January 9, 2013
Going for Top Five: Lucas Parker
By Lisa Zane

"That's the holy grail of training. Finding that sweet spot where you're pushing yourself, but you're not digging yourself down in too deep of a hole."

Some call him the bearded man. Others, Teen Wolf. Whatever the vernacular, Lucas Parker's legend is on the rise.

In 2011, Parker finished 26th at the CrossFit Games. Last year, he placed 15th. Since then, he has been training for the 2013 season.

“My main focus is to just try to minimize the things I stress about and worry about (staying) calm, and be able to put energy, effort and time into my preparation,” he says. 

Parker has stuck to doing his own programming, but says he often bounces ideas off Cam Birtwell, a close friend who Parker says is, “one of the best CrossFit coaches around.”

The 23-year-old is finishing his last semester at the University of Victoria, pursuing a degree in kinesiology, and is confident in his knowledge and abilities.

“I feel like if I gave all that responsibility and grunt work to a coach, that would decrease my stress and I would have less on my mind, but I think half the fun would be gone for me,” he says.

Since the Games last year, Parker hasn’t made major changes to his training, but instead, has been refining things.

“I think for me, last year was the biggest switch I made. I started doing some low-level cardio and aerobic kind of stuff, which I had always shifted away from in the past,” he says. “This year, I’m adjusting the intensity of my running, rowing, hiking and swimming to try and minimize the stress on my body and get a little recovery and skill practice in.”

Parker recently picked up a few sponsors, including Rogue Fitness. 

“They shipped me some pretty sweet equipment — an aerodyne, a dog sled with a pulling rope, a big, heavy kettlebell and some other stuff, so I’ve been using that and been doing a bit more Strongman training in my parents’ yard,” he says. “They live on the ocean, so I found some big logs down on the beach that I can flip, and stones that I can pick up and carry, that sort of thing.”

Parker tries to focus on one thing at a time. 

“With CrossFit training, if you’re trying to 100 percent master your nutrition, 100 percent master your recovery, 100 percent master your training and juggle all of these at the same time, they’re probably all going to suffer to some degree,” he says. “You kind of have to pick the one that is most important and put most of your energy towards that. As things become more relevant, you kind of shift your focus slightly. That’s how I tend to operate.”

Although he enjoys competing and is looking forward to the Open, he thrives on the remaining part of the year.

“I like to sort of see, if, on game day, I can beat the other guys based on the last year of planning, preparing and training that I’ve put myself through,” he says. “That’s what I enjoy about it.”

Parker says he feels less stress going into competition season this year, and is just thinking about getting to Regionals.

“I’m not going to stress too much about my rank in the Open,” he says. “I try and not let the Open workouts distract me from my yearly plan.”

He is also trying to get the maximum performance from the work he puts in, making sure he is neither under or overdoing it across all domains.

“That’s the holy grail of training. Finding that sweet spot where you’re pushing yourself, but you’re not digging yourself down in too deep of a hole,” he says. “There’s textbooks on that, and professions built around that and they still haven’t found a one-size-fits-all answer. That’s kind of where you have to learn about yourself and figure out where you can go and return from.”

Fast and explosive workouts are strengths for Parker, as the Games Leaderboard showed last year. His top finishes were in the Broad Jump, Ball Toss, Sprint and Double-Banger events. His training philosophy is to play to his strengths while working on his weaknesses: long, monostructural workouts.

Parker is currently sporting an abundance of well-coifed facial hair, but says this year he is not growing it for himself. 

“This year, I’m gonna grow it out again for the season to show that I appreciate the attention that I receive from the community, and will hopefully be able to do another charity event at the end of the season like I did last year,” he says.

Although his primary focus is on making it through the Open and Regionals, his ultimate goal is to place in the top five at the Games and win in 2014.

“I’m most looking forward to the next few months where I’m going to start to really tune up my fitness and start making sure I’m filling in all the holes and working out all the chinks in my armor.”