Is There A Brazilian Gym Culture?

The Olympics are coming to Rio de Janeiro.

That means – world-class athletes are going to be in Brazil. The best of the best will descend on Rio to prove they are the most talented athletes.

And these athletes need a place to workout! Luckily for them, Rio de Janeiro has tons of gyms.

Which leads me to the question – is there really a Brazilian gym culture?

That question seems silly. But I’ve seen comments online about Brazilians not caring about their health or the gym.

Check out below what I think about Brazilian gym culture and how it compares to the gyms in America.

But first, watch my upcoming movie trailer.

What Brazilian Gym Culture?

There are obese Brazilians.

Majority of Brazilians don’t work out – obviously, so many Brazilians are fat. The United States is the obesity capital of the developed world but Brazil is working hard to take the number one spot.

According to the Ministry Of Health Brazil, Brazil is on its way to becoming the most obese country in the world!

brazilian gym culture

Source: Ministry Of Health Brazil

But why?

Why is Brazil becoming so fat?

There’s a few reasons but the biggest culprit of all is – more money. Money can be good and bad. It’s good because you can pay your bills, help others and avoid unnatural stress – cavemen didn’t stress over taxes although they did stress over more serious things.

But it can also do harm.

  • More disposable income for processed snacks, fast food and cerveja = big bellies.
  • You can afford a car now. No more having to walk and burn calories!
  • You have a comfortable office job – so you are sitting the entire day. That’s not good for your back or your weight.

So yeah, Brazil has more fat people by the year.

But what about the fit people? Not everyone is stuffing their face and watching novelas all night.


A Normal Gym In Brazil

Whenever I’m in Brazil, I make sure to visit a gym. I’ve seen a few Brazilian gyms over the years and they all had the same atmosphere.

NOTE: These are not upscale gyms. I’ve never been to an expensive gym in Leblon or Jardim Paulista. I like to workout in the “hood” or in a regular gym.



Most gyms are small by American standards in my experience. This is mainly due to big Brazilian cities like Rio and Sao Paulo not having a lot of space. In America, everything is big.

We are a country of over 300 million people – we need room to move.

So the gyms are pretty spacious.

In Brazil, it can get pretty crowded unless you go during odd hours of the day. In my experience, after 3PM it can get crowded.



You will find both sexes in significant numbers. Men and women both love to workout in gym in Brazil. Brazilian women are obsessed with getting a fit bunda and guys want sculpted arms and a big chest.

Similar to America, a lot of Brazilian guys skip “leg day”. This is a day when you only work out your lower body – hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves.

I admit that I am guilty of avoiding legs sometimes too.

But the demographics are nice and balanced. There is enough eye candy to keep you dedicated to your regimen.

The gym attire in Brazil is similar to America although the women seem to dress a little more “fashionable” in my opinion.

  • Men wear loose tank tops or a regular shirt with athletic shorts
  • Women have many gym outfits like below:




Like I mentioned, I have never been to an upscale gym – in America or Brazil. In America, an upscale gym is over $100 a month so I would assume it’s the same in Brazil.

Brazilian gym prices depend on your contract length. If you are only in Brazil for a month, the gym will charge you more.

But if you tell them you want to sign up for six months or one year, the monthly payment will be much lower.

Ask around before you sign up to a gym. If you are only in Brazil for a month, you will probably pay between R$50-R$100 for a decent gym. You shouldn’t pay more than R$100 a month.

If you want a high-class gym experience, check out these links -> Gym Passes In Rio de Janerio, Gym Passes In Sao Paulo

But there are free gyms too. Read below to find out more.

My Brazilian Gym Suggestions

If you are in Rio de Janeiro and you want to experience Brazilian gym culture, here are four gyms I can recommend.

1. Arpoador Beach

There’s an outdoor gym at Arpoador beach, right next to Ipanema. Workout caveman style for FREE.99. My old friend filmed me working out here one day but I can’t find the footage.

2. SmartFit

SmartFit is a cool gym for a decent price. If you are in Brazil for a long stay, you should check out this gym. They have locations all over Rio.


3. Academia Shape

If you want to see Brazilian gym culture in the hood and support a local gym, you can work out in Rocinha favela. The price was a little steep for the limited equipment but I wanted to support the community since I was living there at the time and it was right by my place.


4. Rocinha Sports Complex

Here’s another gym across from the Rocinha favela and it is fantastic. I haven’t been to this gym in almost four years but when I did train there, it was FREE for people living in Rocinha. I think there is a fee for non-residents. But it’s worth it. There are also free Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and Judo classes at this complex. Train UFC style.