One would imagine that if a young man grew up the son of a bodybuilding legend, then the natural inclination would be for the son to follow in the father’s footsteps. Hunter Labrada actually serves as the opposite of that theory. He told Dennis James on this week’s episode of “The Menace Podcast” that his father, IFBB Hall of Famer Lee Labrada, wanted him to focus on football instead of bodybuilding.
“I don’t know if necessarily he didn’t want me to body build so much as he didn’t want me to stop playing football. All through high school I was a pretty good high school football player. I was all-state my senior year, all-district three years before that,” he told James. “We spent a lot of time on my football, all the recruiting camps, you know, sending tape out to coaches, communicating. He thought that was what I really wanted to do.”
Ultimately, the younger Labrada chose bodybuilding. In spite of Lee saying bodybuilding would be there for him, Hunter felt that injuries may have prevented him for pursuing that option.
“Actually, at this point I’ve had three concussions, I fractured my hip, broke my arm, dislocated my shoulders, so no, bodybuilding won’t be there if I have some kind of major injury playing another four years of college football. It was one of those things that at first it wasn’t a popular decision. He (Lee) wasn’t happy about it at first.”
The injuries from football hadn’t affected Hunter in the gym, and as his physique shows, the decision to compete in bodybuilding had paid off. He has won the NPC Nationals, took first in the 2020 Tampa Pro, and placed 8th at last year’s Mr. Olympia competition. Placing in the Top 10 of his first Olympia was an incredible achievement for Labrada. In spite of his dad not being on board at first, having him as a part of the process is something that Hunter greatly appreciates.
“It’s definitely been cool having him in my corner,” Labrada said proudly. “As time has gone on, I think he really realized at the same time that I realized the potential that I really do have. It’s been cool to have him along on the journey.”
He hopes to realize more of that potential this season, and that will begin when he competes at the Chicago Pro in July. There will only be three opportunities to qualify for the 2021 Olympia by that point in the season. Even though he assumes nothing, his intentions are clear.
“I’m not really discounting anyone, you know, going into that show. I don’t know who it will be, but I’m going for winning the damn show. That’s for sure.”
Labrada holds nothing back in this detailed discussion about all things bodybuilding. Catch the full episode over at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel. Episodes air every Sunday at 3:00 p.m. eastern time.