by Christian Duque
Normally I wouldn’t write an article on this sort of topic. Not only is it cheesy it seems like a weak attempt at grabbing some popcorn headlines. That said this is kind of where the sport is right now. Bodybuilding fans have always liked healthy servings of drama. It just is what it is and it’s been working since the days of Pumping Iron.
The reality is that much of the basis for Trigili’s assessment is that Labrada chooses to consume his chicken in a shake as opposed to cutting it with a knife and transporting it with a fork from plate to mouth. Nick -’it’s still chicken!!
The vast majority of bodybuilding diets consist of chicken and rice, chicken and rice, and more chicken and rice! If people choose to drink that protein or have it in a soup, what’s the problem? If people want to drink their carbs via blending them, what’s the difference?
Nick also takes exception with processed sugars as opposed to higher quality simple and complex carbs. That makes sense but it doesn’t really justify the criticism. In the end criticism it’s based on each person’s subjective opinion so I can’t sit here and tell the Bodybuilding and BS host when and why he can say what he does but I can say I don’t agree. On the one hand I’m sure his motivation comes from a good place. Trigili claims there’s a better way for the young prodigy to take his physique “to the next level.” Then again Trigili uses the knock on Labrada’s eating methodology to segway into a promo for his sponsor’s protein shake. It’s a little ironic considering the rant that led to it. He then comes full circle stating that Labrada is shorting himself on “micro nutrients.”
Is Trigili right? Who knows but more importantly his critique didn’t fall on deaf ears. Apparently Labrada took notice and may even have taken exception through a slight shot back. He also doubled down by putting out information that supports his approach. Also with regards to Labrada looking “next level,” the young champion took 4th at the 2021 Mr. Olympia and just turned 30 a couple weeks ago. Not only that but his rise from winning the Overalls at the NPC Nationals to being one of the Top 4 bodybuilders in the world seals the deal. Let’s not just walk away from that. I was there in 2018 when he won it all and I’ve followed his entire evolution and progression. It’s nothing short of amazing!
That said I’m not a bodybuilding competitor or a former Mr. The USA like Trigili. I also understand that when he calls Hunter “lazy” he’s basing his judgment on diet alone. He concedes the guy works hard in the gym and on stage but considers his diet as lacking in quality. He also states that he believes Labrada might have an eating disorder. But couldn’t everyone who does bodybuilding be said to have one? I mean that’s the usual mainstream assessment for anyone that deviates from the archaic RDA food pyramid. By the same token others might applaud Labrada for being creative with his nutrition.
Once boredom kicks in, a lot of people start falling off the wagon. Perhaps liquefying his protein helps him get it all in. And maybe he likes queso or maybe he wants some cheaper grade carbs. In the end it may not be the ideal situation for many but if it works for a Top 4 bodybuilder at 29 years of age then I’d say more power to him. You can’t get much more “next level” than being Top 4 at the Olympia three years into your pro career. Just sayin!
I also think that genetics play a big role and I’m not even talking about metabolism or in terms of a physique. I’m talking about sour grapes. There are people who need to keep to very boring and stagnant diets in order to achieve a desired look. Then there are folks who can liquify their proteins, maybe take in lower quality carbs, and maybe get more than one refeed and look spectacular. Whereas some people might only get one cheat meal every week or every ten days, some people can get an entire cheat day every week. Those who require more work to get the same result may not be to the moon with those who can there with a far more enjoyable diet. That’s where the sour grapes come in.
I’m not a nutrition expert but I know that if it ain’t broke why fix it? That’s just common sense. I also know that there’s a lot of truth in flexible dieting. I’m not saying that Hunter Labrada subscribes to an IIFYM diet, but in the event that he does, I have seen gurus like Adam Atkinson of See You Later Leaner bring some amazing physiques to the stage using that school of thought.
Adam’s clients comprise the very few happy faces backstage. They don’t have to wait until after their shows to eat whatever they want. They eat whatever they want for the whole prep to the stage. They never have to deprive themselves and that’s not to say they’re subsisting on candy bars and potato chips but they can have it so long as it fits their macros. Their training is on point and their bodies are recovering efficiently from workouts. They’re putting on lean muscle tissue and they’re burning fat. They’re also coming in great condition and they’re earning top honors on amateur and pro stages all over the place. The diet may not be for everyone, but it does work when done right.
That said, debate is a healthy part of bodybuilding. Maybe calling a top bodybuilder lazy or saying he might have an eating disorder might be a bit much but what do I know? It gets hits and it provides a segway to promote sponsors. It’s the way the media goes.
Getting hits isn’t a bad thing. It’s akin to a business making money. If a business doesn’t have enough profits – guess what – it goes out of business!
Trigili is also not cursing the guy’s name. His critiques are constructive (at least in his own mind) and that too is key. Whether he’s right or wrong factually isn’t really the point. He’s not trying to trash Labrada and he’s not going out of his way to make it anything super personal. That’s definitely a good thing and it shows his analysis is based on being a good journalist. Do I agree with him? Obviously not but that’s not really the point. Nonetheless people want to know where everyone stands. Being impartial might work on the 6 o’clock news but in bodybuilding you can’t pull that Switzerland crap. You can’t weigh in on a story like this, while sitting on the fence.
All in all I don’t see a feud developing here because I don’t think Nick was trying to purposely create an issue. That said Hunter isn’t going to just take it on the chin, either. He picked a way to make his displeasure known without acting the fool.
Let’s not forget he’s a prodigy and a Top Olympian. He could act out and blame it on youth, but that’s just not him. He knows he’s destined for greatness and he knows that he’s achieved some pretty huge milestones already. That’s why I think his response was as subtle as it was. It was almost diplomatic in its execution. Kudos to him for that and kudos to Trigili for his commentaries – whether he’s factually right or not. If he made the assessment(s) with Labrada’s best interests in mind then that’s all that matters. Detractors might say his motivation was clickbait but I don’t know that I’d agree with that because his brand is seeing huge successes and he’s quickly becoming one of two major contenders to rival Nick’s Strength And Power. The other contender would have to be Xavier Wills over at Desktop Bodybuilding.
I’m sure Trigili’s analysis will spark more conversation on the bodybuilding groups and boards. As always, we want to know what you think so please leave a comment on this article here or wherever you may see it. Let’s do this!