Kent Steffes

updated 05/08/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/08/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

IN BEACH LINGO, HE'S A STOKED-IP BIG banger with pure smoke and a buff bod. Translation: Half of the top-ranked team in pro beach volleyball is also a very hot dude. Bronzed, brash and built like a Greek statue, Kent Steffes, 26, credits his fat-free physique to monkish eating habits. "I stay away from junk food," says the 6'4", 220-lb. bachelor. "I like eating healthy." Gearing up for his sport's '96 Olympic debut, Steffes also works out 4 to 5 hours each day. "I can lift over 1,000 pounds on a leg-press machine," he says. "For squats, I can do about 440 pounds."

"Kent takes his training seriously," says his volleyball partner Karch Kiraly. "He's one of the best-conditioned guys on the beach." But it's Steffes's mental muscle that sets him apart. "I've been listening to Newt Gingrich for years," says the conservative 1993 UCLA economics grad. "I watch C-SPAN. I read a lot of political philosophy." And he has time left to sole-search. "I've got nice toes," hesays, "and clean toenails, which is rare in beach volleyball."

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