The 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro will be the crowning events of a multi-year program aimed at making Rio a sports destination in a class of its own. The World Catholic Youth Day and sports events will take place in Rio this July and the region will also welcome the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2014, together with other soccer centers in Brazil. A foundation of this sports promotion initiative is a program by the regional government to recruit private sponsors to upgrade public facilities to make top quality fitness training available to all residents and visitors. Private clubs are following this lead and American gyms are building upon the opportunity with licensing programs to build their brands in this fitness friendly destination.
A showpiece of Rio’s efforts to promote fitness for all is the “Rio Academia 2013.” Academia is Portuguese for fitness training facility; its similarity to the esteemed term “Academy” in English and French highlights the value that Brazil places on fitness training as part of a national educational program that promotes sports and sports business. The all new “Rio Academia 2013” is located directly on Ipanema Beach with commanding views of the Atlantic Ocean.
This public-private partnership is showing how Rio de Janeiro is following the successful public-private co-operation model that helped the London 2012 organizers host spectacular events for live and broadcast audiences while conforming to the modest budgets of amateur sports leagues. A private company called “Mobilarios Urbanos Desportivos” has equipped the Academy with state of the art weight training, resistance training and conditioning equipment it manufactures locally in Brazil. In addition to providing a free location convenient to the local subway system, the local government is providing something most private sponsors can rarely achieve – visibility with over three million visitors a year in the center of Ipanema Beach, one of the most popular beach destinations in the world.
Local trainers will showcase Brazil’s expertise in fitness education and offer education at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The launch program includes 36 classes a week in nine popular training programs:
- Abs & Glutes
- Abs & Stretching
- Capoeira for Youth
- Capoeira for Adults
- Power Gym
- Tai-Chi Chuan
Rio Academia 2013 also offers 55 hours a week of weight training and aerobic conditioning workshops. All programs are free and the adjacent locker and shower facility costs only one dollar. An extensive series of mini-gyms with 20 stretching and body building exercise programs lines Ipanema Beach and nearby Copacabana Beach. The beach resorts also offer beach volleyball, beach soccer, paddleboard and surfing at private clubs with affordable day use rates of just a few dollars.
Popular American fitness firms are building upon Brazil’s enthusiasm for lifelong fitness. Gold’s Gym has a branch in the center of Copacabana’s high-rise district. It offers visitors a special two week pass for just $25. Curves, the fitness firm focused on female athletic excellence, has a sparkling state-of-the art gym across from the Copacabana Arcoverde subway station. In fact, there are a total of six private fitness clubs within five minutes of the Copacabana Arcoverde subway station. Body building champion Al Zurli has his own training club, the Gaff studio provides lessons for fitness routines that are easy to complete while travelling and the gym atop the Rio Palace Hotel motivates excellence with a commanding view of Rio de Janeiro. This focus on fitness makes Rio de Janeiro an ideal destination to make 2013 fitness resolutions a reality.