I’ve have been going to the Curves gym on and off for about 10 years. The times in my life where I have struggled the most with weight has been the times that I have not been a Curves member. There is something about the 30 minute circle workout that works for me. It is true that I have had physical success with other gyms, but getting to the gym when it was ‘regular’ was really hard for me. Regular gyms have super motivated and fit people, which always make me feel out of place (I don’t consider myself to have ever been either of those things!). Prior to my wedding a year ago (Jan. 7, 2012), my fiance was my motivator. We met each morning at 5:30 at Retro-fitness. That was a great thing, but it wasn’t long after the wedding that I discovered my husbands lack of interest in morning exercise. We stopped going to the gym. Then we decided that it would be more effective to have a gym in our home, so we gathered hand-me-downs and ended up with a treadmill, weight bench, and exercise bike. That didn’t last long either.
I signed up for Curves again this past October, when I became so fed up with my lack of motivation on our home exercise gym. I was hesitant at first because of the cost. For most new users, it’s approximately $40 a month, which was double what I paid at Retro-fitness. However, I find the added cost is well worth the added benefits of the Curves circuit. I love ‘just showing up’ to exercise. Once I get there the exercise happens itself. I just pick a place to start and go around the circuit twice. That plus stretching is at least 30 minutes. I don’t have to ‘feel guilty if I used the bike 5 minutes less than yesterday’, which typically happened at the regular gym. On days that I am tired, I might not burn as many calories, but I’m still burning some and always building up muscle by using the circuit. And I always leave feeling refreshed and more energized. So the workout itself is something I can’t promote enough.
I considered Curves Complete right when I started, but my club leader encouraged me to wait until the new year, when the program would be re-vamped. I looked all over the web to find as much information on it as I could, but it was all fairly vague. I didn’t find anything negative about it, which can be a red flag for me. But at such a low cost (for me, it is effectively $75 for 3 months of the program, because I am already paying for a gym membership), I didn’t see trying it as a risk.
Well, as you can guess, I didn’t waste much time to get started in the new year. I was all signed up on January 2nd! After signing up and receiving 1 week of supplements, a water bottle, pedometer, brochures, and start-up guides, I headed home to work through the steps. I only got up to the choosing of meals before I found my red flag. This is where I hit a very tall brick wall. Let me explain.
I’ve done many different ‘diets’ in an attempt to make eating normal (I have a history of emotional and binge eating, and not knowing when I am physically full or hungry). It’s never worked. It always works for a time, but then I go back to eating whatever I want – always with worse long-term results. Because of this ‘culture of dieting’ that I have had, I am very good at keeping track of calories, determining meal plans, and using substitutes that are gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free. A lot of the elements I eat on these diets are made from scratch and were always somehow different from the time previous.
On Curves Complete, what is normally the most appealing aspect of the meal plan was the most challenging for me. There are many different canned meal options, including ‘heat and eat’, such as Lean Cuisine, and ‘on-the-go’, which covers a large variety of restaurants and fast food places. For almost 4 years now, I have not bought convenience items from the grocery store, nor do I eat a lot of ‘normal’ meals at restaurants. And fast food is sort of out of reach if you’re avoiding gluten and dairy. Otherwise, the plan has many canned recipes to choose from. At first glance this was very limiting.
I have since worked out my meals for week 1. And I have to say, it’s not as bad as I thought. I have chosen to keep it basic for the first week, with many of my meals being repeated for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve been eating on the plan for 2 days and so far have enjoyed the meals and feel great!
I decided to blog my experience over the next three months as a means of encouragement for anyone in my position – wanting to use Curves Complete, has dietary restrictions, and isn’t sure if it is for them. I know the system has been done before by those with restrictions, but I wasn’t able to find any information on it when I searched the web. And no one at my Curves club has ever been through it with diet limitations. So I feel as though I am testing the waters. Follow along with me if you’re interested!
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way representing Curves or their opinions here. I am merely sharing my experiences. Always check with your local Curves for the official word on any Curves initiatives, products, or programs. And anything health related should be run by your doctor :)