Hunter Labrada is determined to improve his standing at Mr. Olympia after finishing seventh place at the competition last December. Speaking on the Lee Labrada Show, Hunter opened up about his bodybuilding goals, pressure from fans, and being compared to his father.
At the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition, a packed lineup saw a new champion come out on top. By night’s end, Hadi Choopan became the first Iranian-born Mr. Olympia. While Hunter Labrada expected a better outcome, he ultimately landed in seventh place – three spots from his fourth-place finish at the 2021 Olympia the year before.
Labrada has been open about what led to his recent Olympia finish. In a candid video shared on his YouTube channel, Labrada said he was ‘fuc**ng pissed’ about the outcome and specified that his overall prep and peak fell apart in the last few days leading up to the contest. He later announced plans to compete at two pro shows in addition to the 2023 Olympia later this year.
Hunter revealed he’s weighing 280 pounds fasted in the off-season. He plans to incorporate vacuum poses and more whole food to minimize his waistline in the coming months. In a rare interview, he joined his father Lee Labrada for a comparison of bodybuilding eras and to talk about his upcoming season.
Hunter Labrada Recaps Diet, Pressure of Fans, and 2023 Goals with Lee Labrada
Initially, Labrada was devastated after his seventh-place finish a few months ago.
“Like you touched on, slipped from fourth to seventh this year and it was – to put it mildly – absolutely devastating. Especially working as hard as I had for a year straight for it. I think that was the first lesson that you can take away from something is – it’s okay to care about things. It’s okay to be upset about things. It means you care about them,” Hunter Labrada said.
Hunter said the only times he cheated on his diet were in the middle of the night.
“I’ve never in my entire history of competing ever had a ‘gone off the rails’ binge. I will say that. I’ve never done that. I really can claim that. What I can claim to have done and it did make me feel exactly the way you felt, middle of the night, that’s the only time I ever have an issue with that. Middle of the night, get up, stomach is inside-out, I’ll go and when have little individual wrapped candies that we give to Brooklyn in her lunch.”
Pointing to social media, Hunter explained that there’s more pressure from bodybuilding fans today than when Lee competed actively.
“I think if you let that be your main source of pressure, I think you’re setting yourself up for failure/misery. The pressure that I get on myself and place on myself comes A: intrinsically from myself, and then B – from those around me that I value.”
“Ya’ll [Lee Labrada’s era] dealt with nothing compared to what we deal with, the pressure of the fans,” added Hunter Labrada.
“You guys have more pressure than we did, back in the day, in that sense for sure,” agreed Lee Labrada.
For the 2023 season, Labrada is focused on slimming down his midsection.
“The main emphasis this off-season is refinement and minimizing my waistline. This last off-season, it was 13 months straight of me eating like 6,000 calories a day. I do [feel that distended my stomach]. It’s not a secret. I’m not trying to dance around the subject. My midsection was not as good at,, it has been in years past at the Olympia this last year. There was a little bit of body fat left. The peak was not where it should have been,” says Hunter Labrada.
Hunter & Lee Compare Eras and Bodybuilding Physiques: ‘There Are Striking Similarities’
At Lee Labrada’s heaviest, he competed at Mr. Olympia weighing 192 pounds. In comparison, Hunter Labrada tipped the scales at a whopping 262 pounds two months ago for Olympia.
“We are one of two Olympia-qualified father-son duos,” says Labrada. “So, he [Lee] was mass with class, I’m a lot more mass with a little less class, in terms of the physique that’s the best way to describe it. Lee competed at your heaviest, I think was 192 on stage. So, I was 262 at the Olympia this year. They’re very different physiques.”
Labrada shared that he’s trying to ‘bring the level of conditioning’ Lee brought during the prime years of his career. When comparing each other’s physiques side-by-side, Hunter stressed that bodybuilding today is a ‘balancing act’ between carrying size and keeping a small waist.
“There are a lot of very striking similarities, especially in the side shots in my opinion, the side chest and side triceps. I’m trying to get to the point where I can bring the level of conditioning that you brought. I still have a little bit left to do with that.
Being in the day and age I competed in the Men’s Open, like I said, I talked about the weight discrepancy, it’s definitely a balancing act with the midsection for sure. Carrying enough size to be competitive in the Open but still maintaining that waistline. Definitely different ages and day and times for sure.”
The last time Lee Labrada took a closer look at the Men’s Open division, he feared athletes were too focused on size instead of balance, symmetry, and proportions. He questioned if those qualities were being tossed to the side in the IFBB Pro League. In addition, Lee highlighted that posing has taken a backseat in the sport as well.
Given Lee’s success in the sport, many fans believe it’s only a matter of time before his son, Hunter finds his way back to gold. In the future, Lee Labrada hopes Hunter retires young as a Mr. Olympia titleholder.