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Getting in shape for Carnival is all part of Projeto Verão (Project Summer) which most Cariocas (residents in Rio de Janeiro) take very seriously. Everyone wants a perfect, toned body that they can show off during the hot days of Carnival and feel comfortable when wearing less clothing To get in the Carioca spirit and get ready for Carnival, we’ve round-up some places in Rio to workout, get fit and feel good for February.
The exercise program of the moment, CrossFit has stormed into Rio with incredible success and is an increasingly popular training activity. Crossfit is intense and works all muscle groups, designed to tone you up, lose body fat and push your limits. The W.O.D (workout of the day) is a demanding 10 to 15 minute workout at the end of training which changes each day to keep the classes interesting. Regular practice and commitment will help you see results quickly. There are CrossFit centers all throughout Rio. CrossFit Crown in Copacabana offers daily and monthy plans.
Circuit training has grown in popularity the last couple of years and is now a commonplace activity in many Carioca fitness plans. The training involves a series of exercises and obstacles of elastic bands, exercise balls and cones that are designed to challenge various muscle groups and improve endurance. The benefit of this type of exercise is that it’s varied and stimulating, as well as it usually taking place outside on some of the world’s most wonderful beaches. The trainings take place at Flamengo, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon beaches first thing in the morning or after sunset from Monday to Saturday. It is enough to simply show up and pay by the hour, or long-termers can pay a cheaper, monthly fee. Circuito da Praia is a popular circuit training program in Rio, try it out!
You don’t need to pay to get in shape — Rio’s outdoor culture lifestyle grants fantastic opportunities to exercise and get fit. The beach is one of the most popular places for Cariocas to work out and the best part is that it’s free and you can adapt your workout to your own schedule. There is an eight kilometer cycle path that goes from Leme to Leblon that is ideal for running or hiring a bike to cycle down. First thing in the morning or after sunset are the best times to run to avoid the heat of the day. At these times, running on the sand next to the shoreline is a wonderfully invigorating experience. You can also play volleyball or football on the beach as an extra cardio activity.
The gym is the most obvious place to work out and most gyms in Rio either have day passes or monthly options for those staying a bit longer. The best gyms also have fitness classes such as Muay Thai, spinning, yoga and aerobics, which act as a great additional supplement to gym work. Smart Fit has a monthly option for just R$90. The gym is modern and well-equipped with chains all throughout Rio but doesn’t have any additional classes. Bodytech is one of the best gyms in Rio, known for its qualified and experienced instructors and huge range of classes such as swimming, yoga, CrossFit, martial arts and aerobics. It’s pricey (over R$500 for a one-off monthly payment) but gives a great deal back in return and has several gyms in the city. Six Wellness Club offers daily rates which includes the gym and additional classes which works out as a good deal for those on a shorter time frame.
Samba classes will prepare you for Carnival in two ways: getting in shape, and knowing all the right moves for the non-stop samba that will be playing over the course of Carnival week. There are several schools and private tutors in the city that offer samba classes. One of the best and most popular among tourists is Rio Samba Dancer that offers both group and private classes in English or Portuguese. The school also includes a nightlife tour that explores the different venues in the city that play samba, giving the chance to practice newly acquired samba moves.