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    Oct 03, 2016

    Ex-California Fitness staff open new 24-hour gym

    SIX former coaches from the closed California Fitness club and two of its ex-customers have together opened a fitness gym so as to continue their pursuit of fitness training as a career or hobby, reported the Shin Min Daily News.

    More than a hundred aggrieved ex-customers, who are still hoping to recover their advance payment to the company since its sudden closure in July, turned up yesterday at the Midland House in Bugis to show support to the new 24-hour gym.

    One of the gym's partners is Faris Mohamed, who was an elite coach at California Fitness - a position he worked for 10 years to reach - when he was told in July he had lost his job.

    "When the news came, a sense of loss and helplessness immediately came over me," he told the Chinese evening daily.

    "I went through a low period. But because I kept my zeal for fitness training, I had a talk with my peers and decided to spend my savings from over 10 years to purchase the equipment and rent this venue," the 37-year-old recounted.

    He said his team understands customers now have misgivings about long-term membership and course packages after their experience with California Fitness.

    "So we changed the operation model. Our coaches would work out separately with clients how they would pay, according to short-term plans," said Mr Faris.

    Many at the opening yesterday told Shin Min they distrusted long-term fitness contracts, having suffered losses with California Fitness.

    "I'm very scared of being told to come up with a one-off amount, which is actually paying for a future consumption," said Wang Chunwei who is in the sales line.

    "I will never do that again," vowed the 37-year-old.

    An executive said he had come to give support to Mr Faris and his team as he had trained under them in California Fitness.

    "Besides, this location is convenient so I can stop going to a less accessible one," said Zheng Guoyao, 50.

    Mr Faris also has unfinished business with California Fitness, which he said still owes him and other coaches at least one month's salary.

    JV Fitness, a Hong Kong-based company that owns and operates the California Fitness chain here, was reported in July to have chalked up losses of more than $25.6 million as at June 30.

    Claims by the chain's 27,000 members, who paid in advance for their gym memberships, amounted to $20.8 million.

    California Fitness closed all its four outlets here in July, following an order by a liquidator, a week after 12 of its gyms in Hong Kong were shut down.