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Built for Show: Four Body-Changing Workouts for Building Muscle, Losing Fat, andLooking Good Enough to Hook Up Paperback

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Built for Show: Four Body-Changing Workouts for Building Muscle, Losing Fat, andLooking Good Enough to Hook Up + Scrawny to Brawny: The Complete Guide to Building Muscle the Natural Way + Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (The Build Healthy Muscle Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Avery Trade (November 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583333193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583333198
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nate Green has been training a wide array of clients since he was eighteen years old, including many athletes and young men in their late teens and twenties. He's a contributing editor to T-Nation.com and has been published numerous times in Men's Fitness magazine.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


What a Guy Really Wants, and Why

I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to give it to me straight. I’ve heard all sorts of answers from all sorts of guys, so my B.S. detector is finely tuned and has had quite a bit of practice. So I need you to level with me when you answer this question:

Why do you want to work out?

Why does any guy want to work out? Why train with weights at all? If you said “to lower my cholesterol levels,” “to touch the rim,” or “to prevent osteoporosis later in life,” I’m not buying it. There’s nothing wrong with those benefits, and I’m sure you’ll achieve them from the workouts I’ve designed. But come on. You don’t lift because you’re worried about your health or your performance in pickup basketball games.

You work out so you can increase your chances of hooking up. That means having the kind of physique that looks good in clothes and looks even better naked.

I’ll accept variations on that answer. Like, “I go to the gym because my wife tells me to.” Or, “If I don’t stay in shape, my girlfriend will find someone who does.” I know a few guys who won’t even go to the grocery store if they don’t look their best.

I get it. Some guys are born motivated, some achieve motivation, and some have motivation thrust upon them. But at the root of our motivation is an understanding that, when all else is equal, the guy with the better physique gets the girl. The combination of well-developed muscle mass and minimal body fat (what anthropologists mean when they report that the indigenous males of a particular region are “jacked”) is a sign of reproductive fitness. It shows that you have more testosterone than the next guy, even if you don’t. The more primed women are for sex, the more they notice. (True fact: Published scientific research shows that women are more attracted to the manliest men when they are ovulating than they are at other times in their menstrual cycle.) If you’re Tarzan, she’s game.

So let’s start this relationship with some mutual candor. I wrote this book because nobody else did. There was a time, not long ago, when I wanted to know more about building my body in hopes of accumulating more frequent fornication points. I wanted exactly what you want: muscles that women notice. I couldn’t find that book, because it wasn’t yet written. Instead, I learned how to achieve the goal, and in the process became a very busy personal trainer. Then I set out to write the book I always wanted to read.

That’s enough about me. Let’s talk about you.

Whether you’re thick or thin, you want the wide shoulders and chiseled torso that women don’t just notice, they occasionally grab. You don’t wish bodily harm on anybody, but you’d be flattered to know that the woman who just passed you on the freeway risked soft-tissue damage when her head whipped around to get a better look.

At a bare minimum, you want the most attractive women in your apartment complex to see you as the go-to guy the next time they need some furniture moved.

Now that we’ve cleared the air about why you want the body you want, let’s talk about something a bit more complex: Why don’t you have that kind of body already? I’m going to assume you’re familiar with the concept of working out. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that most of you reading this work out regularly. But if you’re like most of the guys I see in gyms these days, you’re doing workouts that can’t possibly help you reach your goals.

Worse, I see some of the finest young men of my generation exercising in a way that will take them further away from their goals. Some of the more sharp-tongued members of my profession refer to commercial gyms as “fatness centers.” Health clubs encourage you to come in and mope your way through useless circuits on machines that only exist as marketing tools to make strength training look “easy” to the newbies. They discourage you from working hard by making it relatively inconvenient to do the exercises that build the most muscle mass. One gym chain on the East Coast even has a rule against grunting. I’m as opposed to gratuitous noise as anybody, but how do you push yourself to get stronger if you have to worry about getting kicked out of the damned gym just because an exertion-related sound involuntarily escaped from your throat?

There are lots of ways to work out that don’t involve the risk of breathing hard. That’s why the health-club chains want you to do high-repetition, low weight circuits on their shiny exercise machines. You won’t build the body you want with those workouts, but the owners of the health clubs don’t care. They’re happy to see you waste your time, as long as your account is paid in full. Frankly, though, I couldn’t care less about people who want results without hard work. I’m more concerned with the guys who work hard but don’t ever get the results they’ve earned. I see a lot of these lifters falling into three distinct categories:


These are the guys who “blast their biceps” with thirty-two different exercises, following the workouts of the pro bodybuilders they read about in the magazines. They never ask if their biceps need to be blasted at all, much less with thirty-two exercises. Result? Their muscles get more blood-engorged than a tick with a rather serious glandular problem, but once the blood drains back out of their biceps the result is . . . deflating.


Remember the workout program you did in high school, back when you put on twenty pounds of solid muscle your senior year, when you made third-team all-conference? Your muscles sure as hell remember. That’s why you haven’t gotten any stronger since high school. It was probably a great workout (although I’ve seen some pretty crappy programs designed by high school coaches). Still, no matter how well designed the program was, a body will make only so many adaptations to any one system of training. Without variety, there’s no challenge. Without challenge, there’s no progress.


It’s great to be open-minded about new ideas in training. But it can go too far. The smartest, most successful trainers I know make endless fun of the people balancing on Bosu balls while attempting to lift weights that are too light to put muscle on the glandular tick I mentioned a moment ago. (A Bosu ball is half of a rubber ball on top of a plastic platform. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve never encountered one.) Unless you’re training to be an acrobat, it’s far better to work out with one or both feet on the floor, since that’s the way you use your muscles in real life.

Most guys I see end up doing workouts that are hybrid versions of all the pitfalls I just described. It’s not that they don’t have enough information. Between books, magazines, and the Internet, there’s more information than ever. And if it was as good as it claims to be, we’d all be ripped to shreds and warming up on the bench press with five hundred pounds.

The information itself is often the problem, especially when it comes from the wrong sources: muscle magazines, misinformed personal trainers, Hollywood “trainers to the stars” . . . sometimes the stars themselves pretend to be fitness experts. The truth is that most “fitness experts” have no idea how to get actual results for actual humans.

That’s why a typical guy’s workout looks something like this:

STEP ONE: Walk into gym.

STEP TWO: Bench-press, incline bench-press, dumbbell bench-press, dumbbell incline bench-press, hop on a treadmill.

STEP THREE: Try to impress the girl on the machine next to you by flexing your pecs while you run.

STEP FOUR: Go home alone and cry.

STEP FIVE: Return to the gym the next day, only instead of twenty-four sets of chest exercises, you do twenty each for your biceps and triceps. And instead of flexing your pecs while you run on the treadmill, you flex your arms, making you look like you’re auditioning for a remake of Robocop.

That’s why I wrote Built for Show. If you have the motivation and desire, you deserve a program that shows you how to reach your goals, step-by-step. You deserve a system that makes efficient use of your time and energy.

I hope you get a little more knowledgeable about training when you read Built for Show. (I know I got a lot smarter writing it. You never know what you don’t know until you try to verify the things you think you know.) And I’m sure you’ll get a lot of benefits that don’t matter much to you now. You’ll build stronger bones, lowering your risk of osteoporosis. You’ll ramp up your metabolism, making it easier to keep body fat from returning, or from accumulating in the first place. If you have some nagging little injuries, you’ll probably find they become a lot less bothersome.

All of those are perfectly nice side effects, like going on The Price Is Right and winning a coffeemaker as a consolation prize when you were hoping for the convertible Mustang. My guess is that you wouldn’t be very consoled. But if you won the grand prize, you wouldn’t complain about finding the coffeemaker in the backseat.

Are you ready to go after that grand prize?


I’ll get into this in much greater detail in Cha...

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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This book provided the best workout routine for my new "fitness" goals.
Dr. Barnabas
Take a look in the mirror, ask youself if you know exactly what women want, and then buy this book.
All in all this book is a must read for any guy who wants to get in shape and improve his game.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By E. Le on December 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Bought this book based on Nate Green's reputation, and was a bit skeptical due to the title...particularly the "hooking up" part. I understand the marketing angle though, so I went ahead and bought it for the training program alone. What I got was a lot more...

Training - The Cake
As expected, this book lays down "the fundamentals" that the athletes follow, but most common gym-goers ignore. The program is not anything groundbreaking, but that's the point -- simple therefore effective. More important than the "what" is the "how" and "why" which Nate explains thoroughly without getting too scientific. It's enough for you to explain to a buddy without a) looking like a dork and b) seem condescending. The most unique thing about the program for me was breaking it into Fall/Winter/Summer/Spring and programming accordingly. So your Fall/Winter are more hypertrophy/strength based -- while your spring/summer are more fat-loss based. Makes complete sense! Another unique find was the "garage variation" of each exercise in case you don't have access to a gym. Small but very practical detail that will help many.

Nutrition - Icing
Again Nate appeals to the target audience of single-guys well. The tips and info are all from the perspective of someone who may be budget-crunched but still health conscious. I wouldn't purchase this book for the nutrition tips alone, but it supplements the rest of the book well and Nate even recommends the Precision Nutrition system later in the book. Definitely worth reading the nutrition section for its unique perspective.

"Lifestyle" Tips - More GQ than Maxim.
Gotta admit, this was the biggest surprise to me of the entire book.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Holly Fraiser on December 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
While shopping for the Holidays I picked up Built for Show for my boyfriend, an avid gym go-er. It's something I know he'll enjoy, but I also wanted to read it myself because I found the author's approach to fitness unique. While I realize that by being a woman I'm not in the targeted audience, I wanted to know a man's perspective of what sets a guy apart. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

The book is formatted in a helpful and easy to read manner and the interjected humor makes it a good read for any audience, even female. Nate gives priceless advice all the way from nutrition and exercise to confidence building, and gives an especially unique perspective on the role of women.

I was a bit disheartened to see the only other woman's perspective on Built for Show provided a complete misrepresentation of the author's message. In no way does the author suggest that women are objects or that they should be used for sex. Throughout the entire book he makes an argument that women are ultimately the ones who decide whether or not a man will be successful at pursuing a relationship of any type. This is a rather empowering argument that contradicts any suggestion of women being sex objects and is quite the opposite of the orthodox portrayal of men being the initiators of sex and women simply being conveniences to satisfy them.

I hope that more women and men will invest their time and money into reading this book as it provides great fitness advice and an uncommonly seen inside to the benefits of being healthy that applies to audiences from every demographic. I'm excited for my boyfriend to read this book and I have a feeling we'll both be able to enjoy the benefits.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Truth on November 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've read this book twice now as I really wanted to follow the workout and nutrition program to the letter. After two weeks on the fall program I have really noticed a difference in my body. I was in pretty good shape before but now my body looks more defined and bigger (well my abs aren't bigger thank God). Which makes sense as the exercises Nate recommends cater specifically to working your biggest body parts (chest, shoulders, upper back, and legs) intensely with predominantly multi-joint exercises. You won't be doing chest fly's, lateral raises, leg curls, leg extensions, or calf raises. And here's where he'll lose a few people (and he nearly lost me when I read it) but you'll pretty much only be doing biceps curls and triceps extensions for six weeks out of the year long program. I nearly sent the book back when I read that.

However whatever concerns that I had initially have vanished, as my arms looks as muscular as before but bigger which hasn't happened for a while. The workout programs that Nate provides almost ensures that your body won't adapt. You'll be going back and forth from an upper / lower body split to whole body training. And if that weren't enough his set and rep variables (undulated periodization, super sets, giant sets, back-off sets, and everything in between) will shock your muscles to new growth during every phase of the program.

If there was one aspect of the book that I wish Nate would have provided more insight on was nutrition. He pretty much breaks down what foods to avoid and what types of foods to eat but had this book had a meal plan and recipes to follow I would have rated it five stars.
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