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Book Review: Built For Show by Nate Green

built for show cover

BUILT FOR SHOW: Four Body-Changing Workouts for Building Muscle, Losing Fat, And Looking Good Enough To Hook Up

Catchy title, huh?

Me being a fairly skinny and not very muscular cyclist who spends more time with bicycles than anything/one else, the book caught my eye for sure. It’s also cool that Nate Green is 23 years old, so he’s about my age, and also about my height. One small difference though – he’s big and strong!

The “big and strong” thing may not appeal to cyclists, but I think it’s important for cyclists to be lifting weights to supplement endurance training, and it’s a good idea to learn about weight lifting from actual weight lifters, who are typically years ahead of cycling coaches when it comes to building strength and size in the gym.

So you (as an endurance athlete) may not follow everything in this book exactly, but you can still apply many of the principles in this book when you do lift weights.

If I have convinced you so far, let’s review the book…

The First Honest Weight Lifting Book

BUILT FOR SHOW is the book everyone wanted to buy, but couldn’t get till 2008. What I mean is that every time some guy bought a book about body building and/or strength training, it wasn’t truly about getting big and strong. Rather, it was to impress the ladies.

And throughout this book, Nate is making some sort of remark about how a certain lift will build certain attractive body parts that women really admire, how this exercise will help you perform better, etc.

Nate explains that in the intro better than I can, so even if you don’t want the book, I suggest taking a peek at the intro when you’re in a bookstore.

As you can imagine, it’s fun to read. It’s one of the most enjoyable “how-to” books out there. It focuses on the truth, but it contains plenty of humor and good stories to make it fun. It’s written in a good tone, mainly for testosterone-filled teenagers and young men.

Quality Information

Don’t let the humor fool you – when it comes to getting big and strong, Nate means business. BUILT FOR SHOW is packed with training and nutrition advice, how-to photos, and four complete training plans.

First, there’s a section on flexibility and mobility. These traits are important for athletes of all types, from weight lifters to cyclists to badminton champions.

Next, the workout programs themselves are well thought out and easy to understand.

The actual plans may look complicated (like most exercise plans do,) but Nate explains it in simple language. It makes a lot of sense how he lays out the plans, and you don’t have to be a mathematician to follow along with the recommended sets and reps.

How Nate sets up the plans is cool, too, specifically how he combines various numbers of sets and reps into the same program. That should decrease boredom and provide a well-rounded approach suitable for the target audience.

After you get through the plans, you need to see how to perform the exercises properly, so Nate includes a detailed section complete with photos.

There are typically only two pictures per exercise, so it’s not quite as good as a video would be, but the pictures are clear and the text makes sense. (This section spans 80 freakin pages, so yeah, it’s thorough!)

The only downfall here is that some of the exercises require a gym membership, or at least a killer home gym. We’re talking a power cage for $500 or more, plus attachments, a cable station, lots of weights, and of course, a room of your home to put this stuff in.

Fortunately, when you can substitute similar exercises requiring less equipment, Nate goes ahead and gives you the “garage variation” for those of you who workout at home with nothing more than a barbell and plates.

(But if you have a gym membership anyway, no sweat.)

Moving along, the nutrition guidelines are spot-on. They are surprisingly close to what I would recommend.

My only true disagreement is that Nate recommends, “if you drink beer, drink light beer.” I don’t recommend light beer at all (it’s like white bread vs whole wheat bread,) but if we put minor differences aside, Nate has a great book.

Finally, the style and fashion advice is great. Some stuff I was aware of, some stuff not. It’s great for guys because it covers enough stuff, but doesn’t get too complicated.

Especially great is the part about picking clothes to make your skinny body look more built. That probably applies to 99% of all pro road cyclists, so cyclists shouldn’t feel left out of this book after all!

BUILT FOR SHOW, For Cyclists

This book isn’t written for cyclists, but at the same time, it kind of is.

If you’ve been a bike racer for any length of time, you know it’s not really a sport that’s going to attract a lot of girls, so you might not be looking for the sex appeal aspect of this book. Also, a bike racer won’t be dedicating their entire week to gym workouts, so you can’t just jump into this program head first.

But there’s plenty of good stuff left for us, like the principles of strength training. Cyclists that do hit the gym (which I recommend) don’t typically spend a lot of time or effort to develop the best weight training regimen. They end up with some beginner workouts and high-rep, low-weight crap that isn’t very effective in any regard.

But if you look at the exercises and guidelines in this book, and take the “myth busting” part of the book to heart, you’ll be much better off than if you follow a more mainstream program (i.e. the one found in The Lance Armstrong Performance Program, which I don’t think is even close to what Lance does in the weight room.)

So it’s funny, this is actually a great book for cyclists who need some true weight lifting advice (even if you don’t know you need it.) It’s an easy-to-read book with everything you need to know about developing a real, worthwhile weight lifting plan. You just have to adapt the actual workouts to your limited training time (due to your full schedule of on-bike training.)

My final verdict is…

If you like the title, you’ll love the book.

Me? I love the book. Great advice. Fun to read. Perfect for anyone looking to build a good, strong body, especially if you’re new to weight training or you’ve been doing it a while but not getting results.

As for cyclists, I still whole-heartedly recommend the book, because the advice is spot-on, and I don’t recommend skimping on weight training. Just don’t get too carried away with the muscle building! 😉

Official website: www.BuiltForShow.com

Author blog: www.TheNateGreenExperience.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Avery Trade (publisher) / Nate Green (author)
Product: Built For Show
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Date last updated: 2009-07-04
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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