NSmen hitting gyms to defeat new fitness test

With the new military fitness test being launched next month, operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) are not only training on their own to get better scores, but they are also turning to fitness specialists and private gyms to get in shape.

The keen interest to train for the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) has even prompted at least two commercial gyms to launch fitness programmes tailored to NSmen's needs.

Fitness First will launch an IPPT package across its 16 outlets islandwide to help servicemen improve on their weaker IPPT components through customised workouts.

The IPPT package includes year-long membership and five training sessions that will be supervised by a personal trainer, who will also monitor the individual's progress in tests to be held every three months.

From April 1, the True Group, which has 11 gyms and yoga centres here, will roll out a three-month training programme that will put those who sign up through 12 hours of physical training with a fitness instructor.

The customised workouts will include treadmill runs, agility exercises and group exercise classes for those in their 30s who want to raise their fitness levels, according to marketing manager Lynette Manimaren-Woo.

These IPPT-related packages at the two gym chains will be launched next month and cost at least $348, excluding monthly gym membership fees.

The new, simplified IPPT will comprise sit-ups, a 2.4km run and a new test station, push-ups.

It replaces the former five-station test, which also featured chin-ups, a 4x10m shuttle run and standing broad jump - all three of which have been scrapped.

Last year, the Singapore Armed Forces began making IPPT training less of a chore for NSmen, many of whom have to juggle family and work commitments. In a trial that started in September, citizen soldiers can work out in more convenient locations downtown and in residential areas, instead of just army camps.

Fitness First managing director Anthony Tottman said today's professionals and executives want to work out "at their convenience".

"We are not only making it easier for them to find the time and place to work out, but also making sure they know what and how to train to excel in the test," said Mr Tottman.

Said the gym's fitness training manager, Yusuf Kay: "Everyone knows how to do a sit-up, a push-up and run. But they don't set any goals for themselves. With a trainer, we play to their strengths and improve on their weak areas."

Personal trainer Edmund Tan, who runs the Physical ABuse and DeFITnation gyms, said he has seen more requests for IPPT-specific workouts and is considering rolling out IPPT packages.

"Passing the IPPT is one thing. Achieving a gold or silver and passing is quite different. It's not just exercising normally...you must target the muscle group to get a gold. Those are the things we can do for the client."

Bank officer Alex Chong, 31, who will be taking his IPPT in September, said he plans to sign up for an IPPT package to try to hit gold. "As the test is much easier, I'm hoping to get the right advice to do the right type of exercises in order to do well."


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