WATCH: Singaporean undergrad is world pull-up champ
NUS undergrad does 44 pull-ups in 1 minute to break world record
When one mentions achievements, many people think of money, medals, or possibly of getting a driving licence or a degree.
For Mr Yeo Kim Yeong, 25, it was to break a world record.
And not just any world record.
The National University of Singapore undergraduate spent a year training to break the Guinness World Record for the most number of pull-ups in one minute.
Last week, he did 44 pull-ups, beating the previous record of 42 set by an American, Mr David Bourdon, in March last year.
But it was not an easy journey for the 1.6m-tall strongman, who took a leave of absence from school for a semester to achieve the feat.
He had set his mind on breaking the record in July last year, when he had just completed year two of his history studies, but everyone around him persuaded him to reconsider.
"My friends, my family, my school, everyone said I shouldn't do it. They'd say things like, why can't you just complete your degree then try?" he said.
"But I knew then that I had to do it. It was now or never."
When asked what he meant, he said he had a "gut feeling" he would not have a chance to do it once he graduates.
And he claimed he did it without any pills or protein shakes. Just lots of pull-ups and a 100 per cent natural diet of high protein home-cooked food of fish and chicken.
Mr Yeo, who weighs 54kg, calculated that he has done more than 100,000 pull-ups in the past 10 years, and has done about 10,000 in the past year.
He usually achieved gold for his Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT), with the occasional silver as he was weak in running, but he had aced pull-ups since he was 15.
The soft-spoken undergrad said he broke down immediately after his last pull-up, crying tears of relief.
He had his feat recognised by a Guinness World Records judge whom he invited here from India and who witnessed the attempt.
"It was one struggle after another, obstacle after obstacle," Mr Yeo told The New Paper yesterday.
"I had to cut off all interaction, including social media, I had to sacrifice relationships with the people around me and I've not watched a movie in half a year.
"It was the hardest period of my life."
He said he had to cut off most of his social interactions as he found them distracting and he needed to focus on his training and state of mind constantly.
He trained by himself for half a year from July at various gyms, but got stuck and sought help from Genesis Gym.
The gym owner, Mr Jonathan Wong, 35, took him in in December and developed a special programme with his team for Mr Yeo.
Said Mr Wong: "I was confident he could do it. He is outstanding.
"He's not here to play around. He came to us, told us he wanted to break the world record and we said okay, let's do it. You need his kind of personality and drive to break records."
They trained him by building up his strength, doing variations of pull-ups, including attaching weights to his waist.
Genesis Gym was also the location where Mr Yeo broke the world record.
He attempted to break the record in March, but failed due to technicalities.
He said: "The standard of pull-ups was really strict. Our standards here for the IPPT are considered lax.
"If I even clenched my abs or swayed my legs slightly, the pull-up wouldn't count. It was tougher than even the standard of US marines."
Mr Yeo said his greatest motivation came from his parents, for whom he wanted to break the record.
His mother, Mrs Mary Yeo, 59, a housewife, cooked his meals according to the required high protein diet for him every day.
She said: "I believed that he could do it.
"When he lost confidence after his training on some days, I just had to keep reminding him that he could do it if he set his mind to it."
Mr Yeo, who will be going back to school this semester to complete his degree, said he could not have broken the record without the help of Genesis Gym and his parents.
When asked what his greatest takeaway from the experience was, he said: "Everyone is able to achieve great things. Never give up, even if you encounter failure.
"Stick to your dreams and believe in yourself and you'll be able to do it."