Alternative London Workouts #13: Curves

By Londonist Last edited 100 months ago
Alternative London Workouts #13: Curves

What?: Curves. A woman only gym that provides a cardiovascular work out combined with strength training in just 30 minutes. Curves claims their system burns up to 500 calories and works every major muscle group. 30 minutes you say? 500 calories you say? Where do I sign up?The rundown: The Curves system is a circuit of strength training hydraulic resistance machines that work two muscle groups at time, interspersed with cardio stations. You can start anywhere in the circuit. You spend 30 seconds at each station and do three complete circuits followed by a stretching session.Curves plays ‘120 beats per minute’ remixes of old favourites such as Mmmmmm Bop, by Hanson, to keep you motivated and to get your heart rate up. Every 30 seconds a recorded message tells you to “move to the next station” so you really don't have to think, you can just get on with burning off those 500 calories. 30 seconds doesn't sound like a long time but it really feels like it, although not in an unpleasant way. The short time frame makes your time on each station feel manageable and makes you work that little bit harder because of it.Does it work? After three sessions a week, for three weeks and we already feel more toned, particularly around the dreaded 'bingo wing' area. During the sessions we sweat constantly, go quite red and our heart rate is elevated. Muscle also burns more calories when resting than fat so, apparently, Curves increases your metabolism. Hurrah. Pass us a doughnut. And a glass of wine. And another doughnut.Is it for me? It's for everyone. Unless you're a man. Sorry men.There really are women of all shapes and sizes there, including super-toned sporty looking types and older ladies that are clearly of a pensionable age. There are big ones, little ones, skinny ones and curvy ones and everyone is really friendly. You can build up your fitness by taking it slowly and walking on the spot at the cardio stations, or you can push yourself a bit harder by really pumping the machines and using the cardio stations to jog.It can also be quite meditative if you move in time with the music. Zone out and before you know it, you've finished three circuits. That's not to say it's easy. It can be as hard as you need it to be but it also suits a range of abilities and fitness levels.Where: Kentish Town, Tottenham and more
.By Laura Babb

Last Updated 13 March 2010