The Labrada issue: the apple didn't fall removed from the trunk

The legendary Steve Reeves was known for his impeccable care, among other things. Hair, teeth, skin, fingernails - Reeves was Mr. Perfection. I've always thought the same thing about Lee Labrada. I remember having dinner with him once in a restaurant and when he finished eating Lee went straight to it and brushed his teeth.

But what's even more impressive is that he was one of the few bodybuilders I've worked with and kept getting better and better by the time he retired. If Lee had come along a few years earlier when the Mr. Olympia was held in two classes - over and under 200 pounds - he would have won the lightweight class like Franco Columbu before him.

Lee was great, but small - 5'6 'at about 185 pounds. Small enough that, standing next to someone like Lee Haney, it gave away too much size. But that didn't stop him from finishing in the top 4 in 7 consecutive Mr. Olympia competitions. And it didn't stop Labrada from showing himself in tip-top shape every time and continuing to improve his physique.

Legendary bodybuilders Flex Wheeler and Lee Labrada pose at a bodybuilding competition Lee Labrada's trap development can be seen in this photo. Josef Adlt

I used to always think that his head seemed disproportionately large for his traps and shoulders. t much, but noticeable. But year after year, Lee continued to develop his traps and deltas, and by the time he decided to step back from the competition and focus on his supplements business, he'd pretty much got everything balanced.

Lee Labrada motivational quote for Labrada Nutrition Lee Labrada went from bodybuilding to business success after retiring Labrada diet

Lee subsequently brought the same kind of intelligence and discipline into business that he did in competitive bodybuilding. Labrada Nutrition was a huge success, and Lee has remained a significant force in the fitness and bodybuilding world. At the same time he was and is a devoted family man. Proof of this is the bodybuilding success of his son Hunter, who quickly fought for a place on the Mr. Olympia stage. Hunter is much larger than his father, a good thing in this age of muscle monsters. But he also seems to have inherited his father's discipline and work ethic, because regardless of your genetics, you can't achieve such quick wins without a lot of hard, consistent effort.

Bodybuilder Lee Labrada poses with a dumbbell Lee Labrada kept improving every year until he retired. Bill Dobbins

The “Labrada effect” is passed on from generation to generation. And these two bodybuilders, father and son, should be role models for younger bodybuilders hoping for the same success: discipline, hard and consistent work, a “clean” lifestyle, and attention to detail.

When you strive for greatness, EVERYTHING counts!

Bodybuilder Lee Labrada with Richard Gaspari Both Rich Gaspari and Lee Labrada suffered from the disadvantage of being too small at a time when there was no lightweight category in the Mr. Olympia. Bill Dobbins

Lee's bodybuilding competition story:

  • 1995 Arnold Classic: fourth runner-up
  • 1993 Mr. Olympia: 3rd second place
  • 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic: 1st runner-up
  • 1993 Ironman Invitational: 1st runner-up
  • 1992 Professional World Championship: 1st place
  • 1992 Mr. Olympia: 2nd runner-up
  • 1991 Mr. Olympia: 3rd runner-up
  • 1990 Mr. Olympia: 1st runner-up
  • 1989 Finnish Grand Prix: 1st place
  • 1989 Dutch Grand Prix: 1st prize
  • 1989 British Grand Prix: 1st prize
  • 1989 Mr. Olympia: 1st runner-up
  • 1988 Spanish Grand Prix: 1st place
  • 1988 British Grand Prix: 1st prize
  • 1988 Grand Prix of Greece: 1st place
  • 1988 Mr. Olympia: 3rd runner-up
  • 1988 Mr. Olympia: 3rd runner-up
  • 1987 Mr. Olympia: 2nd runner-up
  • 1987 IFBB Professional World Championships: 1st runner-up
  • 1986 IFBB Night of Champions: 1.
  • 1985 IFBB Mr. Universe: 1.
  • 1985 NPC nationals: 1.
  • 1984 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships: 1st runner-up
  • 1983 NPC Texas Bodybuilding Championships: 1st place
  • 1982 NPC Jr. Gulf Coast Championships: 1st place
  • 1982 NPC Collegiate Texas Championships: 1st

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