Curves, located in mini-malls around San Diego County, seven locations
If you're a man, don't go to Curves. If you want to look like the 1972 East German women's swim team, don't go to Curves. If you want to get a good, all-over aerobic and strength workout in 30-40 minutes, Curves is for you. The first time you walk through the door, the place looks goofy: a series of eight hydraulic exercise machines set in a circle in a room the size of a spacious living room. Bouncy squares called "Recovery Stations" sit between the machines. Turbo-charged pop music thumps through speakers perched near the ceiling. Every 35 seconds, a woman's recorded voice speaks over the music, "Please change stations now." An instructor shows you how to use the machines. Some machines work upper body, some lower. You go around the circle three times, jogging in place or resting on the recovery stations, depending on your fitness level. By the end of your third time around, the system doesn't seem so goofy. Your muscles feel tired. You've worked up a sweat. You feel good. For a complete list of Curves for Women locations in San Diego and the U.S., visit their website.