Bodybuilder Hunter Labrada On the Differences Between Enhanced and Natural Training

For natural gymgoers, it’s all about picking and choosing your battles, according to Labrada.

Every week, 2022 Olympia contender Hunter Labrada takes to his YouTube channel to advise aspiring bodybuilders and anyone who loves making progress in the gym. On Sept. 13, 2022, Labrada broached a subject that countless gymgoers have likely wondered: How should an enhanced athlete — meaning someone using some form of steroids — train compared to someone who isn’t taking anything? Hear Labrada’s thoughts in the video below:

[Related: Bodybuilder ​​Michal Križo Talks About His Training Split, Olympia Hopes, and Max Bench Press in Online Q&A]

Editor’s Note: BarBend does not intend to make a moral or ethical statement regarding the athlete’s actions. This article reports on the information laid out by the athlete. BarBend is not a medical resource and does not endorse the recreational use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Enhanced vs. Non-Enhanced Training

Labrada first breaks down what steroids do:

[Steroids] greatly enhance your recovery capabilities, meaning that we can do more work in the gym than someone who isn’t [on them].

According to Labrada, many pro bodybuilders typically utilize a low-volume, high-intensity training program — meaning heavier weights for fewer sets. Because recovery time is longer for natural lifters, he says their training emphasis should be on the same level of volume or lower than enhanced lifters. Labrada considers anything more than 12 working sets per body part to be high volume.

It might sound strange for a natural lifter to follow an enhanced athlete’s strategy, but Labrada explained:

“You need to pick and choose your battles [in the gym],” Labrada says of non-enhanced athletes. “You need to have your volume as low as possible to still cause a growth response. Anything past that is just additional work you have to recover from. And like we said, your recovery is [hamstrung] by being a natural athlete.”


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It’s All About Recovery

Since non-enhanced lifters likely need more time to recover, Labrada feels they should maximize their sets and not endure additional volume that causes excessive fatigue.

At the end of the day, the best thing that you can do as a non-enhanced lifter is to lift like an enhanced lifter.

Labrada added one caveat: High-volume, progressive overload programs work best for enhanced athletes due to faster recovery. He thinks it’s better suited for enhanced lifters to maximize progress.

More Tips From Hunter Labrada

Hunter Labrada provides weekly workout tips on his YouTube channel and Instagram page. Here’s more of his advice:

Featured Image: Hunter Labrada on YouTube