Founder, Curves International - more than 8,000 franchised
fitness and weight loss centers for women in the U.S., Canada,
Curves is now the world's largest fitness franchise and the
fastest growing franchise of any kind
Married to Diane
Gary Heavin: Thirty Minutes
to a Trimmer You
The 700 Club
For those who don't know, Curves International is a fitness franchise with
more than 8,000 locations in the United States and 10 other countries. Though
Gary began in the fitness field at age 20, it was in 1992 when he and Diane
perfected the Curves unique approach to weight loss that combines nutritional
guidance and an innovative workout that is fun and very effective. "Our
goal is to make exercise easy and accessible to all women," Gary says.
In just a half hour, members can do resistance training, aerobics, and stretching
- the three components essential for fitness, flexibility, and permanent
weight loss. "All we ask is that you devote thirty minutes, three
times a week to exercise," Gary says. He also says that if someone could
do that, and follow the Curves Meal Plan, then that person "will be trim
and fit and liberated from constant dieting."
There are three equally important components to a good workout: strength
training, aerobics (cardio), and stretching. The Curves program incorporates
all three into a 30-minute, three-days-a-week workout. The program shows how
to do it smart.
1. Strength training: Strength training is essential to preserve muscle
when you are on a weight loss diet. It means you are working your muscles
at a greater intensity than they are used to working. Working against resistance
that is too light or too easy does not make muscle, and muscle is what you
need to develop to shed those excess pounds and keep them off permanently.
When you are on a standard weight-loss diet, you can lose as much lean muscle
mass as you lose fat! The end result is you may be thinner, but you'll also
be a lot flabbier. Losing muscle also means you'll lose the most metabolically
active, calorie-burning cells in your body, making it even harder to keep
the weight off without starving yourself. Aerobics alone will not do it. Curves
fitness program will keep precious muscle and make new muscle. Since muscle
is more compact than fat, you will look sleeker and trimmer. Bigger muscles
build a smaller body.
2. Aerobics: Aerobics, or cardio, is any exercise that elevates your
heart rate to your target or training level and keeps it there for at least
20 minutes. Sustained activity allows your body to access fat stores for energy.
Aerobic exercise does not build muscle. It is an important part of an exercise
regimen, but it is not the only thing you need to do.
3. Stretching: After your strength training-aerobic workout, your
muscles are nicely warmed up and ready for some stretching. Stretching helps
to maintain more flexible, fluid joints and increases range of motion. Stretching
also enhances the effectiveness of strength training, improves balance, and
reduces the risk of back injury. A few minutes of stretching is all it takes
to feel great. TIP: When you stretch your muscles, ease gently into the stretch.
Hold each stretch for seven seconds and gradually extend a little farther
for another seven seconds. Remember not to bob, bounce, or force your stretches,
or you could pull a muscle.
After a difficult childhood, Gary was able to support himself at age 17 by
working nights in a pizza shop and attended school/ college during the day.
Dropping out at age 20, Gary took over a defunct health club in Houston and
learned the fitness business by trial and error. So poor that he had to sleep
there at night, Gary knew he had to sell enough memberships, or the lights
would be turned off. By 26 he had six fitness centers for women and was making
$1 million a year. He was a self-made man and proud of it, and enjoyed all
the trappings of success. His chain grew to 17 centers.
By age 30, everything began to fall apart. His wife divorced him and took
their two children. He went into bankruptcy and was $5 million in debt with
no job. By age 32 Gary was on his knees, surrendering everything to the Lord.
He devoured the Bible and watched The 700 Club.
Gary met Diane and eventually they got married. Gary sold fitness equipment
on commission and soon became president of the company, making $70,000 a year.
His older children soon joined him and Diane. Gary walked into church one
day and a woman prophesied to him, "Everything you touch will be blessed."
In the early '90s, he read Pat Robertson's Secret Kingdom.
In 1992 Gary and Diane opened the first Curves for Women center in Harlingen,
Texas. Curves is the first to offer fitness and weight-loss facilities in
the same location. The unique Quickfit exercise machines, dressing rooms,
and consulting area only require 1,000 square feet, which allows most locations
to be profitable with as few as 100 members.
Later, at a retreat for men, the Lord told Gary that he was going to build
a company that would be blessed abundantly. And the Lord has blessed richly.
The first year they had 50 locations; in 24 months they had 250 locations;
in 36 months they had 750 locations; in 48 months they had 1250 locations.
Today there are 8,000.
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