Be Strong. Be Fit.


Fitness First Almost Sued Me and What I Learn From It

September 11th, 2007 · 29 Comments ·


I have been using the word of “censor” in place of the real name of a fitness center in Malaysia in my defunct old blog. Not hard to guess which gym I am talking about. This fitness center has the most number of outlets in Malaysia for now. In fact, it has a chain of about 500 health clubs in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

The fiasco took place two years ago in year 2005. To cut the story short. I called one of the outlets to ask about the membership price. But, the sales lady insisted me to drop by at the outlet before she disclosed the information. Having joined Clark Hatch for 2 years, I knew what I wanted and therefore decline the offer yet persistent in getting the pricing information. The sales lady then raised her voice and ended the conversation in a very unfriendly manner.

I was mad at that time. So, I wrote about that experience in my old blog which is now defunct. The next day, someone has alerted the management of Fitness First. After reading that post, the fitness center Managing Director called (I left my number to the sales lady) and he wanted to discuss the matter with me. Initially, thought that the gentleman really wanted to hear my complain, but later was told that he was meeting up with his legal team to pursue the matter further. In other words, the message was simple – “Take down the post. Otherwise, see you in court.”


I wanted to sleep well at night. Never was my intention to be a hero fighting for a battle that probably brings no meaning. After all, I was not even a member with the fitness center.

So, I bit the bullet. Swallowed the ego. Replaced the fitness center name with the word of “censor” in my articles in the previous blog.

Come to think about the incident, though I had a bad experience dealing with the sales person, it was really a small matter.

Given a chance, will I still write about it?

Probably yes. But, it will be in a different way, in a subtle manner.

Classifying everyone is bad is not fair just because of one bad apple. Everyone deserves a second chance.


The incident would have a good ending if the Managing Director wanted to sincerely talk about it. Not that I asked for apology, but don’t you think the willingness in listening a potential customer’s feedback is better than the use of legal channel?

Fitness First = Fitness comes first, but how about Customer? Shouldn’t Customer First in this case?

I still received e-mails from blog readers asking my opinion about the gym. Never in any of my advice discouraging them for joining the club. I shared with them the good and the bad. Show them the basic guidelines in choosing a gym. Tell them the truth. Let them make an informed decision.

Fitness First still has its strength. Being one of the pioneers, it managed to capture huge market shares in this competitive industry. Excellent fitness class instructors and accessibility in different International locations are some of its key selling points.


No matter what, the case is long closed. Since then, I signed up with another gym. Not one or two years contract, but a 5-year package which later upgraded to lifetime membership. Not because Fitness First is bad, but others are catching up with better total package and give me what I want.

If you are a member with Fitness First, I welcome your comments. Share with me your experience.



Category: Gym Going

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29 responses so far ↓
  • Angie Tan // Sep 11, 2007 at 11:56 AM

    Whoa.. scary.

    Anyway, I believe you gave honest opinions about the establishments here. It is up to people to decide on which center they want to go to.

    For me, it is a matter of location and ease of access. Besides that, the package has got to be attractive as well.

    Each centre now are competing against each other to give the best possible package/price. In that sense, we as consumers are in a win-win situation.

    So, no one can say that a particular blog has so much influence over a person’s decisions, rite?

  • gaman // Sep 11, 2007 at 12:12 PM

    It’s their fault for not being able to handle potential client queries professionally.

    How did they know about your blog anyway?

  • lordapprentice // Sep 11, 2007 at 12:36 PM

    That MD sounds like a prick, but its typical of business in malaysia. the mentality is business comes first, customer seconds, :)

  • Simon Paul // Sep 11, 2007 at 4:13 PM

    To be honest, I’d applied for a trial week at one of the ‘publicity’ gym last month. The mass of facilities & equipments were great. There were so much of the machines that let’s you focus the muscle parts that you want to beef up for. They even have a swimming pool smacked right on the rooftop, and on top of that, it was kinda scenic.

    I was there only for a day, due to the fact that I hate to haggle prices around and preferred to set things straight when it comes down to business. Below is the story that took place, based on actual events.

    I got there in the morning and was ready to lift pounds and pounds of weight and about to set my time to toast my muscles for that particular day’s workout. As far as I’m concern, a trial is just a trial. Instead, I was brought to this sexy lady and I would rather say that it is a date or an interview, rather than an appointment. Later, she explained of how the whole payment works. The next few minutes that goes on were strictly business. It’s not about the chick, totally. Well, it’s about how they wanted you to pay up for the ‘hypergym’ that layeth right there for you.

    So I asked for their charges per month. They came up with all sorts of calculations and towards the end, they expect you to pay a hefty amount that sums up to what it looks like an amount that I can buy a cow for my supplementary diet of the week. And in accordance of their sales skill, they want you pay upfront, ranging from 12 to 24 months. Yep, they don’t have payments of monthly basis. So I gave her the look of a man on constipation. I ask about monthly charges, “What about those who lived an average life and they wanted a healthy lifestyle for themselves?”
    Then she mentioned that such people had to come up with a solution to work their problems out. Then I told her the truth, that I was a former bodybuilder and I’m back into business after I had enough of regretting a straight 7 years of indisciplined, alcoholical and ‘gluttoned’ lifetsyle. She then recalculate the whole thing again and actually try to figure a way to solve my financial matters. I continued asking in a humorous manner, “So are you really a consultant here or a financial manager?” She gave me the stunned look for a while and was pacified. I’d pretended to her as an odd-job worker and I still wanted to have a healthy lifestyle for myself. Then she quickly recalculate the price and she tried to give me a better idea that paying so and so will be a lot better for the time to come. It’s funny to see that they wanted your sales so much, they tend to manage your financial matters instantly. I gave her a wink, and repeated what she’d said a couple of minutes back. “When I mentioned about people who lived on an average life that wanted a healthy lifestyle, you said that such people had to come up with a solution to work their problems out. When I told you about my fitness history, you insisted to manage my financial matters.” I thanked her politely, grab my huge bag, and as I leave, I told her straight out from my heart, “I think it’s better of me to sign-up at other gyms, simply because they happened to be a gym, and I’m sorry if you only accept and regarded rich people for a healthy lifestyle.

    To my shock, I got a call from them again the next day, but this time it was a different consultant. I told them that I was already a member elsewhere, and I can manage finance issues myself. She then laughed. And hung up the phone. I was furious, but then again, I laughed.

    Sadly it’s true that in reality they’re trying to suck it all out of what you got. And all we wanted is just a healthier lifestyle. But whatever it is, let me tell you the truth. It’s a cruel world out there, though I’m sure that you’ll find one that suits you most. But bear in mind, it’s health & fitness that we’re talking about here, and I’m sure that you are the one that controls your own life, not them. Go figure ;)

  • dailysmuscle // Sep 11, 2007 at 5:48 PM

    Simon Paul… that particular chain has been quite notorious for having to resort to such tricks.. you’re not the first. But thanks for sharing..

  • ignorantsoup // Sep 11, 2007 at 8:51 PM

    I do not think that the managing director is right to threaten you with legal action. Unless your blog post is highly defamatory, which I really doubt. Us bloggers have a right to blog about our feelings and we can blog to say that we have had an unpleasant experience.

    I once had a situation like you too. I wrote a post complaining about my ex-boss and I said that his ads in the papers seems to be telling lies. (because it was different from the situation I know). He called my friend and told my friend that I had many loopholes and I could be sued. At that time I was really tired of my ex-boss so I password locked the page.

    Come to think of it, its a personal opinion. Anyway, how many people read my blog? How many people will truly take my word for it? People ain’t stupid.

    And I think that bloggers should not be sued if we really experienced bad service.

  • Simon Paul // Sep 11, 2007 at 9:30 PM

    Welcome dailymuscle. I’m glad to share anything as long as we set the record straight. By the way, for ignorantsoup’s case, I would totally agree on your issue about us bloggers getting sued. They certainly don’t know how we feel, yet they only meant business. Truly, they should understand that business and personal matters are two different thing.

    I guess that if I were them, I would’ve rather spent my time figuring out some ideas to promote my businesses. If they’re really innocent, why would they wanna sue us for? For blogging or for defamation? LOL! That’s what it is about when it comes to dealing with the corporate world.

  • Simon Paul // Sep 11, 2007 at 9:35 PM

    You guys might wanna check out as when you register yourself upon that site, you get to store your profile, your workout status, weight lifting status and more. Also, search out for Victorian Guy’s forum. He’d written lots of humorous fictional stories about himself. Laugh it out loud! ;)

  • dokidoki // Sep 13, 2007 at 10:12 AM


    so at the end which gym that u join?..i just join the 1 that u mentioned in your 1st comment :P

    yes…they need you to pay upfront in order to get cheaper deal..if u choose to pay monthly..the price will be quite expensive.

    i took their platinum member package which bond me for 3 yrs…their sales person really suck i shd say..but i still love their facilities :)

  • Ronald Soo // Sep 13, 2007 at 3:42 PM

    In my 2cents opinion, I would say that joining which gym is not important, well some how those facilities in it if you fully utilize it, come to it again, you only use it most is 1 hour max a day, plus sauna and steam and some don’t even use those..

    So long as you are in it, you train yourself up to be healthier to prevent future sicknesses and problems thats about it.

    As i see many people that goes to gym, part of it is because the gym has a lot of girls around, and some of them are not very serious in training themselves out, rather training their PR skills.

    There are also people who go into the gym, work the hell out of them, make them look good and leave the gym. Then when they turn fat again, they start coming back to gym.

    Going to the gym is not to make yourself exhausted, and if you do feel exhausted after every session of training, then i would say there is something wrong somewhere..

    My cycling instructor always remind me, training is not to make yourself exhausted, but after training your body will tends to feel even better and more energetic, which i found that it is pretty true.

  • Simon Paul // Sep 25, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    Hey dokidoki, which gym are you at? TruFitness, Celebrity, California or FitnessFirst?

    I’m at Celebrity Fitness @ 1Utama. I’m into full time cardio now, need to lose more fats before I get into hardcore mode.

    About chics, just ignore them. The more you stare at them, the more you lose your focus. Personally, I make a good use of it to look at them when I ran out of breath, then I’m back into workout. It calms me down and lowers down my heartbeat rate real quick. Make good use of your mind, not your eyes ;)


  • MatSalleh // Oct 31, 2007 at 10:24 PM

    The MD of Fitness First is a Mat Salleh. Frankly, what is it that he can do, which a Malaysian cannot ?

    I had enough of arrogant expats who think thay can push us around! ! I heard quite alot about his rudeness.

    Fuck this sort of expats. Off course, there are genuine ones too- the good guys.

    Fitness First is more concern about sales and increasing their membership, but what about customer loyalty programs? They don’t have any!! I’ve been a member with Fitness First since 2003 until now. Members increase monthly but the changing facilities has not changed ! I come after work, all the lockers are full ! The only reason I stick to First Fitness is, it’s convenient for me, near my office. And as for the MD of Fitness First, his rudeness and customer focus is very far behind time. Other fitness centers are catching up in their customer loyalty programs. The only thing in the minds of Fitness First managements is sales, sales sales !!!

    What is it this Mat Salleh can do that a Malaysian cannot???

  • Coach // Oct 31, 2007 at 11:36 PM

    Well, I am a qualified trainer/coach with over 17 years of experience (professional training) in this field, when Fitness First and all these new concept fitness businesses mushroomed around Malaysia, I was very supportive of them at first until I learned about the ugly truth about them (and some said that I was just jealous)… but let me tell you this. It is not an easy thing being in my position, especially as a former respondent to the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

    At the end, I just have to move on because they weren’t really interested about real development. Its all about the $$$… Look at how they churn their membership annually with all those promotions and stuff, YET the public still don’t get their ‘catch’… that very very small and microscopic statements that they overlook while signing up their membership and regretting for not understanding them earlier.

  • Vertigo7 // Oct 31, 2007 at 11:44 PM

    (In a response to MatSalleh)

    Well you have to make a choice. Either you go to a gym that has more gays and ****edup expats such as one that you’d mentioned… or you go to a gym where you meet those people who are really into fitness , health and bodybuilding. The gym that I go to has quite a number of people who are seriously paying for what is necessary, and in an orderly fashion. I’ve managed to work things out with the gym, financially, and I would say that you should go around and checkout the other gym if you’re not satisfied with your current one.

    To be honest, a gym for me is my sanctuary being a bodybuilder. The gym itself plays a big role for me. The person whom I talked to, the friends who gave me the inspirations, the staff who cheered me up by exchanging infos in a conversation… all these are important for me so I know that I’d chosen the right place to workout myself. So, make your choice right, and choose wisely! :)

  • Matsalleh // Nov 1, 2007 at 12:54 AM

    Hi Vertigo7, which gym you go to?

  • Matsalleh // Nov 1, 2007 at 12:57 AM

    An talking about gays in Fitness First gym!!!

    I am straight ! I go to Fitness First gym for workout. Many gays there, off course we all know that. I’m not a homophobic but the way the look at me as though they want me to be their main meal. OOO dear .. hey guys, I’ve nothing against you,but please respect me as I respect you. Please don’t think that everybody is gay or expect everyone to be as gay as you are. Sometimes I assume these guys thing that the whole crowd in Fitness First is gay or they want others to be gays. Does this make me a homophobic? My neighbor in London is a gay couple, my wife and I visit them whenever we go back for holidays. We are great friends and through them we make friends with other couples/singles. The irony is, in Malaysia, the gay community is so shallow. Unliberated? or just a Malaysian mentality? There was one time in the gym, a gay man made a pass at me. Felt, like I want to punch him in the nose, but, being a gentleman, I just said, I’m not a gay and walked off.

  • Gymbuff // Nov 1, 2007 at 6:29 PM

    You are right, I go to Fitness First in Maxis building for workouts after work. 80% of the male members there are gays and homos, even the customer service staff is a lady boy. He is disgusting, yells at members ig they don’t follow his instructions. Fuck that fagot! How the hell Fitness First took him as a customer service staff ? who does he thing he is? when a white man ( Caucasian) walks in, he treats him like a king, but when a local walks in, this fagot treats him like shit.. “pilih bulu” ! and in Fitness First Maxis, white guys get better treatment then us locals, they even get a personal local ! I tried asking for a personal locker, the management gave me million excuses.

  • Vertigo7 // Nov 1, 2007 at 7:43 PM

    I remember the first time I punched a gay, and till today it has ever been an uncountable record of their teeth rotting away from their gum in their mouth. Sorry guys, don’t get me wrongly. I’ve changed my mind ever since someone whom I respect most, has manage to convinced me and told me the differences between a straight man and men like him. Before I go further, I would like to share with you people about the replacement of my name. I firstly wrote a few comments and shared my experience with the name “Simon Paul” and come to think of that, I have to change my name to my nick because of some people who aren’t “straight” enough, thinks that he can enjoy as he likes, when he… tried to peek at me while I was taking my shower. So what if I got something that you’re interested in? Know this too… I got an iron fist as well. So don’t start with me, unless you want to walk out the locker room with a face lookin like as if you’d just suffered from constipation. LOL!

    I once noticed that someone peeked at me when I was taking my shower after a great workout, and thank God that I still got my swimming trunks on! Geez-us!!! My pride for doing my very best on that day just shatters away that whole night. Anyway, you guys can address me as Simon Paul or even Vertigo7. As for those of you that “bends” the other way round, I’m sorry that I got pretty offensive, particularly to those of you who think that you can brainwash me so you can satisfy your hunger.

    To the others, know this too… that I have a great godbrother who turns his life the other way round since his changes are totally genetic with unexplainable mystery. His sister is a tomboy, and he’s a gay. Okay, so that makes sense.

    I’ve done bits of my research & studies about people like him. It’s pretty normal for the most of them as they are too, human. Those which I believed that are normal, will take time to discover the person who they like. So if Mr. A has found Mr. B and they do suit each other, then they would bring themselves to the next stage… dates, movies and such. They’re no different than us straight men, except that they only have interest in men, rather than us straight men who are only into women. So if you realize that there are gays around you, study them for a little while. You can tell if it’s alright for you to communicate or not. Be nice and polite to them if they’re just like any other men, or should I say women, because they’re trying hard to communicate as humanly as possible. But if you realize that he seems to put certain interest in you, tell him that you’re a straight, and tell him that you’re not interested to know further, except for only being friends. Also, believe me when I say that these people can really motivate you if you’re ever in doubts about living your life. They are so into much trouble to live up with their current lives, yet they survive well. Now what about us straight fellas? We drank, we smoked, due to stress over certain matters, lovely pet dies and you lost your appetite for days and such. Oddly enough, they have the passions to move on with life, as compared to us, we always got lost somewhere.

    In addition, it’s the same thing for the women, but I’m confused myself because I don’t let emotions control me all the time. Men can think of a thing, one at a time, maybe two, but women can let their emotions drag their thoughts up to nine different things at the same time. So when you know that you made your woman angry, just comfort her and do what she wants. Oh gosh, how could I get carried away with a different topic? Anyway, lesbians are quite similar, except that most of them prefer to hide it well and yes, emotions do have feelings for men too. Knowing that they can’t resist cute guys, they’ll tend to go both ways. Although I’m against such nature that doesn’t tick like how the clock ticks in one way, still, they’re human, not aliens. Have some respect for them, but if that person continues to bother you, give them the look.

    An answer to MatSalleh’s question, just scroll up and you know where I’m at :)

  • Vertigo7 // Nov 1, 2007 at 7:51 PM

    Gosh, I write a lot. Still, don’t get me wrong. I’ll be damn glad if I get to share my stories and entertain you guys at the same time… err yea, my meaning of ‘entertain’ is not what you think either. Even so, my post is a little too long this time. Sorry for that Mun, but I’m just a funny entertainer. It helps to release my stress because I always build anger when I pumped my muscles from pounds to kilos. That the state of my mind… :)

  • Mun // Nov 1, 2007 at 9:25 PM

    Hi Vertigo7 aka Simon Paul – I enjoy reading your comments. Get them coming.

    By the way, I just increased the size the comment box so that readers, including you, are able to write more.


  • Mat Salleh // Nov 2, 2007 at 12:40 AM

    Any guys here doing the Terry Fox run ? I am, have been since last year, also did the KL Marathon but will be missing the Singapore marathon next month. I love running as much as workouts in the gym. I’m try to find out any gym workout programs that will develop my running capabilities. Any one ?

  • Vertigo7 // Nov 6, 2007 at 11:12 PM

    A very big thank you to you, Mun. I hope that someday we can work things out together and start a small event for all those who are interested in fitness and bodybuilding. “A legacy starts from one who chose to lead, but history is written by many…” – Simon Paul Goh

  • Hi... // Jul 16, 2008 at 1:10 AM

    I had to link you in this blog im compiling. All the problems all over into one blog. So far yours is the most extreme by far, they’re bullies.. Useless ppl and we’re at war with their bad service.

  • phil de castro // Jul 18, 2008 at 10:22 PM

    fitness first in the Philippines could be a nightmare to anyone committing to their awful marketing strategy. Many i know who are even promised to have their membership cancelled if they decide to quit. instead they are being sued for discontinuing a contract made for more than a year just because they were pressured to give post dated checks and were afraid of any legal actions being taken by the MONEY FIRST gym. It never should have been introduced in the Philippines where people live modest lives-the company train agents to promise future clients just to suck blood from their customers.

  • Anonymous chuvaness // Dec 11, 2009 at 1:08 AM

    Hey.. thought I was the only one who had experience their fraudulent statements. I advised people not to trust Fitness first Philippines anymore since it will only be you who will suffer for trusting them.

    Here is my story with them:

    I once decided to avail their service since they told me that i will only pay php 87 for their annual membership. They even told me that they will give me 7 days to decide whether i will pursue my membership or not. they even asked me to present a credit card and told me that credit cards will just give them an assurance. They even told me and gave an assurance That they wont charged me on my credit card since i can pay unto their accounting or front desk (over – the – counter payment)… So, i gave them my credit card without thinking that they’re telling a LIE already!!!

    So, after availing the membership, and thinking that they gave me 7 days to decide, i asked my friends about the background of fitness 1st but everything they have said was negative. And so i decided to not pursue my membership but it turned out that they wont lallow me to cancel my membership. don’t i have the right to cancel my memebrship??? I am their customer!… and they gave me 7 days to decide. and the worst thing is… 7 days is not yet over but they they have already charged me on my credit card. what the f#!k, ARE THEY INSANE????

    So this is what i am telling you guys!!… DO NOT TRUST THEM!!! THEY DONT CARE ABOUT YOU!!!… THEY JUST WANT MONEY!!!!! or else.. it will only be you who will be so PATHETIC of falling unto their holes!

  • Michael // May 5, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Should have let them sue you ? They could have only tried a defamation suit. you could have easily made some money from court awarded cost. You would have won the suit. I should know….am a lawyer…practising

  • Legal Chick // Oct 15, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Just want to inform you that if you were describing your experience of what had happened (facts) and not implying anything else that was negative or untrue about the gym, they could not have sued you. It will take them a lot of work and money to get you to remove the post, but you definitely will not have to pay anything for telling the truth. The law of defamation only applies to cases involving lies or implied untruth.

  • FF Locker Theft Victim // Jun 19, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    My iPhone 4 and cash were stolen from Fitness First’s locker in Menara Axis during my workout. I found out my case was the 2nd incident within the same day and 4th case within a week. No warning sign put up and not warning message from the staff at all!!! When I reported to the CGM, I was treated very unprofessionally. He told me no matter what I do (complain on social media or to the HQ), they are absolutely not going to be responsible for members’ things lost in their lockers. I was totally disappointed with Fitness First’s attitude towards the whole incident. Later I found out there are many FF’s locker theft victims since many years ago. Found this on Facebook you can find more details there.

  • Ronald Soo // Jun 19, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    I thought that they have RM400 liability claim against the fitness centre? they had cease that too?

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