Tagged as: personal training

The Neglected…

When you go to the gym there is a plethora of things to do. From box jumps to clean and jerks, how do you pick which one to do next? Even with all of these other great movements, there is one we all seem to neglect. This oh so simple exercise is so great, one sport pretty much requires that the greatest athletes who participate in it also become a master of this exercise. One long piece of string attached to two handles has endured the times but is far to often over looked. So ladies and gentleman, let’s get together and bring the JUMP ROPE back to life.

Conditioning, speed, weight-loss, agility, coordination and really nice calves are a few of the benefits of jumping rope. So if people who use it can benefit in those areas, how come more people don’t use it? Simplicity, that’s what it is. The jump rope is so simple that people believe it is not effective. In a world of efficiency, it is crazy to believe that we look for the most difficult ways to get fit. From machines that need instructions just to use the, to one and a half hour long DVD workouts, our mindset when it comes to fitness is, the more and crazier it can be, the better the results will be. Where has simplicity, efficiency and effectiveness gone?

If you want to get stronger, find a coach who will introduce you to barbells and kettlebells. By introduce I mean someone who will wed you with those things. Getting stronger means getting under a barbell and putting in work. No need to go crazy on the next state of the art machine. Just simple be coached to lift and train properly. You want conditioning? Go to a track and run sprints or grab a jump rope and start jumping.

Don’t get caught up in machines and madness Keep it simple, keep it smart, and keep it effective.

Do you have these 3 items in your fridge?

From the good to the bad, our refrigerators are full of foods, drinks, and condiments. Some of these things sit for weeks and rot away, while others sit for years and still taste the same (probably not a good thing). But of all the things that are in your fridge, here are the 3 that we think should always be in there!


1) Topo Chico Lime: This is for no nutritional reason, but Coach David and Courtney love TOPO CHICO LIME. Yeah, you’ve heard of topo chico, but have you had lime? It is a healthier alternative to those drinks that have artificial sweeteners and all of that other junk. It’s not an energy drink, and honestly I wouldn’t replace my water intake with Topo Chico Lime, but I love having a bottle during dinner. The even better news, they are only $0.63 at your local HEB.



2)  Raw Spinach: Mmm do you taste that? It tastes like nutrients. Whether you eat it raw, blend it in a shake, or put it in a skillet for a few seconds to let it soften up before you put it with your chicken, you cannot go wrong with raw spinach! We will say this though, don’t let it sit too long. The leaves get gooey and the taste is pretty miserable.


3) Apples: It really doesn’t get much more basic than this. Why an apple? Because when you are hungry, but not that hungry, it gives you a reason not to grab something quick that you KNOW you shouldn’t be eating.



This post wasn’t written to tell you something scientific about foods. What it really is, is what we have and don’t go without in our fridge every week.

What are 3 foods you continuously keep stocked up in your fridge?

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!


The Losers Limp

 keyth on rings


The “Losers Limp” is a term from a speech given by Zig Ziglar. It is a description of the moment in time when a player on defense is being outrun by the ball carrier on offense in football. The “Losers Limp” comes in play when the defender realizes he has been beaten by the ball carrier and instead of just taking the loss, he acts as though he has pulled up and begins to limp off the field, giving him the excuse of getting beat because of this short lived muscle pull. As the player returns to the field on the next play we realize this pull was more of an excuse than an actual injury.

The Losers limp is prevalent in all realms of life and it is not really an injury, but an excuse. Everyday people all around the world have their own losers limp as they find a way to get out of the challenges in life instead of facing them head on. The life of setting goals, and chasing dreams is not one everyone is ready to take on. Hardships will come and only a few will be physically and mentally ready to take on those battles. But the few who decide that nothing can stop them will reap tremendous results.

In relation to your fitness, what is your Losers Limp? Maybe is sounds like, “I don’t have enough time” or “I don’t know what to do/where to start”. Whatever it may sound like, you must realize it is only an excuse and you must rid yourself of it before you can truly reach your goals.

If you are having trouble getting past your limp, feel free to contact us and let us know how we can help you get past the limp and start sprinting towards your goals.



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!


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?

Setting you up for success using FMS



Setting you up for success using FMS

Why OTL has decided to implement the FMS assessment and how it is going to make your training experience better

By: Coach David de Leon

Over the years I have seen a lot happen in the fitness industry. From at home workouts that will get you ripped while you sweat all over your living room floor, to legitimate suspension systems made by real Navy Seals that give you a high intensity workout with low impact. Do not be mistaken, I am not dogging these tools/systems. Actually, I love seeing the fitness industry grow because to me that means more of our general public is getting involved and in shape. What I have noticed however is with each new warehouse gym, and each new DVD to hit the market, very few have an introductory assessment system that alerts the coaches/trainers of issues the participant(s) may have that could and more than likely will affect their performance and potentially cause injury. Seeing this and knowing OTL needed to stand out amongst the vast crowd of strength and conditioning facilities, we adopted the FMS assessment/screening system. For the last month this  has been used and will be a requirement for all new athletes at OTL. Here is a brief overlook of what FMS is and how it will help us do the things that matters most, prevent injury and help you reach your fitness goals.

What is FMS?

FMS is an assessment tool used to rank movement-pattern quality in any and all individuals. The test is compromised of 7 tests or screens which help identify movement deficiencies, limitations/asymmetries, weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries and or limitations in ones movement.

Once movement pattern issues are noted, correctional exercises can be given to athletes to help them prepare their body to begin training with a solid foundation.

Why FMS?

At the end of the day, our main goal at OTL Fitness is injury prevention. This is not always obtainable no matter how safe one believes their training to be. However, with the FMS system, we have added another step to help us reach our goal and keep our athletes safe.

We are getting away from the “intro” or “elements” classes many currently use because we have found there is little assessment of athletes movements involved in these courses. As your coaches, we should be looking for flaws in our athletes movements so we can better program for what it is our athletes need as a whole to keep them safer and on track to reaching their goals.

Is FMS for me?

The FMS test is for EVERYONE. This assessment is not a pass or fail test. It simply allows me or your coach to help better program and prescribe movements which will allow you to build a stronger and more stable foundation during your workouts.

   –   You should not undergo training without being fully assessed first. Even if you believe you have all the mobility, stability and strength in the world, this assessment will help you find the areas in your movement you need to focus on in order to get everything out of your training.   –

For example, an athlete who has been training for 2 years takes the test and we find he has severe shoulder mobility issues in his left arm but not in his right (asymmetry). This athlete, although training at full capacity 4 times per week, has also not seen gains in his strict press over the last 3 months. The “Red Flag” given to me during the FMS test tells me to 1) Stop allowing the athlete to press until cleared and 2) Give him correctional exercises to help increase that mobility to a score that allows him to return back to that movement without limitation. This simple fix may be all the athlete needed to surpass his old strict press.

By discovering the deficiencies, we are not trying to take people away from what they want to do (in this case, lift weights). Instead, we are trying to make them structurally sound enough to do so while getting the most out of their movement and reducing the chance of injury.

Our #1 goal at OTL is injury prevention. We understand no matter how many assessments one uses, injury can still occur while chasing dreams of stronger and faster. But, with the FMS system on our side, we truly believe we can reduce that risk  and allow all of our athletes the best form of health and wellness anyone can offer.


Haven’t been screened? Whether you are a current member at OTL Fitness or just a follower of the blog, you too can get your FMS assessment done today. Email us at info@otlfitness.com for scheduling.



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

What It Takes

ladies on the sandbags


From Coach David de Leon…

Go into a library or book store and you will find hundreds of books that will tell you what it takes to live a great life, or to be successful, or to be rich, or even a better lover. I am not expert in the field of what it takes, but I do have some opinions of my own.

OTL was created when I was a teenager, at the time it went by the name “RawFit” but the same training mentality was already taking place. I have always had the same intention in my training, to help others develop physically in order to give them the strength, power, energy and confidence it would take to tackle all aspects of their lives.

With this in mind, I developed 4 actions and processes everyone should take, or go through regularly in their lives in order to have what it takes to live an inspired life.

1) Lift heavy and Odd objects routinely: This is not me declaring that everyone must be the next strong man. Lifting heavy/odd objects is a task you will do for the rest of your life. Rather, it is me telling you to practice a simple task that you will repeat over and over again in life. You would be surprised how much a 40lb sandbag can resemble a sleeping child who needs to be carried to her bed, get my drift? Learning to lift heavy and odd objects now will allow you to explore the world in your 20’s, pick up your new wife in your 30’s, carry your child in your 50’s, and take your sleeping grandchildren to bed in your 60’s.

2) Sprint with your shoes off (kind of): In college I found a park that had soccer fields with incredibly soft grass. I began sprinting on them barefoot and found myself naturally correcting the way I ran. (To be clear, it’s not so much the sprinting on grass I suggest you do, but sprinting in general. The soft grass is just an extra). Just as we should always be able to walk without the assistance of others, given we have not had an outside influence to why we cannot, I believe we should always be able to sprint/run. Find a park or some sand and feel your connection with the ground. Go see the sites, and smell the smells from a runner’s point of view.

3) Work incredibly hard: I know the opposite saying is “work smart, not hard” but I believe you should do both. When it comes to the gym, I expect everyone to work hard.  It is the 1 hour of time you have dedicated to giving it your all. Outside of the gym should be no different. In all of the work you decide to do, you should decide to do it with everything you’ve got. Why else would you do it? If you can push through 1 hour of weightlifting and running, you can surely push through the rigors of your work and personal life as well, no matter how hard you may think it is.

4) Find a group of like minded people: Why do I expect everyone to work hard in the gym? Because whether or not you believe it, you influence those around you. Whether it is for good or bad, every action you take will influence someone around you. In order to live an inspired life, you must find a group of others who are just as inspired. Settling for anything less will only bring you down. Find others who are bigger than you, stronger than you, smarter than you and who push you past your limit. If you are one who always likes to be the “smartest” or “superior” person, than you are the one not doing yourself a favor. Learn from those around you and be influenced to become greater. And on that same note, be willing to help others who look to you for direction.


How often do you practice these 4 things? Which of the 4 do you tend to do the most? The least? If you have yet to try all four, give it a shot. Lift heavy and odd objects, sprint barefoot, work incredibly hard, and find an uplifting and inspiring group of people. You never know what you will discover about yourself.


– Coach David de Leon


3 Things To Do The Day After Your Competition



Fall marks a time of sports and athletic endeavors. For some, their Saturdays will be spent in front of a TV watching football, baseball fans are counting the last few games their teams have left to qualify for the playoffs, and those who compete in fitness competition, like CrossFit events, see a spike in competitions in their towns/cities.

If you are one of the many competing in the latter of the list, here are 3 recommendations of must do’s the day after your all day long competition. If there is something else you like to do, comment below and let us know!


1) MOVE: It is common to want to sit around the next day and just bask in your soreness. You may be experiencing the “I didn’t know I could get sore there” syndrome that usually occurs the next day, but this should not stop you from getting out and moving. I do not recommend going and doing an aggressive workout, but instead just active recovery. Personally, I like a 30 minute walk or row. Very low impact and intensity, but it allows blood flow through your body which can help alleviate damaged muscle fibers from the day before. Do not sit, get up, and keep moving!

2) I often fall victim to “Now I will eat a really crappy meal since I just worked out so hard”. If there is ever a time your body needs excellent nutrition for recovery, it is immediately after your workout. Don’t go straight to the inflammation causing pizza dough or burger just yet. Get a clean source of carbohydrates in and hold off that over the top “I deserve this meal” for 24+ hours. Your body will thank you.

3) Drink lots of water. I always stress the importance of PERFECT hydration the days leading up to a competition, but you will be most dehydrated at the end. Not only from working out, but from just being outside for that long. The beer can wait, get hydrated ASAP. Don’t be afraid of grabbing some pedialyte or some form of electrolyte to drink during and after your competition. Your hydration will help eliminate your prolonged soreness.

These are just a few of the things you can do the day after your competition to help rid your soreness and for better maintenance of your body. If you are competing, you are taking your body to the next level. Be sure to help it with next level recovery as well.



– Coach David