Asked to talk about why New Zealand seemed to be able to mount bigger scores against the lesser ranked nations at World Cups, Whitelock said so far as the All Blacks were concerned there were no tier one or tier two nations.
"If you don't show respect to any side you are going to get hurt whether that's on the scoreboard or embarrassed or anything like that so for us we've got to prepare as well as we can every week," he said.
Whitelock said while there had been a break from the usual routine with such a long break after their first game against South Africa and their next against Canada on Wednesday, the side's trainers had made the most of being able to work with the side in that time.
He said he was feeling the benefits of an agreed enforced break at the start of Super Rugby this year.
"This week is one of those weeks where we are definitely looking at ourselves trying to get better from where we were against South Africa and the cool thing about that is there is always something to work on and get better at.
"It would be awesome to go out there and put a really good performance together but for us the standards we are trying to live up to sometimes it doesn't come into the scoreboard.
"I think that's where over the last few years we've had some really good reviews after a game regardless of whether it's been a win, loss or draw, we've been looking to get better all the time. That's something I think for us really helps regardless of who we are playing against," he said.
Good decision-making remained something the side was working on.
Fellow lock Patrick Tuipulotu said from his own experience playing against Canadian players in New Zealand they would have a good set-piece with speed out wide to finish plays off.
For himself he said he was probably in better shape than he had been.
"I'm not really struggling to do those long running sessions so for myself I'm pretty happy with where I'm at in terms of getting around the park as well
Whitelock said he did remember the Canada game played at the 2011 tournament in New Zealand. The side was going through the loss of first five-eighths Dan Carter to a tournament-ending injury, and at one stage in the game in Wellington there had been four locks out on the field and there had been some nervousness over who would play where.
"It was a pretty tough game. I remember Tony Woodcock had a pretty big collision when he attempted to score a try," he said, adding that it did seem a long time ago.
Whitelock said he had been extremely lucky to play with some great players, Brad Thorn being one in 2011.
"He never wanted to over-complicate things, he just wanted to go out there and play as hard as he could for as long as he could. Full credit to him, he demanded that of everyone else too.
"There's plenty of things you pick up from those guys, some things are bigger than others. It might be standing a little bit differently in a lineout, some of those little tricks of the trade and hopefully I'm trying to pass on some of their knowledge that they gave to me," he said.