For the better part of twenty years, when you thought about health and fitness in Ottawa, Tony Greco was one of the first names that jumped to mind.
Greco and his fitness franchises were everywhere. He was a regular guest on CTV Morning Live, giving fitness tips to viewers, and preaching his popular message: “Live Lean, Live Fit, Live Well.” For 12 years, he also hosted “Greco Lean and Fit,” his weekly Saturday morning radio show on TSN 1200 radio.
But six years ago, he and his business partner made the decision to sell the Greco brand. While they did extremely well on the sale – enough to cruise into retirement – it wasn’t long before boredom began to set in.
“When I sold my brand, I took some time, about six months, and I really tried not to do anything,” Greco said. “But I was so bored. All I was doing was calling up friends to go for coffee. It’s like, what am I going to do from here on out? What do I love?
“I’m definitely not a guy who could sit behind a desk. I love being on the floor, helping people get stronger and better, physically and mentally, and uplifting their spirits, watching them persevere in their own life. That’s what makes me feel really good. So, I said, ‘This is what I’m going to do.’ It’s really not a job for me.
“And if I didn’t go back into doing something I loved, I would’ve been discouraged, miserable, and unhappy. It would’ve affected everything, including my family life. There’s no way I could sit still. It’s just not in my genes.”
And with that, Greco vaulted back into the fitness world, where he’s most at home – quite literally. He constructed a beautiful fitness facility right in his backyard, just outside of Manotick. If not for all the fitness equipment, one might mistake it for a small, high-end ski chalet.
“I started during COVID with two white tents in the backyard.” Greco said. “And I was sometimes putting a fire on in the morning or having clients training in the rain and I thought, ‘This is crazy.’ So, I finally said, ‘You know what? Build it and they will come. I’m going to build something that people understand.’
“I could have just rented some space and signed a lease or done whatever. But I said, ‘I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.’ And people have seen that. They’re like, ‘You know what? This guy’s serious.’ And now it’s attracting those kinds of people – people who want to be serious about their health.”
With the famous Greco name being packaged up in the sale six years ago, Tony‘s new brand is TG Athletics. And with the new banner, Greco (who looks as fit as he did 20 years ago) has also strengthened his fitness concepts, incorporating the latest science, designed to maximize every moment of every workout.
“I’ve learned a lot of lessons and I’ll continue to learn more,” Greco said. “TG Athletics is definitely more science-based. For example, we know that every dynamic movement has three different temples: the eccentric component, the isometric component, and the concentric.
“Let’s say I’m throwing you a football. My arm would recoil with the ball. And that would be the eccentric component. The slight pause with the football before throwing would be isometric. And the concentric would be the actual throw. So when we train these three temples, you generate maximum force of power, becoming stronger and more explosive.”
“We also base a lot of the training on longevity goals. It’s all about keeping you much stronger so hopefully, when you’re 60 or 70, you don’t need a cane to get around.”
Greco continues to train a number of elite hockey players including Vegas Golden Knights’ defenceman Ben Hutton; Buffalo Sabres’ 2020 first rounder Jack Quinn; LA Kings’ 2021 first rounder Brandt Clarke; New Jersey Devils’ 2019 third rounder Graeme Clarke; Vancouver Canucks’ 2021 6th rounder Connor Lockhart, and OHL players such as Henry Mews (Ottawa 67s) and Stuart Rolofs (Oshawa Generals).
Greco’s biggest client remains Claude Giroux, who’s usually leaving for Philadelphia right about now. This year, he’s staying put, signing on with the Ottawa Senators over the summer. Now 34, Giroux has been training with Tony through his whole NHL career, and has a good chance to close it out with a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“Claude is heading into training camp in phenomenal shape. He’s just so mentally strong. He’s embraced our new training and definitely at the strength and fitness level of these young kids. That’s why I’m super confident he’s going to do amazing for the Senators. His strength is way up and his speed is still there.”
To that end, Greco and his most famous client have a lot in common. They’re just a couple of veterans, showing no signs of slowing down, and now starting new professional chapters right in their own backyards.
Tony‘s website: tgathletics.com
By Steve Warne
Photography by Sean Sisk