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This week I received an email from Matt, who’s an avid reader of ‘The Crude’.

He writes…

“Hey Clint, I need some advice. I am in week 4 of Visual Impact. It is going well. Now, I have just started a personal consultation with Martin Berkhan. He has constructed a nutrition AND training program for me. I start a 1 week consultation on Monday. Do you think I should abandon Visual Impact and just get involved with the heavy, reverse pyramid strength training that Martin recommends? The reason I am asking is due to the fact that you have been through Visual Impact fully but recently, seem to have been converted to the Lean Gains way. Your advice would be very much appreciated.
Cheers, Matt”

The thing you need to keep in mind with Visual Impact, is that it focuses on training protocols aimed at getting you the lean, hollywood look.
Lean gains, on the other hand, is a lifestyle approach which focuses on the diet side of the equation concentrating on intermittent fasting and how it aids in significantly awesome fat-loss.
To answer the question, yes I would abandon Visual Impact for now and concentrate on the reverse pyramid strength training that Martin suggests.

Don’t get me wrong…

I’m not saying that you will waste your time by continuing down the Visual Impact path, more that you can always try it afterwards for something different once Martin has had his way with you.

Not only that, but if you’re getting personally trained by the man himself, it would be kind of a slap in the face to be doing something else and not giving him your full, undivided attention.

What I’m currently doing…

As an example, I’m currently using Martin’s approach to fat-loss, but am cycling Phases 1 and 2 of Visual Impact at the same time. When I get back from the USA in June, I’ll probably switch it up and focus on a different program altogether and probably return to Visual Impact at the end of the year.

In summary

Visual Impact = training regimen.

Lean Gains = eating regimen.

They can work nicely together, but if you’re being personally trained, it might be best to follow the trainer’s ‘tailored’ advice. (You can always do your own thing in regards to exercises and program later).

Remember, there is no ‘magic formula’ for a program that will work forever.

The body is surprisingly clever and adapts to anything you throw at it over a long period of time. You gotta keep that f*cker guessing!

For more about lean gains, check out this link here >
To checkout my own experiences with Visual Impact, check out the male version here > and the female version here >

Clint’s Note: Got any questions you’d like answered? Ask them below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • Matt says:

    Hey Clint, that’s pretty much what I thought you would say. Thanks for the advice bro. Matt

  • smokinZOMBi says:

    i like that last sentence:

    ” The body is surprisingly clever and adapts to anything you throw at it over a long period of time. You gotta keep that f*cker guessing! ”


  • Both systems are very good…I’ve always felt at home with Rusty Moore’s tips. For some reason, Martin’s strategies feel pretty advanced for someone like me who just likes to keep in good shape. I’m starting to incorporate some of Martin’s strategies though as I try to go from good shape to great shape.

  • Jarrod says:

    Hey Clint,
    I’ve just started LG and I want to make sure that I maintain the muscle that I’ve built, so I’m taking about 10gm of BCAA’s (Scivation Xtend to be exact) every few hours. It seems that this is the logical way to maintain/build muscle during the fasting period each day, but I’m just not entirerly clear if it’s necessary. I just want to make sure that I’m on the right track., and I thought you could give me an educated answer. There’s only a handful of fitness bloggers that aren’t full of crap and you’re one of the good ones from what I can tell. What are your thoughts here? Thanks Clint, keep up the good work!

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      Appreciate your trust in me Jarrod :)
      First and foremost, you might be overdoing it with the BCAA’s.
      I only take them on training days as follows
      10 grams 10mins prior to workout
      10 grams 30mins post workout, then another 10 grams 2 hours later. Keep in mind, this is for early morning fasted training only.
      So i have my first meal at around 12 midday. Martin explains the need for BCAA’s here
      Just want to make sure you arent having more than you need.

      • Jarrod says:

        Thanks for getting back to me on this Clint. Martin’s website is great, I acctually read all that he wrote about LG before I started so I could have some kind of foundation. I guess I was still missing a detail or 2. My fasting period is 8pm – 12pm and because of my schedule I work out in the afternoon so my workout is during my feeding period. So, regarding the BCAA’s, I usually take about 10gm around 8am (ish) and 10gm before my workout(4:30pm), and I try to take 10gm before bed. So I might have exaggerated when i said every few hours:) But is this how you would do it if your workout schedule was the same as mine? Since LG a very new thought process for me, I just want to be as productive as i can be. What do you think? Thanks again Clint!

        • kie drea says:

          Hi Jarrod,

          I tried a 7AM to 3PM leangains feeding window from Jan 16th to Feb 26th with strength gains and fat loss. No need for BCAAs.

          Following that I switched to a 12PM to 8PM feeding window which better suits my lifestyle. I was sceptical about missing out on PWO nutrition at the start, but I’m still making strength gains. Martin’s protocol of delaying the feeding and prolonging the fasting with BCAAs seems to be working. My maintenance+20% workout days look like this:

          0600AM 10g Purple Wraath
          0615AM Crossfit
          0730AM 10g Purple Wraath
          1000AM 10g Purple Wraath
          1200PM Big lunch heavy on protein and carbs
          1830PM Dinner
          2000PM Casein based food/fluff/ice cream if I didn’t hit protein grams for the day.

  • Your system of combining VA and Lean Gains is pretty interesting. I’ll have to look more into combining the two myself.

  • Clint Nielsen says:

    Given that your biggest meal (post fasting) is after your workout at 4.30pm, i doubt you need to use BCAA’s at all.
    BCAA’s are for muscle sparing when training fasted, then continuing to fast for hours afterwards when the body is searching for nutrients. THAT’S when the BCAA’s are necessary.

    • Jarrod says:

      Thanks Clint, This will definatly save me from going through a million grams of BCAA’s this month. You’d think after 3yrs of working out I would understand how to use BCAA’s but better now than later I guess. Really appreciate the feedback Clint, and keep doing what you’re doing, it’s extremly helpful.

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