“Training is a lot like hiking, you don’t start off by hiking Everest. You must first develop the capacity to do so. So you start small, with something that will challenge your current capacity. From there you keep adjusting and finding higher mountains to climb. Each summit you continue to conquer leading up to Everest will develop the physiological and psychological characteristics that are necessary to accomplish such a feat. Much like hiking, you don’t start off by snatching 120kg or losing 30kg in a month, you have to develop the habits and place yourself in an environment that encourages the development of those adaptations. Lay the proper foundation and do the simple things savagely well, because some day you may find yourself conquering your own version of everest.”– Coach Kels

What is a goal? A goal is a cognitive mechanism, said another way it’s a way of thinking that represents a future consequence and influences our present behaviour. It is something that is typically desired and valued by us and it can be found either in our conscious or subconscious.

Something that I have noticed over the past few years of coaching is that most of us are aware of our goals, however, what I’ve found is that we’re either afraid to put our goals on paper out of the fear of falling short or we don’t understand the process of what it takes to get us from point a to b. Or better yet, from point a to z.

So, what does goal setting involve? It involves:

  1. Awareness- knowing what you want to achieve (long term/outcome), why you want to achieve it, and knowing how you will achieve it (short term/process).
  2. Reviewing your potential: Knowing where you are at, what you can realistically accomplish, and why you want to accomplish it.
  3. Identifying all sources of help and support.
  4. An action plan- segmenting your goals in a way that they can be accomplished. I.e. focusing on the process.
  5. Evaluation: setting milestones, performance markers, evaluating progress and refining your goals.

Why should we set goals? Because there are only a handful of individuals who have ever stumbled their way to success or to high levels of performance within their respective fields. I’ve often viewed the process of setting goals as being similar to having a detailed map of where you want to go and how you want to get there. Without a well defined destination there is no clear ending, and no definitive way of measuring progress. What we need is a bold and clearly defined outcome with a heavy emphasis on the process that will lead us to that outcome.

The cool thing about goals, aside from having a map that will stretch us beyond what we currently deem possible, is that they have this ability to help us better regulate and manage our motivation. They do so by directing our attention and action towards specific tasks, mobilizing and regulating our effort, influencing our persistence, and helping us to problem solve in an attempt to bring about our desires.

We all set wildly varying goals, all of which, are often based on a standard that is not our own: i.e. to get stronger, fitter, leaner, faster, etc.. In other instances we set loud, bold, goals: I want to win at nationals, worlds, or the highest level of competition possible. However, we often forget to consider “why?” those goals are important to us, what those goals look like specifically, how our lives will change as a result of achieving those goals, and what it truly takes to achieve those goals.

Whether your goal is a competitive based goal or a recreational based goal you need to confront your “why?” that is involved with the pursuit of that goal. The why is the driving force behind the “what” and the “how”. Having the “what” and the “how” down without defining the “why” is a lot like trying to drive a Ferrari without putting any fuel in it- you can mash the gas pedal all you want but you aren’t going to end up going anywhere.

Once you have figured out your why it’s time to deeper into your how.

Goals serve as regulators of human action. We’ve all had them, set them and even embarked on the journey to bring them into fruition at some point in our lives. However, in some instances those goals haven’t been fully realized.

Why is that?

Although my experience in life may be limited, something that I have observed over time is that regardless of if a specific venture or pursuit is related to business, sport, school, or otherwise, what makes that pursuit successful is a commitment to the process.

When we look at setting goals we’re often focused on the outcome: an outcome in this instance is a goal that is focused on what we want to achieve i.e. losing 10kg, hitting a 200kg back squat, or landing that dream job. An outcome goal may also involve succeeding at an event that involves some form of social comparison. I.e. winning a competition.   

So what is this process that I spoke of?

Process goals specify the behaviours which an individual will engage in in order to bring about their desired outcome. The behaviours are the actions, choices, and decisions that we take and make to bring about desired outcomes.

Why is it that the process is so important?

The process is where the magic happens, where we have a chance to roll up our sleeves, get our hands dirty, and work on that thing that we love. The process involves being in the moment and controlling the variables that we can control, our effort, attention to detail, and overall level of commitment to our craft.

Contrary to popular belief we don’t own the past nor do we own the future. The past has brought us to where we are and the future, although we may have good intentions and a well-defined path, is something that we have very little control over.

We do however, own the present. At this moment we can choose to be students of our craft, to learn, to execute to the best of our abilities, to be happy, and to take the next best step forward. We can learn to appreciate the small victories, to focus on doing the ‘simplest’ of things savagely well, and in time we will grow into what we are meant to become.

With all that being said and 2019 just around the corner I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s time to put a stake in the ground- a measure of where you are at, and how you intend to bridge the gap between that and the goal you’d like to bring into fruition. Once you’ve done that it’s time to get to work and focus on doing the things that are necessary to achieve the results that you are after.

Monitor your progress, be accountable for all of your results-both the good and the bad, be flexible with your pursuit as one goal may lead to another larger goal, and keep moving forward.



With 2019 being just around the corner that means that you’re going to have some new lofty goals that you’re looking to accomplish. Those goals might include making some significant changes to your current level of health and fitness. Maybe you’re looking to increase your performance in the gym so that you can take your performance on the field to the next level. Or maybe you’re looking for a change of pace and tired of following the same old boring routine that you found online or in the latest issue of Men’s Health and Fitness. Whatever your goal may be, we can set you up with a program to help put your best foot forward and make 2019 your strongest year yet.

We’re now accepting applications for online coaching in 2019!

To find out more check out the services that we provide here: https://ascentstrength.com/individualprogramdesign/

For those of you who are looking for something new or to spice up your training we’ve got a 3 day sample of some training that you can do for the week.

Day 1

A) Back Squat- Build to a heavy 5RM

B) Romanian Deadlift- 4*8 @ 70% 1RM

Part D) Metcon

7 Min AMRAP (As many rounds as possible in 7 minutes)

10 Burpees

10 Double Dumbbell Reverse Lunge @22.5kg gents/15kg ladies

10 Russian Kettle Bell Swings @24kg gents/16kg ladies

Day 2

A) i. Bench Press- Build to 5 reps @ roughly 80% of your 1RM (rep max)

ii. Bent over barbell row- Build to 5 reps @ roughly 80% of your 1RM

B) 10 Minute EMOM of:

i) Barbell Bench Press- as many reps as possible @ 80%

ii) Barbell Bent Over Row- as many quality reps as possible @80%

** For the EMOM you’ll perform bench on minute 1,3,5,7,9 and the bent over row on minutes 2,4,6,8,10. We’re looking at performing as many quality reps as possible without resting. If you have to rest that signals the end of the round.

C) 5 min amrap of:

7 Double Dumbbell Thrusters @22.5kg gents/15kgs ladies

7 Pull-Ups

Day 3

A) Conventional Deadlift- 4 sets of 5 @80%

B) Double Dumbbell Box Step-Up- 4×8/leg (all heavy)

C) Complete 4 rounds for quality of:

i) Single Arm Suitcase Carry- 100m/side

ii) Single Leg Romanian Deadlift- 8/side

iii) Broad Jumps- 6 Reps