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April 2008

I'm looking for a good work-out and wondered how well Curves works for others. I did a boot-camp work-out for a month but it was too high impact for my middle-aged knees. I liked the variety and I liked being challenged. I'd like to hear from those of you who have tried Curves or other classes that have worked for you. I'd also like to hear from those who tried but did not like Curves. I need to move my booty and not be completely bored. thanks

Well, if you're looking to avoid boredom, Curves may not be for you. It's good in terms of being gentle on knees (it's as low impact as you could ask for), and in terms of getting a fairly thorough workout in as short a time as is probably possible -- although if you want to tone your abs, that won't happen at Curves, you'll have to add some situps.

But, it's dull. Same machines, every time, two or three times around. Mostly same people, same music even. I go there mostly in the winter when it's raining and I can't walk in the hills where I live. Occasionally in the summer just to keep the upper body muscles more or less toned. Karen

If you are pro-choice and care what your money supports, you might want to find another gym, as Gary Heavin, the founder and CEO of Curves is a born-again Christian who contributes heavily to pro-life organizations. He's also a close friend of George W. Bush. No Curves fan

Hi, I am not a gym person but wanted a work out with some simple yet effective machines that I wouldn't need to spend hours at and be with all women. That and more is what Curves offers. With long, converient hours, a 30 minute 3 times a week program, friendly, knowlegable staff, a no pressure/competition feeling and many locations, it worked for me. dancingal53

I checked out curves a while back and didn't like it. mostly because of the routine. I couldn't keep up with it for more than 2 weeks. Instead, I joined jazzercise (on san pablo in el cerrito) and I really love it. There are few levels (you could start with ''lite''), you get a great workout, both aerobic and strength, you listen to great music and the instructors are amazing. Worth cheching out. anon

Hi, I joined long time ago Curves, did not make it for me, what woks better is a gym, nothing fancy, and no competition on looks, I happen to join a really good one, no expensive and with all what you need, and the owner/trainer (David) he is really good at what he teaches and reasonable price for a session, the membership is also cheap...... if compare with other clubs, and the monthly dues are extremely reasonable, the crowd is great, love this place, best ever I found in long long time, is in Montclair, and the name is Montclair Fitness, off of Moraga Ave. next to Petco, Wells Fargo, etc. Good luck, anon

Hated Curves. I joined as a way to jumpstart my postpartum exercising last year. I've never been a gym person - always preferred walking or hiking for excercise - but I really needed some structure to get me active. Anyway, I joined Curves because it seemed right - near my house, good hours, decent price, 30 minute workout. However, the workout just didn't do it for me. The circuit was great and the cardio stations got my heartrate up, but the toning and strength building machines didn't challenge me enough. I didn't like the atmosphere either - I felt really out of place. And then I found out that the man who founded Curves is a Born Again Christian who supports pro-life causes.

So, it didn't work for me. Try looking into 24 Hour Fitness Fit Lite. They have several spots (Piedmont Ave, Solano Ave.). It's a circuit, but provides more variety with the machines. still running in circles

Curves worked well for me. Unfortunately the one near my office closed, otherwise I'd still be a member. Pros - reasonable variety, short time demand, and women only. Also at the one I went to the owner was friendly, the patrons were nice, and the music was great (it was downtown Oakland). Cons -can't think of any really. Rebecca

I love Curves and have been going for about 4 years. From the beginning the workouts have given me more energy and tone. There is a community there too. You can be involved with conversations around the circuit, or you can keep to yourself and just work out. The owner at the El Cerrito Plaza curves leads members in an advanced work out on the recover stations for people who want more intensity. JK

Can't tell you how many times I've joined a fancy gym, only to waste my membership $$ cuz I can't stand the gym scene and I can't make myself go.

I do Curves everyday- it's convenient, it's low attitude, folks are friendly and supportive. I've been going for nearly 3 years. Working out for 30-40 mins everyday has totally boosted my energy level. Folks work out at their own pace, so you can start where its comfortable for you. Local Curves are usually woman owned- mine donates $$ to Planned Parenthood or Charlotte Maxwell cancer clinic if you make it to the gym 3x a week.

A couple of things-

You need to mindful to increase the intensity of your workout if that's your goal. The machines are all resistance based, so you can effectively do not much of anything if you don't keep ramping it up. Same w/the cardio, you have to move to make it worthwhile. No one is telling you what to do, so it's all on you to make sure you are getting the workout you need.

The music sucks. And it's kinda hard to listen to your own b/c of the format.

It's repetetive and you can feel a little like a hamster on a wheel.

I'm not thrilled w/the political causes the owner of the franchise parent company supports financially.

However, all the pluses outweigh the minuses in my book. And it's cheap enough that you can afford to get in a little yoga or swimming or something else for your knees! I've heard 24 Hr Fitness's Fit Lite on Piedmont is a similar set-up, but is a little more gym-like, if that's what your looking for. Good luck w/whatever you do! Kris

I was a member of the Emeryville Curves for several years and loved it. I think that particular club is a little less crowded than some of the others. The music sucks (imho), but I loved the workout. I felt that it was very well balanced, full body workout. My muscle tone got really good, although I did not lose weight (whaddya know.) That said, it is a repetitive work out, so if you are looking for variety, Curves is probably not the place for you. I got a bit too tired of the repetition after 3 years - that (and the lack of energy I had during pregnancy) is the only reason I quit and I'm kind of regretting it. good luck anon

i belonged to curves for 1 1/2 years. while i enjoyed it at first, it started to feel monotonous and i began questioning whether or not it was really doing my body much good. yes, it got me moving for 1/2 hr, but i never worked up much of a sweat and it became more of a social place for many of the women than beneficial exercise. the machines are hydrolic, not adjustable, so you have to push/pull quickly to get a good resistance going.

once fit-lite opened up on solano i decided to check it out. a trial workout sold me on how much better this workout would be for me. while both curves and fit-lite are based on a circut, one can adjust most of the machines at fit-lite for your own body size and strength. they also focus on core strengthening, and i was able to tell a difference within a month.

While I have only been a member of Curves for a little over 2 months, I have lost 13 pounds doing it 3x/week, and I have a lot more energy. I like the people at the Montclair Curves. They are friendly and I always feel like you can talk or not, and nobody expects anything you don't want to give. They are doing a food drive right now, and have a place to donate books for needy kids, as well as a donation box for shelters, and a bookshelf for members to share books. They have a new system being put in place as I write this called Curves Smart which gives you feedback about your workoout based on the baseline they put in the system after they work with you, so you can ''go for green'' to intensify your workout if you need to, and it helps you to progress where you need to, take it slower if you need to, and you get lots more feedback than before, so I'd recommend it. You can also opt to do it the old way, if you like that. I've been really enjoying my time there but have never belonged to a gym, so I don't have anything to compare it to. Having Fun at Curves

Feb 2004

Can anyone comment (positively or negatively) on the ''Curves'' exercise gyms for women. If you joined, did you drop out, or were you able to maintain your exercise program there? Thanks. Diane

I've been a Curves member for about five months now. After trying it for a month, I dropped my Courthouse membership and signed on with Curves for six months.

It's very hard to say whether you, personally, can ''maintain your exercise program there,'' to use your phrasing--'cause I have no idea what that means for you. I can tell you that I chose Curves over Courthouse because I just wasn't getting to Courthouse, ever. The time commitment involved in getting to an exercise class there (which was much more of an attraction for me, personally, than doing freeweights and Stairmaster on my own) was more than I could manage with a part-time job and two small kids.

Because I can go to Curves and get in some weight-training (at what I consider a very low level, to be truthful) and a half hour of aerobic exercise, all packed into roughly 35 minutes, I go far more often than I went to Courthouse. In fact, I go twice a week, ususally in the morning before my husband goes to work. The program recommends that you do a Curves workout at least three times a week, but I take at least one ballet class on the weekend (and sometimes two), so I'm personally meeting my exercise goals.

Now, this hasn't led me to suddenly drop 20 pounds (or even 10), but I'm slender to begin with, so that wasn't my overarching goal.

Hope that helps you. darcy

I was skeptical about Curves until I saw the results on the work out on two friends, one of whom went down a whole clothing size. I have been going for about 5 weeks now, and I really enjoy it. It is definitely a no-frills type place, but it is only 30 minutes, and it is pretty fun once you get into it. I go to the one by my office at El Cerrito Plaza. It is a real cross section of people age, weight and strength levels. I tried the one on Grand Ave. and would not go back as it was so small, I thought I was going to hit the person next to me. The music is good, and the boredom factor is minimal given the shortness of the workout. The staff, at least at El Cerrito, are not the most inspiring, but you get what you pay for. In short, I would recommend joining Curves if you are looking for a fast workout. It is also helpful that they have them all over the place and you can go to any of them. I would caution you that the hours at most of the Curves are pretty strange, i.e. they close for the afternoons, so make sure of the hours before you sign up. Jenny B.

I have been going to Curves since it opened in my neighborhood (last July) and I love it! I even brought a friend who was visiting from LA and she is now a member at the Curves in her neighborhood. Membership is a bit expensive: I paid $503 for a one-year membership, though I believe the dues vary between locations. Curves is not your typical gym, a feature I like and appreciate, yet you are still able to get a good workout and feel good about yourself afterwards. Also, you may be able to try a few sessions for free, to see if you like it. PJ

Curves is great! I go to the one in El Cerrito Plaza. I joined last October. Exercising to rock music from the 60's 70's & 80's -- what's not to like? I always get an endorphin ''high'' within the first 10 minutes and leave with a big smile on my face.

Speaking of big smiles, I lost 5 inches off my body within the first two months and I have lost more since.

I will say that, like me, most of the Curves participants are middle-aged women with weight to lose and figure ''challenges''. The routine might not be interesting or challenging enough for some women. I find it easy to go 3 times a week. It's only a half hour (sometimes I do 45 minutes) and for me, it has gotten results without serious dieting. Oh, and I like the fact that it is all-women. Getting Curvier

I love Curves. I belong to the one in El Cerrito Plaza and I think it is a great place. I really saw some physical changes after going there for the first 6 weeks (3 days a week and 30- 40 minutes each session). I have slacked off a bit this winter do to traveling, a few family funerals and just general laziness and I had been going only 2 times a week. But I have committed myself to going 3 days a week again because it helps with my training for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and a trip to Mexico where I will be wearing a bathing suit alot has been a motivator. It is really easy to get into it. I see some women who go every day and they have made tremendous strides in their weight loss goals. Curves also has a great diet plan that you can commit to for 6 weeks. I had lost about 7 pounds doing it for 3 weeks (again, summer vacation coincided with the timing of the group session and I just slacked off without the support and well, you know, it was vacation!). It's free to join the diet group when you are a member (the diet is a cross between weight watchers and Atkins). At El Cerrito, they run a group every 2 months or so.

I have found that Curve gyms are everywhere and when you travel you can get a pass from your home gym and workout at any other Curves (I have been to one in South Oklahoma, Lake Tahoe and in Middletown, Lake County). That alone has been very convienent for me.

Curves is a very successful place. The age range of the women who work out there is from 20-80. Most of the older women who I see in the mornings say they wished they had something like Curves when they were younger, because the support of the members, ease of the machines and the express workout time really fits into a busy women's lifestyle. I am glad to be fitting back into my pre-pregnancy pants again!

I've been going to Curves since last summer, quite faithfully, usually three times a week. I definitely feel good for having the exercise and recommend it on that basis. I can't say that it has made any difference in my shape or weight, (I'd like to lose 20 lbs.) though I am still reducing my food intake and maybe just haven't gotten to the right ratio of calories in/calories used. I should say I'm also 49 and at a stage where my body is making a major change (get my drift?) and that, no doubt, complicates all of this.

Anyway, I do recommend Curves. It's only women and there's a nice feeling of support that we're all doing this together. If you go regularly, you'll see the same faces there.

I joined the curves at rockridge market hall last september. It's a great place for a good 30 minute - no frills workout. The weight machines work on resistance. So you make the workout as easy or hard as you need / want. I was craving excercise but couldn't seem to work a gym or classes into my schedule. At curves you just get on the machines, go around 3 times, and you're done (plus stretching). Nothing to think about or skip or in my case - cheat. The staff at the Rockridge curves are very friendly and motivating. I believe sometime in March the sign up fees for new members are waved if you bring a bag of can goods for a charity drive. Happy with curves! anon

I joined the Telegraph Avenue Curves with a friend in September, and just recently stopped going. The first couple of weeks there were some really cool people working there, and the place was friendly and funky. Then they hired a robot by-the-books- corporate manager, and since then the staff has been quitting every few weeks. I don't like the music and it is usually too loud, and it is hard to get staff to lower the volume. The machines are not adjustable for one's stature, and it is really easy to injure yourself on them. It is also difficult to tailor the circuit to your own needs, because there are people in front and behind you so you can't easily go out of order or skip a machine. I wanted to not use the abs machine and just hit the floor and do crunches instead, and they told me that their liability policy wouldn't let me do that!

I love Curves!! I live on Lake Merritt and joined the Park Blvd. location in Oakland (2706 Park Blvd., 1/2 mile south of 580) a little over a month ago, and I can't believe how good I am feeling already. It is a great workout, fun, over in 30 minutes, is not intimidating, and so far has been easy to stick with. In fact, I have worked out more in the past month at Curves than I did during the year I was a member at Gold's Gym! I am also finding that it is hard to talk myself out of skipping the gym when the workout only takes 30 minutes! The Park Blvd. location has been open almost 2 months and there is ample street parking. The franchise owner, Sharon Jones, is very hands on with her members and periodically gets right in there and exercises with us and cheers us on. It actually is lots of fun. Give Sharon a call at (510) 645-1101 if you live in our neighborhood and she will be happy to give you more specific information. I believe there may still be a special deal going on for new members, but you would have to ask Sharon about that. I am so happy that you posted your question about Curves because I am bursting at the seams to share how great I think this workout is. The concept must work since 24 Hour Fitness has copied the 30-second-each-station circuit training system at their gyms. Good luck with your decision. Charlotte, a new Curves convert

Regarding the earlier posts about Curves gyms... this may be relevant to anyone thinking of joining one. There has been some on-line discussion recently about the founder of Curves, Gary Heavin, and his large donations to anti-choice organizations.

There is an extensive report about it at ( is a site that researches urban legends and reports about their truth or lack thereof).

The short version is that Mr. Heavin donated $10 million last year to charities (approx 10% of Curves gross revenues) and that anti-choice groups are major recipients of these donations. Notably, he donates to the radical group Operation Save America (which calls legal abortion a ''holocaust'' and is affiliated with Operation Rescue).

Something to think about, if you are a member or thinking of becoming one. Plenty of other good gyms around... Jen

July 2003

Hi, My sister -in-law in So. Cal is raving about the fitness program CURVES. Does anyone know if there is a center in Berkekey? Thanks Jamie

I don't know if there is a Curves in Berkeley but there is one in Oakland, off Grand Avenue, a few blocks up from the theater.

There is a Curves in the El Cerrito Plaza (between Trader Joes and Citibank) and one in Emeryville (not sure where). I have been going to the EC one for about 2 weeks and have noticed a definate change in my body defination (and I lost 6 pounds). I love it-it is truly a 30 minute work out/3 days a week and you will see results. They also have a great diet plan (sort of Atkins like, with a support like WW). Give them a visit. Kerri

A Curves studio just opened up in Oakland/Piedmont on Grand Avenue. I am curious as to what they offer, but I haven't been there yet. Heather

Yes, the address is: 2855 Telegraph Ave Suite 104 Berkeley, California 94705 Their is also one in Piedmont and Emervyille. You can look it up on, ellia

There is a new Curves on San Pablo in Emeryville, that's only minutes from Berkeley. I don't know the exact address but it is definitely between 40th and 51st on the East side of the street.

April 2003

Has anyone tried Curves, the circuit training fitness program? It appeals to me because of the 30 minute work-out. Are there any locations that are better? eve

I tried Curves with my Mother-in-Law in Michigan in January. I have worked out for many years, doing step aerobics, weight training and circuit training at high end clubs and found Curves to be a very un-strenuous work out. I thought it was great for some of the people in MI who have never worked out a day in their lives as it gets them moving, but I was really disappointed as I didn't really get a really great work out. The machines they offer are only adjusted to one setting, so once your body accumulates to the machines, you body will require more in order to get positive results. It would be a good program to start off with I you have never done anything like this at all, but then I would gradually move on to something more challenging and strenuous like free weights and/or something aerobic to make your body work a little harder . If your looking for big results fast, I would not recommend Curves..(my $0.02) Suzanna