Tagged as: strength

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.

topo

 

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.

spinach

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.

apple

 

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?

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.

 

 

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?

Put That Fitness To Use!

chris poppe and 5k

 

If you are an athlete at OTL, I want you to quickly add up the hours per month you are in the gym. Now multiply that by 12 to get a rough estimate of hours per year you train. Put that number on a piece of paper. Now add up the hours per year you spend outdoors hiking, biking, playing catch, competing in local 5k’s, 10k’s or even marathons. I am going to assume that your hours per year training highly out number the hours per year actually doing. What do you think about this? I don’t believe it is a bad thing to train often, and it most cases the training greatly out numbers the work, but personally I would like to spend a lot more time outdoors and would really love to see all of you do the same. So why is it important, and what can we do?

My number 1 hope for all OTL athletes is to be injury free, have full range of mobility, to have the strength to perform daily tasks safely, and to be able to run, jump and fall safely. However, I believe it is essential for everyone to find something outside of the gym to participate in that demands some type of athletic ability whether it be for fun or for competition. Why, you ask? Because it is a great way to gauge your current fitness level, it gives you a goal to strive for, it brings out whatever competitive drive you may have, and most importantly it gets you around a community of other like minded individuals.

We here at OTL are fortunate to live in Austin, Texas as it is the home to many things outdoors. With the activity level of our city, there is really no excuse why you cannot go put your fitness to use. But, if you are still having trouble finding something, here are a few I can think of off the top of my head….

1) Find trails in Austin or your surrounding area for hiking/biking

2) Go to lake Austin or Town lake and rent a canoe, paddle board, or kayak and explore the waters

3) Take a trip to Hot Lava obstacle course on Burnet Rd. You just have to go to find out….

4) Run Lake Austin Trails.

5) Take a swim in Deep Eddy or Barton Springs pool

6) Sign up for a local 5K that benefits a charity you like

7) Compete in local CrossFit competitions that match your current fitness level

Those are just a few of the things you can do to get started. I am sure you have a list of things you can think of as well. So, to help your OTL friends and family out, comment below and share your favorite things to do outdoors. Even better, find a partner within OTL and get signed up for a local event! The last thing you want is to be in great shape, and never use it to enjoy all life has to offer.

Have a great day, enjoy the cool weather, and lets get our bodies moving!

 

PS…Pictured above is Chris Poppe. Before his move to Houston, Chris came to OTL wanting to get back to his old high school running days. He had put on over 30lbs since then and was far from his goal. But, he signed up for local 5k’s, then some outside of the city, then one in St. Louis and in no time he not only hit his goal weight, he was hitting 5k pr times as well. Set your mind to what you want, and make it happen.

Snatch Cycle Update & What’s Next

 

This is what all of you look like now! Ok, well maybe close 🙂

 Snatch Cycle Update & What’s Next

As all of the OTL athletes should know, this is your last week in our 4 week snatch cycle. From hours of technique drills that have been hammered in through repetitions to single sets that have already proven many are getting stronger, we are very excited about what the end of this week will bring in new snatch PR’s!

As the week comes to an end, we will continue tapering off the heavier lifts. We are going to stay at around 60-65% and mainly focus on proper execution of movements. This will be your last week to ask questions and for us to fix those mistakes before Friday. What’s on Friday you ask?

This Friday at 7PM we will host our first gathering of max lifts. We want the energy to be high and lifts to be heavy. The last 4 weeks have been your time to train hard and now we will help create the environment you need to lift heavy! Anyone who has competed in weightlifting will tell you that environment alone can add adrenaline that will surely help you pull heavier than ever before!

Why is the Olympic lifting movement known as the snatch so important to us? It is by far one of the most athletic weightlifting movement anyone can perform. From strength and agility to balance and speed and all other components of fitness in-between, the snatch requires it all. Of all great strength and conditioning movements, the Snatch should be the movement all coaches should know not only how to perform properly but how to teach properly as well.

Thank you to all of the OTL athletes who have crushed the snatch cycle so far. Next up….Clean and Jerk! All of this will be just in time for Coach Courtney Carlisle to show us what she’s got in the clean and jerk on the American Open in Dallas, Texas on December 6th!

Please let us know if you have any questions!

Setting you up for success using FMS

fms_header

 

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.

 

October King of The Jungle

media image koj

 

This month our KOJ is someone who shows unbeatable work ethic day in and day out. Her progress has not been from anything but her want to learn more and be better than she was the day before. Our King of The Jungle for October, Leigh Ann Sedam, is the definition of hard work.

When you see Leigh Ann around the gym, be sure to congratulate her. From her strength gains to her killer results with Pump n’ Shred, she can probably teach you a thing or two when it comes to commitment and results!
To check out Leigh Ann’s story click the link >> Leigh Ann Sedam is the King of The Jungle <<

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