New fitness center throws Gilroy a curve

Katie Smith, center, watches Katie Stutheit, left and Julie

GILROY
– The third fastest growing franchise in the world,
promising

fun, fast fitness

has moved to Gilroy.
GILROY – The third fastest growing franchise in the world, promising “fun, fast fitness” has moved to Gilroy.

Curves For Women, a fitness and weight loss center, opened on Oct. 21 at 1255 First St.

Lynn Gray, owner of the Gilroy center, said Curves delivers an hour and a half fitness program packed into a 30-minute warm-up, cardiovascular, strength-training and stretching program.

“It’s a 30-minute exercise that people will do. We have a lot of professionals, teachers, homemakers, nurses. That’s the important thing. Women will do this for 30 minutes, and you will see results,” said Gray, 55, who is also a certified personal trainer.

The Gilroy center, which takes up 1,300 square feet, sports an oval-shaped configuration of strength training machines, which use hydraulic resistance, and “recovery stations” for maintaining one’s heart rate. The workout entails rotating every 30 seconds through the eight machines and stations with a fitness technician present to supervise and assist. Members do each rotation three times.

High-energy music plays in the background while an automated voice cues the women to switch machines and check their heart rates every seven to eight minutes.

“They’re burning body fat, and they’re building muscle,” Gray said. “And when they build muscle, they lose inches. Therefore, they’ll start losing inches first, and when they watch what they eat they lose weight as well.”

Two things one won’t find at Curves? Mirrors and heavy-weight body builders.

That’s done purposefully, Gray said, to help create a pressure-free environment.

“Curves provides a comfortable environment where women can acquire the habit of exercise,” Gray said.

At the Nipomo center in San Luis Obispo County, which Gray has owned since January, women have seen big results. Its 250 members have lost a total of 1,700 inches and pounds, added together, Gray said.

She said trainers will work with all abilities – and disabilities.

“It is for women of all ages,” she said. “This works very well for people with arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, back problems and for anyone who wants to lose or gain weight. It’s not just an old ladies gym. We have members from 13 to 85.”

Curves International, founded by company CEO Gary Heavin in Texas six years ago, has grown to become the largest fitness center franchise in the world, with 3,000 locations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Mexico.

Four-hundred centers exist in California alone, several of which have sprung up in the Bay Area. A center opened in Morgan Hill on Sept. 30. Other recent openings include Aptos, Salinas, South San Jose and Los Banos. Another center is slated to open in Hollister soon.

A travel card enables members to work out at any of the facilities.

Upon signing up, new members share their weight and medical history, and set fitness goals. Their progress is tracked every 30 to 60 days.

The nutrition segment of the program is based on a three-phase high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet detailed in Heavin’s book, “Permanent Results Without Permanent Dieting.”

“By the time you finished the book, hopefully you will have modified your eating so you don’t have to go back to (the diet),” said Gene Geary, manager of the Gilroy center and a certified personal trainer.

The center is persistent in its mission, too. Members who don’t come regularly will be mailed a “We miss you” card followed up by a phone call.

“Yes, we’re a capitalist entrepreneurship, but our real goal – and Lynn and I really believe this – is we want you to be successful,” Geary said.

Curves currently has about 60 members with a goal of eventually signing 400, Geary said. It’s open for free tours. The center’s most popular membership is set at $39 per month.

Curves For Women, located at 1255 First St., is currently open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:30-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours have not yet been set. The Morgan Hill center is located at 16129 Monterey Road and can be reached at 776-7576. For more information, contact the center at 846-9617 or visit www.curvesforwomen.com

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