2, shows you how to get a youthful physique with low body fat percentages and great musculature in a sane, non-painful and reasonable way.  (Don’t forget to check out my interview with him on my other page called Clarence Bass: Senior Bodybuilding.)

MEN ON HRT:  One of the motivations for getting my body fat percentage down was to reduce estradiol as much as possible.  I have beefy, youthful testosterone levels (through HRT), but estradiol of 27 pg/ml without Arimidex! And my Tanita bioimpedance scale now shows my body fat percentage below 10 percent using Clarence’s methods.

Virtually every other trainer that I have read about builds himself up as a guru and deliberately creates an artifical and complex protocol to do the same thing that Clarence Bass does with ease, dignity and clear science.  Just check out the silly myths about this whole field that he shatters in this book:

1. A Low Body Fat Percentage Cannot be Maintained Year Round? Wrong!  Clarence is now decades older in his mid 70’s than when he wrote Ripped 2 in his mid 40’s. And through all those decades, he has maintained very low body fat percentages by the typical American’s standards. And, even at the time of his writing Ripped 2, he wrote:

  “In my case, I’ve reduced my body fat below three percent every year since 1977.  Except for a few months in 1979, my body fat has remained below six percent for the last five years.  I’ve had no problems.  In fact, I’m more energetic when I’m extremely lean.  I walk faster and am more active.  I don’t require as much sleep  My resting heart rate is lower, in the low 50’s, indicating that my body operates more efficiently when I’m lean.” [1]

Is this any shock?  Do any of us still believe that we feel better when we have a bunch of “healthy fat” around our guts (and internal orgams!).

2. A Low Body Fat Percentage is Unhealthy? Wrong!  This hurts to write and the reason is that I accepted this as an absolute truth without ever researching it.  I had someone on The Peak Testosterone Forum state that it was impossible to get under 12% body fat without going through an elaborate protocol, which I will discuss below. He said I would lose all my muscle mass and slam into “leptin resistance”, etc. Clarence points out that if you just follow a few simple rules, such as losing weight slowly, etc., you can continue to lose body fat all the way down to around 5%!

Oy vay!  I cannot tell you the number of articles that I have read that insist that you must do elaborate cutting and bulking routines, etc. I have been following his principles for a month now and already have my body fat below 10% and, by the way, have added some muscle mass at the same time. (This may be due to the fact I am on HRT and thus have an “unfair” advantage over most purely natural guys. But by following Clarence’s principles, you can still keep your muscle mass.)

3. A Low Body Fat Percentage Is Impossible Without Carb Backloading? Wrong! Carb backloading is the rage right now with American men trying to lose weight.  As I mentioned above, I have been told by a number of men on The Peak Testosterone Forum that this is the only to lose weight and maintain your muscle mass down to the single digits.  This was very disturbing, because I don’t want to eat like that.  I’m into making the bulk of my diet nitric oxide-boosting plant foods and this is exactly how Clarence eats.  Everyone that I know on carb backloading has low triglycerides but high LDL, something I do not want to risk.  I’ve worked hard to clear out my arteries and don’t want to take two steps backward.

For those who don’t know, carb backloading is basically an elaborate system where you don’t eat carbs in the morning and then you eat a ton of them later in the evening.  I never saw the point in all of this and found it hard to believe this was essential in order to get down to low body fat percentages. Clarence Bass shows that is indeed in the case.  Again, he has been sub-5% body fat for decades with no ill effects whatsoever.

NOTE:  You can buy this classic off on Amazon.  Check it out here:  Ripped 2 by Clarence Bass.

4.  You Can’t Build Muscle Mass With Low Body Fat Percentages? Wrong!  This IS the subject of this book and, again, Clarence discusses directly just how to do it without any of the ridiculous constraints and systems that are out there.  If you stop and think about it, many of the supercultures are very lean and have achieve a low body fat percentage without any sort of education or any particular effort.  It just comes naturally because of their lifestyle.  What a concept!

5. A Low Body Fat Creates Metabolic Disturbances? Wrong!  Without mentioning names, there is a popular and very well-educated trainer that discusses all the problems that competitive fitness models and bodybuilders have metabolically with lower body fat percentages.  This left me with the with the impression that it was dangerous to go this low in body fat percentage.  Again, Clarence Bass shatters these myths and he does it by doing weight loss S-L-O-W-L-Y (and with good nutrition).  There are no dramatic cutting phases.  There are no nutritional deficiencies or drugs or weird supplements – just a good dose of common sense instead.

CAUTION:  There is theory out there that have some body fat helps you through times of extreme illness as a reserve. If you are concerned about this and believe it to be valid, then my two cents is stop around 12% body fat.  12% body fat will leave the typical 180 pound man with almost 22 pounds of fat reserve which is about 75,000 calories.  If that doesn’t get through a dark night, then you’re probably in trouble anyway!

6. A Low Body Fat Percentage Requires a Ph.D. Guru Teacher? Wrong!  The most popular leaders (in the U.S. at least) seem to fit this category and I have seen many men fall into the trap that you need an advanced degree in order to accomplish this feat.  Clarence Bass is clearly a very smart guy – he’s a retired attorney – and, again, shattered that myth by coming up with a simple, clear and practical way to accomplish the same thing.

NOTE 2:  Don’t forget to stop by Clarence Bass Home Page – he has tons of great articles and tips on there.

7. A Low Body Fat Percentage Requires Large Amounts of Protein.  You do need to consume a decent amount of protein in order to not lose your precious muscle as you slowly drop the pounds.  However, in several of his books, Clarence Bass talks about how he consumes relatively small amounts of protein compared to the typical “bro science” that is out there.  I had been studying simultaneously for my CPT certification, when I noticed in their study materials the same thing:  you do NOT need a gram per pound of body weight that I have repeatedly heard on bodybuilding forums. Again, Clarence was a succcessful bodybuilder and fell much more into the typical NASM guidelines of 1.2 – 1.7 gram/kg of body weight for strength athletes and bodybuilders.  And he lost weight and gained muscle using these “lower” levels of protein.

This was a big relief to find out about as it takes a lot of time (and money) to try to consume the oft-advised gram of protein per pound of body weight.  Again, thanks Clarence for being one of the few sane voices out there!  As I mentioned, I have gained muscle mass while losing weight consuming the lowest protein levels ever and near about 1.5 g/kg number (and I am using almost entirely lower quality plant proteins).

8.  A Low Body Fat Percentage Cannot Be Done Without Supplementation? Wrong! Clarence uses almost no supplements. In fact, about all he uses is a multivitamin. But he definitely does NOT use or recommend any fat burning or weight loss supplements.

CONCLUSION:  Here you have a relatively simple, easy way to look the best in your life.  It’s inexpensive, does not require costly trainers, equipments or supplements.  All you have to do is spend a few bucks on a book.  (I also highly recommend another book of his and wrote about here in my page on Challenge Yourself by Clarence Bass.)


1) Ripped 2, Clarence Bass, p. 49.  (Clarence Bass Ripped Enterprises, 1982.)

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