May 21, 2013
No Longer the New Boy: Brendan Clarke
By Carter Jee

“I really like the events that have been released. It is going to be a tough weekend, so my goals will be to make sure my recovery is dialed in so that I’m as fresh as possible for each successive workout."


At the tender age of 21, Brendan Clarke will be one of the youngest competitors at the 2013 Australia Regional.

Incredibly, this year will be the Sunshine Coast youngster’s third consecutive appearance at a Regional competition.

Clarke made his Regional debut two years ago at Homebush in Sydney, where he finished the weekend in 28th place.

A year later, Clarke improved dramatically, finishing fifth at the 2012 Australia Regional.

He credits his incredible improvement to CrossFit coach Rob Downton from CrossFit Norwest.

“I paired up with Rob as my coach and I have been following his Raw Strength and Conditioning program since 2011,” Clarke says.

“Since starting a well-structured and intense training program, I have continued to make leaps and bounds in my performance.”

Clarke’s life has changed dramatically since winning the Spirit of the Games award at the 2011 Australia Regional.

One of the major highlights for Clarke was becoming a sponsored CrossFit athlete.

“It has increased my drive to do a lot better during the season, and I am very humbled to work with great teams of people from Reebok, Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars, Rocktape Australia and recently, Alphafit, all helping me in my goals to go to the Games,” he says.

CrossFit has also influenced the career Clarke has chosen to pursue.

“I always wanted to do something sports-related at university,” he says. “It started out as a sports doctor, but after seeing all the K-Starr videos (Kelly Starrett, MobilityWOD and San Francisco CrossFit), it made me just want to study physiotherapy.”

Clarke has also taken up a coaching position at a local affiliate, CrossFit Morayfield.

He has found that coaching has enriched his experience as a CrossFit athlete, helping others achieve their goals.

“I love teaching people the stuff that I love to do and being able to incorporate some things that I have learnt at university to help people,” Clarke says.

One attribute that distinguishes Clarke from other people his age is his incredible work ethic.

Clarke mixes in multiple training sessions between university studies, CrossFit coaching and working as a barman at his local sports club.

“He always shows up, tries hard, does what I say and trains 99 percent of the time alone in his backyard,” Downton says.

Motivation isn’t an issue for the young man.

“Last year’s good results and the desire to go do better just keeps me motivated,” Clarke says. “And, I’m used to training by myself!”

Once a month, Clarke travels two hours to Downton’s Raw Strength and Conditioning facility to get some hands on work.

“I’ll spend a couple of days at Robs to make sure that I’m on track with his programming,” he says.

And in terms of this year’s Regional events, Clarke isn’t fazed by the heavy workload.

“I really like the events that have been released. It is going to be a tough weekend, so my goals will be to make sure my recovery is dialed in so that I’m as fresh as possible for each successive workout,” he says.

“The deadlift/box jump couplet is going to hurt. It was my worst event at the 2011 Regional, but my deadlift is a lot stronger now. It’s still going to hurt, though.”

His coach agrees that some Events are going to hurt.

“Brendan needs to accept the fact that Jackie is going to be short and hurt,” Downton says. “I don’t think he realizes just how much yet!”

“His overhead squat is great. He’ll also be fine with burpee muscle-ups and I think he’d be one of the best in the field for that WOD.”

But Clarke is taking a more philosophical approach to the 2013 Events.

“I would like to say that a lot of the (Events) play to my strengths, but I guess we will see after the last workout whether that is true or not,” he says.