FitCast Interview with Nate Green

KL: Nate, can you tell the audience a little about who you are?

First and foremost, I’m a writer and author. I’m a contributing editor to T-Nation.com and have written for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Maximum Fitness magazines. With the help of Lou Schuler and Avery Publishing (a subsidiary of Penguin, one of the largest publishing houses in the world) my first book, Built for Show is in stores nationwide.

It’s weird as hell walking into a bookstore to see a picture of you staring back. I thought it’d impress dates if I took them to the bookstore. “Hey, look at this! This guy looks like he knows what he’s talking about!” Unfortunately, almost all of them went for Mario Lopez instead. Freakin’ Saved by the Bell, man. It’s killing me.

Any way, before all of that I had the privilege of bothering a lot of guys I looked up to in the fitness industry. (Many, if not all, have been featured on the Fitcast.) I was a personal trainer for four years, the last two of which I had my own studio and trained everyone from housewives to a few professional athletes.

But writing is where my passion is. So when I had the opportunity to work for T-Nation full time I jumped on it.

KL: Where did the idea for “Built for Show” come from?

I was at a seminar and some of the presenters were talking about “finding your niche.” Everyone wants to train athletes. Everyone wants to train fat people. I’ve done both, and while I’d have success in each, it’s just not the audience I want to talk to.

So I started thinking about my background and what I wanted in my body. And I started listening to all the guys who aren’t in the fitness industry.

I found the overwhelming majority of guys aged 18-30 just want a few things:

– A great looking, muscular body that attracts women and makes other guys jealous

– Strength to do cool shit in the gym and on the field (if they’re playing a pick-up game of football or whatever)

– Programming with specific goals and not a lot of time spent in the gym

Thankfully for me, it meshed perfectly with my philosophy and the methods I used to get to where I am now. (Until very recently I only trained three days per week for no more than 60 minutes.)

I’ll put it as simple as possible: I like to train hard and with purpose; I like to go out and meet women; I like to indulge in simple pleasures like whisky, wine, and the occasional cigar (in moderation, of course); and I like to live a lifestyle that serves me and my goals.

Built for Show is a training/lifestyle book for guys who want to live the life they choose.

KL: In your book you talk about the transformation you made physiologically, what did you change in terms of how you trained?

Well if you’re asking about the very beginning when I first started lifting, I was doing all of the typical things wrong. I wasn’t using mostly compound movements; I rarely trained my legs; I did way too many pushing exercises; I flexed my abs in the mirror like a little frat boy.

But once I determined what kind of body I wanted and why I wanted it, I started to look at my programming in a whole new light. When I was 18, I weighed 140 pounds. At 20, I weighed 180 pounds.

I now sit at 188 and am pretty happy with where I’m at. Now, with the help of Mike Robertson, I’m just working on my mobility and strength.

I always figured it was smart to talk with and learn from  guys who have done what you want to do.

But if you were to look at how I got to 140 to where I am now, it was all centered on basic principles (compound movements, little rest, heavy lifting) with some cool tweaks in exercise selection and programming.

For instance, I don’t consider myself a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, an “athlete”, or an Olympic weightlifter. I’m just a guy who wants a badass, capable body.

What I do is take different methods from each of those disciplines (along with a lot of others) to get to where I want to be. So the Built for Show programs have a lot of variety.

18 and 140 pounds

23 and 188 pounds

KL: Kind of off topic, but what advice do you have for young trainers or those who are still in college who want to get into the “industry?”

Travel to seminars, make an impression, be humble, listen, and act.

I took out a $1,200 loan to go to my first seminar on the other side of the country. I didn’t know anyone.

I brought a book as a gift for TC (the editor of T-Nation.com) and for Alwyn Cosgrove, the two guys who I really admired. I bought a copy of Magnificent Mobility from Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson and tagged along to a lunch with them.

I got back home and emailed everyone I met a “thank-you” note.

And whenever they gave me advice, I acted on it. I did what they suggested. That, in turn, led them to trust me more and let me “in.” These guys are my friends now, and I’m starting to “pay it forward” to help other guys.

KL: Who do you consider “must see” when it comes to seminars and why?

Alwyn Cosgrove because he’s the funniest, most-engaging presenter I’ve ever seen.

John Berardi because he can break down the most complex system into easy-to-digest sound bites.

Both Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson because I don’t understand half their shit and instantly feel smarter by listening to it. (And because they’re incredibly intelligent, badass coaches.)

And, for a non-fitness reference, Tim Ferriss, author of the Four Hour Work Week. Tim’s a friend of mine who simply amazes me every time I see him talk live or whenever him and I chat through e-mail.

KL: Finally, pitch myself and the audience the book, who is it for?

I don’t feel like I need to pitch Built for Show – the guys who’re reading this know if it’ll be good for them or not.

If they want a muscular, capable, strong body that attracts women, gets the job done (whatever the job is) and if they want lifestyle, nutrition, and fashion tips to help maximize their potential, then Built for Show was written for them.

Pick Up Built for Show HERE

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6 Responses

  1. Nia Shanks says:

    Congrats on the new book, Nate! I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my “to-do” list. You have wonderful advice and have really shown your intelligence and maturity. There are people who have been in the game a hell of a lot longer than you who could really learn from your actions.

  2. Barry says:

    Something tells me there’s no chapter on what to do after you contract a sexually transmitted disease, or get a girl you barely know pregnant.

    If your motivation in getting fit is “hooking up”, you’re headed for trouble and your fitness goals will evaporate into thin air.

  3. You’re the man, Nate – Heck of a nice niche you’re filling – And I think that advice for up and coming trainers is right on point –

  4. Nate Green says:

    Thanks guys for the comments.

    It’s funny, Barry. For some reason a few people seem to assume that I advocate unsafe sex, objectifying women for sex, and that I only encourage training to “hook up.”

    These are the same people who are doing what we were all told not to do when we were kids: judging a book by its cover.

    I bet if people actually read the book before making an opinion and guessing what the content is they’d be a bit happier.

    So use a condom.

    That’s a tip guys, write it down. 🙂

    -Nate

  5. HandMeDown says:

    Ive just ordered the book Nate, sounds like exactly what I need right now. Im your typical skinny guy(123lbs), 21 yrs old and was never very athletic. Ive been arsing about in the gym for the past few weeks but need some guidance and a little motivation. I like that your book is aimed at guys my age (and clever marketing with the dating/lifestyle angle), looking forward to reading it. Im off to check out your blog!

  6. Tim says:

    Your workout routines really look good! You can’t have more than five or so years of experience as a trainer, though, and I find myself wondering how qualified you are with so little experience as a trainer.

    Your “chicks, chicks, chicks” focus is pretty immature and REALLY turned me off. I really don’t need advice on how to pick up chicks, or that men should never wear pink shirts (do women run from men wearing pink shirts? Are pink shirts a “secret” code that indicates that you’re a wimp, a loser, a wus, or gay or something?).

    I’m also wondering about Lou Schuler’s contribution, since he used to be fitness editor for “Men’s Fitness” magazine, which is is owned by Joe Weider, who has a stable of monstrously-huge juicer bodybuilders. I find myself unable to trust any advice from a Weider magazine (and question advice from anyone who worked for Weider).

    Finally, does any of the advice in your book apply to men over 30, or are we “too old”? If it does apply to older men, I’d be interested in knowing what, if anything, we need to do differently than a 25 year old following your book.