Congratulations on all the hard work you’ve put in thus far. It’s often difficult to get into an exercise routine and it sounds like you’ve mastered the task. The cardiovascular and strength training elements in a Curves workout provides a good low to moderate intensity exercise routine. For the inactive individual, Curves can help you get started in a non-threatening and often encouraging environment. If you are someone who is already very active, this workout may need to be coupled with other more intense forms of activity throughout the week in order to be effective.
ACE conducted a study in 2005 on the efficacy of a Curves workout. The results indicated that the average 30-minute circuit burns around 184 calories and that the overall Curves program succeeded in improving ones aerobic capacity by effectively raising and sustaining heart rate levels to the appropriate training zone. This is great news if you’re looking for improvements in energy, stamina and overall heart health. However, if the improvements you’re seeking have more to do with weight loss, then it’s important to consider another major factor- your diet. What you eat can quickly undermine the best weight loss efforts you put in at the gym. To put this into prospective, the study cited an example using a Krispy Kream donut stating that by consuming only about half would replace the calories burned off during an average 30-minute Curves circuit. Even the less obvious calorie sources we consume throughout the day like beverages can all add up and hamper weight loss.
Weight loss occurs when we consume fewer calories than we expend. The standard equation uses a formula of 3,500 calories equaling 1 pound. This means that in theory to lose 1 pound per week, you would need to create a deficit of approximately 500 calories each day below energy balance (the amount of calories it takes for you to remain at your current weight) either through food, exercise or a combination of both; 500 calories x 7 days/week = 3500 calories (DHHS, 2005). The most effective way to lose weight is through a combination of less calories and more exercise. For instance, if your goal is to lose 1 pound per week, each day you could choose to consume 200-250 fewer calories and expend 200-250 more calories through activity/exercise.
Ace Fit has a number of free tools and calculators in the Healthy Living section of the website to help you get closer to your goals including a Daily Caloric Needs Estimate Calculator which may offer you a starting point for determining the number of calories needed to maintain your current body weight. Once you have that number, you can apply the weight loss formula to give you a better idea on a potential target to shoot for each day.
Anders, M., ACE Fitness Matters: Ace Puts Curves to the Test, http://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/CurvesStudy2005.pdf, March/April 2005.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), AIM for a Healthy Weight, 2005; http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/aim_hwt.pdf