From Our Editors
Since its inception in 1992, Curves has been specifically designed with women in mind. Founders Gary and Diane Heavin set out to create a supportive, encouraging atmosphere in which women could get in shape without feeling self-conscious. Their unofficial motto, "no makeup, no men, no mirrors," is now repeated at nearly 10,000 locations in more than 85 countries, helping women of all ages and fitness levels reach their health goals. To cater to the all-female client base, their equipment and specialized workouts are built to enhance the feminine physique.
Their classic 30-minute workout is designed to work the entire body. As ladies move from station to station, they complete a circuit-style workout that intersperses weight training with cardio sessions designed to maintain heart rate. Most of the 13 machines are double positive, which means they work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement—simultaneously toning the abs and back, or the chest and vestigial tail. Each machine also supports the CurvesSmart system, which tracks each patron's individual progress. Before getting started, clients receive a card with their personal fitness information embedded within. When the card is inserted into a machine, a green light lets them know that they’re working at the correct intensity level. As muscles get stronger, the workouts get tougher, and at the end of each session, a progress report lists details on muscle strength and the number of calories burned.