Tagged as: of the lion fitness

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!


Help Your Coach Help You

court and rania


Help your coach help you

How an open line of communication with your coach can help you get results

By: Coach David de Leon

As coaches we try to ask all of the right questions and give all of the right advice, but sometimes it is hard to keep up with everyone. Unfortunately athletes sometimes think we see and know everything so they hesitate to inform us about how they feel and what they want to accomplish. Want your coach to give you that extra help/advice? You’d better fill them in and help them help you.

I believe it is a coaches responsibility to know as much about their athletes as possible, but let’s be honest, as hard as they may try, things will always go unseen. But before you begin to place the blame on your coach, or anyone for that matter, ask yourself this, have you taken the time to speak with your coach 1-on-1 in order to discuss where you currently are, your short term goals and your long term goals? If your answer is no, the time to do that is right now!

Having a 1-on-1 meeting with your coach should be done once at least every 3 months. This not only gives you a plan of action, but it also puts you and your coach on the same page. Once you have had that meeting with your coach, it is their job to continue to check in, but it is still your job to continue your line of communication with them in regards to how you feel, how your eating has been, and if you feel as though you may need a little extra work throughout the week. Communication in this situation is key.

An open and honest line of communication holds both you and your coach accountable for your progress. If you have had trouble staying away from those sweets or have had pain during exercise, both of which are factors that can take away from your ability to see results, then those things must be discussed at the appropriate time. Trust me; a good coach knows if you have been eating poorly whether they bring it up or not. It shows not only in physique, but in your performance as well. Never be afraid to be honest. Your coach will not be mad at your slip ups unless of course you do not let them know.

To end, if you want the best out of your coach you must take it into your hands to keep them updated as to how you are feeling, where you are and where you want to be in both the short and long term with your fitness. We [coaches] can do a lot, but reading minds is not one of our abilities. Keep an open line of communication, be honest and reap the rewards of results!


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!


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.


A Team Can Make A Difference

There is one big truth to fitness, you work harder and accomplish more when you work with a team. PRIDE Boot Camps not only realizes this, but we feed off of it. PRIDE Coach, Courtney Carlisle, works hard to get her 6pm crew excited, fired up, and motivated.

The athletes push each other to do more, faster! The return? A team atmosphere of atheletes who are achieving the body and mind they have always wanted.

Stop working out alone. Contact us today and be part of something greater than a team, become part of the PRIDE!

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?

Strength Training: A Requirement in Your Life

For many year magazines, television and media have portrayed weight training as something only guys should do or as something dangerous. Unfortunately, we are very quick to believe what we hear and see through media outlets and many have decided to neglect strength training as part of their regimen. This write up is not about the science of why EVERYONE should weight train, but the necessity of strength training to your life. In this write up I am going to give 3 common human tasks that that require strength/strength training.

1) A few months ago I came across this write up (Gwyneth Paltrow’s workout) which was featured in O Magazine. During the video, trainer to the stars, Tracey Anderson says, “No women should ever lift more than 3 lbs”. Don’t believe me? Check out the video. Now, she is a very famous trainer and I am not here to bash her. I just disagree. Any lady who has ever had a child is required to hold that child. In most instances that baby is born weighing more than 3 lbs and guess who has to carry that baby around? Yes, the mother. She will carry him/her for many months after birth as well. Many times I see children who are more than a year old who will still be picked up occasionally for comfort by their parents. Believe it or not, the ability to hold your child up without getting fatigued within minutes requires weight training. Many moms only form of weight training is picking up their kids, which is fine. But some mothers begin to experience back pains from holding their children not because their children are heavy, but because the mother has neglected weight training which can help in your bodies ability to carry a load over time. 2 movements every mom should learn: 1) A proper dead lift. Often thought as a dangerous movement, the dead lift mimics a wide range of daily functions such as well, picking up a child from the floor. 2) The squat. Not just an air squat, but a weighted back squat. This will not only help build glute and hamstring strength, but it will also help build abdominal strength needed to carry a load over time (or a baby).

2) The moment we all fear. We are sitting in traffic and our car begins to stall out. And just when you think you can pull over to the side of the road, your car breaks down. I have seen this first hand. A lady on a busy street near my house was stalled out. She put her emergency lights on and began to walk across the street to the conveince store. Knowing a stalled car on that road was dangerous (and always looking for a reason to use my fitness 🙂 I pushed her car to the side of the road. But not everyone is lucky enough to have a stranger around who can push their car. I know it may not sound important, but we cannot live a life of reliance on others to keep us out of danger. Without strength training, how will we ever build the strength we need to get us out of sticky situations like stalled cars? And honestly, it is not a bizarre case. How often do you see a car stalled in the road? Probably pretty often. If we could teach more people that being strong is necessary, we could become more independent when it comes to emergency situations.

3) Proper posture and stance. Most think proper posture is just a lack of retracting the shoulders down and back. Although this is true, there is more to it. Our lack of strengthening the muscles that retract our shoulder blades is a big issue especially since many of us do most things in front of our body (type on computers, eating at the table, using your cell phone). These postures cause us to become stronger or tighter anteriorly and the lack of our posterior strength especially in the upper back does not allow our shoulders to stay back but instead, hunch forward. Eating, using the computer and cell phones is not something we will stop doing. However, knowing this is common, we must begin to do simple upper back, mid back, and lower back exercises that will allow us to keep a more anatomically correct position throughout the day.

Strength training is essential to our daily lives. I am not saying you have to be the strongest, but you need to be strong(er). Most aches and pains don’t come from weight training, they come from a lack of strength in one area and tightness in other areas in our bodies. So I ask you, how often are you lifting weights? If you are not doing it more than 4 times per week, you need to find a weight lifting program that will allow you to gain the strength you need in order to live a healthy life that will not require you to rely on others in order to get things done.


Happy lifting,

Coach David



OTL’s First Outdoor Community Workout

Before we begin, we would like to say thank you to everyone who came out this morning to workout with us. The energy and atmosphere was so amazing we cannot begin to say how thankful we are for such great people.

I won’t go on too long, but check out Of The Lion Fitness FaceBook page > HERE < for event photos! If you or a friend are not tagged, be sure to tag them!

Have a great weekend and again, thank you all so much for making fitness fun again with us.

Congrats to our Athletes!

This past weekend we had 3 athletes compete in the SantaFit competition at Austin High School. It was a great way to introduce themselves into the competitive fitness world and the turn out was great! Congrats to the following athletes: Blake Reinhart, Andrew Watkins and John Garcia!It makes me, your coach, very proud to see you all compete. Even better, it is great to watch you guys perform the movements the way they are supposed to be done!

If you are ready to start competing, let me know so we can set you all up with a competition that is perfect for you!

blakes go hard face at competition

Blake’s Go Hard Face