SINGAPORE - The remedial and voluntary preparatory training aspects of the individual physical proficiency test (IPPT) will be replaced by a new 10-session programme, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) said on Monday (March 15).
The NS Fitness Improvement Training (FIT) programme will be available from April 1 this year at 45 locations islandwide. There are currently 13 sites where operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) can undergo training.
Under the new programme, NSmen will be able to choose from at least six different NS FIT training activities to fulfil the required 10 sessions. They can register for sessions through the ns.sg portal from March 25.
Currently, those unable to pass their IPPT can opt for 10 voluntary IPPT preparatory training sessions, or participate in up to 20 remedial training sessions.
Brigadier-General Kenneth Liow, director of national service affairs, said NS FIT will streamline this "complicated" system of annual fitness requirements into one common programme.
Each NS FIT session, lasting approximately 60 to 75 minutes, can be easily fit into NSmen's busy schedules, he added.
"The vast majority of our NSmen meet their fitness requirements," said BG Liow. "NS FIT is aimed at trying to promote a more healthy and active lifestyle."
The programme is one of the NS Review Committee's initiatives and also a collaboration between the SAF, Health Promotion Board (HPB) and Sport Singapore (SportSG).
The three organisations had in 2017 signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote fitness and health among NSmen.
On top of existing training locations at parks, Safra gyms and fitness conditioning centres (FCCs) within army camps, NSmen can choose to undergo NS FIT at three upcoming gym sites under ActiveSG - the national movement for sport - and 29 locations under the HPB's Quick HIIT (high-intensity interval training) banner.
The Quick HIIT programme, started in 2018 as a first initiative under the MOU, is conducted seven days a week at malls, community spaces and SportSG facilities.
It is open to the public and features short bursts of high-intensity exercises that build strength, endurance and aerobic fitness over time.
This is similar to metabolic circuit sessions conducted at FCCs, which also offer activities focused on aerobic threshold, weight loss, sports and IPPT-specific exercises.
Sessions at the Safra gyms are customised based on individual needs, and should an NSman decide to attend NS FIT at one, he will have to complete all 10 sessions at the same gym.
The programme at upcoming ActiveSG gym sites - in Bedok, Jurong East and Tampines - will be confirmed later.
The 10 sessions include one IPPT attempt, to be taken at the NSman's choosing. If he passes the test before the 10 sessions, he will not need to fulfil the remainder.
NS FIT was trialled from 2018 to 2019 with about 250 NSmen, including a brigade commanded by Colonel (NS) Michael Hua, 49.
He said: "The feedback we got from the guys from the ground was (that) it gives them flexibility, and offers convenience. More importantly, it allows them to integrate fitness into their lifestyles."
Third Sergeant (NS) Bay Yong Kang, 25, participated in the trial and cleared his 10 sessions in under four months.
"The fact that it was nearby, in my neighbourhood, and that I didn't have to make a trip down to an FCC - I think the location is one of the greatest things about NS FIT and made it very easy," he said.
Third Sergeant (NS) Muhammad Nur 'Azhari Zainal Abidin, who also underwent the trial, agreed. He said the ability to plan sessions around his work schedule was a major advantage, adding: "I actually noted that I lost weight and also gained the motivation to continue exercising."
NSmen's friends and family can also join them in their Quick HIIT sessions by booking a slot using HPB's Healthy 365 mobile app.
The Home Team's NSmen will also adopt NS FIT from June. They will be able to undergo FIT sessions at Home Team premises, HomeTeamNS clubhouses and ActiveSG gyms.