Curves International

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Curves International
TypePhysical Exercise
IndustryPhysical Fitness
FoundedHarlingen, Texas (1992)
HeadquartersWaco, Texas
Key people
Gary Heavin, CEO
ProductsWeight loss
RevenueDecrease -$20.4 million USD (2015)
OwnerNorth Castle Partners (investment)

Curves International, also known as Curves for Women, Curves Fitness, or just Curves, is an international fitness franchise co-founded by Gary and Diane Heavin in 1992. As of May 31, 2019, Curves lists 367 franchise locations open in the United States on their Facebook page.

In 2012, North Castle Partners, a private equity firm, purchased a controlling stake in the company.[1] The company is privately held by its co-founders and North Castle, with its headquarters located in Waco, Texas and corporate offices located with sister North Castle company Jenny Craig in Carlsbad, California. Curves fitness and weight loss facilities are designed specifically for and focused on women, although in some states, men are allowed to join.

The clubs compete with other women's-only chain health clubs, including Spa Lady and Lucille Roberts.However, Curves is still the largest women's-only health club chain in the US and worldwide.

In 2018 with the sale of Curves International by North Castle Partners to Koshidaka Holdings, Curves North America and Oceania headquarters relocated back to Waco, TX.[2]


Curves was founded by Gary Heavin and his wife, Diane. They opened their first Curves in Harlingen, Texas, in 1992. This new concept of 30-minute fitness, strength training, weight-loss guidance, and an environment designed for women was immediately successful. They began to develop plans for franchising the concept, with the first opening in 1999. Curves once claimed to be the world's largest fitness franchise and was recognized as one of the 10 largest franchise companies in the world in 2005.[3] According to Curves International Inc's fact sheet, Curves achieved 6,000 franchises in 7 years. Curves facilities are located in 39 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Curves is known as FitCurves in Ukraine, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Czech Republic.

In October 2006, Curves was said to have had over 10,000 locations worldwide, with 7,848 of those locations in the United States.[4]

Curves fitness and weight loss facilities are designed specifically for and focused on women.[5] The program is designed around circuit training, which utilizes hydraulic resistance equipment to achieve results. The strength training regimen is combined with cardiovascular training for a full body workout, with each class led by a ‘Curves Coach’. There are four speciality classes, each of which is designed for different fitness levels from low intensity to high intensity, with one of the high intensity classes utilizing traditional boxing moves. All speciality classes emphasize strength-based functional movements.[6]

Curves Leadership[edit]

In 2012, Gary Heavin stepped down as CEO and sold the business to North Castle Partners. In 2018, North Castle Partners sold Curves International to Koshidaka Holdings (Curves Japan) while retaining Curves North America and Oceania. Krishea Holloway, was appointed President of Curves on 22 November 2018.[7] On 15 August 2019, in a deal between North Castle Partners, existing Shareholders and Holloway, Curves DF Holdings sold the business to Holloway. [8]

Response to COVID-19[edit]

Like many gym and health club chains, Curves was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many clubs in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand closing temporarily or permanently. To manage the crisis and enable members to continue working out, Curves was able to offer their 30-minute total body workouts online with ‘MyCurves On Demand’, a virtual workout platform which launched in January 2020. This program provides members with unlimited access to the Curves fitness program and has been made available in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.[9]

Research at Baylor University[edit]

A location in Hillsboro, Oregon

In 2002, the Exercise & Sports Nutrition Laboratory at Baylor University began researching the efficacy of the Curves fitness and weight loss program. Curves awarded the ESNL a $5 million, five-year grant to start the Curves Women's Health Initiative.[10]

In 2008 this grant funding moved with Dr. Richard Kreider to the Texas A&M University.[11]

Gary Heavin's charitable contributions[edit]

In 2004, Curves International and its franchisees received some mixed and unwanted publicity stemming from articles about the charitable contributions of founder Gary Heavin.

Heavin was praised by pro-life advocates for pulling all contributions to Susan G. Komen for the Cure due to the fact that Komen donated money to Planned Parenthood.[12]

In an interview with Christianity Today, Heavin was quoted as saying that he donates money to "pro-life pregnancy care centers."[13]

The San Francisco Chronicle printed an article by Ruth Rosen, accusing Heavin of supporting militant anti-abortion groups.[14] However, in an open letter to the Chronicle, Heavin challenged Rosen's characterization of his contributions.[15] The Chronicle later published a correction which included a breakdown of the contributions at question. The contributions were given to three groups, Family Practice Center of McLennan County ($3.75 million), McLennan County Collaborative Abstinence Project ($275,000) and Care Net ($1 million.)[14]

Numerous blogs picked up the Rosen's version of the story, and several other articles on the subject subsequently appeared in other mainstream media.[16] The publicity affected business at some individual franchises, particularly in the U.S. West Coast region (specifically California) and a few in the Atlantic Northeast and Pacific Northwest, causing an uproar from franchisees of Curves International.[17]

Despite this attempted re-characterization of the donations, business was affected, with memberships down and some franchisees severing their ties with Curves.[18]

In 2020, Heavin donated $10,000 to the far-right organization Oath Keepers. Heavin was questioned about the contribution and stated it was to support constitutional rights and didn't know what the group did with it. [19]

Curves Charitable Contributions[edit]

Curves supports and has partnered with several major charitable organizations in North America and Australasia, including the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia, WomenAgainstAlzheimer's, Jean Hailes for Women's Health and Look Good Feel Better New Zealand.[20][21][22] Curves has been recognized for its charitable efforts, including awards from the American Cancer Society in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014.[23]

Buyout-related lawsuit[edit]

In 2005, six plaintiffs brought a suit against Curves, Gary Heavin, and Roger Schmidt (the company's attorney) for $20 million.[24][25] The plaintiffs claimed that Heavin cheated them out of their share of profits by him and Roger Schmidt pressuring them to sign a buyout contract allotting them a fraction of what they might have earned.

Most of the plaintiffs were hired as independent sales reps after Curves had already opened hundreds of locations. The lawsuit failed to mention that the sales reps were paid more than $26 million for their work.[26]

In popular culture[edit]

Curves has been parodied in The Simpsons in the episode "Husbands and Knives", in which Marge opens a successful franchise of a gym called Shapes, and in an episode of South Park entitled "D-Yikes!". In The New Adventures of Old Christine, Christine owns a gym extremely similar to Curves - a franchised 30-minute gym for women where a recorded voice tells them to "change stations" every 30 seconds. Curves has also been mentioned in TV shows such as Two Broke Girls, The Middle and Living with Yourself, along with popular game shows like Jeopardy and Cash Cabs.


  1. ^ "North "Castle Partners Invests in Curves International"" (PDF). North Castle Partners. 2012-09-11.
  2. ^ Reuters Staff, “BRIEF-Koshidaka Holdings unit to acquire two U.S.-based firms”, Reuters. 19 February, 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  3. ^ "Curves Now 10th Largest Franchise Company in the World" (PDF) (Press release). Curves International. 2005-12-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  4. ^ "Fact Sheet" (PDF) (Press release). Curves International. November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-26. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  5. ^ Goldman, Stuart Access Denied, Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro, 2007-0301
  6. ^ Sorgen Carol, “Take a Shortcut to Fitness With Circuit Training”, WebMD. 4 September, 2003. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  7. ^ Reuters Staff, “BRIEF-Koshidaka Holdings unit to acquire two U.S.-based firms”, Reuters. 19 February, 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  8. ^ Curves NA & Oceania, Inc. Name Krishea Holloway as President”, Global News Wire, 6 December 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  9. ^ Curves Introduces Virtual Group Coaching Option for MyCurves On Demand”, Yahoo! Finance, 20 January 2021. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Curves Women's Health & Fitness Initiative Research Update". Baylor University. Archived from the original on 2005-03-17. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
  11. ^ "Baylor loses Curves research program, relocates to A&M". Baylor University. 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  12. ^ "Komen Gave Planned Parenthood Abortion Businesses Over $700K Last Year". Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  13. ^ Kennedy, John W. (January–February 2004). "Rolling with the Curves: Gary Heavin interview". Today's Christian. Archived from the original on 2007-03-17. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
  14. ^ a b Rosen, Ruth (2004-04-29). "What's Wrong with Curves?". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  15. ^ "Curves Founders Make Large Charitable Donations–But Not to Radical Prolife Groups" (PDF) (Press release). Curves International. 2004-04-30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  16. ^ "Gary Heavin, founder and CEO of the fitness chain Curves, supports pro-life causes". Retrieved 2006-08-17.
  17. ^ "Local Curves seeks distance from founder". Operations Save America. Archived from the original on 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2006-08-17.
  18. ^ McArdle, Elaine (2005-06-19). "Sweating with the Enemy". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  19. ^ Ramachandran, Rebecca Ballhaus, Khadeeja Safdar and Shalini (2021-06-16). "Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, Forceful on Jan. 6, Privately Are in Turmoil". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  20. ^ Curves, Cancer Council Victoria. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  21. ^ "WomenAgainstAlzheimer's and Curves Announce Partnership to Promote Women's Brain Health Across the Country, US Against Alzheimer's". 23 April, 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  22. ^ "Partners", Look Good Feel Better NZ. 15 April, 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  23. ^ "Corporate Impact Award Past Winners", American Cancer Society. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  24. ^ "Curves for Women Being Sued for More than $20 Million". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2006-08-16.
  25. ^ "Lawsuit brought against Curves and its founder". The Garret*. 2005-03-28. Archived from the original on 2007-01-31. Retrieved 2006-08-17.
  26. ^ Kufahl, Pamela (2005-05-01). "Suit Filed Against Curves Owner". Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2010-08-26.

External links[edit]