Curves ‘Completes’ its transition

Published 11:11 am Friday, February 22, 2013


Violet and tan walls herald the arrival of Curves Complete to Dowagiac.

Curves has helped millions of women get healthier with its 30-minute, twice-around tour of 13 stations and 13 springy recovery squares that work every major muscle group (upper body, lower body and core) and burn up to 500 calories through a program of strength training, cardio and stretching.

Three visits a week are recommended.

Curves this year introduced Curves Complete, a program that incorporates exercise, diet and coaching, all in one program and all at one place.

At owner Linda S. Preston’s Curves of Dowagiac “fun-fast-fitness and weight loss center” at 230 S. Front St., meal plans are simple and personalized to individual tastes and habits; workouts include both cardio exercise and strength training, which are key to elevating metabolism and maintaining tone; and weekly, 15-minute one-on-one meetings with a Curves coach certified by the prestigious Cleveland Clinic.

Preston acquired Curves 5 1/2 years ago on Nov. 2, 2007, after being the first customer when it opened on Nov. 11, 2002.

“I’ve worked here since it opened,” she said Wednesday. “I had to take an 18-hour online course from the Cleveland Clinic” to become a coach. “We (she and her daughter, Easton) learned about the motivation for losing weight and about nutrition. We have access to people at the master’s degree level in the field for back-up if we get questions we can’t answer.”

“We still have people who just exercise, the fitness component,” Preston said. “We have a computer back there for the online diet program,” which prints out menu plans and recipes and shopping lists, if needed, for three meals and two snacks daily.

“People who keep a diet diary are 70 percent more successful,” she said. “You have to write down what you eat if you’re going to lose weight.”

Curves also has motivational videos available, such as hints on coping with going to parties or dealing with “saboteur” friends who want to stop off for ice cream or go out drinking.

“Some people have to have doughnuts,” she said. “In one case, a girl had a compulsion for doughnuts because she associated them with memories of good times with her dad going out for doughnuts every Sunday morning. Once she realized that, she could remember her dad without having a 300-calorie doughnut.”

Referring to the reality television series, Preston said, “The Biggest Loser makes everybody think they can lose 10 pounds a week. In reality, we put it on slowly. Real people who work can’t safely lose it that fast because we don’t have personal trainers.”

Preston said

Curves Complete was announced at October’s convention. “Two weeks later, when we watched the convention video, it was up on the website. The founders last summer sold out. Curves is now owned by a corporation. When Curves started, there was no place for women to exercise. It was so successful,” it created competitors, from 24-hour Anytime Fitness to Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem.

“I haven’t lost members to (Front Street Crossing of the Council on Aging across the street) because they’re totally different programs,” she said. “They have weights you have to move. Here, we work on hydraulic machines. Women hate having to remember to change weights. I have two (customers) who are 88 (one she knows from her bowling team). My youngest is, I think, 14. You have to be of a size to safely work the equipment. We don’t check body fat for anyone under 18 because we don’t want them dieting, we just recommend that they work out. They have to get doctor’s permission to do the diet plan.

“Their doctor or their scale get them in here. I have people who could go to SMC (Southwestern Michigan College) for free because they’re employed out there, but they don’t want to work out with guys or people in Spandex. We’re real people. A lot aren’t working out to lose weight, but to keep moving and keep arthritis at bay.”



Monday and Wednesday — 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday — 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Friday — 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday — 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

Closes daily from 1 to 3 p.m.