SAF introduces new NS FIT programmeWith the new NS Fitness Improvement Training (NS FIT) programme, NSmen will have more choices when it comes to training location and fitness activities.
//Story by Koh Eng Beng
//Photos by PIONEER photographers
Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) will soon be able to train and build up their fitness through various activities at 45 different locations across the island – the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has introduced a new NS FIT programme which offers greater convenience and flexibility.
To be launched on 1 Apr, it will replace the current Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) Preparatory Training, or IPT, and Remedial Training (RT). NSmen can register for NS FIT sessions through the NS portal from 25 Mar onward.
More training locations & activity choices
There will be 29 new training locations, including Singapore Sports Hub, Waterway Point, Our Tampines Hub, Jurong Lake Gardens, and Yishun Town Square.
These will complement the four existing Fitness and Conditioning Centres (FCCs), three parks and six SAFRA Energy One gyms. Three ActiveSG gyms will soon be added to the list of training locations.
NSmen can choose from different NS FIT programmes offered at the various locations, which will increase from 13 to 45.
At the 29 new community locations, NSmen can undergo the FIT@HPB Quick HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) – a circuit training which features short bursts of high-intensity exercises that build strength, endurance and aerobic fitness over time.
Quick HIIT is an existing exercise programme offered by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) for members of the public. Family members and friends can join the NSmen for training by booking a slot in the same session via the HPB’s Healthy 365 mobile app.
Streamlining NS fitness requirements
Brigadier-General (BG) Kenneth Liow, Director of National Service Affairs, said NS FIT will offer greater convenience, flexibility, and a holistic range of training options for NSmen.
“This will encourage them to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle, and meet their fitness requirements."
NSmen can also choose to train at the FCCs which offer the aerobic threshold circuit which improves stamina; metabolic circuit which incorporates HIIT; sports and games; weight-loss exercises; as well as IPPT-specific exercises.
Each NS FIT session lasts about 60 to 75 minutes.
Under the new NS FIT system, NSmen just need to either pass their IPPT or complete 10 NS FIT sessions (which includes one IPPT attempt). Currently, NSmen who fail their IPPT or fail to complete the 10-session IPT, have to complete up to 20 sessions of RT.
IPPT will continue to be conducted only at the FCCs and SAFRA gyms.
The SAF started trialling the NS FIT in 2019 with 250 NSmen. Their response has been overwhelmingly positive, BG Liow noted.
“The feedback is that the increase in venues nearer to their workspaces and nearer their homes have offered them greater flexibility to participate in fitness activities," he said.
3rd Sergeant (3SG) (NS) Muhammad Nur 'Azhari Bin Zainal Abidin, 29, welcomed the flexibility of training at different training locations and timings. As an officer at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, he does shift work which makes it challenging for him to train during regular hours.
"Since (taking part in) the NS Fit sessions, I have lost weight and gained the motivation to continue exercising. It's like a catalyst for me to start exercising, (even though) it's quite tiring for me because I work in shifts," added the section commander at 9th Singapore Infantry Brigade (9 SIB).
For 3SG (NS) Bay Yong Kang, training with his NS mates is more fun and motivating than training alone.
"Back in NS, we do the same thing, exercising with our bunk mates and friends. Doing it here again feels very refreshing," said the 25-year-old Operations/Intelligence Specialist, 162nd Battalion, Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence.
Colonel (COL) (NS) Michael Hua, 49, Brigade Commander, Headquarters 24 SIB, noted that many NSmen had found it challenging to rush from their workplaces to the FCCs for their IPT or RT.
Now with over 40 locations across Singapore, it’s easier for NSmen to integrate training into their lifestyle, he said.
"With NS FIT, they can train with their friends (and) family. The timings are also more flexible…(and) they can choose a session that’s near their workplace or home."
COL (NS) Hua added that based on his observations and interactions with his NSmen, the NS FIT trial has been successful in creating an active lifestyle among the soldiers in the unit.
"Many of them continue with these programs on their own after the trial. And even if they don't, they realise that these are activities that they can do on their own with their buddies and friends," he said.
3rd Warrant Officer (3WO) (NS) Muhammad Hafiz Bin Jumahat, 34, who is a personal fitness trainer, described the NS FIT programme – which offers various activities such as total body workouts, metabolic circuits and HIIT – as holistic and effective.
"It is really good to see all of these programmes (being) incorporated into the NS FIT programme, and I think this will make a big improvement (to the fitness of the NSmen)," said the Company Sergeant Major of 611th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment.
Whole-of-government effort to boost fitness
NS FIT is a collaboration between the SAF, HPB and Sports SG, as part of the whole of government effort, to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle among Singaporeans, said BG Liow.
Mr Maurice Tan, 52, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of HPB, said the HPB has increased the number of Quick HIIT sessions from 26 to 50 per week to meet the expected increase in demand from NSmen.
"Our NSmen will have more choices, and they are also able to bring their friends and family along, to make it even more fun and motivating to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle."
Elaborating on the inclusion of three upcoming ActiveSG gyms to the list of training locations, Mr Sng Hock Lin, 51, Chief of ActiveSG said that ActiveSG is exploring the use of technology to create smart gyms for NSmen. More details will be announced soon.
The Home Team will also be adopting NS FIT from June 2021. Home Team NSmen can look forward to using training facilities at Home Team premises, HomeTeamNS Clubhouses, ActiveSG Gyms, and participating in FIT@HPB Quick HIIT.