It’s still a ways off, but bodybuilder Hunter Labrada has set his sights on a redemptive performance at the 2023 Olympia. Following a disappointing seventh-place finish at the 2022 edition, Labrada vowed to return stronger as a competitor. He even promised a more streamlined physique focused on aesthetics rather than sheer size. Based on a recent update, he appears to be a man of his word.
On June 7, 2023, Labrada posted a video to his Instagram channel where he runs through a gamut of standard bodybuilding poses to show off his current physique. Given a simultaneously stacked and ripped look for one of the more prominent names in the sport, whatever Labrada is doing in the gym and in the kitchen seems to be working quite well thus far.
Per the caption of Labrada’s post, he maintained he’s staying more diligent than usual with his regimen. As the 2023 bodybuilding season heats up, the athlete said he’s keeping a keen eye over his look on a daily basis. He even detailed some notable shifts to his diet, especially as he centers less on mass-building.
Like his peer in reigning four-time Classic Physique Olympia champion (2019-2022) Chris Bumstead, Labrada also seems to appreciate his eating less as a path to improved sleep. It looks like a world of fitness possibilities has opened for Labrada now that he doesn’t have to worry about fitting another meal into his overall schedule.
“One of the biggest changes I want to highlight is I went from six meals a day to five!” Labrada explained. “The reason: I get two hours more of sleep! I found myself just staying up to eat a lot recently, and now that the food was low enough for it not to mess with my digestion, I told [Ben Chow, Labrada’s trainer] I wanted to give it a try and I’m glad I did! The meals are more satiating, and I’m recovering even better with the extra sleep!”
Before Labrada can even conceive of an improved Olympia performance in Orlando, FL, this November, he must first earn his qualification. At the start of 2023, the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) changed the Olympia qualification system for all divisions. The shift necessitates only past winners and top-five finishers from the previous Olympia iteration possess roster spots by default.
By virtue of his seventh-place result from 2022, Labrada is on the outside looking in for the time being. In what perhaps further signifies his mentality this year, Labrada plans to compete in both the upcoming 2023 Texas Pro on August 18-19 in Arlington, TX, and the 2023 Tampa Pro on August 3-5 in Tampa Bay, FL. Labrada will have to win at least one of the contests to secure his place at the 2023 Olympia. Nonetheless, he could understandably have the lofty ambition to triumph in both.
In the current pantheon of Men’s Open bodybuilders, Labrada has a lot of work to catch up to some of his superstar peers, like defending Mr. Olympia champion Hadi Choopan and the 2022 runner-up in Derek Lunsford. At the very least, he seems to understand precisely how to fill in any gaps — by working as hard as possible.
Featured image: @hunterlabrada on Instagram