It took 7 months to accomplish this goal.

What if I told you that the goal you just set, would take 7 months to accomplish?
Would you stick with it? Would you change your goal? Would you just give up?
And what if it seemed like a really small goal….

Like… adding 5lbs to your max Power Clean PR?

The great thing about goals is that they give you direction and purpose. They fire you up a bit more and keep you focused on something tangible. I think everyone should always have goal(s). Working out just to workout is fine, but when you’re doing it with a certain goal in mind, there’s something that much more rewarding to it.

I speak with people weekly about their fitness goals, and surprisingly most people can’t seem to come up with any goals that actually mean anything to them. If you’re just haphazardly going through weekly workouts, you’ll make some progress, but you’ll never have that feeling of extreme gratification for having accomplished something that at some point may have seemed impossible. And if you set a goal and come up short, you’re likely still further along than when you started.

Here’s my story on how it took me 7 months to add 5lbs to my power clean max. I write this not to boast to brag, but rather to inspire you too, to set some goals, and then stay the course until you’ve seen it through.

Some of you may be in my shoes: you’ve been lifting weights for 20 years, you workout 5-6 days per week every single week. You know all the data on your lifts, your times, your efforts, and progress is very incremental.
For those of you who aren’t there yet, I want you to realize the difficulty in getting stronger, when you’ve consistently been trying, without fail, for 2 decades. You will no longer just PR by chance. You will be discouraged by seeing your peers who are still only a few years into lifting regularly PR multiple lifts. You will often wonder how you even hit the numbers that you once hit and feel there’s no way you’re getting back to that.

This has been me for awhile. For a 4-5 year stretch in my mid 20’s I worked out like a competitive CrossFitter. A lot of that included 2-a-day sessions, with lots of meticulously programmed weightlifting cycles and strength programs. Somewhere near the end of that I managed to Power Clean 245lbs. For the next 5+ years I maybe hit 240 a time or two, but had never hit 245 again. I had often casually mentioned it’d be cool to power clean 250, but I never actually set it as a goal.

Even just power cleaning 225 is something that has always felt tough for me. It’s never been a routine weight. Often times it’d take me into a squat, or I’d bail and miss the lift. Any time I managed to hit 230 or 235 I’d be ecstatic.

In July of 2023 our gym had our annual Fitness Bingo challenge. One of the requirements was that you had to publicly announce a fitness related goal. I chose to tackle the 250lb Power Clean.

I knew this would not happen by just going to class and pushing myself on the strength movements, as I’d already been doing that for 10+ years. Fortunately I knew my exact weaknesses, and possess the knowledge to write myself a program.

I started August 2nd of 2023. Once per week I would do an hour long session, mostly focused on building my pulling strength from the ground. This would be a lot of clean deadlifts, clean pulls, as well as power cleans. One thing that really helped me was choosing to publicly display my training sessions on social media. This got people asking me about it, and supporting me. It felt awesome when people would bring it up in the gym, it gave me even more motivation to accomplish it.

I focused on the program weekly for the next 3 months. I never set a specific date to that I was trying to accomplish this by. I decided that as I started feeling stronger, eventually I’d give it a go.
Sometime around 16 weeks, which put me in December, I figured I’d see where I was before the year ended and “build to a heavy singe.” I recall getting somewhere around 235 and it feeling like a dump truck. I immediately though, “there’s no way I can add 15lbs to this”. 16 weeks in and I basically hadn’t budged.

But I wasn’t giving up.

I decided to add some more explosive training along with the clean pulls. I did weighted box jumps for a few weeks, and banded clean pulls. Also in January we did a 6 week backsquat cycle in the gym, then we followed that up with a 6 week stiff legged deadlift cycle, both of which paired nicely with the Power Clean goal.

To be honest, 5-6 months had went by and I felt like I may never actually power clean the 250.
There had to be another variable to help, beyond just adding more lifting sessions in.


In February we launched a nutrition challenge at Rampage that was focused specifically on eating more protein. I paid my registration fee and signed up for the challenge along with 40 or 50 other people at the gym. My wife was the one leading the challenge, so I had even more reason to adhere to it!

My diet has always consisted of about 3000 calories per day, but probably only around 150 grams of protein. The objective was to eat closer to 200g of protein, given I weighed about 200lbs. Protein is the main macronutrient responsible for building muscle, and it was the only thing I had yet to focus on.

During this time, we had been doing heavy squat cleans for a few weeks in the gym so I wasn’t doing any extra power clean work. Though I was eating a lot more protein than I had ever focused on before. We had our annual LIFT OFF event February 23rd at Rampage, and one of the lifts was a 1 rep max clean and jerk. My best I ever hit was in my early 20’s, of 265lbs, and I have never even gotten remotely close since then. We only did Clean & Jerks a couple times leading up to this event, and I was certain I wouldn’t get anywhere close to 265 for a full squat clean & split jerk. I set a goal of 250. In practice a week before I easily hit 245, and surprised myself. The day of the LIFT OFF came, and I ended up making a 265lb clean and jerk (this was a squat clean, not a power clean). I was thrilled, and had proven to myself that I had in fact been getting stronger over these 7 months of training. The added protein for 5 weeks definitely played a big role.

Something else that had been on my mind was signing up for 50 mile mountain bike race for the upcoming summer. However, if I were going to do that, then I’d have to switch my focus to endurance training and would likely sacrifice some strength.

The week following the LIFT OFF, I signed up for the race. So I decided it was now or never,..if I wasn’t going to Power Clean 250 now, it might not happen. Since I hadn’t been focusing on Power Clean training for about a month, I wasn’t all that confident in making it.

It was Tuesday February 27th, and I was supposed to do my first training workout for my Mountain Bike event.
I chose to spend about 20 minutes warming up and give the power clean a shot.
I built up in weight and when I put 220 on the bar, the lift felt shitty. I thought,…maybe it’s not meant to be. But then when I went up to 235 and pulled it faster, it felt even easier than the 220. My spirits had shifted. I was doing all of this without a lifting belt, which typically adds another 5lbs on the lift. (All my PR’s are with lifting belts). I then went to 245 without a belt, and hit it!! Oh shit, was this going to happen?!! It was quite heavy, but to do it beltless was a PR in itself.

There were 2 other people in the gym, coach Joseph, and a client. Joseph knew I had been training for this and when I walked across the gym to grab the belt he asked “how much you got on there?”


He hit me with a “Lets Go!”

I put the weight belt on, and now I knew I had people watching me. This was it.

I pulled it off the ground, focusing on trying to be as fast as possible in the first 6 inches, as thats when I make or break the lift.
I kept my feet flat all the way until the bar go the mid thigh. I successfully got the bar to contact above mid thigh, which is ideal, before then extending up and pulling under as hard as a I could. I have a history of not being able to hit the brakes and often just sinking uncontrollably into a squat. When my elbows turned over and I caught the bar in my front rack position I had to hit the brakes to keep this thing in Power Clean territory. It felt like a car screeching to a halt and just barely missing hitting a wall. My legs managed to stop myself,….. above parallel.

I had done it.

It took me 7 months, and I Power Cleaned 250lbs.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of a lift than this. I’ve never focused on 1 goal for this long. And although “5lbs” seems so small, it mean soo much to me. I hope you can gain some inspiration from this and go set some goals for yourself. There’s nothing too big or too small, as long as it means something to you!

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