On Your Off Days

On Your Off Days

On your off days

– Coach David de Leon

The average person comes to OTL Fitness 3 days per week leaving them with 4 days to figure out what the heck to do. I’ve got a few tips to help keep training on your own very simple. So the next time you need to get one in on your own, you’ll know exactly what to do.

On your off days it seems there are hundreds of exercises you can do. You get so caught up thinking about all of them that it drives you crazy and you end up doing nothing at all. Admit it, it’s true. But the thing about programming is: Simple = Effective. No worries, this isn’t something only you do. Many coaches in the industry do it as well. They feel they have to be more creative than everyone else when in reality the basics have worked for years, so why reinvent the wheel?

In order to keep your off days simple here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is my current goal? Strength (like the BIG lifts. Squats, deadlift, press), endurance, speed, mobility? Most goals fall within these 3 categories in some form or fashion

This question is all you really need in order to build your workout. Now, here is a quick breakdown on making your program.

If your goal is Strength, then on your off days you need to perform 5×5’s. Are there other options? YES! But remember, we are keeping this simple. Increase each set as long as you can still perform the reps and always have a spotter. Each time you get back to your 5×5’s try to increase weight from the previous 5×5’s. Do bicep curls and tricep pull downs. Wear yourself out with push ups. Just move the weight! Stop over thinking this. If you are a 3x/week person I would not recommend 5×5’s more than 2x/week when 5×5’s are done correctly.

Oh you want to get strong? Stop going on long runs. If you truly want to get strong, your weightlifting is your “cardio”. If your 5×5’s don’t increase your heart rate, you are going too light.

If your goal is endurance, on your off days go for long runs/bikes/swims. Hit up the trails, your local pool or road. Get into your uncomfortable minutes. Those minutes where you usually end your run because it starts to get difficult. Unlike a strength goal, weightlifting is necessary for endurance. Neglecting strength training while running is a sin and your body will make sure you are highly aware of it be it today, tomorrow or in 10 years.

So you want some speed? This is my favorite because everyone wants to be fast, but no one wants to do hill sprint repeats, sand sprints, or hit the track. Speed work is short distance as fast as possible with recovery up to 85%. 400m repeats are NOT speed work. Keep your sprints short. If you want speed, you’d better be lifting those weights. Speed requires force into the ground and without proper strength, you will never reach your speed goals.

All those years of being in the gym or running and now your body says, “hold up, we need mobility“. This is the most neglected of the goals (I’m pointing a finger at myself too). On your off days, whether you lift, run long distance, or run fast, you should ALWAYS incorporate mobility. I don’t care where you get your stretching routine, just do one and be consistent. Your body will reward you in years to come.

On your days off, keep the program simple. Keep equipment to a minimum and stay in line with your goals. If you ever need help with your off day program, just hit me up and let me know. I’m more than happy to help.


  1. Doug | September 14, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I enjoyed reading this. Keep them coming!

    • David Deleon | September 27, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks Douggie Fresshh!!! I will be sure to keep sending them your way.


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