Singapore #FitFind of the Week: Lionel Khoo

The women have their limelight in Monday's #Fitspo. Now it's the men's turn. The Yahoo #FitFind series is a new weekly feature every Wednesday dedicated to all fit men out there. Know of any who deserve to be featured? Hit me up on and on FacebookTwitter and Instagram (cheryltaysg).

Lionel Khoo. Photo: Cheryl Tay
Lionel Khoo. Photo: Cheryl Tay


Lionel Khoo
Age: 20
Height: 172cm
Weight: 72kg
Occupation: Full-time National Serviceman
Status: Attached
Diet: Makes sure he gets enough protein and carbs
Training: 10 sessions a week with the national swimming team
How did you get into swimming?
My parents took me to the Chinese Swimming Club for swimming, Taekwondo and table tennis from the age of four. I enjoyed swimming the most and I did it five times a week then, compared to the rest which I only did twice a week.

When did you start getting competitive?
Around the age of eight. The first time I represented Singapore was at 12 during the age groups, when they sent us to Australia for a competition.

What are the highest and lowest points in your career?
The highest is definitely this year’s Southeast Asian Games, where I clinched a silver in the 200m breaststroke and gold in the 4x100m medley.

The lowest was the point where I had to stop swimming to focus on my studies at 18. I couldn’t train consistently and it was distracting.

How do you balance school and work?
I wake up at 530am to train, start work at 830am, leave at 330pm for training, then train from 4pm to 7pm. You just have to be disciplined.

Lionel Khoo. Photo: Cheryl Tay
Lionel Khoo. Photo: Cheryl Tay

Ever had days where you don’t feel like training? How do you overcome that?
Yes, especially after coming back from major competitions because we haven’t had to wake up before 5am in a bit. But the training squad is very focused and dedicated, so naturally it pushes you to train. Also, the fear of coaches!

Are you contented with your body now?
Not really. I feel I can be leaner and stronger. I can only continue to keep training!

What kind of comments do you get about your body?
My friend said to me the other day, “Why your abs game not strong?”

Did you ever feel not confident about your body before?
Last June when I first came back from my National Service break after four months of Basic Military Training. I didn’t feel as strong as I wanted to when I got back into training, so I started weights training.

What does fitness mean to you?
Fitness is 90 per cent of the race. Most of the time when I lose my races it’s the lack of fitness. Fitness is being able to keep active and enjoy what you do.

Misconceptions of fitness that society has today?
Guys on social media seem to want to get big and strong, but in my opinion that’s not the nicest body you can have. I rather have a lean and toned body, instead of a bulky one.

Lionel Khoo. Photo: Cheryl Tay
Lionel Khoo. Photo: Cheryl Tay
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