Amputee among over 100 participants who complete SAF Day fitness challenge
// Story by Koh Eng Beng
// Photos by Chai Sian Liang & Courtesy of MAJ (NS) Fung & ELXR
Having only one leg is not an obstacle for former commando national serviceman James Leo, who took part in a ground-up community fitness challenge in support of SAF Day.
He lost his right leg in a serious motorcycle crash in 2004, and since then Mr James Leo has had to wear a prosthetic leg to move around.
In spite of his disability, the 43-year-old engineer completed a gruelling fitness challenge to show his support for Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day on 1 Jul. That's 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and 3.2km of rowing in under two hours!
"I don't exercise often but it's SAF Day so I thought of coming down to do a workout, just to show my support," said Mr Leo, who was a Commando during his Full-time National Service (NS) days.
He is among the more than 100 NSmen and members of the public who have taken part in the ongoing SAF Day edition of the Red-X community fitness challenge.
Held from 1 to 14 Jul, the on-going fitness challenge requires participants to complete a military-inspired workout called Murph – it comprises 1.6km run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1.6km run in under two hours.
Participants are encouraged to don military-inspired outfits or weighted vests to show their support for NS. They may choose to work out on a rowing machine in lieu of running.
Creating a social movement
The fitness challenge was organised by Major (MAJ) (NS) Steffan Fung, 41, founder of ELXR, a sports technology company that runs a fitness social platform.
A former commando Regular officer, he wanted to create a social movement to support NS, and to encourage Singaporeans to adopt fitness into their lifestyle.
"If all NSmen adopt fitness as a lifestyle, keeping fit throughout the year, they can concentrate solely on weapons and tactical training during their annual in-camp training," said MAJ (NS) Fung.
Lending support to fitness industry
Besides showing support for NS, MAJ (NS) Fung also wanted to help bring businesses to local boutique gyms in this difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the fitness challenge, customers get to try out the gym facilities, and hopefully will consider joining the gym in future, he explained.
"Total Defence is not only about the military and the SAF; it's also about economic defence and bringing the community together," said MAJ (NS) Fung, who serves as Battalion Second-in-Command of 716th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment.
His company ELXR is part of the Community of Practice of NS Advocates that support NS and NSmen through ground-up initiatives. Employers and their NSmen can use the ELXR fitness app to sign up for various fitness programmes, and earn reward points that can be exchanged for shopping vouchers.
One of the NSmen who joined the fitness challenge was his friend Captain (CPT) (NS) Patricvk Tan. Both officers are part of a group of NSmen who work out together. They call themselves "Weak NSmen", a self-deprecating name to remind themselves to keep fit.
CPT Tan said they had done the Murph workout on SAF Day two years ago, before MAJ (NS) Fung decided to turn it into a community event for all Singaporeans this year.
"The fitness challenge is a good workout, and a good start for people who want to keep fit," said the 44-year-old logistics officer or S4 of a C4I Battalion. C4I refers to Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence.
Participants may also choose to complete the challenge virtually at any suitable venues such as fitness parks from now till 14 Jul.
Interested in joining the fitness challenge? Check out the ELXR Facebook page for the registration details!
Meanwhile, check out how Mr Leo conquered the fitness challenge: