How to ‘Curve’ Your Way to a Healthier You

by | Jun 12, 2013 | Health & Healing

According to their official website, this fitness company is “not just the fastest-growing fitness franchise, but the fastest growing franchise of any kind in history,” with more than 4 million women as members. What am I talking about? Curves for Women, of course!

Curves fitness facilities are popping up all over the place, both nationally and internationally, offering women of all ages and abilities a chance to sweat it out and get healthier.

I had been curious about all the talk and their tagline, “The power to amaze yourself.” OK, I thought. Amaze me. Plus, I learned that the creator of Curves was a Christian with an awesome testimony.

So, a couple of months ago, I decided to volunteer for a 21-day fitness study with my local Curves center. I thought it would be a good idea for the health producer (that’s me!) to experience this fitness phenomenon firsthand, with the intent of writing about the pros and cons of this workout for people like you who also might be seriously considering trying the Curves plan.

The deal was I would pay my $20 up front and sign up for nine half-hour supervised workout sessions—that’s three 30-minute sessions per week.. If I stuck with the program until completion, I would get my $20 back and a chance to get a membership at Curves at a significant reduction. My body fat index, blood pressure and weight would be taken both before and after the study to see what kind of improvement I had made. I figured I really didn’t have anything to lose, except my lack of energy and a little less free time in my schedule.

When I signed up for the Curves study, I was keenly interested in several factors. One, would I feel a difference in my body tone and energy level in just three weeks? Two, is the Curves workout enjoyable? Three, is this a program that is sustainable long-term? Four, is it comparable to other fitness facilities in price and offerings? And finally, is there room for advancement for those desiring a higher fitness level?

Like a lot of women, I hesitate to belong to a typical gym because I don’t like feeling insecure about the way I look or about my fitness ability when Mr. Beef Cake and Miss Hard Abs are pumping iron. It can be intimidating exercising in front of all those beautiful, tanned people. And the machines are likewise gargantuan and not always easy to use. Do you really want to have to ask the busy buff guy at the desk how to work that leg press for the third time, knowing he is going to roll his eyes at you?

The Pros

At Curves, you don’t get that. Size and shape aren’t an issue, and that was very refreshing. Considering it is a women-only facility, you can relax in your sweats without the threat of glares. Most folks there are friendly and helpful.

You can’t possibly be intimidated by the machines since they are very streamlined and very easy to use. No messing with bench adjustments and placing pins at different weights. Sounds like a minor thing, but it saves time and embarrassment. There is nothing more frustrating than having to readjust the weight pin because you still aren’t strong enough to lift that weight stack. I honestly never liked the idea that people around me could see that I was only able to lift 10 pounds on those arm machines. Why advertise your weakness?

Curves uses a circuit-training model. The hydraulic machines are ringed in a circle. You have various leg machines, arm machines, tummy crunchers, and waist exercisers. Between each machine is a shock-absorbing jogging square. The idea is to walk or run on that pad to keep your heart rate up between machine workouts.

You have exactly 30 seconds per machine before you are told to move to the next station. At several points in your workout, you are asked to take a 10-second count of your heart rate. The ideal is to keep your heart rate at 50-60 percent, no higher. There is a chart on the wall that calculates what your heart rate should be based on your age. The music, which is mostly disco-style, pumping music (think upbeat, think Abba) helps set the pace.

In and out in 30 minutes. This is totally doable and it doesn’t feel too much like work.

Which was why I was surprised at how toned I began to feel after only about two weeks. I most especially felt the difference in my back, shoulders, arms and thighs. Within the three-week period, I had also decreased my blood pressure and increased my energy level. That’s pretty amazing.

Plus, the encouraging, clean, friendly and fun atmosphere goes a long way to motivate you.

The Cons

Now, here’s the catch: You get out of the Curves workout what you put into it. That isn’t exactly a negative. It depends on how you look at it.

They tell me that hydraulic resistance machines are supposed to be safer, since they are gentler on your joints than traditional machines. And that is very good. The real issue I see is not one of strain when it comes to these hydraulic machines, but rather one of motivation.

Let me explain. Since the machines are hydraulic, the faster you are able to go, the harder you work your body. The faster you go, the more resistance builds up; the more resistance, the more your body can tone up. So go slowly, and see little improvement. Go fast, and see yourself increase your energy and tone. It depends on you. And if you are lazy that day, you aren’t going to get your money’s worth.

The other drawback to these hydraulic machines is that you really can only go so fast on these machines. With only 30 seconds to push yourself, and only a certain range of motion, it seems to me that you will eventually reach a plateau point. For some women, that’s fine, but for others like me, it’s frustrating. What if I want to do more? I am at a loss.

And what happens when your body gets used to the same 30-minute workout, which inevitably happens? Can you change it up or do an hour instead? The answer currently is no. While I understand they likely do that for consistency and to help make the workout doable, it does tend to be a bit one-size-fits-all.

I would love to see this challenged. Why not have two workout circuits: one for beginners, and one for advanced? That way you have another challenge to conquer. The more advanced person could do an hour workout instead of the typical 30-minute version.

On the issue of cost, the price is fairly reasonable and comparable to other fitness clubs—around $40 per month with an annual sign-up fee. But you don’t get what other gyms offer, including things like a pool, a sauna, tennis and basketball courts, team exercise classes and childcare. If you enjoy co-ed interaction and doing lots of different types of exercise or you can’t live without the pool, then Curves isn’t for you, or you need to incorporate some other form of exercise.

You also have to consider that the hours can be very limited at Curves. Suggested basic hours for new facilities, according to the official Curves website, are Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–noon and 4–7 p.m. Each Curves facility sets their own hours, and I have personally found the hours at my local Curves are too restrictive.

There are no early morning hours for those who would like to get a workout in before heading to the office, and they are closed for several hours during lunch. Evening hours end at around 8 p.m. I would say that facility is not conducive to working women like me. Hopefully, the facility near you has better hours.

Conclusion

While I enjoyed the workout and managed to keep to the three-week schedule without much effort, I decided not to join. I might change my mind later, and I am known to do that.

I think, for me, I would need other physical activities or to include another gym beyond Curves to keep me challenged. And I also know myself when it comes to fitness: I think I would rather spend the money on dance classes or just exercise at home.

However, if you get the chance to try Curves for free, I would do it. You owe it to yourself to find out what all the hype is about. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find the perfect fit.


Laura J. Bagby produces the health and finance channels for CBN.com. She writes inspirational, humor, singles and health articles.

For the original article, visit cbn.com.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

Most of my life I tried to avoid one thing—being crazy or insane. When I was growing up my mother had emotional issues and saw a psychiatrist regularly. She was on medication which only seemed to make her mood swings worse. She had high highs, and low lows. When I...

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJFFqAgykmU A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis,...

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder we used to tell our kids was, “Don’t think about it, don’t hesitate,...

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong July Employment Report.  Total nonfarm employment was 528K (398K previously, 250K expected).  Private nonfarm employment was 471K (404K previously, 230K expected). The headline unemployment rate dropped to...

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

The wind is a funny thing. We do not know where it comes from nor where it goes. We cannot see it, but we can see and feel its effects. Wind can be gentle and refreshing, cold or hot, strong, and dangerous, and everything in between. When the wind blows, we must...

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

It is interesting that, as a Messianic rabbi the question I am asked most often by Christians is if I believe that they as Christians have to celebrate, or observe, the biblical Holy Days. They are usually asking about those days listed in Leviticus 23: Shabbat, Yom...

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

As the crackdown against Christianity in America grows, it is a cycle believers have seen before. While no one celebrates their religious freedom coming under attack, God has used this persecution to great effect throughout history. Over the centuries, there have been...

RECENT ARTICLES

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Change can be challenging. Some people look forward to change and embrace it. Some people dread change and try to avoid it. Since change is inevitable, so here are some of the dynamics surrounding...
God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

This past weekend I preached at The Roads Church, a charismatic congregation located in the tiny town of Norris City, Illinois. Located amid cornfields, the population is only 1,325, but almost that many people visit the church on weekends. They come from all over...

The Biblical Way to Rise Above Mediocre Expectations

The Biblical Way to Rise Above Mediocre Expectations

We spend a lot of life figuring out if we “measure up,” a phrase someone coined in the mid-1800s. Even in childhood, we begin comparing ourselves with siblings and kids at school, and it never seems to stop. The problem goes back to Cain and Abel, doesn’t it? Most of...

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

”Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Rom. 2:4). Looking retrospectively at my past as an atheist, I can see where God...

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why speak with tongues? There are many reasons for speaking in a spiritual language. Primarily, though, the Scriptures require it. The apostle Paul commanded us, saying, “Pray in the Spirit always” (Eph. 6:18). Jude commanded it in verse 20, saying, “Pray in the Holy...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]