Do you need to shape up? Cuenca’s Curves reopens under expat management with new programs, big plans

Feb 11, 2009

Hey ladies! Need to shed a few pounds? Or just shape up? The recently reopened Curves, at the corner of Unidad Nacional and Gran Colombia, just below the Las Cuadras condominium complex, is the place to do it.

Besides scrubbing and buffing the facility, new majority owner and Wyoming native Jon Wright has added new programs and equipment he believes will appeal to both natives and expats. “We’re excited about bringing a new kind of women’s gym to Cuenca. Our aim is to make exercise fun,” Wright said.

Curves, an international chain, has hired a new English-speaking staff of energetic young women and trained them in a variety of new techiques.  Manager Fernanda Cueva has been with Curves for three years and is known to expats as owner of the Sakura Sushi Restaurant on Paseo Tres de Noviembre on the Tomebamba River.

According to Cueva, Curves’ customers will be greeted with a warm welcome and will be assisted in developing a personal excercise program and trained in use of the gym’s equipment. Each customer gets a complete body analysis and a customized program with periodic adjustments as weight and measurements change, according to Cueva. Besides receiving training to develop stretching and “cool down” techniques, customers will be introduced to the gym’s eight work-out machines.

Beginning soon, Curves will offer classes in stretching, yoga, belly dancing, nutrition, and physical therapy. The gym will also sponsor special events. Members pay an initiation fee of $69, and a monthly fee of $35 based on an annual contract. Curves has a special promotion through the month of February, offering a free initiation fee for friends who join together (for example three friends would pay only $23 each). Mention that you read about it in CuencaHighLife and GringoTree, and your initiation fee is free Feb. 13, 14 or 15!

According to Wright, boredom is the major contributor in keeping people from coming to a gym and he has established a goal to make excersie fun by using a variety of activities. The Curves business model is to offer short but intense workouts with several different machines, separated by relief stations to keep the cardiovascular system pumping.

In addition to a career as a personal trainer and fitness consultant, Wright is an artist who holds several degrees in fine art. In addition to Wyoming, he has lived in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia, where he was an art professor. Wright is joined in the Curves’ venture by minority partners Bill Bushnell and Leith Hulmes, both Cuenca residents.

Bushnell, known as Bush to his friends, has a background in theater, film and tv directing and producing. Hulmes is a coastal geologist who has worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and the state of New Jersey on environmental and coastal issues. Both Bushnell and Hulmes serve as disaster relief consultants for a company contracting to FEMA in the U.S.

Curves offers dressing rooms, lockers, water coolers as well as other amenities, and is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

In addition to the Cuenca location, Curves has six locations in Quito and four in Guayaquil.

Photo captions: Jon Wright, Christa Hirsch, Bill Bushnell and Fernanda Cueva at Curves re-opening celebration; new Curves’ trainers try out the new equipment; Photo credit: Penny Ripple

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