“Rio is dangerous! Don’t use your phone on the street, don’t wear any watches, and don’t go out at night!”
That’s what many people told me before I got on the plane to Rio a week ago, giving me a nervous impression of the city. Within the first few days I realised that if you’re not a stupid, careless tourist, it’s not that bad.
I’m chilling here with my best friend Attila in a nice and inspiring apartment and after one week we fell in love with the city. Thanks to fighting I get the chance to have all these interesting experiences. It may not make me rich in money, but I definitely feel rich in fun and experience. I’m grateful that fighting gives me this chance to have this lifestyle.
Let me share a few impressions.
It’s really not as dangerous as expected. Isn’t it common sense that you don’t go to dodgy areas at night or that you are a bit more aware when you are in a foreign city? We’ve been around for a bit and didn’t see any crime yet. Maybe we just appear to be a bad cost-benefit ratio for criminals. But let them take our phones, we don’t care. By the way, everyone is wearing jewelry and watches here.
Don’t let these crime stories damage your image of Rio. It’s one the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. Also because of the beaches. Usually I don’t like crowded beaches, but the beaches here are amazing even though they are crowded.
It’s just very convenient to be around Brazilian people. I’ve never seen so many beautiful women in one place. The men carry a big ego and pride, but they are warm and nice to you, always trying to help if you ask them. People here lead a more relaxed and slow lifestyle. My only problem when I arrived was that they don’t speak English. Luckily, we learned a bit of Portuguese before we came here.
Attila impresses me more every day, he speaks it nearly fluently after a week of being here.
I’m forced to learn and speak Portuguese here. Can’t complain, I like the language. After a week I’m able to say the common things, make small talk, make appointments and order food.
Due to the jetlag we wake up early with the sunrise and use that for a mobility-training morning routine after a breakfast of fresh papaya and coffee.
My lifestyle goal here is to train healthily. I pushed myself a bit too hard with training last year, so right now I’m doing a bit less. Still, I like being pushed out of my comfort zone by training with good guys.
I try to do at least two training sessions a day, one mobility session and one martial arts session. Now and then I add a conditioning session like running at Copacabana beach or lifting weights.
The team I chose here to train with is the famous Nova União. Since the age of 16 I’ve watched their fighters like Jose Aldo, Renan Barao, Thales Leites and many more, admiring their style.
Nova União is located in the Upper Gym, a huge facility with weights, wellness, physiotherapy, martial arts and everything else you need for training.
I mainly train BJJ here. Being famous for their good MMA team they are also very good without the Gi. We mostly roll. I have not learned much technique yet, but I managed to get some good rounds in with high-level grapplers.
Still having problems with my recovery. Either I don’t drink enough or maybe I don’t eat properly.
“Rio likes it fatty and fried,” someone told me after I asked him what the people eat here. Indeed, you can get burgers, fatty pastries and fries on every corner. To balance that, they serve fresh smoothies and juices.
The Brazilian cuisine is still a mystery to me. Maybe it’s not the best for athletes. I have to admit, I also ate a lot sweet treats. Thanks to my diet principles I can try all the Brazilian specialties and treats without gaining weight: Açaí, Brigadeiros (small pralines) and Bolo (cake).
Slowly we are finding healthy options that also aren’t expensive. There are buffets with salad and meet that you pay per 100g. Churrasco is fresh grilled meat sliced on your plate. I don’t pay more than 12€ per meal.
If you like black coffee, you can get a good one everywhere. Once I made the mistake of ordering a cappuccino. It was too sweet and also a bit salty. The cafezinho (black coffee) is very good though.
I still got three weeks left. What else will I discover? Send me a message or leave a comment if you have any suggestions. Also check out my Instagram profile for instant updates in the story.