How Gordon Whyte Thrives Through Adversity to the CFL
Clance: Gordon! It’s been a long time. You’ve been training with us since you’re what, grade nine?
Gordon: Yeah, I think this is my seventh year.
Clance: Seventh year. Wow. And so everybody can know who you are, who are you, and what you do?
Gordon: My name is Gordon Whyte. I went to St. FX. I play football. Started out at St. Mike’s, that’s when I started the gym and then went to St. FX for four and a half years, played my fifth year. I left after this first semester but dropped to ti-cats two years ago or a year ago, and then went back to school to finish, I was on scholarships, so I had to finish up school. Then I just resigned like two weeks ago, they picked up my options, so I’m just back to ti-cats now.
Clance: That neck, man, I love that neck, you know. Football players to me, you don’t have that neck like they used to anymore. So I love Gordon always does this extra neck work. I want to get on the stand like you love football. Yes or no?
Gordon: A hundred percent.
Clance: You love football. Why do you love football?
Gordon: Honestly, there’s no really easy way to answer, but like their contact, it brings like a different like mentality when you go to the field for practice and games. It’s not like hockey and other sports where you just like, obviously there’s contact in hockey, but you’re going to, like a linebacker. I’m playing tight end, fullback novelty ti-cats, but like my whole career as a linebacker.
You go to the field being like, I’m the guy who’s got to make the tackles, make the plays, take on the big old lineman. So you’re just going with, it’s like you’re playing a sport, but you’re also just like going in with some different type of mentality.
Clance: It’s like, it’s like almost like a gladiator mentality.
Gordon: Exactly. You’re just like, I’m gonna come out of this game this game fresh and come out banged up and either in a great way or terrible way.
Clance: Your journey’s just begun. Right? You’re right now you play for the Ti-Cats and obviously I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but you know, you’re here for a reason. You want to play have a long successful career and whatever doors that opened up, it opened up.
What’s that journey look like for you? It could be in the gym, outside of gym, whatever. Just give me some of that, what’s that journey been like as far to this point?
Gordon: Yeah. So back at St. Mike’s I made like a career, different decision to go on St. FX cause I could have went to Carlton or Western also, and they’re technically better like schools for football programming-wise. But I realized that if you’re good, you’re good, and out there, if you’re the star, you’re going to get noticed as the star.
Gordon: So I took the chance and it worked out, but honestly, I’d say my football career, like most of it, like football-wise, I’ve been underestimated. Every single time I’m underestimated when it comes to the push comes to shove, I show that I’m above it. That’s what got me through like, I play football.
Clance: Why do you feel that you’re underestimated?
Gordon: Like, I honestly don’t know. I talked to my dad about it all the time. There’s just like little things that I hear, notice, and it’s like, I can tell that someone doesn’t think I can do something or they think someone, maybe one up above me. But then when it comes down to it, I show it, and then I make it or make it. Whether it’s making a team or proven that I can play other positions or like being that versatile guy on the field or being a leader on the field.
Sometimes way back I started at the gym, I was kind of like, not so mentally strong. You know what I mean? I’d get pissed easy and like my whole life I’ve been like that. I’ve grown out of that. So people underestimating-
Clance: You still have that temper. Right?
Gordon: Yeah. Like multiple people didn’t tag me to be a leader too, but I just like every team I’ve been on it, it’s like I’ve been a captain. So it’s been a long road, but it’s only getting started.
Clance: From my perspective, you’ve matured so much. I love your work ethic. I didn’t know that, that you were actually been underestimated so much. You know what I mean? Cause now it just clicked to me of why maybe, why I’m sure it has other factors, like when you lock and you lock in, you work hard. You’re one of my hardest workers in the gym, you know, you’re a workman. You come in, you do the work, day in, day out. And as a coach, I love that you’re easy to train is just guiding you the right path. So that makes my job very much easy because you’re workhorse.
Gordon: Well, this is where my mental game has come from. Cause like when I started out, I just remember, I literally can remember the first week I was here, like 3 to 2 workouts in the first four days. I came after and I was, I feel like I’m gonna throw up, like go get a Gatorade or something. Dead. Then slowly worked out and now like, my mental toughness now comes from LPS and like where we started, because I didn’t even, couldn’t imagine things I used to be doing when I started out. Then it ended up just becoming work.
Clance: Now it’s just like, it’s just like-
Gordon: You know, the time you come in and you just get it done.
Clance: It’s just like another day. That mental component that hard, that mindset like that, I had this saying: can’t stop, won’t stop. That’s just aggressive get-at-it mentality. Do you feel that LPS helped you harness that?
Gordon: A hundred percent.
Clance: And would that chip on your shoulder? Because I feel you do work out with it, you train with a chip on your shoulder.
Gordon: Like I’m passionate about it. Like so many guys when I miss a lift or I’m like not lifting up the expectation, they’re like, Bro, it’s just work. It’s just the workout like another day. I just get pissed because it’s like, you work so hard even though it’s just one day and you can bounce back the next day, you still get down on yourself. It’s like a job. It’s like what you want to do and harnessing it in the gym. Obviously during COVID, that one little stretch, it was tough cause you come in and like, it’s not the same environment. But when guys like Fabian, Wayne, all those guys are here, you come in with an obligation to, to them to work hard too. So it’s like, if I work hard, you’re gonna work hard. We’re all working hard together. That’s like kind of the environment, you know? It’s like, it’s not just one guy doing it. If one doing it, we’re all doing.
Clance: That culture.
Gordon: Yeah. When Fabian hit a max and then I got a max. I miss it, I’m pissed cause it’s like, you just hit your max. Why am I out my max?
Clance: You know lately I’ve been on this, this whole COVID thing. One of the benefits is that I’ve been doing a ton of reading. I love reading history. I love listening to other coaches. What makes them successful. I took a photo of Fabian hitting his PR and Freed’s. Yes, the PR was great. Big weight. But what really impressed me, like what I felt when I seen that photo was is the camaraderie.
Gordon: That’s the definition of a culture.
Clance: Like Freed’s was like out of his mind. I caught that. I looked at a photo and I didn’t realize Freed was in the photo. Then I saw that like this is LPS. That’s why I posted on my story. Like, this is the culture. This is I was watching a documentary and this word Imbutu—I am because you are. And that made me think when you guys were talking about culture and a lot of times I hear you guys say you missed the other gym. Why do you guys miss the other gym so much? It was smaller. It wasn’t as pretty. It wouldn’t have as much big space.
Gordon: Even in the photos like it’s just like an example, at the old gym, when anybody, everyone would max, it’s so small, and there’s so many people that you take a picture and you see like five people, like all posted up in the background, pushing them. You know what I mean?
I wouldn’t say I miss the old gym. Like the culture was different, but that comes with like the smaller space and two platforms. We all have to share a bar and stuff like that. We go right outside to the street and there’d be tons of people there and we just start sweating our butts off on the street. Like, you know what I mean? It was just a different type of culture.
Clance: It was mean?
Gordon: A hundred percent.
Clance: Mean, nasty, but we are a good people. Huh?
Gordon: Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah, it was. That’s the one thing I feel like the guy missed the most.
Clance: And you being straight up, you telling me like, don’t like, I’m not holding back yet. You tell me how-
Gordon: That old gym, that’s what I like I think that I’d miss most is like that nastiness, but that also comes with like newer people coming in and the bigger space you can bring more people like newer athletes, all that stuff who don’t understand the environmental they’re in it. So it’s like those like main core guys who-
Clance: Who understand.
Gordon: We’ve been there and we’ve understand it, so we do it. Then other people come in shy, obviously like how I started off. But like, it’s like that old gym we were like, everyone, like how there was like always fights too, because it’s such a small-
Clance: But knowing that you guys have close to fights. No, no there’s were no fighting rule. No. Close.
Clance: I had to break up a few, but no, no-
Gordon: Yeah. It’s just, it was just so small and so many people in, but we, everyone who hits like two weeks in everyone understood that we all got to work together in this little small gym. So, you know, it just came to like, you’re so close to everyone. You’re pushing it. You’re sweating. You get pissed. You can’t just be pissed and walk away like you can’t hear you’re in that, you gotta blow outside or you got to, you know.
Clance: You know what? You made a good point that you guys were forced to work together.
Gordon: A hundred percent.
Clance: And now you have what? There’s 8, 10 platforms. I say that all the time and this is frigging luxury. Last gym we had was like two platforms.
Gordon: Yeah, that’s what I’m sayin’.
Clance: And there’s no way-
Gordon: Like someone comes up to one, share a bar, and you’re like, Oh, come on.
Clance: Yeah. There was no. Yeah. How are we gonna have like six guys on one bar?
Gordon: Yeah. We literally have like, we’d have two bars going on each platform-
Clance: And one bar. And then I’d be like, and the funniest thing is if I don’t hear the bar, I start freaking out. Cause I know-
Gordon: Yeah. I know. I remember that.
No bars movement. Yeah man. But one thing I appreciate that cause you’re—I’ve heard that from other athletes too, talking to PK, talking to Freeds, talking to, you know—and that’s one thing I’m trying to find a way to get that into this gym. Because for me at the end of the day, I’m about that business. I care about everyone, but I care about you guys so much I want you guys to succeed. So I need help fostering that culture, foster that work ethic. Cause they might not understand now, but they’ll understand when they’re on the field, when they’re on the ice, when they’re on the soccer field or wherever, what we’re trying to talk about. So I appreciate you guys with that. And you know, that communication.
Clance: Is this whole COVID thing has been pretty tough? How have you been handling that, you know, mentally and-
Gordon: No, but it’s been tough. One for COVID itself and two for like the CFL season getting canceled is kind of like a joint thing. So you come in, you work, work, work, they give all these hopes up, and then you just get crushed. And then COVID, now you’re in quarantine at home for two weeks, like not being able to do anything.
Clance: Right. And you’ve been doing pushups though.
Gordon: A hundred percent.
Clance: You came back and binged-
Gordon: Twenty-five pounds out here. Yeah. It’s been tough, but at the start and it was really tough and like I would say there was a point where I like was just mentally drained. I was like, what am I doing right now? Like I’m sitting at home, there’s no CFL season, I’m still training, all these stuff. But by like the time it kept going and going and going, and then when we could start, it’s like slowly starting to come back into the gym, like it just, it kind of lifted back up where it’s like you come back into the environment. It sucked when there was like only like two or three people in here. And you would just be training, training day in, day out. Then when you come back in and then there’s coaches back in and like more guys that you are comfortable with, that’s when they kind of lifted back off. It was tough at the beginning, but I’d say like that push-up thing to do that gave someone to do everyday-
Clance: That virtual Herschel Walker Challenge.
Gordon: Yeah, the virtual Herschel Walker Challenge.
Clance: You’re knocking out like what, 500 a day.
Gordon: It was brutal.
Clance: My elbows are killing me. I was trying, I was doing well. I think I was, I didn’t do, I don’t know if I did like 400 a day after.
Gordon: Yeah, it was tough, but we got through it and like, my family helped me get through it, friends helped me get through it. Even guys like, like who I went to St. FX with, from Charlie. We all kind of were in the same boat and just talking to people was the best thing.
Clance: Cause I’m a firm believer through adversity you grow. Everyone has adversity, you know, with this thing. I’m a small businessman. Right. And it was tough at the beginning. You know what I mean? And my partner, you know, Jeremy and other people around me helped me just, okay, we got to get up, we’ve got to keep moving. Through that, I just said, okay, I got to get to work. and a lot of things, positive things started coming, just for myself.
Through this COVID how have you grown personally? Like what are the positives that you can take from this?
Gordon: Through it, I could see little glimpses of my old mental state, like where you see Metzi where it was like, I wasn’t as mentally strong. So I had these little days where I’m like, I feel like, like where’s all the maturity that I’ve come, where did it all go? It was just, that’s what it is, you’re at home, you can’t move. So I’d say it’s kind of like, even like reassured me of how mentally strong I can be but how, at any point it could come back. Somebody can like walk into your head and be like, you know, don’t do this or don’t do that, or you can just relax today, stuff like that. Then you gotta find it that you’re not always going to be pushed to do it, like you got to do it on your own too. You know? It’s like, you can’t just expect somebody to force you to do it or someone to tell you to do it, you’ve got to do it yourself. That’s what happened with COVID because you couldn’t do anything other than stay at home so it was on you to get your work in and you to figure out a way to go get to a field on your own.
Clance: No coach, no online training. We’re going to go about this online training thing or whatever. Zoom. That’s just not, we don’t, that’s not, that’s not us. We don’t do that, online Zoom classes and all that. Hey, that’s great for anybody wants though, but we’re not about that. We’re about Gordon Whyte, what does Gordon Whyte specifically need to help Gordon Whyte. You jump on the phone with me, I write your program, and do your thing or whatever. So I had to go through that and figure out like, okay, who am I? Because I almost went that way cause you know, you gotta make some money, you gotta pay the bills. But I’ve learned to really look in the mirror and say, who are you, stand firm who you are. And there are people who are gonna appreciate who you are. You got to keep going.
So that was a major lesson for me. What I’m hearing from you is just that mental strength to hey yes, you love that comradery, yes, you love that culture of that teamwork, and the coaching and so-and-so-fourth. At the end of the day, it’s on you. So that message was solidified during COVID.
Gordon: A hundred percent.Clance (15:22):
Because one thing that always kind of bugs me, I know we have a great culture and a lot of times new interns come in or they don’t really understand because it’s a pretty aggressive. It’s loud and not everyone can deal with that. It looks like confusion, but it’s actually controlled chaos cause I actually know what’s going on everywhere. Right. And a lot of times, you know, in terms of the people, they don’t know how to deal with that in terms of like, it’s just too much.
Clance: You guys have this great comradery. Right. Cause when you’re coming in, it doesn’t look like that, it looks like, you know. Yeah, you’ll catch it after a while. So to me, a lot of guys will miss that. Like, okay, you’re here before the rest of the guys come like, okay, this is not the scene. But you know, way back years I had like PK, he didn’t train with anybody. I used to ignore me, like, why do you guys, who gives a shit who’s here? It’s about you.
Gordon: It was like, when I used to come in-
Clance: Back in the day, there was nobody here.
Gordon: And it’d be dark and it’d be you and maybe Charles would be there.
Clance: And that’s it. Don’t get me wrong. I understand it. Right. But at the end of the day, it’s about you. You got to get done what you got to do. You got to find that.
Gordon: Yeah, you can’t totally rely on the gym, you gotta take what you’ve learned from the gym. Like you got to apply it to yourself.
Clance: You got to apply it. And so what’s your journey right now? Like what’s in play for you right now?
Gordon: The first thing, the first step obviously was getting done with the CFL, so that’s kind of like the start of it. I made the practice roster and then I would decide to go back to school, so that was going to check off the next thing, but I’m not even going to count it yet. I didn’t take it so, the next step is making the team, and then honestly, I don’t want to just settle the CFL. Like I-
Clance: NFL, baby. Say it!
Gordon: NFL. NFL.
Clance: Say it!
Gordon: NFL, man.
Clance: All right. That’s what I’m talking about.
Gordon: It’s like, I played linebacker my entire career in special teams then I got drafted as a linebacker, play special teams there. Now I’m switching over Titan fullback and I got play it well. It’s not like, it’s not like I’m new to it because I played it before, but I’m just versatile and I know that like with all my different talents, and different like things I can bring to the table for someone is I need to get those core years in the CFL to show it. That’s when you get the opportunities to go to many camps and try and get a shot at the NFL.
Clance: Let me tell you about Gordon. Whoever is listening out there. This boy, he can work. He will not care. He is so explosive. He may not be the strongest guy in the gym, but he’s so damn explosive. People don’t understand that power, that rate of force development, that quickness. What do you say when you play your legs don’t get what?
Gordon: They don’t get tired.
Clance: They don’t get tired.
Gordon: If people are gas, it’s more your like your chest gas, but my legs are just like, they started.
Clance: Legs feed the wolf. Within our structure, you squat. How many times a week?
Clance: Four days a week. Plus Olympic lifting, how many days a week?
Clance: Four days a week. Legs feed the wolf. A lot of people don’t understand that. So when I hear those things, I pay attention. You told me that how many years ago, my legs are okay, your legs don’t get tired. That’s good. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a difference. That means you are a able to exert, produce, reproduce a certain type of force over and over and over and over and over again. A lot people don’t really understand that.
It’s not about coming in the gym, lifting big weight. Okay. What do you do after that? How heavy or how many reps can you do close to your max? How often? What’s that? We call it that work capacity at high intensity. Right? And that’s why I’m on you guys about that volume days, push the pace, push the pace, push the pace. Cause it’s not, I don’t care about gym stars. You can ball. Gordon Whyte can balls.
Gordon: Transferring the balls.
Clance: It’s transferring to the foot. That’s all I care about. If it does not transfer, I gotta look at the program, look at what’s going on. Cause a lot of times people see all these big numbers and, or no, we’re not about that. How’s it producing on the field. That’s it. And from what I see you can do in here, I know you, you can ball. Right? I know you’re quick. I know you’re explosive. Right. And I know you have that certain type of work intense capacity at high levels. Conditioning is no problem. When it’s time to get conditioned, you get conditioned. That’s different. Right. But that certain quality people don’t really understand how hard that is to build. Okay. So say NFL, baby.
Gordon: NFL, man. That’s all I want.
Clance: Say it.
Gordon: That’s what I want,
Clance: And I’m, you know. Hey, like, why cut yourself short? Like why? You gotta believe. I believe, but you got to believe.
Clance: Right? Just like you said, you got to, you know, wake up in the morning, look yourself in the mirror, take those steps. Those steps that are necessary, that I don’t know about. Whoever doesn’t know about to make that happen. You have to be willing to do the work.
Gordon: You gotta know it works for you and you got to.
Clance: And you got to do it and I’m just here to help you guide it. I’ll tell you, what you need to do in the gym to help you. Get this is a teamwork. Love you, man. You know, you as a young athlete coming into LPS, didn’t know what to expect. Your journey is still not over. What message can you give the next athlete who’s young coming into this kind of environment and they want to succeed in their sport?
Gordon: Anything I’d say is that never limit yourself. You’ll think you have limitations, but you’ll quickly realize from this environment in this gym that you can go well beyond your expectations. Well beyond. You’ll become a person, you didn’t even think you’d ever become.
Clance: Don’t put your limits on me, baby. Don’t! Right?
Gordon: No, I love it.
Clance: And those are one of the things I take pride. I pat myself on the back. If an athlete lets me, I will reach in and try to pull you to your limit as close as we can. And that’s not for everybody. Some people are afraid to get to that because it takes hard work. It takes dedication. It takes some pain. It takes some soreness. It takes that getting up like, oh, climb, man. I don’t want to go the gym today.
Gordon: You got to get that mental toughness and you got to trust the process. That’s what it’s all about.