April 23, 2012
Nut Up or Shut Up: Lucas Parker
By Robin Runyan

"Regionals, Regionals, Regionals. Nothing matters except the last weekend of April, where it's time to nut up or shut up."


CrossFit Games veteran Lucas Parker plans on competing again at the Home Depot Center this year. In order to do this, he’ll have to finish in the top two at the Canada West Regional, which includes Jason Cain and Tyson Takasaki.

“Regionals, Regionals, Regionals,” says Parker. “Nothing matters except the last weekend of April, where it’s time to nut up or shut up.”

Parker finished 26th at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games, which is where he expected to place. When reflecting on last year’s Games, Parker says the first event was the best. “My favorite moment of the 2011 Games was the beach workout. It established the CrossFit Games as a place where truly anything can happen,” he says. “I’m an abysmal swimmer. I was the last one in and the last one out of the water, purely trying to survive. The only thing that kept me going was repeating my mantra, ‘F-you, Dave Castro,’ which I came up with somewhere around the first buoy. After completing that event, everything else was just gravy.”

Deanna Whiteley, owner of CrossFit Zone in Victoria British Columbia, thinks each competitive experience will help Parker reach his goal of winning the Games by 2014. “Every competition, he learns so much about himself and other competitors that will help him improve,” she says. “To think he is only 22 years old and how well he is doing in competition, a couple more years under his belt and he will kill it. I know that he has paid a lot more attention to his nutrition since he first started to train at the Zone, but right now he has his youth on his side.”

Parker, who studies Kinesiology at the University of Victoria, distinguishes between eating for overall health and eating for performance. He also appreciates the paleo approach to wellness. “However, a high-intensity, high-volume athlete needs too many calories for them all to be clean calories,” he says. “I've met Olympic bobsledders who thrive on McDonald’s. I've met Olympic rowing medalists who thrive on rice and cereal.”

Eating clean for Parker means eating, “... lots of rice, bread, pasta, chicken, beef, salmon, milk, yogurt and nut butter. I'm trying to add more veggies.”

Parker currently programs his own workouts. In the next few years, he will progressively become more disciplined in order to make it to and win the Games. “I'll spend another year maxing out my potential as-is, and then BOOM, open myself up to a new level of gains by focusing on my food and supplements,” he explains. “After I plateau there, BOOM, actually get some coaching, solidify a long-term athlete development plan, and I'm at a whole new level. It's like drinking beer – you don't pour the whole six-pack into glasses and sip each one while they get warm; you open one, and keep the rest in the fridge.”

Lucas Parker was a little disappointed in his 5th place finish in the Open, but thrives on the competitive atmosphere at Regionals. He looks forward to heavy technical lifts at Regionals, as well as the pistols and sprints. “Sprinting is the purest expression of human power, and it is something CrossFitters rarely train.”

Cam Birtwell, Parker’s friend who will also be competing in Canada West, says strategy and pacing are key factors in Parker making it to the Games. “He’ll have a plan going into each WOD and 90 percent of the time, he’s bang-on with his pacing,” he says. “This year, it will be important for him to be able to adjust his plan on the fly if some of his key competitors jump out ahead. Lucas also moves very well – his daily focus on mobility and proper mechanics in lifts results in him wasting very little energy … it all goes towards completing the movement. This is a benefit not only within a workout but also will reduce wear and tear on the body over a weekend of competition.”

Whiteley also sees strategy as a key factor in Parker’s success. She says his only physical weakness may be his lung capacity, specifically rowing and running. “I think that the competitive field this year in the Open will make Lucas work harder at Regionals. Last year he went in with Jeremy Meredith being a threat. Since it is much tighter, it will put a little fire in his belly. Lucas needs to make sure that his strategy for the workouts involves a little less rest, because every second does count.”

Watch for some amazing athletic performances April 27-29 as the athletes are vying for just two spots to Carson, Calif. As Parker sees it, “Our regional will be bloody.”