Is there a men's version of Curves?
February 23, 2010 6:07 AM   Subscribe

Is there a men's version of Curves Fitness?

Ok, I've finally realized that it's time to get in shape and get healthy. Hooray!

I was interested in joining a circuit-type workout center like Curves, but I noticed that it's for women only. Is there a men's version of Curves? I live in Cincinnati, if that helps.
posted by zooropa to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's a franchise called "Cuts Fitness for Men" but the internet tells me it is not doing well financially, and may or may not be totally closed down.
posted by juniperesque at 6:17 AM on February 23, 2010

Many gyms will set you up with one free personal training session when you join. (If they don't offer, ask for it when you're negotiating. Ask for a few, even.) Use this session, or buy one or two, to have the trainer teach you a Curves-esque circuit you can do on your own time.
posted by ferociouskitty at 6:19 AM on February 23, 2010

At 24-hour Fitness they (used to) have one section of their weight machines lined up and advertised as a circuit. The machines are still there, but i don't know if they still use them that way.
posted by CathyG at 6:23 AM on February 23, 2010

check with the university of cincinnati, xavier and nku to see what they offer members of the community. university activity centers generally have community memberships and the hours aren't too bad because you're competing with, like, intramurals and wellness classes, not the NCAA. IIRC, NKU has a circuit area.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:50 AM on February 23, 2010

What are you looking for? A group fitness class? Personal training? What is it that appeals to you about Curves? You can get on a bunch of machines at any major gym, although your time would be much better spent learning to do a more effective program that isn't based on isolation machines.

If you want to take a group class based around circuit-type training, you could look for a CrossFit affiliate near you. CrossFit is very challenging, but it's a good general fitness program and the trainers at a quality affiliate will be able to teach you the movements and scale the workouts to your level.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:57 AM on February 23, 2010

ludwig_van: To answer your question, I'm not looking for a class. From what I've read, Curves offers the individual a chance to go around to multiple machines in a circuit but for short bursts of activity.

I found a summary on eHow. While I know I could re-create this at a gym on my own, it seems like it would be easier to do this as part of a program. I could be wrong, though.
posted by zooropa at 7:32 AM on February 23, 2010

The YMCA in my town (Colorado Springs) features a circuit room. Anyone can use it. Maybe ask at your local Y?
posted by pickypicky at 7:39 AM on February 23, 2010

I joined New York Sports Club, which also has Boston and Washington clubs, and they have a circuit training course in every gym. It's available all the time, and during certain hours trainers are specifically stationed there to work through it with you. I haven't tried it yet (nor Curves), but it seems like the same model - the machines are in order in a small area and you're supposed to be able to finish one circuit in 22 minutes or something.

If NYSC is doing it, there must be other gyms picking up on this too - so even if there isn't a coed gym that offers *only* this service, you may be able to find it as part of what's offered at a more generalized gym.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:41 AM on February 23, 2010

At 24-hour Fitness they (used to) have one section of their weight machines lined up and advertised as a circuit.

This is pretty common, actually. The machines will be separated by brand (Nautilus, Cybex, etc), and if it's a good gym, one (or more) of the brands will either be arranged in a circuit, or all the machines necessary for a circuit will at least be near each other.

Typically, a good gym will also set you up with a free trainer session or two. Ask about circuit training, they'll show you.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:41 AM on February 23, 2010

I can verify what Salamandrous said about WSC (and NYSC and its other branches), a lot of gyms will have a couple rows of machines with numbers on the floor and presumably you just work your way through them. I personally think you would get more benefit by learning how to work with free weights, but some people need structure and routine more than others.
posted by BobbyDigital at 7:45 AM on February 23, 2010

Agree with pickypicky. Any good Y should have circuit training.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:56 AM on February 23, 2010

From what I've read, Curves offers the individual a chance to go around to multiple machines in a circuit but for short bursts of activity.

Ok. You can do this at pretty much any gym. And if you're mostly interested in getting a cardiovascular workout and burning calories, it doesn't matter all that much what exercises you do, just that you're getting your heart rate up. Although I still wouldn't recommend machine-based workouts to a beginner. If you're interested in strength on the other hand, you should do a proper strength program.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:56 AM on February 23, 2010

Most gyms have similar circuits. They typically call them "Express Workouts", "30 minute Workout", "30 Minute Express Workout", etc. It's just a room that has a circuit of machines that you use in order to work out your entire body -- because everyone goes around in a circle, using them in the same order, it's more orderly and there isn't waiting around or guessing which machines to use like in other areas of the gym.

The main difference is that they do not incorporate short bursts of cardio in between sets, like Curves. I think if you do a 5-10 minute warm up and 5-10 minute cool down, you'll have the same (or probably better) results because the Curves strength training is actually a load of crap since it doesn't even use actual weight. The express circuits are a simple, quick, brainless way to get a full body strength workout.
posted by tastybrains at 7:58 AM on February 23, 2010

Consider free weights. Women tend to be scared off (they shouldn't be, but they often are), and it's the best strength training exercise out there.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:44 AM on February 23, 2010

The best full body workout is performed with free weights. It is not natural to only work out sectional parts of your body to make a circuit. You can achieve the much better results with 3 core barbell workouts. Back squat, press (shoulder/bench), and deadlift.

I know that free weights can be a bit scary, as you have to learn them, but I would take the free trainer workout you get when you join any gym, and tell the trainer to teach you those 3 moves.

Now I know you might not want to take this advice, but I beg of you, please, just read 5 pages. It will take 10 minutes. Read the intro to starting strength. Here's the link. Go to amazon and click search inside this book. Read pages 2-5. That's it. Just read those pages.

Most people want to start on the machine because they look easy, and you see people using them in the gym. But these machines will not help in the long run of things. Do you think it would be easier to master 20 different machines, constantly loading and unloading weight, or easy to master 3/4 basic lifts that give you a full body workout in much shorter time.

If you are at all interested after reading those pages, google the starting strength wiki for a simple workout plan.I'm not a meathead, or a gymrat, but I have been in your shoes. PLEASE :) Consider the advice.
posted by ShootTheMoon at 9:19 AM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

I belong to a Planet Fitness that has such a circuit as you describe, but as Planet Fitness has many franchises, all locations may not be the same.
posted by PsuDab93 at 9:24 AM on February 23, 2010

Nthing the suggestion of joining a college gym. For the past few years, I've taken a one credit hour gym class at a local community college. I like it a lot better than a commercial gym because:

1. They have a circuit workout, and you have to complete at least one circuit to get credit for that day. Gives a little extra incentive to those who need it.

2. The instructors are more interested in helping you get fit. The reason I hate most commercial gyms is that if you ask anyone how to use a piece of equipment, they tell you to buy a personal training session.

3. You usually can't beat the cost. My gym class costs me $68 per semester, which works out to $204 per year. They do have reduced hours when school isn't in session, but it's a worthwhile tradeoff.
posted by reenum at 10:06 AM on February 23, 2010

Seems I'm always agreeing with ludwig_van on these questions. I think even though you don't want to do a crossfit class, it sure seems like you want to do something like crossfit.

Look at the named workouts: many of those can be done on your own, anywhere, with minimum equipment. If you throw in a pullup bar and/or have access to a barbell and weights, you can do almost all of them. I'm telling you right now, though, as simple as they look, Barbara, Cindy, and Annie will beat the tar out of you. Look at it this way: if you can't finish Cindy without dropping dead yet, what do you need a machine for?

The machines are bad all around. They let you not use your stabilizing muscles, they enforce artificial movement paths, you have to wait your turn, and ew, sweaty seat, gross.

To directly answer your question: I don't know of any specifically for that, but often the staff trainers at a commercial gym can reserve a number of machines for themselves so you can do them in a circuit without interruption. That would make you pay for a trainer, though.

One other idea: if you live near a small-ish military base, often they have fitness trainers available for the guys to train with if they want. Often those trainers are sitting around like the Maytag repairman, and they will open up access to the general public (but not publicize that too much.) The cost is much more reasonable than at a commercial gym.
posted by ctmf at 10:49 AM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Before joining any gym, please read my friend MAS' posts Tales from the Glitter Gym. In short, most gyms suck, and do not cater to the need to really get fit. They are funny, and entertaining, and give you a view as to what you might be looking for in a gym. I think you're not going to find a male analogue for Curves, unfortunately.
posted by artlung at 11:14 AM on February 23, 2010

Planet Fitness

Anything but this. Most gyms are pretty terrible these days, but Planet Fitness is truly the enemy of all things good. Even more than the other big franchises, they are trying to carve out a niche by catering to ignorance and insecurity rather than trying to educate people and help them get fit, and their business model should not be rewarded. Avoid at all costs.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:17 PM on February 23, 2010

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