Online trainer Parker Egerton has a secret for his success. No, it’s not the beard.
By Mike Carlson
PQ: "”People always want to find a flaw and attack it. I try to stay positive. I always say, ‘I treat people the way I want them to treat my son.’”
PQ: “I always figure that someone else out there is going through worse but trying harder.”
The interweb is filled with physique transformation experts and online trainers. How does a reputable coach cut through the static and separate themselves from the rest of the pack?
“I ask myself that almost every day. I want to know how I can continue to grow. I tell people all the time there are thousands of guys out there on social media with crazy aesthetics and a way better physique than me, but they don’t have a following at all,” Parker Egerton says . “Maybe a 6’2” bearded tattoo guy with abs sticks out a little bit more than someone who doesn’t have a beard and tattoos? I think I’m more recognizable.”
Egerton has more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, an impressive feat when you consider he’s not a competitor, isn’t in advertisements, doesn’t have clothing line, and isn’t sleeping with a Bikini star. What’s remarkable is that he spends most of his days at home, tending to his online clients and his five-and-a-half-year-old son, Parker V (yes, he is the fifth in a long line of Parkers).
So what’s his secret? Some of his appeal comes from his looks, but the energy he puts out in the world deserves plenty of credit. Egerton lives with an emulsion tear in his right leg, a near-crippling injury that makes his leg numb at best and sends unbearable stabbing pains through his lower body at worst. If he drops his keys, he has to kneel down to reach them. Still, you almost never see him without his huge megawatt smile on his face and words of encouragement spilling from his mouth.
“My brother is a Navy SEAL, and we have friends who are missing limbs now because of fighting in a war,” he says. “I feel fortunate for still being able to do what I did. I stay positive. You have to stay positive.”
Egerton first visited Iron Man in May of 2015. It was the first time he had ever visited California. When he got home, he told his wife they were moving. A few months later, Southern California became their permanent home, and Egerton has recently signed a lease to open his first gym. That’s the power of positive thinking.
Mike Carlson: At 6’2” and 230 pounds, you stand out in the aesthetics field just on sheer size.
Parker Egerton: I get that a lot. I’ll be at expos like FIBO or Olympia, and when I meet people that is one of the first things people always say to me: “Man, you are a lot bigger than I thought you would be in person.” I always say, “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing!” It is a good icebreaker, though.
MC: You don’t have a tiny waist like some competitors. You have a more manly look. Is that what sets you apart?
PE: I wish I had that tiny waist! I don’t have a tiny waist, and I’m not good at vacuums or sucking my stomach in. I wish I could, but that’s just not me. My waist is not small like Sadik’s [Hadzovic]. He has a crazy-small waist. I don’t have that, and no matter what I do it’s not going to happen. So I’m not going to sit there and stress about it. I’m going to do the best I can with what I have.
MC: Is that part of your appeal?
PE: Possibly. I feel like more people can relate to me more than Sadik or Jeremy [Buendia]. There is a handful of those guys with those crazy waists. That’s a lot of genetics as well. I feel like I train really hard every single day, and no matter what I do, my waist is not going to get smaller.
MC: You have hundreds and hundreds of online clients. What kind of clients seek you out?
PE: I get a varied spectrum of clients. I just signed a kid the other day. He’s 16, and I had to tell him that I needed to talk to his parents since he’s not 18. Then I have clients who are in their early 60s. I have people who haven’t been to the gym since high school and are now in their 40s, and others who just got offstage for a competition and want to bulk up. I try to do it all.
MC: What’s the most common fitness misconceptions you encounter?
PE: People think they can half-ass the nutrition. I’ll get, “I haven’t been weighing out my meals, and I’ve been snacking a little bit, and I don’t understand why I’m not transforming.” I’m like, “It’s because you’re doing the same thing you were doing prior and you expect a different result. That’s called insanity.” I explain to them that I use this idea in every concept in life: “I am not going to give a half-effort to get a half-result.” They’re like, “But I’ve been working out!” I tell them, “The working out is the fun part.” I love going to the gym, but would I rather have doughnuts and lasagna than ground turkey? Of course! People get lazy on their nutrition.
MC: Tell me about the injury that you live with.
PE: The tendon that holds on to my hamstring at the insertion point under the glute completely ripped off. It went all the way down to the lower part of my knee. I had two surgeries that cost 120,000 dollars and I’m still not fixed. They screwed metal hooks into my pelvic bone and that reattached two of three hamstrings. For the second surgery, they tried to repair the third one but it still wouldn’t attach. The biceps femoris is supposed to be inserted under the glute, but it’s hanging by my knee. It’s clearly visible. I have a couple scars from both surgeries that form a T. The top of the T is right under my butt cheek and goes all the way down most of my thigh. I have no feeling from the back part of my hamstring all the way down to my Achilles. It’s a bummer, but I always figure that someone else out there is going through worse but trying harder. That’s something I always tell myself.
MC: You seem to get a lot of “haters” on social media commenting on your legs.
PE: All day long. It’s always about my legs. I’m not going to sit there and explain it 100,000 times. If I was able to train my legs, by all means, I would try my best to make them as aesthetic as possible. But the fact is, I am a provider for my family. I had two different surgeries and I couldn’t leave the bed for four months. It was horrible. If that were to happen to me right now, the bills won’t be paid. It would be stupid and selfish for me to try to put five plates on the bar and squat.
MC: Can you train legs at all?
PE: I still train my legs, but I can’t go heavy. I can’t squat or deadlift. I do a lot of extensions. I probably do 200 reps of extension. I do legs more than any other bodypart, but you can’t tell because there’s only so much I can do. People always want to find a flaw and attack it. I try to stay positive. I always say, “I treat people the way I want them to treat my son.” That’s how I treat people.
MC: Why don’t you compete in Men’s Physique? It seems perfect for you with the long boardshorts.
PE: I did a few national shows. I got a first call-out, but I never got my pro card. I realized that competing was not for me when I was till eating Krispy Kreme the week of my shows. Whereas when I was first approached by Iron Man to shoot, I was 100 percent on it. That kind of told me that I took photo shoots more seriously. My hat is off to anyone who competes. I know what it takes. I’ve been through it, and I have respect for every single competitor. I don’t care if you get last call-outs or if you’re Jeremy Buendia.
MC: Whose physique inspires you?
PE: If I had a dream physique, it would be two people put together: Sergi Constance and Calum Von Moger. They are both friends of mine. Sergi’s physique is the best in the game. But I also like how big Calum is. And he is super-shredded.
MC: Without competition, how do you stay motivated?
PE: I look at my body as a business. I make my income from all my training. I can always tell that when I’m leaner and looking shoot-ready, my sales are much higher. I am really competitive person, and it drives me crazy not to look my best all the time. I’ll take two to four weeks once a year and go off a strict diet and I’ll live a little bit. For the most part, this is a lifestyle for me. And there is always my competitive edge. I feel like there are guys out there who are training harder and who want it more, and that pushes me even harder.
MC: What’s your game plan for the rest of 2016?
PE: I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. I set a lot of goals for myself and I write them down. I work toward them every day. I have a big one I want to achieve before the end of the year. I show first and I talk later. There are too many talkers. I’d rather say, “I did this,” rather than “I am going to…” That’s just me. IM
Name: Parker Egerton
Lives: Corona, CA
Favorite exercise: A variation of an Arnold press, but to target the anterior deltoid compound set with dumbbell front raises
Least favorite exercise: Anything pertaining to abs
Weirdest healthy food you eat regularly: Brussels sprouts
What would be your last meal on Earth? Japanese hibachi
Who would you cast to play you in a movie? Dan Bilzerian, although I have a better beard
What was you last legitimate reason for skipping a workout? I signed a lease on an industrial building for my first gym!