Since the doors opened April 22 at Curves for Women in Belen, its members have lost a total of 130.35 inches and 55.5 pounds.
The women-only health club, located at 610 A. Dalies Ave., specializes in providing a hour-and-half workout in just 30 minutes.
“The total body workout is achieved through the Quickfit program,” said Dena Wood, manager of the Belen facility which has 100 members after one month. “Quickfit is circuit training where women are able to strengthen and tone muscles and improve cardiovascular health all in one routine.”
The Curves circuit alternates hydraulic resistance machines with aerobic recovery stations and ends with stretching.
Dr. Brenda Mack-Caine, veterinary at Valencia Animal Clinic, brought the Curves for Women franchise to Belen because the system worked for her.
“While Brenda was in college, she used the Curves system and lost 30 pounds,” Wood said. “She says it is the only thing that has worked for her.”
Wood has also been active in fitness by participating in some type of exercise class for the past five years. “Curves is different in that it is not just about weight loss, but also about health and keeping in shape,” she said.
Curves is a unique concept in the exercise service industry. It provides both exercise and weight-loss guidance in the same location. Company founder Gary Heavin has said that, before his franchises, towns with population of less than 50,000 did not have exercise facilities designed for women.
“Our unique circuit allows us to provide a quality facility in the smaller-population markets. Our secret is a breakthrough in technology, which allows us to offer a superior facility in under 1,000 square feet,” Heavin said in a press release.
The Belen franchise is among the 3,000 location across the United States, Canada and Spain. It is among the 15 located in New Mexico.
“There is a Curves for Women in Rio Rancho, and one will be opening soon in Albu-querque,” Wood said. “Other-wise, we are the only one in the area.”
The facility is built around a breakthrough in exercise — a truly-complete workout in just half an hour.
“As you move around the circuit, enjoying the music and being motivated by an instructor, you perform both a cardiovascular and strength-training workout at the same time,” said Wood. “You change stations every 30 seconds as you move around the circuit three times.”
The hydraulic resistance machines are designed for women to work different muscle groups. The machines give the same amount of resistance as the energy the user applies.
“If you push slow and easy on the equipment, it will move easily,” Wood said. “But if you push hard and fast, it will give you more resistance and give you a harder workout.”
Cardiovascularly, Wood said, the women are working to be at 60 to 70 percent heart rate for 20 minutes of their workout. Between each machine, the member maintains her heart rate by moving in place, either by running or marching.
“We have a chart that tells what percentage their target heart rate is for their age. The routine has the women check their heart rate every eight minutes during the circuit. If a person is in the 90 percent level, they are doing more harm then good during their workout,” she said.
The third aspect of the workout is stretching during the cool down stage.
“There are several benefits to stretching,” Wood said. “It decreases risk of injury and enhances joint integrity. It increases blood supply and nutrients to joint structures, and it decreases risk of low back pain.”
Each member is weighed and measured monthly to see what results she has achieved.
“We plan to also have weight-loss classes, which use Gary Heavin’s book and program, to help our members,” she said.
One aspect of the Curves for Women system is that it appeals to women who have not ventured into the gym before.
“A lot of our women haven’t worked out before. Some say they were not comfortable going to a co-ed gym. Others didn’t like the intense workouts,” Wood said. “Here, they are finding a place they can work at their own pace and see results.”