Curves is a fitness franchise founded in 1992 by Diane and Gary Heavin, primarily aimed at women but men can participate too. The program is accessible to all fitness levels, with private training and staff monitoring. The workout is a 30-minute circuit using hydraulic resistance machines and recovery boards for aerobic steps. The program recommends exercising three times a week to speed up metabolism and burn fat. Curves is not a standard health club and does not offer other classes or facilities. Membership costs can be higher than average, but special offers are available. The company has been falsely accused of funding pro-life organizations.
Curves® is a fitness center, workout idea, and small health club franchise aimed primarily at women, founded by Diane and Gary Heavin in 1992. The company franchises, so people can buy their own Curves ®, began in 1995. The first Curves® gym opened in Harlingen, Texas in 1992 and offered a unique fitness program for women, although in some states men may participate in the program as well.
In essence, the fitness program is accessible to people of all fitness levels, although people with injuries or issues with recurring joint or back pain should see a doctor first. People work at their own level and all who sign up are given private training. Also, as people exercise, a member of staff keeps a close eye on them, making sure they maintain correct poses and positions while using specially designed exercise machines.
Basic training is the same for most people. The exercise machines are arranged in a circular format. Most machines have a recovery board in between, where the person can do any type of aerobic step or just rest between machines. The background music also includes the direction to switch cars after a minute has passed. The workout goes through the circle or circuit twice, providing a 30-minute exercise program.
Machines designed for Curves® use hydraulic resistance, so there is no need to change weights. This means that if a person uses recovery cards to do any type of aerobic step between machines, they can keep their heart rate at a higher “aerobic” level, which is maintained throughout the workout as downtime is reduced . Workouts can be intensified by doing more repetitions on each machine and by the intensity of the aerobic steps on the recovery boards. The workout also covers virtually every major muscle group as the person works the circuit.
One of the strengths of the Curves® program is the short amount of time it takes to complete a workout. The company recommends people exercise three times a week, and training studies show it helps speed up metabolism, burn fat, and even promote the building of lean muscle mass. People looking to lose weight faster can do so by adding in more workouts, although for people just starting out, three times a week may seem like enough.
Curves® is not a standard health club. Few facilities have showers and most do not offer other types of classes or alternatives to their training system. The goal is to be in and out in thirty minutes, with about five minutes of stretching afterward, instead of spending hours at the gym confused by so many alternative programs.
Most women find they can commit to brief gym appearances three times a week, especially in a comfortable and congenial environment where the schedule is easily understood. Membership costs can be higher than the average gym membership, but special offers are sometimes available.
A significant publicity coup at Curves® was a report in 2004 that charitable donations made by the company’s founders were funding the most aggressive organizations in the pro-life movement. That’s not the case, although the company makes some donations to centers that support women with financial aid and has donated baby clothes and accessories, when they’ve already chosen not to have an abortion. While this information has been corrected, there are still reports that Curves® is secretly working against a woman’s right to choose. More specifically, they support pro-life centers that help women who have chosen not to have an abortion and are in need of emotional and financial help.