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Real Athlete: Dragon-boat racer Jong Valientes

By RealJock Staff

Real Athlete is an ongoing series of interviews with inspirational, out gay athletes from around the world. Are you a Real Athlete? Take our Real Athlete Survey.

Dragon-boat racer Jong Valientes (RealJock username: rancho), 33, loves the thrill of the race.

What is your fitness level?
Adrenaline junkie.

How do you stay fit?
Discipline. I head to the gym four to five times each week, in addition to rowing training four times a week. I also keep in mind something I learned from kindergarten about the number eight: Get eight hours of sleep and drink eight glasses of water every day.

Do you play a sport? If yes, what and how long have you played?
I have been doing serious competitive dragon-boat rowing for over a year already. A right-ankle injury forced me to shift from badminton to a sport that's less on footwork and heavier on upper body.

What's the highest level of sports that you've achieved? Are you out in your sport?
Being able to be part of a team and represent my country in overseas competition. I’m out and proud in my sport.

What's the highest level of sports that you've achieved? Are you out in your sport? What is your favorite muscle group to train? Why? What is your least favorite muscle group to train? Why?
Favorite? That would have to be my thighs. The idea of pushing back 300-pounder weights while you feel butt muscles gasping for breath is the ultimate of torture. Least favorite? Abs. It's a test of patience.

What celebrity / pro athlete do you most resemble?
Greg Louganis, his focus, dedication and love for family.

What's your favorite body part? Why? What's your least favorite body part? Why?
No question about it, my favorite is this small muscle mounted on the pelvic bone that makes wearing low-rise undies really sexy.

Have you experienced homophobia in your sport or in pursuit of fitness? Please describe.
I've been fortunate to have open-minded teammates who are more concerned with how you deliver than with whom you go to bed at night.

What three words best capture your essence?
Insightful. Advocate. Open.

What's your best health and fitness secret?
Seven to eight hours of sleep. Good friends. A hobby. Volunteer work.