Izzac Andrews opted for rowing in his quest to get fit and lose weight.
Three years later the Hastings Boys' High School Year 10 student is a world-record holder on the ergometer. Last week Andrews completed 8324m in 30 minutes to beat the previous 13-14 years boys' record of 8276m set by Southland's multiple world-record holder Xavier Wright last year.
Andrews, 14, is the second Hawke's Bay Rowing Club member to set a world record during the past five weeks.
Havelock North High School's Imke Kitchin produced a new under-16 girls' 100m record of 17s at last month's Maadi Cup regatta in Twizel.
What makes Andrews' record more of a feat is the fact he only trains on the erg for 30 minutes each week.
"While the record was my first official attempt at it, I had actually done it three or four times at trainings but I never thought it was a record. It was only when I was at a regatta at Lake Karapiro and a rower from Taupo asked me about my best time on the erg that I realised I should give the record a go," Andrews explained.
Last year Andrews was a member of his club's novice eight crew which won gold at the Twizel-hosted nationals. He combined with former Napier Boys' High School rower Jarrod Hart to win bronze in the novice double sculls at the same regatta.
Another of his career highlights was being a member of his club's novice eight crew which won silver at the 2014 North Island championships. Andrews didn't do any national championship regattas last summer as he wanted to wait until he was at the upper end of the age group he competes in.
"My long-term goal is to compete at junior world championship level. If I do well there, I will get a gauge as to whether or not I can aim for Olympic Games level in the future," Andrews said.
The fact Don "Doc" McDonald and Jock Mackintosh are his coaches is a good omen for the future. McDonald, who last year received a New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council service to sport award in recognition of his 37 years of coaching, is no stranger to producing junior world championship medal winners.
Tom Jenkins, Andrew Potter and Giacomo Thomas are three of McDonald's more recent proteges who have returned home from international regattas with medals around their necks.
Another promising sign for the future is Andrews' training schedule.
"At the peak of the season I train every morning and every second day. That's about 10 sessions each week for a total of 15 to 20 hours," Andrews explained.
"We've already started winter training with the aim of making a senior eight or club eight crew. I try and balance my training schedule for rowing with my one for my school's under-15 rugby team.
"But if there is a clash, rowing will always get the nod," lock-forward Andrews said, referring to the fact he sacrificed a Hawke's Bay age group rugby team trial last year because the team's schedule overlapped with the rowing season.
Andrews is already disciplined on the nutrition front - "plenty of high carb and protein foods and lots of water".
When Andrews leaves school he wants to study medicine with the aim of becoming a doctor. It's obvious his sporting ability is matched by his academic ability, and these are the type of youngsters who go on to excel in international rowing events.
Coach McDonald said: "Izzac is quite capable of going as far as he wants to go in rowing because he has the right attitude. Izzac trains very consistently and never short-changes, which is a simple recipe for success. He always tries to be better and these are great qualities for someone of his age."
Hastings Boys' High School director of sport Chris Pollock was thrilled with Andrews' achievement. It was part of a memorable week of sport for the school, which saw the 1st XV rugby team beat Wellington champions St Pat's Town 43-7 in a televised curtain-raiser to Saturday night's Super Rugby clash between the Hurricanes and Reds at Westpac Stadium.