Business uses circle to tighten bodies

Published 1:59 am Friday, July 25, 2003

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Edwardsburg Argus
EDWARDSBURG -- Women in Edwardsburg have joined the newest craze moving in a circle to music going around and around.
The new business is Curves on M-62 and owners Ann Bermudez and Paula Johnson at Gateway Drive are helping area women to lose weight, tone up and become healthier, in just 30 minutes three times a week.
The two women went to Waco, Texas for a week of training and for certification. They are used to working together as Bermudez, who lives with her husband Dan in South Haven, is a special education teacher in Lawrence. Johnson, of Paw Paw, is an assistant there. They plan on continuing teaching in the fall.
By then too, if the members request the hours at Curves in Edwardsburg will be expanded. Presently they are open from 9 a.m. to 1 and 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. So far the number joining continues to grow, nearing 150.
They praised their landlord, Dr. Gregory Curtis, who had been extremely supportive. A huge sun representing the Curves logo, "Let your Light Shine," that fills one wall, and another mural on an opposite wall, were painted by Darc Clements, an artist from Elkhart, Ind.
Paula and her husband Jim have one son, Artie, who is 24 and an electrician. The business is a "family thing," but they hope there is "no more drywall," she added.
Curves offers a new concept in exercise along with weight-loss guidance, especially in smaller communities where larger exercise facilities do not exist. "They make good friends and get healthier," said Bermudez.
Placing a variety of machines in a circle, the women complete a circuit, moving when the music stops. This allows placement in a less than 1,000 square feet building and still offers a workout in just half an hour. "There is no schedule," Johnson added. "They just come in and start at a station."
The Curves system alternates hydraulic resistance machines with aerobic recovery stations. As the members move around the circle, enjoying the music, they are motivated by an instructor.
The combination produces both a cardiovascular and strength training workout. The cycle end with a stretching routine. Any age or condition can participate, they said.
The developers of the system believe Curves is the key to permanent weight loss, without muscle loss.
One of the fastest growing franchises in the world, Curves opens in a new location every 18 hours and 4,500 locations can be found in 50 states, along with Canada, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.