Every Saturday during a large portion of his off-season and now his 2022 Olympia prep, Men’s Open competitor Hunter Labrada sits down for a Q&A where he reads questions sent to him through a prompt on his Instagram page. On Sept. 17, 2022, Labrada answered questions regarding how to eat as a bodybuilder in college, on a tight budget, or with a hectic schedule.
Check it out below:
Meal Planning in College
Labrada was asked how he managed to eat during his time as a student at Texas A&M University. He earned his degree in economics but didn’t compromise his eating habits to get it. He kept a blender in his room and would make protein shakes of whey protein and oats that he would sip on the way to class.
During his freshman year, which he spent in a dorm, Labrada took advantage of the university’s meal plans at its cafeteria. He ate variations of chicken, rice, and veggies from a “Hibachi”-style section of the cafeteria “pretty much every single day.” His school meal plan also covered his post-workout meals at the “knock-off Chipotle” across from the gym he trained in.
Labrada suggested that eating habits should remain consistent regardless of whether you live in a dorm or a house. He also said:
It is very, very, very cheap to eat the way you need to for bodybuilding.
In Labrada’s view, the biggest cost to managing a meal plan isn’t financial but the “expense of their time.”
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Target Weight, Hunger Pangs, and Mr. Olympia
The second question Labrada pulled was an inquiry into his target weight for the 2022 Olympia. He entered the 2021 Olympia at 256 pounds and expects to take the stage in Las Vegas, NV, this year between 264 and 266 pounds.
To lean out to that shredded weight for the Olympia, Labrada will endure a caloric deficit — as all the bodybuilders competing in that contest will — to appear in pro-show shape. To alleviate the hunger pangs during that time and maintain a healthy relationship with food, Labrada says it’s important to find activities that take his mind off that feeling. He suggests doing chores, hanging out with friends, or reading a book as a few examples of ways to do that.
Do something; don’t just sit.
Another trick Labrada uses is drinking seltzers and other zero-calorie carbonated drinks. They don’t mess up his calorie deficit, but the carbonation takes up stomach volume to give the illusion of satiety.
Labrada’s final question revealed how much he values the title of Mr. Olympia. When asked if he’d rather get $1 million or the Olympia title, he chose the Mr. Olympia title “without even having to think about it.” Money comes and goes, but the Mr. Olympia title is something you can’t buy.
We’ll see if Labrada can improve upon his fourth-place finish from the 2021 Olympia in 2022 when he faces the best in the world in Las Vegas from December 16-18.
Featured image: @hunterlabrada on Instagram