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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have some extra muscle on your body? Not a lot, but enough to look like a real athlete instead of a scrawny cyclist?

If your goal is to win the Tour de France, probably not. But if you’re just riding and racing for fun, you may have thought about packing on some muscle. I know I have.

visual impact muscle building ebook

As I started to wind down my racing career, I realized there was no longer a need for me to have a super high power-to-weight ratio and super low body weight. My best racing weight was around 152lb anyway, so it’s not like I was ever going to be a 120lb climbing specialist.

Then I found a website called FitnessBlackBook.com, written by Rusty Moore, and it was all about getting a fit, toned physique (or “the Hollywood look” as Rusty would say) rather than focusing on sheer size like so many other muscle building websites.

What really peaked my interest was the actual weights of some people with ripped physiques. The most notorious is probably Brad Pitt in Fight Club – he was totally ripped at a rumored 165lb.

That got me thinking – if you train properly, you could keep your weight low (155-170lb,) look great, and still perform well on your bike.

With that in mind, I purchased of a copy of Rusty’s training program, Visual Impact.

(I had been reading his blog for a couple years and purchased a book from him before, so I didn’t hesitate on this.)

The tag line is: “Strategic muscle gains for a visually stunning body.”

See, it’s not just a generalized plan for muscle building and fat loss. You can find that advice anywhere. What sets Visual Impact apart is the “strategic” part. Everything is carefully planned out so that you gain the least amount of muscle possible yet still achieve that stunning physique.

Basically, you are building size in certain areas of your body while minimizing size in others, and that makes you look big without you actually being big!

In my eyes, this is the perfect program for cyclists and endurance athletes who want to look good without gaining much weight.

Maybe you want an off-season weight lifting plan for November through April – this one would be a good compromise between good looks and performance.

So let’s look at the book itself…

The Visual Impact Muscle Building Course

Visual Impact comes in three parts.

First, the main ebook. This is where the whole philosophy behind the training is explained. If you’re not familiar with training methods outside the cycling world, or you’ve tried training plans from bodybuilding magazines with poor results, you’ll love this approach to training.

There are 15 chapters in the book followed by a Q&A section, so there’s a lot of information in there, but it is all easy to read and understand. There are quite a few images used for examples, and that is a big help. As a coach myself, I can usually pick out other people who would make a good coach or teacher, and Rusty Moore definitely fits the description.

The next part is the exercise demonstrations.

This is a 227 page PDF file with photo demonstrations and explanations of every exercise in the program. It would be great if this was an instructional DVD, but the photos should suffice for most people.

Lastly, Visual Impact includes printable workout charts.

These are all PDF files for each phase of the program. You can easily print these out and take them to the gym with you. They will guide your workouts and give you space to fill in your results. (You are going to keep a training log, aren’t you?!)

Complaints on Visual Impact

I only have one complaint about this program, and that has to do with the suggested exercises.

Quite a few of the exercises either require a specific machine only found at the gym, or a great variety of barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, etc. at home. It’s not a big deal for me because I have plenty of equipment at home, and I’ve made plenty of exercise substitutions in the past, but if you don’t already have a home gym, you’ll either need to invest in some equipment or join the local gym.

The real problem is that there isn’t an “exercise substitution” section showing you home/garage variations for the machine-based exercises. Nate Green’s book has a great section on exercises and their “garage variation” for home gym users, so I wish Rusty would have done something along those lines.

Of course, if you don’t mind joining the local gym or YMCA, there’s no problem here. It’s just me being picky about where I workout!

My Visual Impact Workouts

To be completely honest here, I have a hard time sticking with weight training programs of any kind. I love sports, so if I have a chance to ride, run, ski, swim, or skate, 95% of the time I’m going to do that instead of lift weights.

But I have spent a few months over the past year testing out the Visual Impact workouts so I could write about them.

The first phase of the program was a shock to me. Since my workouts for as long as I can remember were all sports oriented, I’ve always shied away from bodybuilding stuff, which is really what this is – totally annihilating a muscle group, cumulative fatigue, etc. It’s way different from strength training.

But it was fun! The workout will probably take 45 minutes, and you are constantly moving. The rest breaks barely give you enough time to change the weights!

Each week ends up being a slightly different workout, too, so it’s not boring like doing the same thing every day.

Once you get into phases two and three, the workouts are more like strength training, so they more closely resemble sport-specific training. That’s why I recommend starting this program in the off-season – you can get the higher volume training out of the way before racing season is in full swing.

Isn’t is great how racing season corresponds with beach season? Whether you want peak race performance or a toned body for the beach, you can structure your training similarly.

visual impact muscle building course

My final verdict is…

The book is full of good info and laid out very well. Beginners and intermediate lifters should get a lot out of it. Even some “advanced” guys could learn a thing or two in here.

For endurance athletes looking to put on a little muscle for a better physique, I really like this program. I don’t know if Rusty has any idea that Visual Impact’s philosophy resonates so well with cyclists, but it does.

Let’s just say I like this program enough, that out of all the programs I have, this is one I am actually putting into practice myself!

Official website: www.VisualImpactMuscleBuilding.com

Product Review Details
Company: Fitness Black Book / Rusty Moore.
Product: Visual Impact
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2011-12-07
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: Yes; paid affiliate.

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