You’re about to learn everything you need to know about Curves. We looked at the membership details, clinical research, customer service, and side effects. And since that wasn’t enough, we also read through hundreds of comments and reviews to see what people really thought about it. We summarized and refined to give you the bottom line.
What is Curves?
Curves is an international fitness franchise that caters exclusively to women. However, there are some states where men are allowed to join the program. Curves offer a more intimate setting than the ones offered at gyms. According to the Curves Company Sheet, the part designated for exercise is usually about 1,200 to 2,500 square feet. Curves provide a simple circuit program which alternates in-place cardio with resistance machines. Typically, members complete the circuit about 1½ times per 30-minute session. Even though they are encouraged to work at their own pace, members are prompted to change stations after every 30 seconds with upbeat music playing in the background. Aside from standard workouts, other curves for women franchises offer customized exercises, diet plans as well as Zumba. If you want to join a Curves program, you should be able to locate one by using ‘Curves locations near me’ on your web search engine.
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How did Curves Start?
Also known as Curves Fitness, Curves for Women or Curves International was co-founded in 1992 by Gary Heavin and his wife, Diane Heavin. The first Curves was opened in Harlingen, Texas. This new concept featuring weight-loss guidance, 30-minute fitness training which included strength training, and an environment designed explicitly for women soon became a success. Since the idea was being well received, the co-founders started developing plans for turning Curves into a franchise, with the first one opening in 1999. Curves managed to establish 6,000 franchises in seven years, according to the company’s fact sheet. Its facilities can be found in more than 85 countries including the US, Japan, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico. In countries such as Russia, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, the franchise is known as FitCurves. 
Curves for women, claims to be the largest fitness franchise in the world. Curves International Inc. was recently recognized as one of the world’s ten largest franchise companies. It also claims that members who use Curves Complete lose an average of 3 inches and 10 pounds with about 13 weeks of use.
Curves offer its members the chance to purchase products as well as nutritional supplements which are designed to support health goals and weight loss; as well as complement their work out plan. The Curve products range from apparels and accessories to nutritional supplements such as the Curves protein Shakes in chocolate and vanilla flavors, Curves Bioavailable Calcium, Time Released Biomultiple and Curves Omega-3 tabs among others. While some Curves total cost is pocket-friendly, others appear to be quite expensive.
According to the Curves health club, their protein shakes contain the following ingredients: 
- Whey and soy proteins
- Cellulose Gum
- Hydrolyzed oat flour
- Corn Bran
- Oat fiber
- Cellulose fiber
Does Curves Work?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is recommended that one does a minimum of 75 minutes of intense or 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week. However, weight loss might require as much as double that amount. If you are taking a Curves fitness program, your result is determined by the effort you put into it. On the bright side, you can make your workout as low or high-impact as you like. Therefore, if you are good at self-monitoring, then you can make your cardio exercise as intense or moderate as you want. When using resistant machines, if you are capable of working fast enough to keep your heart rate elevated, you will get at least 30-minutes of cardio per session. That’s it! What this means is, if you want to get your minimum required cardio, you will have to attend five days in a week. Therefore, achieving cardio at Curves primarily for weight loss might be hard.
The Curves fact sheet claims that their resistance machines hit every dominant muscle group. Allegedly, the more resistance you apply, the more you get from the machines which work with hydraulics as opposed to pulleys, weight plates, and levers. However, according to Cedric X. Bryant, an American Council on Exercise physiologist, the resistance only increases so far if one has no way of adding weight to it. Therefore, after a certain period, the exercise will no longer present a challenge. It is required that you also change the exercise routine for each muscle regularly but at Curves, your only option is to use the same machines over and over. Since the program lacks isometric work and free weights, such as planks, you will have to miss out on significant core-stabilization. 
All in all, Curves can be an excellent way to jump-start your fitness plan, but if you want to maintain cardio and muscle health, you will eventually have to move to something more challenging.
Curves Benefits and Results
Curves International believes that the most efficient way to lose weight, and to maintain it long term, is by using some different strategies simultaneously. These plans contain various lifestyle factors, and they include:
- Resistance exercise
- Aerobic exercises
Each of the four lifestyle factors is incorporated in a Curves weight loss program together with the various principles that branch from these elements. Curves believe their training program is beneficial because it enables one to achieve maximum results in minimum time through targeting excess weight and body fat from different directions by use of a multi-directional approach. Curves claim to offer a plethora of benefits including:
- Support- this entails of the support a member receives from the staff as well as fellow members of the facility
- A conducive environment- Curves offers a fun, comfortable and non-threatening environment which is designed to be an enjoyable experience for the members
- Sustainability- Curves fitness center prides itself on something that a woman can incorporate into her lifestyle thus maintaining it for the rest of her life
- Resistance exercise
- Suitable for everyone – by women of all ages
- Cutting-edge nutritional recommendations
Problems With Curves Workout
Even though Curves for women gives its members, with tight schedules or exercise beginners, a chance to get a workout it has several disadvantages. Here are some of them: 
- Lack of amenities- apart from bathrooms and changing rooms, Curves gyms don’t offer members other facilities such as showers and child care services
- Zero progression- once a member reaches a plateau stage, the program does not provide any progressive exercise options
- Zero individual plans- since the 30-minute circuit routine is always the same, Curves does not offer an individualized exercise routine
- Zero focus- since the program features a combination of hydraulic resistance machines and a cardio workout in a short time frame, there isn’t much focus on a particular area of training
- Zero eccentric resistance- while hydraulic machines provide resistance when raising or pushing against the weight, there is no resistance involved when lowering the weight or pulling it back
- Repetitive exercise- Curves workouts require the same routine over and over again which might eventually become monotonous, boring and worse still fail to give results
What does a Curves Workout Entail?
The Curves fitness routine features a combination of strength-training and cardio exercise in a 30-minute circuit-training workout. The equipment for exercising is arranged in a circle. Members are then required to move from station to station as they alternate 30 seconds of running, jogging or walking on a ‘recovery board’ with 30 seconds of strength training. Circuit training takes about 25 minutes and is followed by additional 5 minutes of stretching.
Details on Curves and Weight Loss
According to ACE, losing weight at Curves gyms might take longer than you think. In fact, a study conducted by ACE on Curves’ workout discovered that the calories burned by participants were on the modest side. To lose one pound of weight, one is required to create a deficit of 500 calories every day. This can either be done through exercise or cut down the number of calories in your diet. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin carried out a study on the assessment of Curves for Women; they deduced that during the 30-minute workout session, participants burned a total of 184 calories on average but only burned 163 calories during the 25-minute circuit. The researchers also concluded that the Curves workout was equivalent to walking on a treadmill at 4 MPH for 30 minutes. 
Therefore, if you burn 184 calories at Curves, you will be required to cut down 300 more calories from your daily diet. However, the more you weigh, the more calories you burn using the Curves workout program.
How to Use (Take) Curves
Equipment used in Curve gyms offer participants the benefits of weight training together with a safe liquid movement, which provides an efficient workout while protecting the joints and bones. Low-impact machines in Curve workout sessions are used by participants who want to work at least two muscle groups at one time or as many as four by pulling and pushing instead of lowering and lifting weights. The essence of the exercise is to move as quickly as possible on each machine through a full range of motion; thus after every 30 seconds, you are required to switch stations so that you can allow yourself little time to recover and work out different muscle groups.
Potential Curves Side Effects
Since Curves feature a repetitive workout routine, a member has the potential of suffering overuse injuries. According to Kyle Battis, a certified strength and conditioning stylist, who claims using the same equipment in the same routine monotonously might result in tendinitis and bursitis.
Curves Product Warnings
Even though Curves nutritional products look appetizing, it is unknown what types of ingredients are used in their recipes. Low amounts of calories are provided in the foods which may not be sufficient in satisfying demands. While cutting down calories is essential to losing weight, there is a high demand for exercise, and it is unknown if these foods provide sufficient protein to satisfy a participant’s appetite.
The Curves training program comprises of strenuous exercise; this can increase hunger making it harder to suppress appetite. Such a demanding routine might require more and more calories thus sticking to such a low-calorie offering can be a bit cumbersome.
In regards to the Curves circuit, Cedric X. Bryant warns that the sessions will increase your strength but provide you with a minimal cardiovascular benefit which is contrary to claims made by Curves. Therefore it is recommended that you avoid straining as you stretch out the tubing. If you cannot perform a full range movement, you are advised to choose a color which indicates less resistance to avoid muscle injuries or strain. It is essential that you obtain clearance from your doctor before you start the circuit routine.
Any Curves Lawsuits?
Curves International has been faced with a plethora of challenges and controversies. In 2005, a severe debate came into play, this time in the form of six plaintiffs who filed a $20 million lawsuit against Gary Heavin, the company as well as the company’s lawyer Roger Schmidt. According to the six plaintiffs, Heavin had cheated them out of their share of profits. Apparently, Heavin together with Schmidt had pressured the six into signing a buyout contract which only left them with a fraction of what they were supposed to earn. 
Most of the plaintiffs worked as independent sales representatives after the company had already opened the franchises in numerous locations. The filed lawsuit had failed to mention that the sales representatives were paid over $26 million for their work.
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Can Pregnant Women Join the Curves Workout Program
The Curves ladies gym allows women of all fitness levels and ages join the workout program, including pregnant women. However, just as with any exercise routine done during pregnancy, some precautions and modifications should be followed.
Since Curves is specially designed for women, their low-impact, hydraulic equipment uses pulling and pushing motions as opposed to lowering and lifting weights. This means that it is safe for women to use them even during pregnancy. 
Pregnant women, new to Curves, are advised to start the routine slowly. As with all fitness programs, they are required to get clearance from their physician before beginning a Curves routine.
Limitations of Using Curves Equipment
Equipment used in Curves training routine is meant for weight management and strength training and not bodybuilding. The machines’ structure and size are developed for the physique of a woman, and none has been researched for men.
Are Men Allowed to Join Curves Gym?
The irony of Curves International is that one of the founders is a man but men cannot join Curves. As of publication, the program is not open to members who are male. The concept specifically designed an environment that is female-friendly thus excluding men. Some men feel left out since they also desire to utilize Curves. Unfortunately, at the moment, there is no way that they can be in the program.
How Men can Still Find Their Way Into Curves
Even though men are not allowed membership to the Curves health club and gym, they always find employment in the different facilities worldwide. The decision to hire staff for the facilities is made by individual franchisees some of whom are men. 
Why Men Can’t Hack Curves
If men were allowed to join Curves, the equipment available would most likely not serve them well. Most of the equipment in Curve gyms are built explicitly for the typical female body; this is according to the Curves website. The website also claims that the hydraulic equipment used by Curves was not only designed for women but also tested by biomechanical engineers and physiologists as well. Therefore, it was deduced that men would be better off working out in a traditional gym as opposed to a Curves gym. According to the website, regular gyms are typically equipped with machines designed for men.
Will There Ever be a Curves for Men?
Since 1992, the year Curves was founded, the franchise has seen a membership growth of about 4 million women with Curves for women locations worldwide. With such success, it begs the question: Will Curves ever establish a program just for men? As of 2013, Curves announced its decision to focus solely on females for the time being. A statement made by Curves International in 2013 indicated that the company was entirely dedicated to meeting the weight loss and fitness needs of women across the globe and did not plan to open training facilities for men at that moment.
What Users Are Saying
“”I have been using Curves for about 10 years. I love it!…I have become so much stronger using these workouts…I can go in tired and depressed and come out rejuvenated and happy!””
“”Curves can be great for novices. It’s a very comfortable, nonthreatening atmosphere…However, the Curves workout primarily offers strength-training, rather than cardiovascular, benefits.””
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“”As being Afro American some of the food in the book I was not use too. Some of the recipes help but a lot of them didn’t.””
The Bottom Line – Does Curves Work?
Should you rush right out and join your local Curves gym? The workout will get you results if you are willing to follow a balanced diet. But, we are concerned because several members in different locations have reported issues with customer services, such as rude employees and multiple billing errors. If you choose to join, you may want to pay close attention to the contract and ask for a tour first.
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