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Gym members demand refunds after Fitness World rebrands, reopens some Steve Nash clubs

Frustrated fitness buffs are taking their gym to the mat, arguing B.C.-based Fitness World owes them a refund after their contracts were reassigned to new locations.

“They didn’t let us choose to stay with them,” said Fitness World member Cortez D’Alessandro, 20. “They just told us what’s happening.”

In March, the company — formerly known as Steve Nash Fitness World — shuttered all 24 of its locations, and terminated its staff, citing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Insolvency proceedings followed until June when Chris Smith, the CEO of both the new and old companies, worked with a group of investors to purchase the hard-hit fitness brand. Its new name is a throwback to the Fitness World chain of gyms that the Steve Nash organization purchased in 2009 to increase its reach. 

By July, members learned what it meant for their workouts. In an email, the company told patrons that their membership would be transferred over to Fitness World. The company’s footprint, however, had been reduced, with only 15 of the original 24 locations open. Further complicating matters, the company said it would cancel contracts, but only if clients visited a club in person.

“The biggest reason I was there, [was] because it was close by,” said D’Alessandro, whose Lougheed Highway location was among those permanently closed.

In a statement, Fitness World apologized to members, and said it has been doing its best to address concerns and “create a clear process” to meet their needs in a timely manner. The company also says members can call their preferred club to cancel with a manager, an option that wasn’t presented in previous member updates.

Fight for refunds

Whether members qualify for refunds, though, remains unclear.

Charlotte D’Alessandro, 50, has paid for Cortez’s gym membership since high school. She says she’s spent over a month trying to get her money back from Fitness World, including two charges from the company on the same day.

Steve Nash Sports Club signage can still be seen at Park Royal in North Vancouver. The business entered insolvency proceedings in April 2020 and has since been rebranded as Fitness World. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

“I’m not paying for something I didn’t agree to pay for,” said the mother, who says she visited three Fitness World locations, only to be told staff couldn’t rectify the situation.

“I don’t think we should be automatically new members of this new business,” she said “It’s very frustrating.”

Online outcry

That sense of frustration has sparked online outcry as well. A Change.org petition outlining members issues with Fitness World has captured more than 400 signatures.

Kiu Fazlali started a Change.org petition after Fitness World moved him to a cheaper location and failed to change his membership fees. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

“There’s no customer service,” said petition founder and former Fitness World member Kiu Fazlali, 20.

“They like to enforce their contracts but they don’t like to work with customers.”

Fazlali says his contract was moved from the company’s premium Park Royal location to the cheaper

Poxel Announces Positive Results From Phase 2a NASH Trial With PXL770, an Oral First-in-Class Direct AMPK Activator

  • The Phase 2a trial for the treatment of NASH met its primary efficacy endpoint; PXL770-treated patients achieved statistically significant improvement in the relative decrease in liver fat mass measured by magnetic resonance imaging-estimated proton density fat fraction (MRI-PDFF) at 12-weeks with a greater response in patients with type 2 diabetes1

  • Key secondary measures in PXL770-treated patients included statistically significant observed improvements in liver enzymes – alanine transaminase (ALT) and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)

  • PXL770 was observed to be safe and well tolerated; profile supports further evaluation for combination use

  • First human clinical assessment of a direct AMPK activator; results support potential for development in NASH including key high-risk subgroups (patients with type 2 diabetes) and utility of AMPK activation in other chronic and rare metabolic diseases

  • Conference call in English scheduled today for 12:00 pm EDT (New York time) / 6 pm CEST (Paris time)

POXEL SA (Euronext: POXEL – FR0012432516), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative treatments for metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), today announced positive top-line results for STAMP-NAFLD, the PXL770 Phase 2a trial. The Phase 2a trial was a 12-week, randomized, parallel group study, in 120 presumed NASH patients with or without diabetes. PXL770 is a first-in-class, oral direct adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator. AMPK is a master regulator of several important metabolic pathways, including lipid metabolism, glucose control and inflammation, and is a novel target for NASH and a range of other chronic and rare metabolic diseases.

“The underlying pathophysiological drivers of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and NASH are highly complex and support the need for development of novel therapies acting on different targets that can address a variety of key disease drivers,” said Vlad Ratziu, MD, PhD, Professor of Hepatology, Sorbonne University and Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. “AMPK activation is a differentiated approach for NASH and these results demonstrate that it could have a beneficial role in controlling key pathways that lead to liver injury. By also directly targeting inflammation and fibrogenesis, as demonstrated in preclinical models including human cells, PXL770 has the potential to independently impact multiple disease components. As an oral agent, PXL770 also has the potential to be used in combination with other agents, which could provide for broad treatment of this disease.”

Summary of STAMP-NAFLD PXL770 Phase 2a Study Results

STAMP-NAFLD was a 12-week randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial in 120 presumed NASH patients, with or without diabetes, which evaluated three dosing regimens of PXL770 versus placebo. Primary enrollment criteria were evidence of hepatic steatosis (NAFLD) based on a controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) score of >300 db/m measured by MRI-PDFF. Patients were randomized into four groups: PXL770 at 250 mg once-daily (QD); 250 mg twice-daily (BID); 500 mg once-daily (QD) versus patients who received placebo.

The Phase 2a trial met its primary efficacy endpoint; PXL770 was observed to produce a statistically significant mean relative decrease of 18% in liver fat mass from baseline at 12-weeks in the 500 mg QD dose