Dad bod? No way!ME3 Joseph Ng plays sports with his sons every weekend to maintain his fitness and avoid getting a "dad bod". That’s what has helped him score full marks for IPPT in the past two years!
Story by Teo Jing Ting // Photos by Chai Sian Liang & courtesy of ME3 Ng
Military Expert (ME) 3 Joseph Ng is a jack of all sports. Table tennis, badminton, squash, volleyball, basketball, soccer – he plays them all.
His weekends are piled with sporting activities. The 45-year-old will play at least two different sports with his sons in the evenings before heading out for dinner together with his wife and 14-year-old daughter.
"Both my boys are quite active so they always ask me to play with them," said the coxswain of the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN's) frigate RSS Tenacious.
"Most of the time, it's the two of them against me so I have to push harder and run faster in order to match their speed. This helps me improve my overall fitness and stamina."
His healthy lifestyle has also paid off when it comes to his Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) – ME3 Ng scored 100 points in 2021 and 2022 despite having no love for running. Find out what keeps this father-of-three motivated to maintain his record!
ME3 Ng, who do you think is fitter? You or your boys?
ME3 Ng: Definitely me! (laughs) They always play two versus one against me in both volleyball and soccer, and most of the time I will win them. But they are catching up fast and are even starting to beat me in table tennis!
We heard that you are also the unofficial coach for your sons in table tennis?
ME3 Ng: Both my sons are playing table tennis for their school. Alton, my eldest son, is the table tennis captain in Tampines Meridian Junior College while my younger son Ashton is the captain for Red Swastika School.
I used to play table tennis during primary school and I also represented the RSN during Formation sports when I was in 123 Squadron. So I coach them to be better by playing with them and providing some tips.
Wow, that's impressive! So what motivated you to score full marks for IPPT?
ME3 Ng: I love to challenge myself. Unfortunately, I always missed the mark by a little. I really wanted to push for 100 points and finally succeeded two years ago.
I also wanted to motivate my sons to do well for their NAPFA (National Physical Fitness Award) test and show them if Daddy can do it, they can too!
You also managed to achieve 100 points despite going through an operation recently?
ME3 Ng: In August 2021, I went for an emergency knee surgery as a result of a freak accident, to repair my muscles and tendon. This was my second knee operation – the first was in 2006 when I had a meniscus tear from playing soccer.
The rehab was difficult as I still had some worn out cartilage on my left knee but I managed to overcome it, train up for IPPT and achieved full marks in 2022 on my first attempt!
What are your best scores to date?
ME3 Ng: I ran 9.30 minutes for 2.4km. My push ups and sit ups were 74 and 56 reps respectively.
Besides playing sports, how else do you train for IPPT?
ME3 Ng: IPPT begins in April, so I will start running twice a week from January. I'll usually start with a time trial. This means doing a 2.4km run and subsequently doing interval trainings to improve on that timing.
For interval runs, I will do eight sets of 400m runs. I run for 1min 30s, then rest for one minute before starting again – this trains my body to be customised to the cardio required for the 2.4km run.
Occasionally, I will also train on the treadmill. I set it to a speed of 15 and I'll run continuously for 10 minutes.
For sit up and push ups, I try to do as many as I can together with my sons. We'll take turns to time each other – this way, they can also train for their NAFPA.
What is your diet like?
ME3 Ng: I watch what I eat so that I don't gain a tummy – 'cos as you age, it's very easy to get one. So I will not eat too much fatty food and usually remove the skin from my chicken. Cannot get the dad bod lah! (laughs)
So, what are your tips to scoring better for IPPT?
ME3 Ng: I don't like running so I make sure that I push myself hard for every run, so that each session will be effective. This is also why I do interval runs 'cos it helps me improve my timing.
Conserve your energy also. Once I hit full marks for both sit up and push ups, I will stop and give my all for the 2.4km run.
Most importantly, try to do a bit of sports or workout so that you can maintain your fitness. When you're active in your daily life, it'll be much easier to train.