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TONY #transformationtuesday

At MadLab since early 2013 6 a.m. strongman Tony is a MadLabber who has transformed in many ways.


Here is a short story on Tony, who we are so proud to have our community.

Tony Whelan continues to prove my theory right—my theory about never judging a new student by his first week of training.

Patty once told me that sometimes the best athletes—the most tough-looking, people—turn out to be pussies unwilling to go the distance, while the most unlikely creatures end up being the toughest people in the world, willing to work their asses off to improve themselves. And usually they’re awesome human beings, too, Patty said.

Tony fits the bill. When he arrived, he was pretty reserved. I read him as skeptical at best, and downright unfriendly at worst. I used to be scared to ask circle questions when he first joined classes because I thought he was swearing under his breath, thinking, “Enough with the chit chat. Let’s get this rolling.”

He’s been here for more than three years now, and while he’s still reserved, I’ve learned he isn’t skeptical, nor unfriendly. He’s simply a man of few words; the words he speaks are always worthwhile, and usually witty.

Today, Tony has proven himself to be one of the bright faces in the morning, who makes people laugh in the circle question with his subtlety humorous remarks. He is as committed as it gets, determined to improve his strength, skills, mobility, endurance after the age of 50. He sets goals for himself, and he works his ass off to achieve them on a weekly basis. And since he travels for work, his commitment extends to the road. He has visited dozens of CrossFit affiliates around Canada and North America on his work trips.

He explained how the mornings help his commitment: “When I started, it was based on the thought that if I try to delay a workout until later in the day, it is too easy to find an excuse. When I was marathoning, I always ran in the morning,” he said. “Besides, I normally have a cat or two staring me in the fact by 5 am to get up and get the feedbag filled,” he added.

Since training at MadLab, Tony said his strength has improved a lot and his mobility, too.

“And although I am still ‘mobility challenged’ (thanks Andy), it is a lot better than it used to be,” he said.

These gains have translated into the rest of his life.

“I just feel better. If I could just get my diet under control," he admitted to one weakness he’s still working on.

Baby steps, Tony.



Tony is headed to Festivus this weekend. He has competed in the master’s division of the Open for a couple years and decided to put himself out there in a more daunting competition environment at Festivus. What made signing up easier for him is the fact that they announced the workouts well in advanced, so he knows what’s he’s getting into onApril 22nd.

“I didn’t want to get involved in a day of frustration with too many movements I can’t do,” he said. He’s looking forward to testing himself physically, mentally, and just enjoying the camaraderie of the day, he said.