Lee Labrada's nickname is "Mass with Class." Like many bodybuilders, Labrada began building his body as a teenager. He entered his first competition in 1978 and by his own account, was rather thin at the time. After learning more about training and nutrition, Labrada began to really put on the muscle. He won his first competition in 1982 at the age of 22, in the National Physique Committee Texas Collegiate Championships. He became Mr. Universe in 1985. From 1987 to 1993, Labrada placed in the top four in the Mr. Olympia competition, a feat only duplicated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He never won the title, but he did go on to win a total of 22 titles during his career.
Labrada is known for having a very symmetrical physique. He is 5 feet 6 inches and weighed between 190 and 195 pounds (86 to 88 kilograms) during his competitions, so he stood out amongst the larger, bulkier competitors. Labrada has also been commended for his grace, pose innovation and aesthetics, but his nickname comes from his professional and respectful demeanor with competitors and fans.
Labrada admits that he did use steroids prior to their criminalization in 1990. However, he maintains that he was never a heavy user, pointing to the fact that his body weight changed little over the years. Labrada has spoken out in favor of drug testing in all bodybuilding competitions.
After retiring from competitive bodybuilding in 1995, Labrada started a sports nutrition company that has been very successful. He has also served as a fitness consultant on numerous TV shows.
On the next page, let's dig into a little controversy.