I've been a member of Curves since 6/29/02. To date I've lost 19 pounds (total of 26 since 6/3) and almost 19 inches. I'm so pleased with my results.
I just worked at Curves for a week during their 'Boot Camp' and I learned soooo much.
Here's what I learned:
First, all intensity should be on the machines and not on the pads. The pads are for lively movement, allowing your body to breathe and rest. You should not try to raise your heart rate there, just keep it steady. When you raise your heart rate on the machines your body is working in an aerobic state and you don't have to work as hard to burn calories, so walking briskly may be just enough for you to get a good amount of calories burned.
You should work out at least 3x a week, giving your muscles a chance to rest on off days. On those off days you should do some other form of aerobic activity. I walk. Personally I work out 4x a week, M, T, Th, F.
Lastly, please make sure that you have the instructors show you how to effectively use the machines more than once. I personally recommend the first two or three times to ask an instructor to help you. The biggest problem is that people are taught how to use the machines one time. Then they rest their muscles for a day or two and come back and think they remember what to do, but actually they are not doing the machines correctly. When I taught in the boot camp I found out I was doing three machines wrong. Three out of 11 machines. That's pretty bad.
If you are not working out correctly on the machines you are wasting your time and possibly running the risk of injuring yourself.
One more thing, you should keep your heart rate in the 60-80% range for most effective calorie burning workouts. If you increase your heart rate too high, again, you may be wasting your time (plus, it's really hard
Use Curves to the fullest! Enjoy slimming and trimming up!