Passing my physical fitness test

After serving 2.5 years fulltime in the army (at that time, we served 2 or 2.5 years depending on the rank attained), I went on to further my studies in a local tertiary institution. A few months later, I received a notification from my unit to book a date for the physical fitness test within the next 2 months. I was overwhelmed with my studies and did not train myself, so I failed the test. A few weeks later, I received another notification to retake the physical fitness test. I failed again.


At that time, the system was such that the unit would allocate a period for us to take the physical fitness test, and we had to take the test within that period. If one failed the test during the first attempt, the unit would allocate another period to retake it. If one failed again during the second attempt, one would need to go for compulsory physical fitness training. Failure to take the physical fitness test is a chargeable offence, so it is better to turn up and fail, than to ignore. The army has always adopted a carrot and stick approach towards the physical fitness test. The carrot would be cash reward, and the stick would be compulsory physical fitness training.


As I was a fulltime student, the guideline back then was that I was exempted from the fitness training despite failing the physical fitness test. Thus, for me there was no stick for failing the physical fitness test, as long as I attempted the test. 6 months later (within the same calendar year), the notification to take the physical fitness test came again. I called up the unit and the clerk explained that if I had passed the physical fitness test previously, the notification would come 12 months later, but since I did not, it was 6 months. That was the cycle for me for the next 3 years during my studies, taking and failing the physical fitness test 4 times a year.


However things changed after I graduated. I was no longer exempted from the physical fitness training if I failed the physical fitness test. So I made time to exercise at the gym. And finally the day came to take the physical fitness test. It was my first physical fitness test attempt after graduation. Much to my surprise, I passed the 4 static stations (chin-up, shuttle run, sit-up, & broad jump). After failing the physical fitness test for 3 years, it was really a delight to see myself passing. The 2.4km run was the toughest component. I still remember at that time we had to run 3 rounds in the camp, and the last 150m was a down slope. I sprinted for that last 150m as though I was chased by a wild dog. When I saw the result, I passed by 4 seconds. What a precious 4 seconds! I really have to thank the down slope or whoever that designated the route.


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