Best Lady Gym - 2006
Yes, we know, Curves' CEO, Gary Heavin, donates some of his personal wealth to right-wing causes. Individual Curves franchises, however, are free to donate their proceeds to charities of their choosing, so chances are if you join a Bay Area Curves your karma will stay intact. Politics aside, these gyms are a wonderful thing for busy women. Show up wearing whatever you want to (there are no mirrors and no dudes), hop into the circuit of exercise machines, dance around to the silly pop music, and walk out half an hour later feeling great. The workout is brainless: A voice comes on the speakers at regular intervals, telling you when to hit the next station, and the hydraulic machines mean you don't have to know anything about weights. The whole system is calibrated to work every muscle group. There's even a stretching routine all laid out. You can have the staffers weigh and measure you weekly and publicly chart and celebrate your weight loss, but they won't pressure you if you're not into it. (Curves offers some strange nutritional products, which you're also free to avoid.) The best part is that it works. Thirty minutes three times a week makes a world of difference in your self-esteem and self-image.