Tagged as: boot camps

Slow and Steady Wins The Strength

leigh deadlift


As we begin to phase into a focus on our conditioning, we will also begin to get back to the 3 movements we believe are very important in building our strength foundation. No, we didn’t contradict ourselves. We are focusing on conditioning, but our strength section will still be there with a focus on the foundations of: Deadlift, Squat, Press. However, as we begin to revisit these movements, you will notice our focus is STILL NOT speed (speed meaning “tap-and-go” which we will never focus on) but rather a focus on structural set up, grip strength, stability and slowing things down.

Here is what we notice. Athletes tend to come in who have learned to move quickly over moving correctly. This is absolutely NOT what we are about. When it comes to strength movements, OTL does not believe in as fast as possible repetitions. Although that style of movement is currently popular in some areas of the fitness industry, our coaches have recognized that athletes tend to lose midline stability and quality of movement declines when speed is put ahead of technique over multiple repetitions especially in beginner lifters. Over time, this can foster not only improper movement, but injury as well. We understand that not every rep is perfect, nor do we believe they should be. What we do expect is that athletes understand proper set up both physically and mentally as they approach a barbell for a lift.  Over the next 4 weeks you will hear cues in regards to setting the bar down between reps, re-setting your body into proper positions and taking your time through our strength portion.

As you head into this next phase of training, do not rush things. This is a great time to take the weight back and rebuild, especially if you have had injury or trouble with these movements in the past. Do not let this phase frustrate you. Everything we do is for a reason and 99.9% of the time the reason is in favor of our athletes.

Reminder: Bring your notebooks to class and record weights. If you are not doing this, we will question your desire to get better. If you aren’t tracking, you won’t know if you are going forwards or backwards.



13 Things Great Coaches Never DO

 great coaches


13 Things Great Coaches Never Do

A post about inspired by a LifeHacker article

By: Coach David de Leon


1) Text during class

This is a topic that all who know me know I feel very strongly about. As the head or assistant coach, you are saying that you have chosen to dedicate your time, attention and knowledge to your athletes. They pay your bills in order to receive the knowledge you have in your head. Do not disrespect them by texting while you are coaching.


2)  Sit down while they are coaching

Sorry, last time I checked we were in the fitness industry. If coaching for a few hours a day makes you so tired that you must sit down while coaching, then maybe you need to get back to the fitness part. Sitting is sloppy and lazy. Why any coach would feel it is necessary is beyond me. If you think you have a great reason why coaches should sit down, comment below and let me know.


3)  Try to raise up by putting down

I have seen and heard coaches call their athletes all types of names or use negative reinforcement thinking it will positively affect that athlete. This is not 1950’s PE class, we know now that negativity does not bring about positivity in others. Use your coaching skills to coach and cue. Motivate your athletes and educate them in order to make them better.


4)  Do not read or attend seminars in their field because they think they already know it all

The fitness industry is notorious for know-it-alls. Coaches get a cert and boom that is it. From that point on they never again need to attend another coaching/training seminar because it would be impossible for anyone to give them information they don’t know. Coaches, do yourself a favor and spend at least 30 minutes each day reading about different programs or styles of training. Even if you don’t agree with it, that is absolutely fine! But expand your knowledge base and know what others in the industry are doing.


5)  Try to diagnose an injury

We are not doctors. Build a relationship with a local chiropractor or physician, preferably one that also trains the way you train, and send your athletes there when they experience pain. Pain is a red flag, do not act like a doctor and prescribe exercises for pain, it is NOT your job.


6)  Say the word, “good”, even when a movement still looks awful because they aren’t really sure how to correct it. (Remember the words: Better, Same, Worse)

The word good is the most overused word in a coach’s vocabulary. What does it really mean? When I hear it I think, “well it wasn’t great, but it will do”. Coaches should always remember the words: Better, Same, Worse. Those 3 words can easily get the point across. From there a coach can cue what was better, what looks the same and how to fix it, and re-cue in order to get it away from worse. Good is a cop-out, be better than that.


7)  Answer Their phone during class

I only list things that I have heard or seen happen. Answering your phone during class should be an automatic reason for an athlete to leave your gym and for you to be fired (unless it is a family emergency). One word: Unprofessional.


8)  Allow their athletes to be in control of the flow of class

Your job as the leader is to direct the flow of the class. You set the energy and tone in the beginning of class and continue to do so as the class goes on. When you are talking and demoing, everyone should be listening, not talking to one another. When you are ready for things to happen, they should happen because you give the direction, not because someone feels they should jump ahead.


9)  Allow athletes to perform half decent movements because the movement is almost good enough and don’t want to seem too demanding

If you have movement standards, and you all should, make your athletes hold up to those standards. Speed is not the important part if the movement looks bad. A standard should be designed in order to get the most out of each athlete in a safe manner. Do not let your athletes be pressured by time in a workout if they are not yet capable of performing the movement properly. Step up and correct bad movement, it is your job.


10)  Allow a new PR because well, it was close enough.

Would you get on an airplane if the engineer of that airplane said, “well we didn’t get everything made perfect on this aircraft, but it’s close enough”? If your athlete is going for a new pr whether it be a 1, 2, 3 or 20 rep, make them get all of the reps. It is only fair to your programming and to their advancement as an athlete. Almost NEVER counts.


11) Teach advanced movements to beginners without first properly teaching mechanics and technique.

No new athlete should be performing advanced lifts under load such as snatch on their first day or in their introduction course. Occasionally you will run into an athlete who just has all the mobility and strength to perform advanced movements. But even then, assess the athlete and progressively allow them to load over time.


12)   Allow new athletes to begin programs without first properly assessing their movement patterns, basic strength, stability and mobility.

Coaches are sometimes too quick to allow beginners to start training. It is very important that all new athletes are assessed in order for you to properly prescribe movements for where they currently are. If you are allowing athletes to begin training without assessing them, their longevity in training will be greatly diminished. Assess first, prescribe workouts second in accordance to their limitations


13)  This one is just one I like…Never play Brittany Spears. Ever.

Must I even elaborate?


BC group



The reason everyone at OTL Fitness should believe in themselves.

By: Coach David de Leon


When OTL Fitness was being created, I was sure to keep my hopes and dreams amongst a small circle of people. These were mostly family or friends I have known for several years. The hopes and dreams were kept close because I did not want to be told otherwise. All negative energy was shunned and I continuously sought out the positive people in my life. Just as I developed this community by surrounding myself with people who had faith in me, I expect all of OTL’s members to understand that we have and will always have faith in all of you.

No journey, even when we are prepared, is easy. As coaches, we understand this and want to help you through your journey as much as possible. However, there is a catch. The easiest way for us to maintain faith, is by first having you demonstrate how eager you are to reach your goals. If you constantly TALK about what you want to do but have very little action, then our faith tends to diminish. But, if you show up every day, don’t make excuses, and work as hard as possible, then our faith in you will continue forever.

We expect set backs and bumps in the road, but we do not expect quitting. To quit on your goals in the gym truly is a reflection of your ability to quit on other important things or people in your life. You must first be able to dedicate time to yourself and establish faith in yourself before anyone else can do the same.

I speak for all of the coaches at OTL Fitness when I say, we have faith in all of you.



– Coach David de Leon

King of The Jungle – August

media image koj


This months King of The Jungle is being released with great timing. Why? Because this athlete just had an incredible weekend competing at The Iron Belle hosted by CrossFit Central here in Austin, Texas.

Her and her partner finished top 10 in the competitive division and impressed many along the way. She also had a new PR during the Clean portion of the competition. We, OTL Fitness, could not be more proud to announce Jess Hudock as King of The Jungle for the month of August!

Jess, your hard work 4 times a week in the gym while taking on graduate school proves you have what it takes to be great in all aspects of life. We appreciate your continuous effort.

Read Jess’ story HERE and see why she is OTL’s King of The Jungle!


July King of The Jungle!

To be the king is to show the world you have what it takes to be the best you can possible be. Each day this athlete enters OTL’s doors ready to work even if it is with a smile on his face. No matter what his day may have been like, he does not complain but instead puts every ounce of effort into each rep.

OTL is not only proud to have this man as their King of The Jungle for July, OTL is proud just to have him at the gym. So here is to you Mr. King of The Jungle!


>>Click here to find out who has been crowned the king for July<<

The Feeling of Being Overwhelmed

Coach David here!

Last night an athlete asked me if I had any posts on being overwhelmed with work, life and all of those other crazy things that tend to come up from time to time. The question was great because it was aligned with what I was going through for the past 2 weeks. Being overwhelmed happens, but I believe how we respond to “busy” is really what makes things worse.

No matter what we do for our day jobs, one thing is true, we are all busy. Sometimes we are busy for days or weeks straight and other times it is an all of a sudden feeling of too much happening at one exact moment. My advice, don’t react, respond. It is our human nature to quickly react physically or emotionally to a situation. Look around you, people are constantly reacting to things happening around them. Drivers yelling at drivers, teammates high fiving after a good play, kids screaming because no one is sharing. The problem? Too often our reaction is negative. As a matter of fact, the word “reaction” usually has a negative connotation. As Zig Ziglar once put it, “We react to medication with hives, but we respond to the treatment very well.”

Let’s take this into our lives. Yes we are busy, who isn’t? Yes we all believe we are busier than everyone else. But why is it some people who are extremely busy, don’t seem to let it bother them? Because they have learned to respond to the situation. They readjust their schedules, they create the time to sit down for a  few minutes and enjoy the “me time”. No matter the stress level of your job, it is your RIGHT to take 5 minutes, and just relax.  If you are extremely busy, have you taken time out to mark down a daily agenda? I mean filling in every minute of every day with what it is you are going to be doing? Probably not. Why? Because we instead let the day happen and continuously react to events as they happen through the day. If we only took the time to tell our day what it would look like, then things would run much more smoothly.

If you take 1 thing from this write up, take this quote, “The  secret to your success is determined by your daily agenda.” Things will arise, but respond to them appropriately and life will become much less stressful and the feeling of being overwhelmed will go away.


3 Excuses For Not Joining The Gym

3 Excuses people use for not joining the gym, and all 3 are awful.

Whether you are a gym owner, a coach or a friend who has tried to recruit a friend to start working out with you, there are a pile of excuses you are bound to hear. The crazy part is, when people make an excuse, they use things that 99% of the population also have to deal with. But when they explain they are sure to say it in a way that makes it sounds so stressful.

I am going to quickly call out 3 common excuses I hear at least once a month from people not just living up to the fact that they are lazy.

1) “Oh I am so busy with work I couldn’t possibly make it”. Yeah? Weird, because no one else who comes to the gym has a busy schedule.” Yes, this one is you Mr. “I think I work harder/longer than anyone else on the planet”.

Let me start with 2 personal examples of athletes at our gym. Although I know ALL of our athletes have busy schedules, these are 2 that stand out.

Example 1: Surgeon/Practice owner/On Call surgeon. Times per week he attends class, 3. Number of times he has shown up after a 10+hr surgery, countless. Complaints he has made during workouts from being “so busy at work”, none.

Example 2: Nurse: Directly from 12 hours shift to workout. Times per week she attends, 3x/week or more. Yes, she is tired, has dealt with the public for 12 + hours and has dealt with those who are sick, but puts in the work and doesn’t make any excuses.

Yes, work is busy for everyone, but give me a break. Don’t let the thing that supports you financially also be the thing that sends you to your grave. Everyone (well almost) has a job that demands attention and time, using it as an excuse is weak.

2) “I don’t have enough time for that”. This is very close to example 1 except they just don’t have time in general. What is funny about these excuse makers is they are usually not WILLING to get up early to get their workout in. It usually sounds like this, “Oh I don’t have time during the day, and I’m not really a morning person.” So you do have time, you are just a little lazy and would rather sleep in than become healthier and more fit? We all have 24 hours in our day. Some of us just know how to take advantage of each hour better than others do.

3) I just can’t afford it. PLEASE STOP ME FROM GOING CRAZY! Now let me first say, there are some who are in legitimate financial binds. I understand. But then there are those who would rather spend their money on going out for drinks, on restaurants, on clothes or 1,000 channel cable (and the only watch 10).

Just last week a good friend of mine contacted me about signing up. The issue: affordability. So he being a friend, I asked him what his lifestyle currently “required” that was costing him money that he didn’t need to spend. The first thing he mentioned was his cable bill. He had the top of the line cable contract which was costing him around $150/month. Realizing he rarely watched T.V. he cut back his cable and started classes. When people are SERIOUS about making a change, they will always find a way.

The point I am making with this write up is we all have reasons for not doing something. But I have seen and heard all the excuses people can give. Truth be told, if you want it, you will make it happen. If not, you will make an excuse. So which will you choose?  A life of excuses? Or a life of making changes in order to fit in the things that can change your life?

What is the WORST excuse you have ever heard from someone not wanting to workout?

Tips For Increasing Your Squat

When talking about the squat, where do I start? The squat can be a love hate relationship for most, but if they are not part of your programming, then you need to re-evaluate where you are getting your information. We all want heavier squats, and if we are getting the right coaching, then we are well on our way. But are you doing EVERYTHING you can to squat MORE!?

Here is a quick tip video from yours truly, Coach David, on simple mental and physical tips to increasing your back squat. What is 1 thing you must do before you hit a PR in the gym?