Shape Up

Here’s why passing your IPPT might be easier than you think

SUPT (NS) Terence Choo says the “secret” to passing the fitness test lies in shifting your mindset and routine.



As the Chairman of The REAL® Run committee, SUPT (NS) Terence Choo has witnessed the transformative power of fitness. In 2017, he embarked on a personal project, compiling a collection of IPPT training tips that could benefit his fellow NSmen. Titled IPPT Ready, the online book was recently updated with additional tips that specifically help servicemen improve their performance in the three IPPT stations. Terence, who is a longstanding HomeTeamNS volunteer, shares with us more about the book — and his views on why passing IPPT is much less difficult than you may think.


I wasn’t always as fit as I am today. In fact, I failed my first IPPT attempt in 2014! But I’ve since discovered the “secret” to passing the IPPT, and I wanted to share this with my fellow NSmen, through a dedicated IPPT resource website, which doesn’t quite exist anywhere else today. 

This one-stop guide is meant to help motivate NSmen and cultivate a more positive attitude towards IPPT. It’s also aimed at helping them train safely, effectively, and efficiently with three different levels — those who are restarting exercise, those who borderline pass or fail their IPPT, and those aiming for Silver and beyond. I have also included a special chapter for leaders and commanders on fitness motivation and the D.A.R.E. framework.


The real challenge is not about addressing the fitness ability or knowledge of NSmen. Rather, they need to nurture their willingness to embrace health and fitness by discovering their personal meaning in pursuing better health and fitness. Once they uncover that meaningful purpose (which could be a professional or personal goal) that fuels their desire for strength and fitness, that will become the foundation for lasting transformation.


The secret is to be consistent, keep it simple, and have the right attitude towards fitness. A friend of mine who is 50, scored full marks on the push-up test. He doesn’t go to the gym regularly or train for long hours. All he did was incorporate a push-up routine into his daily life for the last 7 years. All he needed was a few minutes before showering or right after waking up. You may view the IPPT as an event that you need to train for and clear once a year. But I encourage you to see it from another perspective. Don’t train for the IPPT. Train for yourself. Make exercise an intrinsic part of your daily life.


Life in Singapore can be pretty hectic, but there is no reason why we cannot spare a few minutes every day to exercise. Find a routine that you have to do daily, for example, showering. Incorporate one set of squats or push-ups into your pre-showering routine. After a few weeks, and before you know it, it has become a routine that you’ll do naturally without thinking. One set of push-ups might even slowly turn into three or four sets. You can also look at this as a good way to energize yourself and feel good after a long day. I know this sounds rather unbelievable, but we only need a few minutes of exercise daily to pass the IPPT. 

Check out my online book for workout ideas that could help you enjoy working out even more. 


Yes! Close to 25% of our NSmen just missed the passing mark by a few points. By investing a few minutes a day to do a few sets of push-ups or sit-ups or completing a short run helps to gradually improve your fitness over time. The key here is maintaining consistency and gradually increasing the intensity of the workout as you go along so that you improve and reach the required level to pass.


10 years ago, I could not do a single push-up. Consistency and patience led me to where I am now. You need to start with what you can do. Start with 8 to 12 repetitions of the variation that challenges you slightly. Do it daily, and as you get stronger, you can go for more repetitions or variations that are more challenging. Before long, you’ll be able to pass. Results are the fuel for greater action.


I would ask such individuals: Would improved fitness make your life more difficult or better? We all know the benefits of working out regularly far outweigh the drawbacks. Firstly, it is far more logical and productive to exercise just a few minutes every day than having to carve out time to attend hours of remedial training (NS FIT), which can be very disruptive. Secondly, it’s no secret that being fit and healthy comes with a host of benefits. You’ll look better. You’ll feel more energetic and healthier. Most importantly, it can also help you to reach your personal and professional goals!


It all depends on the intensity of your workout. After an intense workout, you can opt for passive recovery the following day, either with a massage or simply resting the muscle you trained. Alternatively, you can also do active recovery — light workouts that are a fraction of the normal intensity. Personally, I like to do active recovery, and that is to exercise daily. When I need more time to recover, I will do a light workout instead of an intense one.


A personal trainer can give you  more targeted advice and help you to train safely by imparting good exercise techniques. You can also discover more about yourself by asking questions, which  can help you make the breakthroughs you want. You can speak with the staff at the Fitness Workz gym to find out what the personal training experience is like.

SUPT (NS) Terence Choo’s “magic ingredient” for improving IPPT scores

“Beetroot can help improve muscular endurance and help you do better, especially in the 2.4km run. A lot of research has backed this claim, and it has helped me personally. The nitrates in beetroot help reduce oxygen costs during exercise, and when you reduce the amount of oxygen you need, you can run at a fast pace for longer before getting tired. I usually start taking beetroot supplements about three days before the test. However, check with your healthcare provider if the supplements are suitable for you before getting started on them.”

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the app settings.

Lifestyle Shape Up

Ageing gracefully: 5 ways to prevent chronic illnesses

Active ageing: Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting sicker. These simple steps can help you stay active and healthy.



While you can’t fight the ageing process, active ageing can help you maintain good health and fitness.

The July launch of Healthier SG – a national initiative encouraging Singaporeans to proactively manage their health and prevent the onset of chronic diseases – motivated many  elderly and medically vulnerable people in Singapore to sign up and embrace healthier lifestyles.

Healthier SG is just one of the numerous resources and facilities available to members of the silver generation who are keen on keeping fit and active. These tips will show you how staying healthy can be fun, easy and even low-cost (or free).


Low-impact exercise is not only good for limiting joint and connective tissue pain caused by conditions like osteoporosis, it has also been shown in some studies to lower the risk of heart disease.

Going to the gym can be a great way to engage in moderate exercise. HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz gyms are located at the Balestier, Bedok Reservoir, Bukit Batok and Khatib clubhouses. Engaging in strength training at least two days a week can help you maintain good lower limb strength. This reduces the risk of falls and the likelihood of the elderly needing a walking aid. Fitness Workz offers personal training packages. For a fee, trainers customise fitness programmes and guide members through any exercises catered to your needs – such as the seated machine row or seated machine chest press.


Besides being gentle on the joints, swimming increases circulation and makes your body use oxygen more efficiently. It also helps to lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

Even non-swimmers can benefit. Aqua aerobics is a popular pool-based, cardio workout that improves balance in walking. Classes like the Aquafit sessions at HomeTeamNS Khatib are often conducted in waist or chest-high water under an instructor’s supervision, making them accessible to those less confident in water.

HomeTeamNS members can visit HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir to check out their infinity pool. Better yet, tour the different HomeTeamNS clubhouse swimming pools to decide on your favourite spot. (Extra tip: HomeTeamNS members enjoy free access to clubhouse pools daily, so a swim session there doesn’t just beat the heat, it beats the crowd and saves you money.)


If doing the same exercises sounds boring, why not try something new? One of the key tenets of active ageing involves learning a new skill or activity. This has been shown to improve well-being and confidence among seniors, in addition to increasing their social participation.

For example, yoga doesn’t require you to have the flexibility of a human pretzel. Start off with gentle yoga classes at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse. Benefits range from improved mobility and balance to slower cognitive decline.

On Monday and Wednesday mornings, Bedok Reservoir clubhouse hosts tai chi lessons. Tai chi helps enhance balance, flexibility and stability, even in elderly people with Parkinson’s disease. It also reduces one’s risk of falling, which can have serious consequences for seniors.


Getting out in nature has many benefits, especially for the elderly. It’s also a great way to change up your active ageing routine without breaking the bank. A study conducted in Singapore found that older participants enjoyed better sleep, reduced anxiety and improved cognitive functioning after being regularly exposed to the outdoors.

In our tropical city, you don’t have to travel far to relax in some greenery. Take a post-dinner stroll around your nearest neighbourhood park, or head to the environs of HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir for a leisurely waterfront walk with the family. HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok is near Bukit Batok Town Park (better known as Little Guilin), while northsiders frequenting HomeTeamNS Khatib are within easy reach of Yishun Park and Lower Seletar Reservoir.


Health may be wealth, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. HomeTeamNS members enjoy medical and wellness benefits, such as S$38 off your first visit to Total Health Chiropractic.

Members also have access to special rates at Thomson Medical Group, which offers healthcare services ranging from health screenings to dental care, flu vaccinations and traditional Chinese medicine. Whether you’re planning on acupuncture or teeth cleaning, it’s nice to know that your bank balance will stay healthy too.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Shape Up

On the (running) trail back to fitness

ASP (NS) Amos Ong wanted to get back in shape, so he turned to one of his favourite pastimes – running – and enlisted some help from HomeTeamNS. 



ASP (NS) Amos Ong’s journey back to fitness was inspired by a new addition to his family. His wife had given birth to their first child, Alyssa, in April and Amos succumbed to one of the usual woes of new parents – a lack of sleep and poor eating habits.

This in turn disrupted his exercise routine and affected his overall fitness.

Looking to get back in shape, he signed up for HomeTeamNS Running Clinics to build up his stamina in time for the 10km race at REAL® Run 2023. This also helped him to start running regularly again and helped him focus on the finer points of his hobby.

“In each session, the trainer focuses on different things from how we run, to how we drive our legs, to stretches and hand movements. These are things we might already know but have not been trained in, so it is a good reminder for us all,” he said. 

As with all good hobbies, it’s also helped him to widen his social circle. “I’ve become friends with some of the other frequent members of the running clinics. They’re from all walks of life.”


Amos’ love of running dates back to his National Service.  He ORDed in 2005 from Police Psychological Services Division (PPSD) and is currently an Assistant Superintendent (ASP) in ProCom as Div 3 Head Operations and Training.

“I started long-distance running since my National Service days back at the Old Police Academy. Back then, there was more momentum to train. These days, the priority is to stay fit and healthy,” he said.

The benefits of running are well known. It helps to improve heart health and can boost weight loss. It can also strengthen one’s bone structure and help to improve emotional and mental health.

Said Amos: “I like running around park connectors and reservoirs as it offers a good path with little traffic.”


One of his favourite running trails is around Bedok Reservoir Park. The 4.3km track meanders around the scenic 88-ha reservoir, offering runners a relaxing route that – best of all – isn’t interrupted by traffic lights.

Now that the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir Clubhouse has opened, it’s also given Amos a go-to destination after his run. “I can easily pop by for a quick swim and even buy some coffee and have lunch,” he said. 


Amos has participated regularly in HomeTeamNS REAL® Run. He tries to join the run every year unless he’s abroad – this year, he signed up for the 10km run. Apart from motivating him to keep fit, it’s also a chance for him to catch up with old friends.

“Every year, I end up meeting my other NS mates from ProCom or other police divisions. It’s generally a good run with a scenic route and a nice crowd,” he said. This year’s run, which was held at OCBC Square, was no different.

The signature run also helps NSmen continue to forge a strong sense of camaraderie.

“In ProCom, the guys will actively push for participation and try to win the fastest unit award. I may not be able to run fast enough but I show my support by participating and meeting up with some of my other NS mates,” he said. 

For Amos, hitting the pavement offers a very simple, tangible benefit, so it’s no wonder that it remained his go-to form of exercise over the years: “Running often allows me to break into a good sweat and clear my mind from the hustle and bustle.”

As a new father, he’s also looking forward to the rest of the family joining him. “I would love to bring my family along for training sessions in the future to exercise and get fit together.”

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Club Buzz Shape Up

What to do at your first REAL® Run

You’ve signed up for your first REAL® Run, congratulations! Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable experience.



Whether you’re a seasoned competitive runner or someone looking to get in shape with the family, the 27th edition of the REAL® Run promises to offer a fun day out with friends, family and fellow enthusiasts. Here are some easy ways to ensure you enjoy your run.


You’ll need energy for your run, so don’t start on an empty stomach. You don’t want to stuff yourself, but a snack or a light meal at least one hour before your race helps.

Stick to easy-to-digest, nutritious options, such as a salad with grilled chicken, clear noodle soup or brown rice with stir-fried meat and vegetables. (Need more tips on eating healthy? We got you.)


A brand-new pair of shoes may sound like a good idea, but it could cause blisters. If you’ve already treated yourself to a fresh set of kicks, be sure to break them in at least two weeks prior to the REAL® Run.


If you plan to reach the race venue just in time for flag-off, you run the risk of being late, or having to rush to make the start on time. This means you won’t start the REAL® Run in the right frame of mind.

You want to factor in time for baggage check-ins, so you can reach the start line early enough to prepare yourself mentally for the race.


It’s important to stretch and warm up your muscles properly before the race. The idea is to slowly raise your heart rate in anticipation of the run.

If it’s been a while since you focused on your fitness, here are some simple exercises for getting back into the swing of things.


Not unless you’re serious about setting a new personal best or competing for a win in your category, anyway. If your aim (like most participants) is to enjoy yourself, start near the middle or back of the pack so the serious runners don’t have to weave around you at the start.


Don’t start the race too fast – build your pace gradually to reduce the risk of stitches. Keep your running form smooth and relaxed. That means leaning forward a little while maintaining an upright torso, and avoiding landing on your heels. Instead, try to land on your mid-foot, which minimises impact.


Encourage your friends and loved ones to join you for the race. Running in a group beats running solo anytime, and everyone can trade stories after the race over a refreshing drink. And whether you end up running with friends or by yourself, it’s usually a good idea to…


It doesn’t matter if you’re into rock, hip-hop, dance or pop: Curating a running playlist with your chosen feel-good tunes can help to lift your spirits should you hit that proverbial brick wall.

In addition, a research study found that runners who listened to music ran four to eight per cent faster than those who didn’t.


Bring along a small drink bottle with water or an isotonic drink so you can stay hydrated during the run. Take advantage of water points along your route as well, so you don’t risk succumbing to heatstroke. This is always a concern, especially given our unpredictably hot weather.


You’ve completed your distance, congratulations! Remember to stretch those muscles so you don’t feel too sore the next morning. Stretching is an important aspect of post-race recovery and shouldn’t be overlooked.


Participants can choose from four adorable Otah and Friends plushies.

This new 2.4km category is ideal for multi-generational families or anyone looking to bond with their friends and loved through an easy, stress-free walk. Bonus: You can collect an Otah and Friends plushie as a REAL® Run souvenir. (There are four adorable plushies to choose from, each inspired by a furry or feathery native animal.)

For a visual reminder of the event, make your way down to the Otah mascot photo-taking session – just one of the fun post-race activities that you can check out on the REAL® Run 2023 microsite.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Shape Up

Why core strength matters for personal fitness

Core strength is crucial for even the most basic activities. We speak to Fitness Workz trainer Aidid Haidil to understand why it matters and find out simple exercises to improve core strength.



From an improved posture to enhanced stability and balance, as well as a reduced risk of injuries, a strong core provides numerous benefits to our overall health and fitness. Fitness Workz trainer Aidid Haidil says that a strong core is essential.

“The core is involved in most athletic activities and everyday movements, from bending over to tie your shoes, to lifting a heavy object, to running a marathon,” he said.

“A weak core compromises even basic everyday activities such as lifting, bending, and twisting. When your core is weak, these activities can become more difficult and may increase your risk of injury,” he added.


Couple crunches
Leg Raises
Bicycle crunches
Bird dog
Previous slide
Next slide

The good news is that strengthening the core can start with these beginner-friendly exercises. The intensity and duration can be adjusted to suit your level of comfort and proficiency.


  1. Place your forearms on the floor with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your hands facing forward.
  2. Straighten your legs and feet and hold your body in a straight line. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then release and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.

Couple crunches

  1. Sit on the floor facing to one side and lean back at 45 degrees. Raise and hold both feet slightly above the ground.
  2. Raise your knees towards your chest and lower on the opposite side.

Leg raises

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight up toward the ceiling.
  2. Slowly lower your legs as far as you can without arching your back, then raise them back up. Aim for 10-15 reps.

Bicycle crunches

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head.
  2. Bring your left elbow across your body toward your right knee, while simultaneously straightening your left leg. Repeat on the other side. Aim for 10-15 reps.

Bird dogs

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Lift your right arm and left leg straight out and hold for 5-10 seconds, then lower and repeat on the other side. Aim for 5-10 reps on each side.


A strong core offers several benefits, like an improved posture. “Strong core muscles help pull the shoulders back and maintain a neutral spine. This leads to better posture and can help prevent back pain,” said Aidid.

It also helps to improve your sense of balance and improves overall body strength. It reduces the risk of falls and makes daily activities easier to perform. It’s also essential for exercise. “Strong core muscles protect the back and other body parts during physical activity, reducing the risk of injuries,” Aidid added.

For athletes, this forms the basis of proper sporting form and technique and helps enhance athletic performance.

A strong core also offers surprising longer term benefits. Said Aidid: “The muscles of the core are closely connected to the diaphragm and the organs of the digestive system. A strong, healthy core can help improve digestion and reduce bloating and abdominal discomfort.”


If you haven’t been exercising for some time and are getting back into the swing of things, Aidid says it’s important to establish a base level of overall fitness and strength.

Cardiovascular exercises help to improve overall fitness and endurance. This is important for sustaining a workout programme. Strength training exercises that target the major muscle groups – the legs, back, chest, shoulders and arms help build lean muscle mass and improve overall strength and stability.

It’s important to take it slow, says Aidid. “Start with lower resistance or bodyweight exercises and gradually progress to heavier weights and more challenging movements,” he added.

Once a good base fitness level has been established, compound exercises can lead to greater progress. Incorporating these with the help of a qualified instructor can also be more efficient. “Compound strength exercises target several muscle groups at the same time. These often engage and strengthen the core simultaneously, eliminating the need to prioritise core exercises exclusively,” Aidid added.

Get your engines moving with your workout partner! Try out these workouts together over at our Fitness Workz gyms and spice it up with the equipment available.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the app settings.

Food Spy Lifestyle Shape Up

6 things to do to experience Thailand in Singapore

Golden Mile Complex may have shuttered, but there are still ways for you to shop, dine and get pampered like you’re in Thailand.



With the closure of the iconic Golden Mile Complex – dubbed Singapore’s “Little Thailand” – in May, long-time visitors lamented the loss of the 50-year-old building that invoked the Land of Smiles with its restaurants serving regional specialities and grocers proffering exotic produce such as banana buds.

It’s undeniable that Singaporeans’ love affair with the Southeast Asian country is nowhere near flaming out, with its capital Bangkok routinely appearing in lists of top destinations for travellers from the Lion City. But if you’re not up for a vacay yet, or simply want to prolong your Thai experience post-holiday, here are some ways for you to feel like you’re in Thailand.

1. Shop for Thai goodies at Thai Supermarket at Aperia Mall

Due to open anytime now, this Golden Mile Complex mainstay relocated to the first level of Aperia Mall after the building was sold en bloc. Besides grabbing takeaway from cooked food stalls selling Thai favourites such as grilled meat and seafood, noodle dishes, and Yaowarat buns (Thai-style charcoal-grilled buns with fillings), you can also stock up on authentic Thai groceries such as fresh native herbs and spices, a dizzying array of sauces, and interesting Thai-inspired snacks. The latter include boat noodle – and crab curry-flavoured Lays potato chips and Koh Kae battered-peanuts. Look out for the piquant J-Koong crispy shrimp typically sprinkled as a topping for noodles and other dishes.

2. Have an authentic Thai massage at Sabaai Sabaai

Sabaai Sabaai
Relax and rejuvenate with a Thai Tradition Massage (PHOTO: Sabaai Sabaai).

Singapore has no shortage of spas offering Thai massages, among which Sabaai Sabaai comes highly recommended. Indulge in their classic Thai Tradition Massage, where a therapist not only helps you stretch your body, but also applies rhythmic pressure using the hands and forearms to the meridian points to ease stiffness. The meridian system is a concept under Traditional Chinese Medicine whereby life energy (qi) flows through paths known as meridians. Besides this, there’s also the Thai Herb Massage, where a heated herbal compress is applied to promote lymphatic circulation and overall wellbeing. With two branches at Boat Quay and Wisma Atria, this spa has been in business for 14 years – so you know you’re in good hands.

3. Learn Muay Thai from experts at Chowraiooi Muay Thai

Chowraiooi Muay Thai
Try your hand in Muay Thai at Chowraiooi Muay Thai (PHOTO: Chowraiooi Muay Thai).

Muay Thai is a form of traditional martial arts that has gained mainstream popularity in recent years as a sport – it has gotten Olympic recognition. In Singapore, beginners and experienced practitioners alike can train at Chowraiooi Muay Thai, which is an affiliate of Thailand’s Chowraiooi Gym that is run by the country’s national Muay Thai coach, Adjarhn Chat. He produces some of the top Muay Thai champions in Thailand and together with head trainer Robert Yap, they hope to do the same in Singapore.

4. Staycay at the Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore

Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore
Soak in the stunning vibe of all things Thai in this local five-star luxury resort, Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore (PHOTO: Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore).

Located within the stunning grounds of Laguna National Golf Resort Club, the vibe at this five-star luxury resort that opened in the thick of the pandemic is decidedly elegant and contemporary Thai. You may want to splash out on a guest suite overlooking the green. Besides the subtle and soothing Thai touches in the resort’s decor (lounge on the three-fold triangle cushion in your room) and food selections at the biophilic Greenhouse restaurant, you’ll of course enjoy the legendary Thai service and heritage of the Dusit Thani brand. A treatment at the Thai-inspired Devarana Spa may include the signature massage, which combines Thai, Ayurveda, Shiatsu and Swedish massage techniques with aromatherapy to invigorate, revitalise and relax the muscles.

5. Enjoy authentic Thai food at Penguin’s Kitchen, Siam Kitchen, and Cheese Story Mookata Buffet

Enjoy the new Thai Green Curry Chicken with Nomjeen dish at Penguin's Kitchen (PHOTO: Penguin Kitchen's Facebook Page).

Hidden in a dusty MacPherson industrial estate, Penguin’s Kitchen is an almost-secret gem, with its tasty and Thai-level-spicy food and casual atmosphere reminiscent of a Bangkok street. For something unique, try the Century Egg Salad or Stir Fried Hot Basil Seafood.

Then there’s Siam Kitchen, which prides itself as the melting point of old and new. With chefs from Thailand, the café-restaurant presents authentic Thai favourites in a casual-modern setting. Must-tries include the Blue Swimmer Crabmeat Omelette and the Hat Yai Fried Chicken Cutlet. HomeTeamNS members get 10 per cent off the total bill at Siam Kitchen at HomeTeamNS Khatib.

Cheese Story Mookata Buffet just opened its outlet in HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier (PHOTO: HomeTeamNS).

Finally, fans of Cheese Story Mookata Buffet that was previously at Golden Mile Complex will be thrilled to know that they’ve relocated to HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier. Enjoy marinated meats, seafood and vegetables with their rich, cheesy dipping sauce. HomeTeamNS members are entitled to a 10 per cent discount on their total bill when they flash their HomeTeamNS digital membership card upon checkout.

6. Visit Thai Buddhist temple Wat Ananda Metyarama

Wat Ananda Metyarama
Learn more about Buddism and its philosophies at Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddist Temple (PHOTO: Wat Ananda Metyarama).

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to appreciate the religion’s philosophies and Thai Buddhist temple architecture, which is distinguished by its soaring gilded stupas and steeply sloping tiled roofs. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the hilltop Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple, the oldest of its kind in Singapore at Jalan Bukit Merah. Aside from its more recognisable traditional carvings and hand-painted murals depicting the Buddha’s life, the centenarian stands out with its modern, angular $6 million five-storey extension designed by Czarl Architects. The arresting V-shaped building houses a cultural centre and shrine.

Those who want to experience the real thing can head to Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya. With its central location near Pattaya Beach, the resort is an ideal base when visiting this tropical paradise. It’s a five to 15 minutes’ drive to attractions such as 3D art museum Art in Paradise Chiangmai; Sanctuary of Truth, a magnificent unfinished wooden castle; and the world-famous Alcazar Cabaret Show.

HomeTeamNS members enjoy 20 per cent off the best flexible room rate with a minimum two consecutive nights’ stay with breakfast.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the app settings.

Lifestyle Shape Up

What is altitude sickness and how do you prevent it when climbing mountains?

Learn how to prevent the condition that has led to tragic consequences for mountaineers during one of Mount Everest’s most treacherous seasons.


In May, a Singaporean climber went missing after reaching the summit of Mount Everest. He was reportedly suffering from frostbite and altitude sickness when he got separated from his group. The news, which came amid a spike in fatalities on the world’s highest mountain, raised questions over whether a rising number of inexperienced climbers and guides led to this. What’s certain, is that another factor partially responsible for many of the deaths that occurred this year is altitude sickness.

According to American academic medical centre Cleveland Clinic, altitude sickness may occur in up to half of people who climb to elevations above 8,000 feet (2,440m). It is caused by ascending too rapidly, which doesn’t allow the body sufficient time to adjust to reduced oxygen and changes in air pressure.

Don’t ignore the signs

As mountain climbing becomes increasingly popular, being aware of the risks and red flags of altitude illnesses is key to a safe experience. The mildest form of altitude sickness — which can usually be treated by over-the-counter medication — is known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), with symptoms that recall a hangover. This can deteriorate into High-altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), a life-threatening build-up of fluid in the lungs, and High-altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), a severe condition where there’s fluid in the brain. Such cases require immediate medical attention.

Regardless of your climbing expertise, all high-altitude adventures come at a risk of potentially life-threatening altitude sickness, points out Mr Vijay Kumar, director of SGTrek, an outdoor travel platform that offers mountaineering expeditions. “Even experienced climbers may fall victim to altitude sickness if they disregard proper acclimatisation practices or ignore their body’s warning signals,” he explains. 

With that being said, individuals at higher risk of developing altitude sickness include those with lung or heart conditions, pregnant women and climbers who live at low elevation — such as in Singapore.

Mr Vijay adds that in some cases, climbers may benefit from using medication like acetazolamide (Diamox) to prevent and reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. However, it is important to discuss this option with a medical professional before use.

Never underestimate the mountain and its challenges, Mr Vijay cautions, adding that “the key to preventing altitude sickness is a gradual ascent, allowing the body to acclimatise to higher altitudes”. “Listen to your body and be aware of any symptoms of altitude sickness. If conditions or circumstances become unsafe, be prepared to turn back. The mountain will aways be there and your safety should be top priority,” he emphasises.  It is also important for people with medical conditions to obtain a doctor’s clearance before embarking on a high-altitude hike. 

Being physically and mentally prepared, and taking the necessary precautions during ascent can reduce your risk of developing altitude sickness. Here are more tips for ensuring a safer and enjoyable climb.

Sources from: WebMD, SGTrek, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Livestrong, and Cleveland Clinic.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Shape Up

A virtual take on forging fitness milestones

HomeTeamNS’ Virtual Fitness Training programmes at Fitness Workz are helping pave a smoother road for Home Team National Servicemen to stay in shape.



National Servicemen often find it difficult to maintain their peak condition or to remain fit and active year-round. We spoke to HomeTeamNS Fitness Trainer Assistant, Muhammad Danish’aizat Bin Kamsani, to learn more about the Virtual Fitness Training (VFT) programme by Fitness Workz and why it’s grown to become a game-changer for National Servicemen trying to balance life commitments with maintaining a high level of physical fitness for their annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT).


VFT is an online fitness programme designed by HomeTeamNS’ Fitness Workz gyms, in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, specifically for National Servicemen looking to up their IPPT game.

According to Danish, the programme is ideal for National Servicemen who are willing to exercise on their own but need someone to guide them. The programme is divided into three main categories – Power, Strength, and Cardio – with exercises aimed at improving these aspects of physical fitness.

What sets VFT apart is that users can tailor the exercises to their fitness level and specific needs.

“It’s a solution that help make National Servicemen’s lives easier, especially those who have failed their IPPT. VFT affords them several options that they can choose from to complete their IPPT cycle,” explained Danish.

Another key benefit of VFT is that National Servicemen can now train and clock in their NS Fitness Improvement Training (FIT) programmes virtually, done in just 10 sessions via the VFT’s IPPT Preparatory Training regimen.


Being uniquely flexible by design, VFT has quickly become a popular choice for Home Team National Servicemen looking to stay on track with their fitness goals – even from the comfort of their own homes. According to Danish, VFT is a great help for those who find it difficult to set aside time for fitness due to work and family commitments.

They can work out anytime it suits them, and at their own pace, gradually building up their strength and endurance without feeling overwhelmed. VFT provides users with a structured and effective way to work towards their fitness goals, with expert instruction to help them stay on track and motivated, through a range of exercises specifically designed to improve IPPT performance.

The CARDIO60 programme, for instance, employs high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to boost cardiovascular strength and muscular endurance for the 2.4km run. Likewise, the CORE60 and PUMP60 programmes build core and upper-body strength respectively to help you crush the sit-up and push-up segments of the test.


While VFT provides a streamlined means to stay in shape and pass one’s IPPT, it is essential to remember that fitness is not just about hitting annual targets but improving your overall quality of life.

Danish advises National Servicemen to incorporate fitness into their lives to steadily improve their wellness.

“For example, pick up a simple sport that you love, and that will help keep you fit,” he advised.

He adds that one can adopt simple lifestyle changes to get the most out of their exercise sessions, like minimising distractions, scheduling workouts and exercising with a buddy to keep you motivated as you work towards your fitness goals.

A balanced diet and sufficient sleep are also crucial components of any fitness journey. To complement the VFT programme, one should aim to eat a balanced diet, rich in whole foods and healthy proteins, and ensure they are getting enough restful sleep.

Ultimately, consistency is key. Keep at it and, bit by bit, you may come to realise that not only are you passing successive IPPTs with ease, but also living a better, more fulfilling life.

“At the end of the day, keeping fit and active helps not only to improve your health, but also your mental state and physical ability to go about your daily life,” said Danish.

Book your VFT sessions with HomeTeamNS now! For the latest updates on VFT or Fitness Workz gyms, visit our website and Facebook page.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Shape Up

Excess denied: Everything to know about calories

Fitness first: A HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz trainer offers simple, effective tips to burn off the festive flab.



Festive and holiday periods are times to revel, refresh and reconnect with loved ones and head home with happy hearts and full bellies. While it’s easy to pack on the pounds during festive periods – after all, who can say no to a cheat day (or two) – the holidays needn’t always be about overindulgence.

HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz trainer Aidid Haidil shares his perspective on why it’s so easy to put on weight during festive periods, how to watch your calories amid the merrymaking and, when all else fails, how to trim that tummy in the aftermath.


The main drivers behind festive period weight gain are typically twofold: Increased food intake and reduced exercise. While the obvious solution for those watching their weight is to simply eat less and work out more, it can be hard to resist the temptation to indulge in.

According to Aidid, understanding the complexities of where your calories come from can make a huge difference in your consumption habits while celebrating.

“Some foods may seem small and light on calories, but may in fact be packed with calories from the ingredients they contain,” he advised.

Festive favourites like cakes and snacks, for instance, are often full of butter and sugar – both of which are incredibly calorically dense. Besides food, the fitness trainer also advises watching your liquid calories. Sweet drinks can make a big impact on weight gain, containing high amounts of sugar and being very easy to consume in large quantities. Keeping track of your intake can also help you keep the kilos off.


It’s not a must to refuse every snack that comes your way. One can still partake in all their favourite foods and traditional meals so long as they maintain a mindset of moderation. In this regard, mindfulness is key. 

Aidid himself has a few tricks up his sleeve to minimise weight gain while still enjoying festive food, especially with Hari Raya Haji incoming.

“I select a small plate and pick the foods that I am most interested in. Once done, do not immediately take another serving, but wait for a while to allow your stomach to digest the food and to tell your body that you actually ate enough.”

He adds that eating a light meal before heading off to any festive celebration can help you get full faster, lowering your overall calorie intake. Family members can also help one another cut calories amid the festivities.

“If your family members are the ones cooking, consider with healthier alternatives, or reducing the quantity of ingredients like salt and oil,” shared Aidid.


Sometimes, the festive period will end and, despite your best efforts, you’ve piled on the kilos. The best thing to do is to be conscientious in your lifestyle choices.

“Start with the basics of eating right – three meals a day, no skipped meals – and just staying active with light exercises. Also, remember to drink plenty of water,” said Aidid.

He recommends simple ways to move more like brisk walking, swimming, jogging and playing sports. Hitting weights at the gym or doing resistance training at home with bodyweight workouts can also be a great way to build strength while you cut fat.


Above all, ensuring that you maintain a healthy routine sustainably over the long term makes the biggest difference. When it comes to workouts, Aidid advises against anything too intense. Basic exercise sessions two or three times a week, each not lasting more than an hour, work best.

“Train smart and with proper form and technique, and know when to stop. Don’t overexert or overtrain – these are major causes of injury these days,” he added.

Staying motivated and consistent by creating a daily routine and sticking to it is a surefire way to see results. He says that while one typically sees results in just a month, he recommends sticking it out and progressively improving for at least 3 to 4 months.

Of course, just like how you come together for festive celebrations, it never hurts to involve your family in your fitness journey.

“Set a goal. Support one another. Share progress pictures. Motivate each other on both good and bad days. Change the lifestyle at home. Be more active together – that is how family members can influence not only themselves, but others around them to keep fit, get fit and manage their weight,” he concluded.

Need a place to stay motivated? Sign up for a gym membership with Fitness Workz now.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Lifestyle Shape Up

What keeping a food and activity diary taught me about my overall wellness

Our writer learns that the first step to adopting a healthier lifestyle can be as simple as recording what you eat and do every day.



Looking at me, you’d never think that I was fat – I stand at 1.85m and weigh just over 70kg. But underneath my T-shirt lies one of my biggest secrets: a tummy. It’s the classic “skinny fat” syndrome, which means that I have a relatively high percentage of body fat and low muscle mass — despite maintaining a normal Body Mass Index (BMI).

To address this, I turned to Mr Muhammad Khir Bin Mohd Saleh, Fitness Trainer Assistant at HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz. “The biggest misconception about shedding belly fat is that more high intensity exercises like running, skipping meals and sit-ups are the only ways to achieve it,” he explains.   

Mr Muhammad Khir Bin Mohd Saleh, Fitness Trainer Assistant at HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz
Mr Muhammad Khir Bin Mohd Saleh, Fitness Trainer Assistant at HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz

He adds that there’s no point in doing those exercises if you don’t pay attention to your daily diet. “One of the main reasons why burning calories through exercise may still not result in weight loss is due to overexertion, or inflammation of your body. If you exercise too hard on a daily basis, there is excess inflammation in your body, which in turn makes you gain more weight,” he advises. Instead, he says a low-calorie daily diet is ideal for shedding belly fat. Getting at least seven hours of sleep from Monday to Saturday, and nine hours of sleep on Sundays, can also help you achieve your weight loss goals.

To help me achieve my goals, I documented my fitness routine and food consumption over the weekend. The diary didn’t just help Mr Khir make sense of where I could improve; it also forced me to take note of what I was putting into my body and how much I was exercising.

I’m not alone: according to Harvard Health, keeping a food diary can help you understand your eating habits and patterns. Research shows that for people interested in losing weight, a journal can be an effective tool to help change behaviours. And it worked. For example, only after recording my food intake, did I realise the significant amount of carbohydrates I consume.

Here’s Mr Khir’s review on my food and activity diary and his tips on how I can adopt a healthier lifestyle for the win:


Breakfast: Three wholegrain WeetBix squares with fresh blueberries, blackberries and banana, topped with fresh milk

Lunch: Pan-seared salmon, basmati rice and snow peas/baby corn stir-fry

Dinner: Pork dumpling noodles

Snack: Wholegrain bread with peanut butter

Mr Khir says: Try reducing your solid carbohydrate intake and concentrate on consuming liquid proteins such as protein shakes. With that being said, consuming foods that are high in protein and fibre, and contain iron, healthy fats and vitamins can also help maintain your healthy diet.”

Activity: A quick workout of 180 squats and 180 jumping jacks

Mr Khir says: “So far so good. To challenge yourself more, consider applying some intensity to your squats by hugging a 5kg packet of rice or a weight plate. You can keep yourself motivated by scheduling regular workouts and aiming for fun and variety – swimming, weight and interval training, jogging, walking and cycling are all great ways to lose weight.”


Breakfast: Minced meat noodles

Lunch: Rice, boiled chicken, broccoli

Dinner: Baby spinach salad with chicken thigh, egg (no dressing)

Activity: None

Mr Khir says: “Don’t be afraid of the occasional cheat day. You can plan this for when you’re not exercising, and return to a high protein diet on the days you do work out. The rationale is that by allowing yourself brief periods of indulgence you’re less likely to veer off course for your diet. Cheat meals can help to reset hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, replenish glycogen for increased energy and keep fat torching mechanisms high. Cheat meals really work for those who are on a strict diet plan or an intense workout regimen. A cheat day or cheat meal should be a small break before returning to your healthy diet.”


What to remember when keeping a food and activity journal:

  • Write everything down, no matter how small it seems.
  • Don’t rely on your memory at the end of the day. Instead, record your meals and activity using your phone’s notes app as the day progresses.
  • Be specific. Had fried chicken? Write it down instead of just stating, “chicken”.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the app settings.