From obese to 100-pointer for IPPTFind out how SSG Isaac Restan went from obese to fit and eventually scored full marks for IPPT in 2020 and 2022, in the first of our 100-pointer IPPT series.
// Story by Teo Jing Ting
// Photos by Chua Soon Lye & courtesy of SSG Isaac
If any of his secondary schoolmates saw Staff Sergeant (SSG) Isaac Restan, they might not recognise him.
After all, the 25-year-old used to weigh a hefty 120kg when he was in Secondary 3. It became such a huge cause for concern, he had to see a dietician at KK Women's and Children's Hospital every week.
"I was eating three McSpicy burgers and drinking five ice milos a day – it was really terrible but I didn't care," SSG Isaac reminisced with a laugh.
The turning point came when he had to custom-make his pants for junior college as there were none in his size.
"That was when I realised that I couldn't keep on doing this to myself."
He decided to cut out all unhealthy food and started running. This became his routine and he eventually lost 60kg in three years. The Platoon Sergeant from 5th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (5 SIR) now weighs 57kg.
Find out about SSG Isaac's fitness regime and how he became one of the fittest soldiers in 5 SIR!
SSG Isaac, what's your diet like right now?
SSG Isaac: During IPPT (Individual Physical Proficiency Test) season, I try to keep a strict diet. I will make my own wraps consisting of air-fried chicken breasts, spinach and beetroot because the latter helps to produce nitric oxide, which helps in exercise endurance. This is my diet on weekends. As I stay in camp on weekdays, I will usually ask for less rice and more protein at the cookhouse.
After IPPT, I usually cook heartier meals like pastas while still maintaining the high-protein low-carb diet. But I do have my occasional indulgence, especially when it's the festive season or we've just returned from outfield training!
What made you want to score 100 points for IPPT?
SSG Isaac: Back then, I was in my Platoon Sergeant Course and I wanted to win the best trainee and best in physical training awards. Unfortunately, I only got second place for both.
So I decided to motivate myself by achieving 100 points for IPPT. I scored 99 marks for my first three attempts but I did not give up. I finally achieved my first 100 points in my fourth attempt in 2020.
I guess you were very happy when you got it?
SSG Isaac: (laughing) Wah ,when I reached the finishing line for my 2.4km run, I asked the guy who was keeping time if I scored 100 points. The moment he said yes, I screamed my lungs out 'cos I finally did it!
Is the 2.4km run your most challenging station?
SSG Isaac: Yes! 'Cos I have to complete the run under 8.40 minutes to get the full score of 50 points for my age group. My best 2.4km timing to date is 8.35 minutes, when I got my first 100 marks in 2020.
So what is your fitness routine like?
SSG Isaac: I will usually start in January 'cos I need to get back to my fitness level after all the year-end festivities. I begin with long slow runs to build up my endurance – running about 6km at a relaxed pace for about two months. I'll also do a mix of calisthenics – pull ups, push ups and core exercises.
Closer to the IPPT date, I'll do tempo runs like 5km in 20 minutes and subsequently 3km under 11 minutes.
A month before my test in April, I'll practise my 2.4km daily on the test route. This is so that I know the timing I'm supposed to hit for every lap, turn and corner. It also gives me confidence for the actual test.
Post-IPPT, I try to run at least three times a week. I also cycle to and fro from home to camp on Sundays when I book in and on Fridays when I book out. I stay in Ang Mo Kio and my camp is in Kranji so it's about 25km of riding each time.
Woah, you are really dedicated! What motivates you to strive for 100 points every year?
SSG Isaac: As a Platoon Sergeant, you need to demand a certain standard from your guys – making sure that they keep fit, get gold for their IPPT. And what better way to do that than to be a role model? So I always push myself to get 100 points and show that if I can do it, they can also get gold for their IPPT.
For me, my role model is my Company Sergeant Major 3rd Warrant Officer Ben Liew. He's been getting 100 points for about five years consecutively so I look up to him. He also had a lot to say when I did not manage to score 100 points in 2021! (laughs)
Why were you not able to hit full marks in 2021?
SSG Isaac: I scored two rounds of 99 points, but had no time to go for another attempt as I was too busy with numerous training and outfield exercises. So this year, I was even more determined to hit my 100 marks again – and I achieved it on my second try.
So, what are your tips to scoring better for IPPT?
SSG Isaac: Be consistent with your training. You don't have to work out every day. Just go for a 15-minute jog about three times a week to keep your body moving.
Another tip is to conserve your energy for your weaker stations. For instance, I will just stop at 60 push ups and sit ups (which is the full 25 points for these two stations) so that I can push myself for the 2.4km run, which is my weakest station.