Debbie Muraski discovered a way to lose weight and feel better about herself.
It's not a miracle drug or a a magic spell. She simply walks into Curves in Martinez three times a week to exercise and walks out refreshed.
"I don't know what I would do without this place," she said. "It is like having a personal trainer. It is a place to get away. It is like, when you come in here, like an island all by itself."
Muraski, 51, of Augusta, works as a baggage handler at Augusta Regional Airport. She joined the ladies-only gym in September, and has lost more than 41 pounds and 47 inches.
Muraski's results are common, said franchise owner Maryalice Fuller.
"It is a nonthreatening environment," Fuller said. "We are all here to do the same thing - work and maintain our health. Women have so many demands on their time. Having an efficient 30-minute workout three times a week is fantastic."
Deborah Muraski, left, works out at Curves in Columbia County and has lost more than 40 pounds from the exercise program.
Photo by Annette M. Drowlette
The Belair Crossing location is one of five in the area - Surrey Center, North Augusta, Aiken and Thomson are the others. Fuller owns the Martinez location, which opened in January 2002. The membership grew quickly to the more than 700 members. More than 500 of them work out regularly.
After the Curves gyms worked for Fuller and she saw what it did for many other local women, she is opening a second franchise at Riverwatch Parkway and Furys Ferry Road in September.
Angela Caudle, of Evans, is a believer in the program, founded by Gary Heavin. She quit her job as a flight attendant and joined Fuller as manager of the Martinez location. They greet each women walking through the door by name, and act as cheerleaders as the women move through the workout stations.
The objective of the regimen is to push as hard and fast as possible, with a program adaptable to anyone, even those with special needs.
"If you can walk through the door you can do it," Caudle said.
Members of the Martinez location have lost more than 2,000 pounds and 4,000 inches collectively, Fuller said. Members' ages range from 9 to 82.
The hours and the workout are designed for busy working women.
Most people can join for $29 a month, Fuller said, not counting special offers for students or families. For more information, call Curves at 855-1170.
"It has been a life-saver for me," Muraski said.
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