Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NS and Bodybuilding: Experience and Transformation

As promised long ago, I'll write this post to hopefully let the young bodybuilders of Singapore know what to expect from National Service. What I hope to achieve with this post is remove any sense of fear/worry and help others make informed decisions before enlisting.

First and foremost I will be focusing on the psychological aspect and physical(body) aspect. I will not be focusing on what is actually done in the army because of how sensitive they have proven to me they are.

To start off, I would say the worst part about NS really is before NS. The pre-enlistment is the sucky part. That feeling of fear of losing your gains, the feeling of everything you gain you'll lose, etc. For me, I've had no issues getting smaller while in NS. You would think that you'll feel depressed looking at your body deteriorate week by week but actually, I hardly thought about my body at all.

In fact, it's like I detached myself from being a bodybuilder. As if there's a switch to just flip and I turned off the bodybuilder in me. Suddenly I don't feel small anymore, I don't feel the need to get bigger, didn't matter what size my arms are or my conditioning. All that matter was all that mattered to any other recruit - what time to fall in, what to bring, what to wear, etc.

I can't say that will be the same for everyone. I guess it is largely dependant how much an individual draws his sense of identity from his physical stature. If all your sense of self-worth is tied up in how big and ripped you are - which I think is bad - I'm guessing the switch will be hard to flip and NS will be a lot harder to deal with psychologically. If you are able to remain detached from your physical development, as much as you hate losing your gains, it wouldn't be an issue at all.

A big part that I guess most will fail to consider before going in is that recruit life gives you very little time to yourself. So you really don't have the time to sit down and sweat over losing your gains. Once training is over, you go back to your bunk, rush to bathe and settle miscellaneous stuff and then you're forced to be asleep. You don't get to stand in front of the mirror for one hour like you would outside to decide if your biceps and chest look a little less full today. You really kinda just get "sucked" into army life.

Let's talk physical now. As for performance and training in camp, as a bodybuilder everything should be pretty easy unless you always skip cardio and are into that whole didn't even do a minute of cardio but can get ripped mentality. Getting push ups for punishment is actually quite a happy moment because you don't get to workout so yea. And if you've been the 1 hour of cardio twice daily bodybuilder, I think you would actually benefit largely because route marching for long distances really feel like long cardio sessions, except really uncomfortably.

As for training out of camp aka bodybuilding training, you would have time on weekends to squeeze in 2 or even 3 sessions and if you're really obsessed with maintaining your body you would have enough energy. But if you're like me and you can let go of your body, you wouldn't really crave working out because you'll be shag enough from training in camp and rather rest on weekends and go back in refreshed rather than aching especially since you do not know what's going to happen on Monday when you go back and what activities are lined up so for me I would rather be prepared than be aching all over. That said, I've not trained at all since enlistment, so that's 7 weeks of not training - important to note for my next point.

Now comes the part about how your body changes. I guess it is likely to be dependant on genetics but assuming you're a natural and don't make any effort to maintain your size(don't train on weekends, don't bother eating more during meals or drinking protein shakes), then you'll probably experience similar results as I have. After 7 weeks, I've lost almost 7kg and definitely can tell I'm much smaller with just one look. Here's a pic of me before enlistment and now(7 weeks into BMT):
Now I realize how big I actually was!!(follow me on instagram: afnsa)

Okay first note the angle is not exactly the same and actually benefits the before more than the after.

Also important to note that I was down with dengue and still recovering from it even till now. It affected my appetite greatly so I really hardly ate anything for a good 3-4 days which probably contributed to lost gainz of a kilo or so. So the transformation you see is really the worst you could get - no effort made to maintain size and made even worse with dengue and poor angle lol!

Anyway, this is only life in BMT as a recruit. Life will change and will be greatly determined on where you posted to after BMT. Life should improve as you enter units with more time to focus on your body.

Hope this helps! Do share this with any friends who have yet to gone through NS

PS: I completely forgot what it feels like to have a good training session...

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