Fit And Fab

Battle to be fighting fit to lead her soldiers

Master sergeant Marilyn David lost half of her body weight through a disciplined regimen. Ng Wan Chingreports

Ms David, an army regular, weighed 110kg after giving birth in 2007 but has trimmed her weight down to 55kg.
Ms David, an army regular, weighed 110kg after giving birth in 2007 but has trimmed her weight down to 55kg.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Q What is your secret to looking fabulous?

A Being kind and loving to myself. Before the end of each day, I will write down the events that have happened, such as my son scoring good grades in school, my father's medical review going well or the meeting with my ex-bosses and colleagues, and managing to put in a good performance at work.

I will read the notes again later. It is my favourite gratitude practice.

Read. Appreciate. Give thanks.

Q Was there ever a time when you weren't fit and fab?

A In 2007, after giving birth, I weighed 110kg. I was then based at the headquarters of the 9th Division/Infantry from the Signals branch.

I realised that if I continued to do nothing about my body, it would eventually affect my work. As army regulars, we need to maintain a healthy body mass index.

And as I am a WOSpec (warrant officers and specialists) trainer and leader, it is extremely important for me to be fighting fit.

I wanted to show that I had the discipline to have good health and combat fitness after my pregnancy. So I decided to go on a fitness routine to lose weight. I started with walking, jogging and running. I also incorporated a healthy diet into the routine.

After two weeks of food intake control and fitness training, my weight started to go down. It took me five years to get down to my current weight.

I believe that exercise changes your mind, attitude and mood, and brings forth warmth, affection and an open heart.

Q What is your diet like?

A I avoid carbohydrates and fried food whenever I eat at the cookhouse. I eat mainly fruit and vegetables. I always start my day with a glass of warm lemon water.

  • Bio Box


    Age: 32

    Weight: 55kg

    Height: 1.65m

    The army regular, who did not run regularly before giving birth nine years ago, will be taking part in the Safra Singapore Bay Run and the Army Half Marathon on Sunday. She will be running the half-marathon and hopes to complete the race in less than 21/2 hours.

    She is married to a navy regular and they have a nine-year-old son. They work out with her whenever they can.

I have a chocolate shake in the morning, eat cookhouse food at lunch and have a vanilla shake for dinner. If I feel like snacking, I would have a granola. I also drink a bottle of water after every session.

Q What are your indulgences?

A McDonald's fries, peanuts, ice cream, pastries and giant-sized cookies.

Q What do you do to relax and how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

A I enjoy my work environment and unit culture very much. Weekly workouts with my colleagues give me great pleasure and motivation.

I take part in the Lifelong Investment in Fitness and Exercise (Life) programmes, where we work and train hard to meet our mission requirements.

On Sunday afternoons, I will make ice lemonade for my family and spend quality time with them at home.

I will hit the gym on Friday and Saturday night as a form of relaxation. I do dumb-bell circuits, shoulder press and the TRX T-raise, which is resistance training using your body weight. The T-raise is an exercise that works the back and core muscles.

Q What are the three most important things in your life?

A Family, health and kindness.

Q What are your must-dos before and after fitness sessions?

A I ensure that my body is well hydrated the day before any fitness session and I do warm-ups before the start of any run, gym or Tabata session. Tabata is a type of circuit training that comprises four- minute exercises .

After the workouts, I will do proper cool-down exercises for at least 30 minutes and drink a bottle of water or isotonic drink.

Proper warm-up and cool-down exercises are important to prevent sports injuries. I also do breathing exercises to relax and reflect on how the session went.

Q How important is it for you to keep up with your fitness routine?

A It is important as it keeps me focused and fresh at work and gives me positive energy. This ensures that I can be efficient and effective at work to lead my soldiers, as well as be a good wife, mother and daughter to my family.

Q What is the biggest sacrifice you have had to make to get to your current size today?

A I gave up my indulgences as part of the process to lose weight. I have cut out food high in carbohydrates and, instead, eat vegetables and foods that are high in protein.

Q How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia?

A I have a large wardrobe of sportswear. My most prized possession is my pair of Under Armour sports shoes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2016, with the headline 'Battle to be fighting fit to lead her soldiers'. Subscribe