Gingers are so easy to pick on. They are the butt end of all sorts of jokes. But for Emily Abbott and Lucas Parker—the female and male champions from the recent West regional competition in Tacoma Washington—being redheads is no joke.
Abbott and Parker simultaneously showed their fiery fierceness in Tacoma, accumulating thirteen top 10 event finishes between them.
Although she enjoys her red hair today, Abbott didn’t always embrace her naturally auburn-colored hair. When she was growing up, like many young girls, she wished she was a blonde.
“I wanted to be blonde and tanned,” laughed the 26-year-old former basketball player from the University of Windsor in Ontario, who is heading to the CrossFit Games this month for a second-straight year.
Even with a lighter hue, before Emily's venture into CrossFit, she let out that fiery spirit on the court.
Abbott’s wish started to come true: As she got a bit older, her hair started to lighten. Suddenly, she missed her red hair, so she started dying it to emphasize her inner red.
“Every time I see that red hair on my head, I am reminded of my youthful determination,” she said.
Abbott’s determination was obvious in Tacoma from the very first event. She finished Randy in a smoking fast time of 2:47, enough for an event win. After that she didn’t look back. Abbott led the competition the entire way, and finished atop the podium.
She’s not sure if it's the Blonyx or her red hair that helps her more. Abbott added Blonyx to her routine after complaining on social media about being sore. Someone saw her post and recommended Blonyx for recovery.
“After about two weeks of hard training, I felt a lot better: less sore, better recovery,” Abbott said. “I only use shit that works for me. I just mix it with my pre-workout, or put it in a smoothie and it’s a no brainer.” She sometimes even dons her Blonyx banner as a cape for extra good luck.
As for her red hair, the success it helps bring may be as scientific as Blonyx’ HMB+ creatine is in the body.
“I don’t know if any studies have shown that redheads experience pain differently. I suppose it’s more speculative, but most redheads I have met do have a fierceness to them. Perhaps some genetic mutation or mistake that allows them to push past limitations,” she said.
(If you want to see how Emily's genetics fare through this year's CrossFit Games, why not follow her on instagram: Click here)
Abbott might be onto something; the Sprint Sled 2 event at the 2014 Games stopped veteran athletes in their tracks, but Abbott took first place overall.
There might be something to Abbott’s theory: The men’s winner of the West regional competition, Parker, happens to be the owner of the most famous beard—a deep ginger-coloured mane of primal fur—in the entire CrossFit community.
While Abbott’s red hair seems to allow her to turn off her pain button like few others, Parker’s beard seems to provide him with the wisdom to cerebrally execute workouts better than his competitors.
Lucas Parker makes the case for the amount of red hair on one's body also leading to his success.
Parker agrees with Abbott’s assessment: “There’s definitely a scientific advantage to being a redhead. Something about a higher pain tolerance. Supposedly we require different amounts of anesthetic during surgery in order to offset our genetics,” Parker said.
Their redness will be in full force when their genetic-advantage theory will be put to the test, in front of the world this July at the CrossFit Games in Carson, California.
Watch footage of Abbott and Parker's Tacoma success here at CrossFit.com's "Story in the West"