No men. No make-up. Absolutely no mirrors.
Women were given the opportunity to see what a gym without testosterone is really like when Curves of Latham celebrated its grand reopening under new ownership Friday, March 28.
However, while newcomers were welcomed at the entrance with a display of banana-nut bread and muffins, all baked with Curves-brand ingredients, the 30-minute clock did not stop for women who were already working out, pushing their strength on leg presses and anxiously anticipating their 30-second recovery breaks.
Town Supervisor Paula Mahan attended the re-opening.
It’s a pleasure, in the final days of Women’s History Month, to participate in this ribbon-cutting of this new business dedicated to women’s wellness, she said.
Sandra Wheatley, 61, of Latham, began her membership at Curves under the new owner, Bill Kent.
`When I joined, it wasn’t to lose weight,` she said, `It was for bone density.`
Wheatley had suffered severe bone loss, but for her, Curves provides a challenging workout that does not put a strain on her limbs.
Curves’ workout program, which originated in 1992 by Gary and Diane Heavin of Texas, functions on a basic principle: A circle is arranged in a single room encompassing several weight-training machines and mats for `recovery.`
As upbeat music blares on the stereo, a womanly voice calls out for members to `change stations now,` or, rotate off equipment every 30 seconds. Members are encourages to go around the circle of machines, which takes 15 minutes each round, twice. The machines use hydraulic resistance to tone and strengthen the body.
For Dianne Miller, 66, this program is `easy.` After retiring in January 2004, Miller joined Curves as a result of being dissatisfied with other gyms. `I hated counting rep[ition]s,` she said. `If I have to exercise, this is OK.`
According to Kent, the program that Curves provides is designed specifically for women. `Whether you’re interested in getting more exercise for health and general condition or want to lose weight or tone your muscles, Curves can help you establish a regimen to help you meet your goal,` he said in a press release.
Twenty-seven-year old living testimonial Melissa Harrington, who became manager of the Latham Curves in January when Kent became the new owner, said when exercising at typical fitness clubs, `I could never stick it out.`
Harrington has lost more than 14 pounds since she started working out at Curves.
But Curves is more than a fitness club ` it’s a family, said Harrington.
Standing in the center of the workout floor, Harrington speaks to each member by name, shouting positive feedback if members are working hard, and encouraging them to work harder if they are not.
She said that by getting to know members and making them feel comfortable with her, they are more likely to come back.
`It’s personality that makes this business key,` she said.
An ex-member of Planet Fitness, Harrington said that it is nice to work out in an environment where you know people.
Though Harrington did not know the exact number of members who exercise at the Latham location, she said this year’s goal is to gain at least 800 members.
While the ages of members range from 16 to 80, gender remains consistent ` only women exercise at Curves.
Harrington said many women like the idea of being able to work out wearing anything they want ` and they do, even in their pajamas.
`Some of our younger members, in high school, come in wearing their pajama bottoms with hearts on them,` she said.
Although the Latham Curves, credited by Harrington as the only location in the area to be open seven days a week, has had few changes through the transition of owners, members have many advances to look forward to in the future. In August, Curves is expecting the arrival of `smart equipment,` which is a computer system based on key tags that members will be able to touch to the machines they are using.
Harrington said the machine will show a colored light when touched with the key tag: green indicating the member is doing well and orange will suggest she should try to work harder.
She also explained the Curves brand is expanding to food stores, allowing members to purchase foods with lower calories than other foods on the market. The Curves brand manufactures food such as cereal, snack bars and popcorn.
Coupling a healthy diet with a three-times-a-week workout is the complete formula for Curves’ mission to achieve a healthy lifestyle. And as Harrington said, while members are losing weight, they are gaining a `really big connection.`