Women face more barriers in establishing an exercise routine; personal trainer explains how to overcome them
Editor’s note: Curves Gym is one of Cuenca’s growing number of expat-owned businesses. Owner Jon Wright, a three-year Cuenca resident and former personal trainer, explains his approach to achieving positive exercise results – and why a program like Curves can help women live healthier lives.
According to former personal trainer and owner of Cuenca’s Curves Gym, Jon Wright, women face more barriers than men in establishing a successful exercise program. “This is the same for expat women living in Ecuador as it is for women back in their home countries.”
A major obstacle for women starting a training program, says Wright, is overcoming feelings of intimidation and embarrassment. “The first step is overcoming fear – fear of the gym, fear of the equipment and the fear of what others will think. It’s essential that women get past these fears to establish a successful program.”
Curves’ client Graciela Quinde agrees. “You need to go beyond the point of insecurity to really get the benefits of exercise,” she says. “For a lot of us, a gym like Curves, which is only for women, gives us a comfortable start.”
After overcoming initial fears, according to Wright, the focus shifts to seeking positive outcomes – and simply having fun. “Ultimately, exercise should be something you enjoy, something you look forward to. It should not be a chore. If you are having a good time it will be much easier to establish good habits.”
One of the things that makes exercising fun, says Wright, is focus on outcomes. The key, however, is to focus on short-term goals. “This allows the person to develop motivation and desire. Simple things like feeling better, seeing your body tone up and possibly dropping a few pounds are huge motivating factors.” He adds: “After you begin to see short-term benefits, then you can work on longer term outcomes.”
According to Wright, the program at Curves focuses on five components of physical fitness: cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition.
Once exercise becomes enjoyable and women begin to see positive changes, it becomes easier to maintain a good routine and healthy lifestyle. “Success tends to breed more success,” says Wright.
According to Quinde, the organization of Curves is one factor that makes work-outs enjoyable. “The equipment is designed for women. They don’t have the heavy weights that are hard to work with.” She adds: “Another thing that is very helpful is the monthly test for weight, body measurements and fat. This shows us the progress we are making.”
She also likes the supervision and guidance offered by the Curve’s staff. “You are never working by yourself. There is always a trainer there to help you, correct you if necessary, and keep you motivated. At other gyms I’ve been to, you are working by yourself and sometimes you get into bad habits. It’s good to have someone keep you on track.”
Another major obstacle, especially for women over 50, according to Wright, is confusion about what the benefits of personal fitness actually are, and how they can affect the quality of life. “Many women in this age group think they are simply too old to reap any substantial benefits from going to the gym, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
He adds: “Although weight loss is an obvious goal that we tend to focus on, it should not be the main goal. Working out benefits many of the problems we face as we get older, including loss of bone mass, heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and improving one’s sex life, not to mention gaining strength to carry out daily activities.”
Time is also a major issue, Wright says. “The perception that exercise requires countless hours in the gym to reach one’s goals, keeps many people, especially women, from ever setting foot inside a gym to begin with. The beauty of the Curves system is that it is specifically designed for women and only takes 30 minutes, three times a week, to achieve some major health benefits in your life.”
Quinde says that one of the features that attracted her to Curves is that she can take extra classes outside of the standard routine. “I try to take one of the yoga or salsa classes each week. These are a lot of fun — and great exercise too.”
Wright says that one of the reasons he purchased the Cuenca Curves franchise is its philosophy of helping clients. “As a personal trainer, I understand the value of personally guiding the client. Too many gyms give people a quick lesson about how to use the equipment and then turn them loose to work out on their own. At Curves, our staff has a personal interest in helping clients achieve results. They work side by side with them and make sure that they are using the equipment properly and making the most of their routines.”
He adds: “The bottom line is to help women achieve their personal goals.”
Jon Wright can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Curves is offering an introductory three-month membership for $100. Curves is located on Av. Gran Colombia at Unidad Nacional and is open seven days a week. Phone 283 5322.