By Donitra Clemons, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Even as the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months set in, there are few places where staying in shape are as large a part of the culture as in Rio. While there are many gyms in the city catering to a range of interests, the Clube de Regatas do Flamengo, a sprawling indoor and outdoor fitness complex located in Lagoa, seems to have something for everyone.
The location’s initial purpose in 1895 was to support the Flamengo Club’s rowing team, and it was not until 1911 that the now famous Flamengo football team was started.
The complex is now open to the public with a wide variety of options for sports and fitness activities all in one place. Currently housing three swimming pools, six tennis courts, two gymnasiums, basketball and volleyball courts, a sauna, and many fitness rooms for classes.
Joao Luseiano, secretary of the club, is proud of the fact that facilities are now a space utilized by such a wide array of the city’s residents. “Many people come from nearby Copacabana and Leme, but also further distances like Tijuca, Cascadura, and Boa Vista to utilize the club.”
Among the most popular classes for adults and children are basketball, football (soccer), aerobics, gymnastics, ballet, jiu-jitsu, volleyball, yoga, pilates, and swimming. Filipe De Paula and Igor Jordan, both six years old, say they like to “play football where the professional players play.”
They come with their fathers Alex De Paula, 51, and Daego Jordan almost every weekend. Alex De Paula says he grew up playing sports and is glad to pass his enthusiasm down to his son. De Paula is leading by example, he is a personal trainer based in Leblon.
In addition to working out at his gym for work, De Paula utilizes the club facilities because of the ample amount of space. “We really enjoy playing football [soccer] here with the boys, as well as coming to the Olympic swimming pools to swim laps.”
Those not feeling the need to exercise, but would like a place to escape and relax have options as well. The club offers massages for only R$20 or physical therapy for only R$30.
Flamengo football (soccer) team fans visiting Rio should also add the club to their must-visit list. The Flamenguistas can check out the new Flamengo merchandise store, the soon-to-open Flamengo History Museum, or maybe even get their favorite player’s autograph.
Eduardo Pereira, administrator in the social department, says it’s not uncommon to see Flamengo players at the club. For R$10, you can take a self-guided tour of the facilities and might catch them practicing at Gávea stadium or enjoying club amenities.
According to Pereira, “Players not only practice at the stadium, but also hang out in the sauna and bring family and friends by the facilities when they have visitors in town.”
Th facilities are located at Avenida Borges de Medeiros, 997, Lagoa, and the phone number is (21) 2159-0100. For more information about Flamengo Club visit their website.