My best friend signed me up before I knew what it was all about...I am NOT a curves fan. But I think if you have never been to a gym before, never really exercised, it's a good place to start. Start..but then graduate to a REAL gym where they have better cardio and weights when you feel you have physically outgrown them. Curves is air-resistance only. The people that run it are not personal trainers or very knowledgeable from my experience. I also think it's a rip-off....you can join a gym where they have a pool and weights and all sorts of machines for less than they charge at curves. Which consists of a small room, a few fans and 12 or 15 little air resistance machines in a circle. Oh...and a tape recorder that tells you to change stations every 30 seconds...and check your heart rate. I think one would be better off starting out walking around your neighborhood. Just my opinion.
If you are shy about going to a co-ed gym, join an all womens gym. That's where I started and where I was most comfortable. I have since joined the Discovery Channels National fitness challenge and got a free 12 week membership to bally's...my friend who signed us up for curves goes with me sometimes and she walks on the treadmill and we talk. She was very embarassed about going to a real gym too...but now she sees that there are people of ALL different ages and weights, and I think she has relaxed. A gym is where people go to get in shape...you don't have to be in shape to be AT the gym. I also joined the local rec center here where I live, and my teenage sons also go with me sometimes.
Curves is worth the money, in a way. If you are overweight or out of shape (as in, you don't get a lot of physical exercise), it's an easy way to start a fitness routine. Unlike a conventional gym, it's a defined, planned workout that targets all muscles groups. It's recommended you go a minimum of 3 times a week, for 30 mins at a time but that didn't seem like enough to me so I usually went 4-6 times a week. Some people who are obese or inactive may be intimidated by a *real* gym because they don't know which machines to use, etc. The all-female atmosphere is comforting too. The staff is usually supportive and makes a point to know your name so they can congratulate you on your progress.
I was an inactive, overweight teen and I started going to a Curves-like gym in 1999. I lost 40 lbs but I did plateau because there's no variety in the workout. When I moved to a different city 7 years later, I joined the actual Curves after a year of not going to any gym and lost another 20. However, I was going to a real gym once a week as well. After a year, Curves just bored me so I quit and just went to the real gym. I am making progress in my overall physical fitness because I take part in a variety of activities (ie: strength training, cardio, spin class and pilates).
As with any fitness program, you get out of it what you put in. I worked very hard during the 30 min circuit, keeping my heart rate up the entire time and watching my diet outside the gym. Some women who didn't work as hard, did the machines at a slower pace or didn't go as often, didn't have as much success in the same amount of time. In fact, I used to run on the recovery squares but the "trainer" who worked there said I would get better results if I just walked on them! I don't think so!
So, short answer: it's worth it if you are a first time gym user, you are intimidated by real gyms or you need the support of an all-female staff. Otherwise, a real gym would be fine.
I convinced my mom (she's 56 years old) to go because she was always complaining about being fat but she never did any exercise (she was a little overweight, not obese). She lost 20 lbs and goes every day... but she seems to be plateauing now.
For me, Curves was a great starter gym. I ran on the recovery squares and did as many reps as I could on the stations. I saw some people just going through the motions and not really trying... they won't have the same amount of success. I'd suggest trying it, if you're not currently physically active, you're intimidated by men at the gym or you like the support of a group.
I think you've gotten the range of opinions already, but I may as well give my thoughts too.
I went to Curves on and off, with my mom, which was pretty cool. But when I went alone I was very bored with it, and I did just feel like "going through the motions" a lot of the time. I need to do something with my brain while I'm exercising, like reading a magazine while I walk on the treadmill, or listening to audiobooks or my own music while I exercise. At Curves it's constantly playing bouncy ripoffs of pop songs, and I wasn't a big fan of that - and since you're jumping from one station to another, you can't bring anything with you.
It's a good place to go with a friend, or to make friends, if you want to chat the whole time. But I found it way too boring to go by myself. It's a social thing. I found it uncomfortable that you were in a circle, staring at other people - but if you were with friends, that would be different and could be fun.
I signed up for 1 year. I think I went 3 months. There was no trainer, only a young girl who talked on the phone the hour I was there.
People do get injured at Curves because there is no one watching or training. So be careful.
Also the machines are sized for a person who is 5'4"-5'8". The machines have no adjustments. There are pillows to add if you're too short but the pillows don't attach to anything so they slide around causing more problems.
And I agree with the music that they play, it's annoying.
I am sorry, thinkslim, I don't mean to insult your place of employment.
Since Curves is a franchise I realize they are all different. This is my experience from the one nearest where I live. FYI...since I was there (2005) it has been sold, and is in the process of being sold again.
It depends on the staff. At my former Curves, one of the workers was pleasant and supportive and always checked to see if the girls were using the equipment properly. Unfortunately, she left and the girl who spent the whole time gabbing on the phone and only talking to a select few members got more shifts. The lack of support really bothered me at the time.
You should try out your local Curves to get an idea of the staff! Sometimes you get eager extroverts, other times you get quiet slackers.
I went to Curves for two or three months. It is great to get you started!
I know many people say it is better to join a real gym, but there are reasons why we never do it ;) I hated the idea of going there (a real gym) and not know what to do, or being out of breath after 2 minutes, or looking ridiculous. I was told by friends that there was people there to help me, etc. but let's face it: most real gyms are for regular goers, not plain beginners.
Curves is a no-brainer: you get there, make two or three circuits and get out. You don't need to come up with an exercise plan, to book time on machines, to keep an eye on your watch, etc.
So my advice would be: sign up for a couple months at a time, and switch to a regular gym as soon as you feel it isn't a physical challenge anymore. Good luck! :D
Original Post by jenniferbob:
I'm thinking of joining curves. Does anyone belong and how did it help you?
I have been a Curves member for over 2 years now and find it's great for healthy eating/exercise/social support as well as getting in some toning. I lost over 16 inches overall , but not much weight. So now I'm working on the weight with this site. It would be great if the site here recognized a general Curves workout as a burn unit by name. There is also "advanced " workout at Curves, that ups the intensity to burn more calories and build on the "core" workout.
This is a quote from the Curves website:
The Curves program includes all five components of exercise – warm up and cool down, cardio, strength training and stretching – and works every major muscle group while keeping the heart rate in the target training zone. Researchers from the Baylor University Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory, led by Dr. Richard Kreider, Ph.D., FACSM, found that during the Curves workout, women averaged about 65 percent of their heart rate maximum – plenty to improve cardiovascular fitness but not so strenuous as to discourage women from coming back. They also increased muscular strength.
Baylor researchers also found that the least fit exercisers expended 164 to 238 calories per 30 minutes during the Curves workout, while the most fit burned as many as 522 calories. This adjustable intensity helps women stick with the workout for substantial, ongoing improvements in weight control, fitness and overall health.
Original Post by thinkslim:
I'm actually a Curves Circuit Trainer. Curves is a wonderful place with a great support. It's more than a gym - it's a very friendly atmosphere. Not all Curves are the same and not all trainers take a genuine interest in people and encourage them to really give it their all. Much like a "real gym where you sign up and can't find anyone who takes any interest in you". It's all dependant on the gym, on your own motivation, on what really drives you and how much you want to invest in yourself. I am truly attached to all the members and they tell me they wouldn't want to be anywhere else because of the personal touch and the fact that it's all women, all shapes, all sizes, all ages and can fit a very hectic lifestyle through hydraulic resistance training. There have been members who have lost up to 70 pounds. I have a day job full time - I work at Curves in the evening for fun and my own motivation and personal satisfaction that I'm making a difference.
Wow, so you are a certified trainer? Or a "Curves" certified trainer ?
I am sure "curves" is the next step after "sit and be fit". Really. A normal, healthy person of ANY AGE...and most every weight....would be better off taking different levels of walks. The silly moves the "trainers" showed us to do on the pads between the machines were embarassing, and I refused to do them. But that's just me.
Another contention: (!!!) I LOVE free weights...with an excersice ball as a bench, you can do lots of things that use your core stabilizer muscles as well as work the areas muscles that you wish to work. If they had at least had that there, I would have TRIED to go (since my silly friend pre-paid for a YEAR for me....) but when I asked where the weights were, all they had were 2,3 and 5 pound weights...the "trainer" woman said that they hid the ten pound weights because they did not want the ladies to hurt themselves.
Don't they understand that the best thing for building bone density is weight training? Why are women AFRAID of weights? And why were supposedly knowlegable people feeding into that tripe? Weights are awesome! To build muscle mass and lower body fat...and actually weigh MORE but wear clothes that are crazily smaller than you have ever worn before!!!!
As women get older we lose muscle mass....that is exactly the reason we need to work on maintaining it! You don't end up looking like Martha Schwarzenegger....or growing a beard! It fights old-lady flappy arm syndrome, squishy thighs and dough stomach!
And, importantly, exercise is 30 percent, diet is 70 percent. Curves should have a web-site connected to a site such as this. They currently just paste magazine articles on the wall there.
Curves could be a really good thing if they had certified trainers/nutritionists (at least one per site for consults at LEAST) Free-weights...and perhaps a treadmill or a recumbent bicycle here and there! Their machines are a silly, non- adjustable JOKE. And thirty seconds on each one is just plain....(UGH)
They are doing for exercise what fast food did for the culinary world. Making it empty,non-challenging ,and a good money-maker.
I know this post is a year old, but this post is what led me to join CC. I am currently a member at Curves and have been for eight years. I usually workout six days a week and go beyond the "recommended" 30 minutes. I usually exercise for an hour, as do several other members. For about a year or more I have been unhappy with Curves and have been considering leaving. Actually, I have left but am uncertain if I will terminate my membership or eventually go back.
One of the things that bothers me at the Curves I exercise at (only one Curves in my home town) is the "workers" there. I call them workers because they are NOT certified trainers, none of them workout and most of them are overweight. For them it is just a job. They are nice ladies but don't have a love for exercise, health, or fitness. They really do not have any training and really do not know anything about diet, nutrition, or exercise. One goes out to her car during her breaks to smoke. Another one when "training" women does not even get on the machines to show the ladies how to properly use the equipment.
The hours seem to constantly be changing - decreasing - affecting the women who work during the day. It is closed a lot. During Thanksgiving and Christmas it was closed for four days. If the schools in town are closed Curves does not open that day.
The owner does nothing to keep her current clients. No new machines have been purchased in five years. The machines are rarely moved around. Being less than 5 feet tall two of the machines I don't do because they bother me. In the winter the temperature is set at between 50-55 degrees so the facility does not get above 64 degrees. I know this is not true of other Curves I have visited in the winter.
The main reason I have stayed is the cost and it is easy - totally mindless. But it seems too easy. I feel I need more of a challenge - more weight-bearing exercises. It seems most of the women that go there just want to talk. Sometimes the conversations are so loud the women do not move to the next station because they do not hear the cue tape. In order to talk they often ask for the music to be turned down because they can't hear each other. I have offended women there because I really don't like to visit while I'm exercising (I have to talk all day long at my job). I also have offended women because they think I workout too hard. I thought one reason Curves was supposed to be so great was its noncompetitive nature. Should I work less hard because I make someone feel bad? Curves by no means is strenuous.
The last nine months I have changed my eating habits. There are several reasons I changed my eating habits. Turning the big Five-O was a huge factor in realizing I needed to start making healthier food choices & realizing I am an emotional eater and I needed to find healthier ways to deal with my emotions. I tried to eat in moderation (80% full). Instead of three pieces of bread I'd eat one. Instead of eating a bag of chips in two days I occasionaly have a handful. I began eating a lot more fruits & vegetables instead of eating 1-2 hamburgers & fries each week. It took me six months to lose 24 pounds. I basically have maintained it for three months, but since Christmas it fluctuates 2-4 pounds up then down.
The owner recently told me I lost the weight way too fast (she is seldom at the facility) and I needed to do something about my digestive system (members are complaining). Since turning 50 I started taking calcium and Vitamin D by the recommendation of my doctor (knows about my weight loss and told me it was done in a healthy & steady manner) and it has given me embarrassing gas. I was so humiliated by her comments I have not been back & have stopped taking my supplements because I have offended others by my embarrassing problem.
I recently went to a health food store and they gave me something to help, but they said the weight loss, new eating habits, and the vitamins would account for my embarrassing gas. Have any other women ~ 50+ or pre-menopause/menopause ~ experienced embarrassing gas when taking calcium? My mom has osteoporosis. She has had a hip replacement, needs another one but is too high risk, has had back problems. My family is small framed.