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Why exercise?

After reading several self improvement books, I get the feeling that physical fitness or activity is the one area of life that’s an afterthought or a necessary evil.  Often the approach seems to be “what’s the least amount of physical activity I can do and then get on with living my real life?”

Solutions come wrapped in advice that tells us to do something 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week . . . vigorous yard work might count . . . you can read or watch TV while on a treadmill at the gym . . . blah blah blah.  Rarely do you hear similar advice about other areas of life.  Financial matters?  Does anyone ever say, “What’s the least amount you can do and still put a roof over your head?”

But you can find other voices that take the opposite view and ask themselves, “how can I always improve . . . how strong or fit can I become?”  One such voice is Clarence Bass, who is currently in his 70s and has been training since he was 13 years old.  His focus has been more geared towards weight lifting and body building and he was won several body building competitions.  But his basic approach includes various types of exercise along with a healthy diet.

Some of his philosophy includes . . .

Balanced exercise, including strength and endurance.

Exercise should include both variety, to prevent boredom, and goals, to provide motivation.

“Diet” is not a four-letter word but an eating style.

Eat healthy food that tastes good and don’t leave the table hungry.  Starvation and deprivation are no way to live.

Challenge yourself with short, hard, infrequent workouts and have a life outside the gym.

Check out his website and any of the 9 books that he’s written and you’ll see that he practices what he preaches.  And as a final note, don’t copy him or try to be like him.  Clarence recommends on his website that . . .

First, I believe every person is conducting an experiment of one. We all have different backgrounds, needs, goals and abilities. I would never blindly follow anyone else’s diet or training regimen, and I don’t expect anyone to blindly follow mine. That’s why I always try to explain not only “how” I eat or train, but “why” as well. That’s so readers can understand and evaluate my methods, weigh my advice. I expect you to take what rings true, makes sense – most of it, hopefully – and adapt it to your special situation. Leave the rest.

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