Curves For Women

Curves centers are an all-women gym. Parent company Curves International has franchised the fitness centers all over the world.

The essence of a Curves fitness center is a 30 minute workout done in a circuit using machine weights. Curves is also a series of diet books coauthored by Curves founder Gary Heavin.

Curves has experienced excellent growth, probably due to the simplicity of it's program, and the camaraderie of the fitness center. Many women aim to do their curves workout daily and enjoy meeting others.

The Curves program is called Curves Complete, which encompasses 3 components; Fitness Meal Plans, and Coaching.

curves complete

Curves Fitness Program

Each Curves gym generally has 8-12 machine weights covering all the main muscle groups (i.e. squat machine, leg extension, leg press, hip abductor, bicep curls, shoulder press, ab machine, etc.).

Each exercise is done for 30 seconds, followed by a 30 second 'recovery time' - which could be jogging in place. The idea is to keep your heart rate up to 60% of maximum for the duration of the workout.

Curves Meal Plans

In 2003 Curves founder Gary Heavin released a book Curves: Permanent Weight Loss without Permanent Dieting which is essentially a diet book. The book was followed up by Curves on the Go.

There are two basic diets recommended in the book; a reduced carbohydrate plan (lower in carbs, higher in protein), and a lower calorie plan (typically 1200 calories per day). The meal plans suggested for the first few weeks are quite low in calories (too low).

With Curves Complete some of the restrictions have been lifted and the program is a bit more flexible.

Dieters work through several phases of meal plans until they reach their goal weight.

Meal plans consist of 3 meals a day and two snacks and are fully customized according to the dieter's likes and dislikes. Dieters are still allowed to enjoy many of their favorite foods.

The key to fat loss, and maintaining health is all about a way of life. Going on and off diets is not the key, understanding healthy nutrition and eating well the rest of your life is the key.

There is also mention of eating "2,500 to 3,000 calories a day" - which seems quite out of context with the other recommendations. This calorie level will cause weight gain in most women and even some men.

Coaching

Curvers members meet weekly with their certified Curves coach who will assist them with their meal plans, fitness concerns, and who will provide one-on-one support and encouragement to help ensure success.

Curves Complete Pricing

Curves has expanded their member services and includes the following with a paid membership:

  • The Curves Fitness and weight Management Plan
  • Access to mycurves.com which offers an online community as well as lots of resources.
  • Curves weight loss management system.
  • Access to Curvescomplete.com which consists of online dieting tools.
  • A subscription of diane magazine
  • Curves Travel

If this isn't enough, Curves now has there own line of supplements and foods as well as other products available.

All of this is available for $12.95 per week except for the cost of food and supplements.

Downsides?

  • Repetitive music.
  • Hydraulic machines are not adjustable.
  • A study undertaken by ACE (American Council on Exercise) felt that despite offering a good low/moderate intensity workout, they noted "...that some women seemed more interested in chatting than exercising".
  • The promotion of their supplements and their processed food line.

Curves - The Last Word

Incorporating fitness habits into your life is an excellent and essential part of fat loss, and the Curves Fitness Centers provide a low to moderate-intensity workout. Curves is suitable only for the most sedentary people, and is not a great means of getting fit.

You may find that the circuit training may soon become monotonous, and many people find lifting free weights far more satisfying - when this happens - you have outgrown the "Curves" brand.

The diet books are a helpful supplement to the center-based workout. However for many, a more aggressive program may be useful.

References

  • Heavin, G., & Colman, C. (2004). Curves: Permanent Results Without Permanent Dieting. Penguin.
Last updated 11 Jan 2015