Rio de Janeiro Life

Rio de Janeiro beautiful sunset

It’s been four weeks since we arrived in Rio de Janeiro at the commencement of my parental leave. Upon our arrival I committed to staying as fit as possible while here and not falling into the same unhealthy traps as I had on previous visits to Brazil. So how has it been going? Well not too bad actually. Take a look at these before and after photos for starters:

Before and after photos of Shrek and Hulk

Seriously though, @SnugglyCuddles and I have managed to get in to a great routine here in Rio. The priority for me has been to spend more time with my daughter and I'm doing that which is great. We also committed to putting more time into our websites so we've been sharing a desk at the excellent Tribo Coworking in Copacabana. Every weekday one of us heads to Tribo while the other takes in some Rio sights with our daughter. Next day the roles are reversed. The weekends are left completely free for tourism or some vigorous rest and relaxation at the beach. We even managed to catch Pearl Jam at the Maracana!

A big objective for me while in Rio was to get into an exercise routine and stick to it. I'm happy to say I've managed to meet my target of exercising three times a week over the course of the last month. I joined a local gym (Balance Fitness) to support the outdoor exercise that I spoke about in my last Rio blog so my weekly routine has involved two gym sessions per week and one session at an outdoor station. It’s so easy to motivate yourself in Rio. Every time I step outside the door I see people of all ages along Atlantic Avenue in Copacabana walking, running or cycling. On the beach itself there’s always a game of soccer, volleyball or even foot volley (some serious skill involved in this game) going on no matter what time of the day. Then there’s the exercise stations where I see more chin ups per day than I've completed in my entire life.

Beach volleyball on Copacabana beach in Brazil

I've been working out on my own and progress has been decent however I am yet again up against my arch nemesis: my comfort zone. I think I am finally at the stage where I need to pay someone to shout at me to push myself harder. I’ll be looking into this when we move to Florianopolis next week so I will let you know if I can find anyone willing! Overall though I’m feeling much healthier and fitter than when I left Dublin and the reason why is simple; I’m outdoors and active so much more here even on my non workout days. Compare that to sitting slouched at a desk five days a week at home.

The weather makes it so much easier to get out and about (N.B anyone shivering in Ireland may not wish to read this paragraph). Temperatures are hovering around the early 30’s at the moment. I've cycled the Rio Bike to check out a few different beaches and neighbourhoods like Ipanema, Leblon, Flamengo, Botafogo and Urca. I've brought my daughter for huge walks in one of Snuggly Cuddles slings and when there’s nothing else going down we can just cross the road to the beach for a run around in the sand.

That’s the exercise taken care of. In terms of nutrition, I have to give myself top marks for my discipline thus far. Despite the fact that we are in Brazil over a month now, I have only been to two Churrascaria’s and one Pizza Rodizio. Not only that but I exercised world class restraint at these all you can eat venues and I didn't leave them feeling sick or cursing myself for going there in the first place (which has happened in the past).

My diet on an average day here usually kicks off with a bowl of porridge with my usual trimmings added. If it’s an exercise day I’ll hit the gym or an exercise station early in the morning before topping up the glycogen levels with a local favourite: a misto quente (toasted cheese and ham sandwich) on wholegrain bread accompanied by a fruit bowl and a lovely Brazilian coffee. For lunch most days I’ve been paying homage to the Japanese community in Brazil by devouring a high quality and low cost sushi plate.

Evening meals depend on the day. If we’re not eating something at home then we often check out a buffet kilo restaurant. These self-service establishments offer a wide variety of foods such as salads, vegetables and meats to satisfy almost every palette. You fill your plate and pay depending on the weight of the food you've selected, re-visiting the counter as often as you like/can. I used to be sceptical of these ‘pay per weight’ places on previous visits, especially if there was a perfectly good ‘all you can eat’ place next door. Mature reflection (and perhaps my nutrition course) has taught me the benefit of these restaurants, namely the quality of the food. A typical plate for me this month has consisted of some grilled chicken breast, grilled salmon fillet, roasted vegetables and some bean salads. Add to this the fact that the weight restriction keeps an Irish man (with eyes bigger than his stomach) honest and you have a winning formula.

So all in all Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the parental leave have been great so far – only positive updates to report. I'm winning the exercise and nutrition discipline battle too as things stand. We fly to Florianopolis on the 17th of December where I will face my greatest challenge to date in the form of a father-in-law whose barbecue skills are the envy of many and whose pride in seeing his guests consume his perfectly cooked meats is matched only by his wish that they be accompanied by ice cold cervejas. Wish me luck!

Until the next time on Office Worker Health. Ate logo!