Going Loco Down in Copacabana

 Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janiero

Office Worker Health has gone international. I have taken a four month leave of absence from my employer in Ireland (parental leave) to spend some quality time with my daughter and partner and visit her family in Brazil! We flew out last Tuesday and have made Rio De Janeiro our home for the next six weeks. After that we’ll head down south to Florianopolis to see the in-laws in time for Christmas and New Year.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about the incredible setup we have for the next while, but one thing I’ve found about visiting Brazil over the years is that it’s been seriously tough to stay fit and healthy while I’ve been here. Anyone that’s familiar with Brazilian food will understand the challenges associated with the ‘all you can eat’ culture and the phenomenal choices of meat available at churrascarias (barbecue restaurants) or of pizzas at the rodizio restaurants to name but a few. Also really popular in Brazil are the savoury and sweet snacks such as pao de queijo, coxinha, pastel or brigadeiros. All delicious but they are not the healthiest or most nutritious option out there by a long shot.

Yes the all you can eat factor is something I find really difficult to be disciplined with, perhaps due to my Irish upbringing of eat everything that’s put in front of you! In my defence, on all my previous visits to Brazil I was on a two or a three week holiday. It’s pretty normal to let your hair down on holidays, right?? I had great intentions of running every day and exercising on those trips but I usually ran out of steam after a few days only to put my feet up and enjoy the culinary delights Brazil has to offer. I told myself that I’d get back in shape when I got home!

I absolutely cannot look on this four month trip as a holiday or I’ll really be in trouble! My plan is to enjoy myself of course but I am adamant about sticking to an exercise routine this time around AND improving my discipline when staring down the gauntlet of an all you can eat buffet.

I really have no excuse when it comes to the exercise. We are staying in an incredible location in Rio, one block from Copacabana beach. Having a home base like this for the next six weeks should help me get in to a regular routine. The temperature at the moment is in the mid to late 20’s Celsius, perfect for some outdoor exercise on the beach. Copacabana is lined with outdoor exercise stations at set intervals along the beach; an amazing free resource for the locals. My aim is to run from the apartment to one of these stations then knock out some bodyweight exercises before running back along the beach to the apartment and running/climbing the ten flights of stairs to our apartment at least three times a week.

 Outdoor exercise station on Copacabana beach

Outdoor exercise station on Copacabana beach

Have you ever used an outdoor exercise station? I think they are excellent and should be widespread at parks, beaches and recreational areas everywhere. I actually petitioned the Office of Public Works about getting some stations set up in the Phoenix Park in Dublin – I’m still waiting to hear back! If you have used these stations before, I’d be interested to know what exercises you completed. Do you think you can do a full body workout at these stations? Here’s some of the exercises I’m planning on doing across different days:

Upper Body: Wide arm pull ups, Chin ups, Dips, Standard press ups, Close grip press ups

Lower Body:  Squat jumps, Glute bridge

Core: Leg lifts, Sit ups, Plank,

Full Body: Burpees

The lower body exercises in particular seem a little weak to me, I can’t see how they can take the place of a squat or a deadlift in the gym. Happy to hear your thoughts on this though.

On top of the training, Rio is a great outdoor city and I’m hoping to spend a lot of time outdoors taking in the sights. I’ll be bringing my daughter for walks in one of the numerous slings that Snuggly Cuddles has brought along whenever possible and I'm also going to sign up for Bike Rio (the equivalent of Dublin Bikes) which should be a great way to get around and to see the city.

 Bike Rio station

Bike Rio station

So that’s my exercise plan for the next six weeks. I'm holding myself accountable right here! I may also join a gym to complement the outdoor exercising but I’ll update on that in a future post.

In terms of the nutrition, it really helps that we have a home base for six weeks. We've stocked up on the basic breakfast essentials (porridge oats and eggs top of the list of course) and are buying fresh fruit regularly at the outdoor market located right beside us. The challenge will come when dining out. I plan on enjoying myself but don’t want to undo all the great (hopefully) cardio and resistance training. Moderation will be key when it comes to lunch and dinner time, not to mention snack time in between!

This is my six week plan for Rio De Janeiro. It may all be out the window this time next week but at the time of writing I can assure you I had every intention of sticking to it!

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section and it would be great if you could share this post on social media using the share button below. Until the next time on Office Worker Health. Ate logo!

Brian