LOL Mondays: Wanna Get Fitter? It’s All In The Mind

How to “clickbait” ourselves into getting fit.

By Alywin Chew        6 May 2024

You know what, guys? I think I’ve cracked the code.

What code? The one that has to do with the IPPT. 

Just a year ago the only kind of running I was doing was…running out of money. 

I hated working out. I could barely pass my IPPT.

Now I can easily get a silver award and am now working towards gold!

You won’t believe how I did it. Scroll down to read more.





Yes, you guessed correctly. This is clickbait. 

But WAIT, hear me out. 

Because the way I cracked the code has everything to do with “clickbaiting” yourself.

For many years I’ve been viewing the annual IPPT as an annoyance. Because life in Singapore is hectic – where got time to work out regularly, right? It also doesn’t help that we’re constantly surrounded by delicious hawker food and ridiculously expensive and sub-standard pasar malam snacks that we somehow always get suckered into buying.

So yes, I realised the trick to getting fitter and staying that way isn’t about forcing myself to exercise. Because no one likes to be forced into doing anything. Makes sense, no?

I also realised that fear is not an effective source of motivation. You see, I previously tapped into the fear of failing IPPT to stay fit. Because failing meant having to do remedial training (or what they call NS FIT now), which could be rather disruptive to one’s life. 

But I just gave up at some point and resigned myself to fate. 

Okay lor. Suck thumb lor. Just do NS FIT lor. 

Interestingly, studies have shown that this can indeed be the case. Although fear can be a powerful motivator, researchers found that this sort of motivation can often backfire and cause us to become disinterested or even hopeless.

As such, I hypothesised that I need to have a desire to work out. 

To condition my mind to think this way, I clickbait-ed myself. What does this mean? Think about what clickbait is all about – it makes you curious and entices you to find out more. 

For me, I became curious about just how strong I could become. I set myself a goal of bench pressing 100 kilograms within six months.

Strangely enough, I found myself hooked on the anticipation of making new gains every month. Slowly but surely, the amount I could lift increased every month. And so did the number of pushups and sit-ups I could do.

In fact, I got so hooked that I started feeling uneasy whenever I wasn’t working out. 

Why do I get a “kick” out of seeing myself grow in strength? I reckon this is because seeking progress is a human instinct. 

And therein lies the key to “clickbaiting” ourselves into getting fit – we need to focus on the positive gains that we care about instead of motivating ourselves through fear or the possibility of negative consequences.

Of course, my approach might not work for you. For some people, their biggest motivation could be the monetary award that comes with the IPPT. 

I can see why that’s the case. The $500 we earn for getting a Gold award is pretty good money. We can buy a lot of things for $500. I mean, just look at the latest tranche of CDC vouchers. I’m still struggling to use up all my credits!

In fact, I recently learned that some people willingly go for NS FIT even though they can ace their IPPT. 

Why would people do this? Because we NSmen are paid to attend these workout sessions (half-day NS service rank pay per session), and this means getting a nice bonus out of your fitness journey.

Crazy, isn’t it? 

Another thing you can focus on is getting a nice bod you can flex.

Truth be told, this was what I did at the beginning. I enticed myself with the goal of getting shredded and looking like a contestant on the South Korean reality show Physical 100. 

But that failed spectacularly because I realised I needed to drastically change my diet to achieve such a physique. Being a foodie, I knew there was no way that was going to happen.

Come to think of it, I’d argue that this approach rarely works on uncles like me who are already married.

Look, most men starting from their late thirties are exhausted all the time either because of work or parenting. We have no time to go to the beach. We really cannot be bothered to have a good bod.

According to my observations, many uncles around my age are too preoccupied with something else altogether: navigating through a midlife crisis. 

Want to know what I spent the $300 I earned from getting an IPPT silver?

Anti-aging serum, hair regrowth tonic and a skateboard. 


LOL Mondays is an ongoing series of slice-of-life stories from freelance writer and NSman Alywin Chew. Look out for the humorous tales which will be posted every first Monday of the month, to help you drive away your Monday blues!

Want more fun articles like this, and other lifestyle content right in your inbox? Download the new SAFRA mobile app and opt in for the eNSman Newsletter – you don’t need to be a SAFRA member to subscribe – and never miss another story!