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Training plans for women are a funny topic. When it comes to cycling and other endurance sports, training plans follow the same principles, no matter if you’re a man or woman, young or old.

You probably won’t find a book called “The Female Cyclist’s Training Bible” anytime soon.

And no one really questions this.

toned legs women physique

But when it comes to getting in shape, losing weight, strength training, lifting weights, or whatever you want to call your off-season training, it’s a completely different story! 90% of what you find when it comes to women’s training is going to say either “women should never train like men” or “don’t train like a man or you’ll get big and bulky and ugly.”

This type of advice is so prevalent that most women are scared to lift anything heavier than a 5lb dumbbell (or worse, a can of soup.)

It makes no sense. Men and women are looking for the same results, but for some reason, their training is not based on the same principles. My only explanation for this is that the general fitness enthusiast is not as smart or determined as you, the endurance athlete.

visual impact for women book cover

This is why I was pleased to read the book Visual Impact for Women by Rusty Moore. This training program provides “a workout for the slim, feminine physique.” In other words, it’s about getting hot and toned, not bulky. (I’m pretty that’s what all women outside of bodybuilding competitions are aiming for!)

If you’re not familiar with Rusty, take a look at his website FitnessBlackBook.com, which is great for men and women who want to get a slim and toned physique. (In other words, it covers the stuff you don’t often see here on CoachLevi.com.)

You may remember the name Visual Impact – I reviewed the original Visual Impact course (for men) a few weeks ago. I really liked the program because it was well-written, easy to follow, and most importantly, was based on sound training principles. Naturally, I wanted to take a look at the women’s specific course to see what it was all about.

What Rusty did with the course was genius. The book is based on the same principles and theories behind the men’s version (which is how it should be since we’re all human,) but the actual training program is changed to better suit the specifics of a woman’s training goals.

This book also contains useful chapters addressing unique diet needs of women and other details not covered in the men’s program. I’d say the most important chapter is the first one, which dispels popular myths aimed at women, such as “women can’t get bulky from training.” There is A LOT of misinformation aimed at women going around and this book debunks it.

Let’s go ahead and take a closer look inside the book…

Visual Impact for Women

I can’t possibly talk about all 20 chapters right here, but I’ll review what I feel are the most important parts in the book.

Clueless Personal Trainers

The introduction is pretty funny – it is what Rusty has observed in public gyms with clueless personal trainers working with women, getting it all wrong. You’ve probably seen this yourself!

Myth Busting

Chapter 1 is all about myth busting. Rusty dispels myths like “women can’t get bulky from training” which is common, yet misguided thinking. That might be relatively correct if the women are being compared to guys gaining lots more muscle, but girls do put on muscle, especially in certain areas they might not want it.

Other myths cover topics like meal frequency, cardio workouts, and more. It’s good info, unlike most garbage you find in the mainstream media, and quite possibly the most useful chapter in the book because it will change your way of thinking.


I have high standards when it comes to anything “cardio” related, considering that’s very similar to our endurance training, but Rusty has some cool insights on this topic. It’s nice to see a different perspective sometimes.

Rusty talks about how cardio has fallen out of favor to the more intense circuit training which doesn’t take as much time, but any endurance athlete will understand the value of cardio. It’s very important when used strategically, as Rusty points out.

There’s even a 12-week cardio plan included as a bonus. Experienced endurance athletes won’t need this, and would be better served by a sport-specific plan, but those are a lot more complex and can be intimidating if you’re new to the sport.

The Truth About High-Rep and Low-Rep Training

Chapters 3 and 4 cover everything you need to know about high vs low reps, and yes, this all goes against what you’ve heard in the maintream media.

For example, a lot of people equate low reps with getting bulky. But that’s not the whole story, as Rusty points out. He gives you the key to using low rep training to get toned, with virtually no chance of getting bulky. It’s simple and easy to follow advice.

home gym setup

The Importance of Exercise Equipment

Rusty covers your exercise equipment options and explains what you should actually be focusing on. Hint: the type of equipment you use isn’t a big deal.

Similarly, Rusty covers yoga, which he says is not the best way to get slim and lean, but it has other benefits. (And some of these benefits are very helpful to cyclists.)

Proper Diet for Women

The basics of dieting will be the same for men and women, but women do have some unique challenges that are discussed in here. Rusty lays out a formula for a base daily calorie intake and then goes into greater detail on the strategies.

It doesn’t get too detailed, but Rusty does throw in some more advanced concepts. It’s pretty easy to follow the advice, but you might not understand “why” if you aren’t already well-versed in diet and nutrition.

That said, the important concepts that you need to know and understand are well explained.

Determining Your Workout Plan

There are chapters dedicated to each part of your workout plan, including:

  • Combining high and low-intensity cardio.
  • “Fat-Burning Cardio”
  • The Recommended “2 Day Split” Workout Routine
  • Gym Routine for Time-Crunched Athletes
  • How to Workout in a Home Gym
  • Customizing Your Own Plan

By the way, a 229 page “how-to” exercise manual with photos is included to explain the exercises.

How to Lose Muscle Mass on Purpose

What?! I’ve never heard of a book about this before! But it does apply to endurance sports!

It’s not uncommon for men to come into cycling after spending years bulking up for sports like football, and then they want to lose some unneeded muscle mass from their upper body.

Women may have built up extra muscle on their butt, hips, and thighs (all common for some women,) so this strategy could be very useful info. It’s a better strategy than giving up training all together!

Then the book ends with a little summary, and it’s time for you to get started on your workouts. (Printable workout charts are included.)

My final verdict is…

If you’re an endurance athlete, you can pretty much ignore the cardio sections of this book, as you probably have that under control. But the other training advice could be very helpful with your off-season training.

Overall, Visual Impact for Women is filled with great info – stuff you rarely, if ever, see in print. If you are a woman looking to get in shape, do yourself a favor and quit reading Fitness magazine and get this book instead!

Official website: www.VisualImpactForWomen.com

Product Review Details
Company: Fitness Black Book / Rusty Moore
Product: Visual Impact for Women
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2012-01-04
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: Yes; paid affiliate.

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