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A Reason For Max Effort

jimmy edit swings

 

Yesterday at OTL our “Work” section consisted for the following:

5 Sets of 2 Unit run (approx. 230 meters) immediately into max rep American Kettlebell swings. The weight was 16Kg for women and 24Kg for men.

Our goal was to get our athletes to hit their sprints as hard as they could in order to push their blood circulation to their legs. Once they were back in, the immediate move to the kettlbell would force the athletes to deliver the appropriate hip extension in order to take the kettlebell over head as well as begin to push blood back up to the shoulders.

Although the above portion is great and all, the real objective behind “max effort swings”  was to challenge everyone mentally. The point of max effort is not “until you are tired”. The point is to go until you can no longer maintain proper form or until your hands can no longer hold on.

Why is this mental push important? Whether you are an athlete, or just an average Joe, you should frequently force yourself to go beyond its limits. Luckily for most (or unluckily as we see it), we live in a culture which protects people from having to live past their comfort zone. By doing so, we tend to stay very mediocre in all that we do. Those who are willing to frequently go there, there being a place of discomfort, find themselves making leaps and bounds in all aspects of their lives over those who like to be comfortable.

Not every day will be an all out day, we understand that. But force yourself to go there more often. The truth is your mind will tell you to slow down or to let go well before the body physically has to. Don’t be afraid to not listen and to keep going. Try to get out of your comfort zone in your other life activities as well. Go beyond what is asked of you even if it is not easy to do so. The easy way will keep you exactly where you are right now for the rest of your life.

Great work yesterday athletes! You still have some time left with your conditioning phase, so stay in there and keep pushing the limits.

 

What does “universal scalibility” even mean?

katie DL Final

 

 What is a scale?

In a world of “Universal Scalability”, what does it really mean to scale a movment?

By: Coach David de Leon

 

When it comes to training a group of individuals, it is very important for a coach to understand that each athlete has his/her own abilities and deficiencies. Why is this important? Because when it comes to strength training and conditioning, the coach must be able to adapt the training method in order to reduce the risk of injury while still allowing the athlete to get the most out of their training. The ability to do so is even more important when the training is not one-on-one, but in a group setting.

Many gyms use the term “universal scalability” very loosely. The way I have seen it interpreted is “just go lighter”, which is more of the uneducated coaches form of scaling. A true scale is made when the coach understands the deficiency or compensation being made by the client, and provides a different form of the movement in order to reduce the clients risk of injury while still getting the benefit of the specific task.

Here’s an example from the gym last night at OTL: In one of our evenings classes we have two clients whose deficiencies relate to lack of mobility and lack of midline stability. The movement? Deadlift. Which is a great example because it is so feared, but yet is one of the safest and most beneficial lifts of all time.

 

greg DL final

 

When the weight taken from the ground (starting position), these two athletes tend to lose midline stability or have trouble properly setting up for the lift. The fix? It is not lighter weight. Instead we increased the height of the starting position of the lift. This height change allows the athlete to properly and safely set up for the lift. The decrease in range of motion does 3 main things: 1) Decreases the risk of injury especially as weight is increased 2) Allows the athlete to “feel” the proper set up/movement 3) The fix correlates with the athlete deficiencies which should have been found during an assessment prior to them starting training. This ladies and gentlemen is a scale. The same muscles are being worked, the athletes risk of injury is decreased and the scale relates to the problem. Most importantly THEY ARE GETTING STRONGER!

Yes, over time you can make your way back down to a normal start position as the athlete fixes their deficiencies. But simply telling them to “go lighter” will never fix anything. And believe it or not, injury can occur with light weight if the proper technique and set up still aren’t there.

So what really makes scaling universal? It is the ability to get the same result using a means that is safer, in correlation with a clients deficiencies, and allows for progress in a movement over time.

This is easily done at OTL because our focus is not to make our clients elite. It is to fulfill them with a life of health, wellness, activity and most importantly longevity. When the focus is only how hard/fast/heavy can you go, we lose sight of what it means to build someone up, over time and without injury, to be the strongest and most conditioned person they can be.

Be it elite, or just to live a healthy life, coaches must understand their athletes and truly care about where they are and where they want to be.

Until next time, scale properly and reap the benefits!

 

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?

3 Ways to help guarantee results

nutrition, hydration, sleep

 

3 Ways to Help Guarantee Results

Do and keep track of these three things in order to help you get the results you want from your workouts

By: Coach David

 

For the past month I have been posting homework on the whiteboard. The homework consist of a short workout or exercises that can be done at home that has been programmed to add to what you are doing in class. Although usually a workout, lately the homework has been 3 words that are instrumental in order to get results. Below I will quickly list and discuss the 3 words with a quick overview of how/why you need them to help you get results!

1) Nutrition: This is a no brainer. Whether you workout or not, your nutrition is essential in providing you with the nutrients you need for everyday energy and rebuilding of muscle fibers after a workout. If you are new to healthy eating, remember to keep it simple to start out: Lean meats, dark leafy greens, fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, and some fruit. Avoid breads, grains, pastas and legumes. Don’t overwhelm yourself or you will eat your way into disaster. For a more focused and individualized approach to losing body fat or gaining muscle, you can speak with coach Courtney Carlisle. She is our in-house Pump and Shred coach. She can help recommend a meal plan that will better fit your individual needs.

2) Hydration: Many who suffer from fatigue, headaches, lack of energy, or those who may not be seeing results must go back and begin to track their hydration. Your body needs water in order to perform its daily functions. Many times we are so focused on work or other daily tasks that  we forget to pay attention to how much water we are taking in each day. Our suggestion is 1 gallon per day. For some this may be too little, but rarely is it too much. Separate your water drinking throughout the day and a gallon ends up being much easier to handle than you may think. Avoiding proper hydration will leave you and your results on the back burner. So drink a lot of water, then drink some more!

3) Sleep: I will be the first to admit that of these 3 key components to fitness success, sleep is the one I lack the most. For some it is early mornings and late nights, for others it may be sleeping disorders. Whichever it may be, you must find a way to take control of your sleep. It is our bodies time to recover from our workouts and daily routines. Unfortunately we do not allow ourselves to shut off everything and just go to sleep. A tired body is one that is not productive. If you have early mornings, find a way to get to bed sooner. Evaluate what it is that is keeping you up and find a way around it. When it comes to results, getting better sleep will allow you to get them faster and will make your day better overall.

Are there more components to your fitness success? Of course there are. These are just 3 that I believe are at the top of the list. If you have chosen to put your body through the rigors of a workout, you must fuel with the best fuel and let it rest as needed.

Did I miss something? Feel free to comment below and add components to fitness success that I may have missed!

Your workouts shouldn’t piss you off

pissed off

 

 

Working out should make you happy!

You workout to improve your fitness and life, but is your workout pissing you off?

By: Coach David de Leon

 

Lately I have noticed a trend in athletes during both training and competition that I believe is a key factor in their inability to see results. What is this change? Bad temper and unhappiness. From professional athletes who are continuously caught cursing themselves or their teammates after a bad play, to our general population athletes at OTL who can’t get that double under just yet, being pissed off is getting popular, and I don’t like it. 

When I started training as a “competitive exerciser” for a lack of better words, I did it because competition was a ton of fun. I got to hang out with others who had a real passion for fitness and for the body/minds ability to go beyond its limits. To me, there was nothing more fun than doing a workout competition and in the end, just hanging out with my friends and family. I was doing it not to be like anyone else, but to improve the person that meant a lot to me, myself.

As competitive exercise becomes more popular, there are “pros” that people have begun to compare themselves to. Comparing yourself to people you watch do things as a professional on television is crazy, especially if you are new to that particular sport. I am not saying that for some, being one of those pros isn’t possible, what I am saying is to respect the hard work they have put in and natural abilities they have been blessed with in order to get where they are. You being upset because you didn’t lift the weight you wanted will not make you a better weightlifter. If you want to be a better weightlifter, do what weightlifters do, lift weight more often!

Your experience in the gym and during training should be fun and exciting. More importantly it should be a learning experience. It is a time for you to give 100% effort in everything you do and learn from all of the mistakes you make. It is a time to grow as a person by not only pushing yourself, but by supporting others as well.

Additionally, make sure your coach is providing a positive atmosphere. Coaching cues, although sometimes stern, SHOULD NOT be negative. They should be short and informative. If your coach displays a pissed off attitude when athletes make mistakes, he/she may be the reason you react or respond the way you do when you mess up. Be sure your coach is great, if not, save your money and find someone who is.

In summary, don’t let your training piss you off. Doing so will not allow you to get better and if anything will only make you worse. And if a cry baby or pissed off attitude is what you have, as speaker Eric Thomas would say, “Don’t cry to give up, cry to keep going”.

 

 

Faith

BC group

 

Faith

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

2 Magic Pill(s) To Start Your Fitness Journey

magic pill

 

We all want the magic pill affect. We want to be able to consume something, and instantly get results. That way, ladies and gentleman is, 1) non existent 2) Does not last 3) A lazy way out of hard work.

Since those things do not exist, I have thought up 2 “pills” of information that can help you begin your fitness journey. They aren’t large in size, but for some reason many find it hard to swallow. It’s too hot, I’m too tired, I don’t know how to do it, are a few of the reasons people refuse to swallow the pill. But for those who are ready to grab that glass of water and take down the pills, here are the first two you should take.

1) Pill 1: Create a plan of action: Purchase a calendar and write out what your entire normal day looks like. From the times you eat, to the times you watch TV, write it all down for 3-4 days straight. Once the days have passed, review the calendar and begin to realize how many WASTED hours are on the calendar. Since “not having time” is one of the biggest and lamest excuses, you can immediately eliminate it once you see you DO have the time. Begin to insert times to train during the hours you wasted watching the ridiculous things that make up national television. Yes, it is easier and more comfortable to sit on the couch, but when you turn 70 expect to not be able to play with your grandchildren and be the grandpa/ma who wore out the old recliner because he/she didn’t have the ability to move freely (Yes, things just got real).

2) Pill 2: The First Step: Let go of the assumption that you have to go out and be hard core. Depending on who/what you are influenced by, you may have the assumption that your fitness has to be hard core and crazy intense all day every day. This notion if far from the truth. If you are new to fitness, DO NOT kill yourself on the first day. It will only make you so sore, you will be back on the couch never wanting to get up again. Baby steps are the best steps when starting out. That could mean simply walking/jogging mixed in with body weight movements (push ups, sit ups) in the park or in your house.

The 3rd pill, which wasn’t mentioned in the title, is consistency. Give your body 2 weeks of training no less than 3x/week and allow it to adjust. It will hurt, and it may not be as comfortable as your couch, but you will adjust and you will make leaps and bounds in your fitness. Erase the excuses, and let’s get started.

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!

KING OF THE JUNGLE – AUGUST – JESSICA HUDOCK

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