Today on our special feature, we have Pedro Pereira to share with us his fitness journey from the day he stepped foot onto our shores. He is a Software Developer by profession and loves hanging around people, infecting everyone with his great enthusiasm and positive outlook about life.
We meant it when we say Portuguese men are incredibly charming, take Ronaldo as reference. But for now, just indulge in this rising Dragon Boat star.
Can you share with us your story on why you started to work out?
I was never a sporty person. I joined the Canadian Dragons dragon boat team (mid 2013) for the social component of it, it’s one big family, so, for someone new in Singapore, it was a great way to widen my social circle and make really good friends. Later in the end of 2014 I was not in a particular good spot, so I needed a change, and something to keep me occupied. I started running a bit, joined the gym and up the frequency of dragon boat from showing up on fun events to try and be of contribution for the team. That kept my mind occupied and has proven to be very rewarding both in mental and physical wellbeing.
How has this changed you?
Definitely, besides the obvious physical benefits (improve in resistance, higher levels of energy, etc) seeing the body change also boosted confidence, even if unaware of it. Even the physical posture changes. Someone mentioned I looked a bit taller simply because I was not hunching as I used to.
Do you like your body now?
Not that I was ever unhappy with it, but seeing the changes that sports triggered, well, I don’t mind them, not bad hahaha.
What do your friends say about your new physique?
It’s funny to see the different reactions, from “Didn’t you use to be… rounder?”, to others taking jabs at Cartman’s Beefcake joke. But everyone is very supportive.
How often do you train for dragon boat and how do you find time for gym?
Ideally at least two times a week. The Dragon boat practices happen during the weekend, so for the gym I go during the week around 3 to 4 times. Either before work, lunch hour or after work, depending on how I feel and what works allow. There is always time, the gym opens at 6am and closes at 10pm, so it’s a choice. Maybe 1 hour less of Netflix at night, and wake up 1 hour earlier to go to the gym. When there is enough interest we also have a Wednesday morning paddle. My favourite paddle session. The water is super calm and you get to see the sunrise from Marina Barrage, in the water.
Any memorable dragon boat competition you have experienced?
My first international dragon boat race, in Boracay. The place beautiful, so it’s the perfect stage to promote fun. The expat teams gather together as one big team. The fun started in the plane, which was full of dragon boaters, up to the captain joking about it.
Once we were settled, with that beautiful view, we all start to get to know each other, making new friends and just have a great time. In the end, after the awards ceremony all the teams try to trade their jerseys with other teams and the night ends with one big party by the beach with people from around the region just having fun as one big paddling family.
What do you think makes a good dragon boater?
Commitment, determination. I think it’s a trait all great athletes have. They practice hard, they don’t give up, they make the conscious choice of taking that hard way to reach that high mountain.
I have friends waking up at insane hours in the morning to practice for Club World Championship Dragon Boating happening in Australia this year. They push hard, practice hard and have a great level of commitment. I have great respect for these guys.
It’s very easy to say stuff like “A: Oh he/she is good/fit. B: Yeh, but he/she goes to the gym 4x a week”, of course, nothing comes out from sitting down and waiting for life to happen.
Any advice for beginners who are interesting in dragon boat?
Sure, come and paddle with us (Canadian Dragons – http://www.canadiandragons-sg.org). The sport is awesome and fun, everyone is super friendly and wanting to meet new people and share our enthusiasm. A bottle of water, sports clothes that will most likely get wet, flip flops and a hat and you are 50% dragon boater. The other 50% is showing up!
It’s great fun, you will get to know people with similar interests and from all around the world.