Fitness: And Now, There's A Gym For Men

RICHMOND, VA | Wednesday, December 14, 2005

By now, you've probably heard of Curves, a fitness-center franchise that touts the 30-minute workout for women. But what about Cuts, which offers the same format to men? Yes, gentlemen, the fitness industry has answered your cry for equality with an alternative to the big, coed gyms.

Virginia's first Cuts Fitness for Men opened last month in the Parkside Marketplace across West Broad Street from the Innsbrook Corporate Center. Another Cuts has opened in Yorktown.

The national chain has about 180 locations in 25 states and five countries.

As the local franchisees were quick to tell me, this is not a place for elite athletes looking to push cardiovascular endurance to a new level or sculpt muscles like they've never been sculpted before. Instead, it's a place that caters to entry-level exercisers and those with little time to spend on fitness.

"It is what it is," said Dustin Beekman, a former Randolph-Macon College football player who opened Cuts with his father, Paul. "The equipment's not flashy. We keep it basic on purpose." Cuts is designed to be the male version of Curves, appealing to people who have not been exercising regularly and need the framework of a circuit and a trained helper to guide them through a balanced workout.

There is another male-only alternative called The Blitz, a cross-training center that combines strength training, boxing and martial arts into a fast-paced workout. But after doing extensive research, Dustin Beekman said he thought the Cuts concept was more viable for people who are just starting an exercise program.

The Cuts workout room, which is about the size of a Starbucks coffee shop, offers 18 stations of strength machines and cardiovascular equipment in a circular pattern with a heart-rate-checking station in the middle. Exercisers can start anywhere; they change stations every 40 seconds. Three times around the circle adds up to slightly more than 30 minutes.

The Cuts gym is set up a lot like Curves, except with a clear male influence. Two wide-screen televisions feed ESPN to members as they work out. The music is XM satellite radio, and members can request a station change if they don't like what's playing. The cardiovascular stations include stair climbers, stationary bikes and a punching bag.

Dustin Beekman oversees the fitness center operations while his father is a master developer for Cuts and sells franchises throughout Virginia. Paul Beekman has sold 10 other locations in the state, including another suburban Richmond one that will open somewhere south of the James River.

The concept is especially geared to men who are out of shape, overweight or in need of exercise to combat health problems. "This is for someone who wants to get up off the couch and make a change in their life," Dustin Beekman said.

One criticism he often hears is that it's possible to "plateau" with a circuit-training workout, making it difficult to get any stronger or better. That's OK, Dustin Beekman says.

"That's a success," he said. Members who reach that plateau can move on to another workout venue. But there will be more beginners to fill that spot.

"There's always going to be a market for the entry level," he said.

Maria Howard is a group exercise instructor for the YMCA of Greater Richmond. Contact her at [email protected] or c/o Balance, Richmond Times-Dispatch, P.O. Box 85333,Richmond, VA 23293.

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Cuts Fitness For Men
109 Lefferts Ln.
Clark, NJ

Phone: (732)381-9300
Fax: (732)574-1130

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