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Media report sees former Goodlife personal trainer make ‘unpaid labour’ allegations

Media report sees former Goodlife personal trainer make ‘unpaid labour’ allegations
February 28, 2021

Goodlife Health Clubs has been accused of operating a personal training “scam” in an article in The Australian.

The report, published on Thursday, is based on a TikTok video, in which ‘CJ’ described as “a personal trainer from Queensland”, accuses the chain “of charging fitness professionals huge sums of money to work in their gyms but then uses them to do loads of ‘unpaid labour’.”

The video sees CJ advise that she worked as a personal trainer for Goodife Health Clubs where she paid $310 in weekly rent for the “privilege” of being a trainer.

In the video, CJ explains “when you (members) sign up you get a complimentary PT session - a full hour of a qualified professional’s time. Goodlife is getting paid. How much does the trainer get paid? Nothing. They do that for free. For exposure.

“You might think ‘oh well I can pay $59 for three sessions, that intro package, at least the trainer gets something’ - uh, no - the trainer gives you three hours of their qualified time GoodLife pockets the entire $59, plus the trainer’s $310 rent, and the trainer gets nothing. There is no paid role for this. They rely exclusively on unpaid labour.”

Speaking to, CJ went on to say that she paid an “extremely expensive” $1600 initial sign-up fee to be a personal trainer at Goodlife Health Clubs and that she was then offered the option of going straight into paying full rent or having a period of reduced rent in exchange for a certain number of hours of free labour.

CJ advised “I chose the reduced rent and adhered to the necessary hours of work.

“But the free labour doesn’t stop when the rent starts though. Well into paying rent, we were expected to work at reception to promote the eight to 12 week challenges and trainers were expected to run the challenge bootcamps every weekend for free. Clients usually pay upwards of $200 for the challenges, and the included bootcamps, yet the trainers get nothing as compensation for the marketing, sales, and subsequent running of challenge services.”

CJ then advised that even when paying full rent, trainers are expected to run GoodLife programs without being paid – such as Jumpstart and Kickstart sessions.

She added “you are supposed to use these sessions to convert them into clients but barely 10% convert into clients.

“When they do things like the three sessions package they are literally selling your services and pocketing all the money for themselves.”

Claiming that Goodlife also gives some members complimentary coaching, she noted “even if a client was paying a trainer for regular sessions, they would be told that they were entitled to a free session from their trainer because they paid the “quarterly coaching fee.

“The trainer gets nothing and this is for a client that they have already converted to a paying client, so trainers are left with the choice of training them for free, or risk them going to another trainer for the free session and losing their patronage.”

In response, Goodlife Health Clubs General Manager, Andy Chamoun told The Australian that the company strongly refutes the claim that any personal trainer is made to do unpaid labour, explaining that personal trainers operating within Goodlife clubs have the sole discretion as to how they grow their business and generate clients.

Chamoun was quoted by The Australian as stating “we have a broad range of ways we offer to help our personal trainers and introduce them to potential new clients, however that is their choice and is optional,” he said. “Whilst we won’t disclose the details of any contractor agreement, any work done to grow a personal trainer’s own client base is their choice, as it is with any business owner.”

CJ added that she signed up to a contract with Goodlife but the notice period to leave was 90 days and trying to get out of the contract earlier was a “nightmare” and “basically impossible”.

She added “you have to pay rent for that entire period and the toughest thing for trainers in the industry is once realise you are not succeeding you’re already going broke and you have to pay for another three months which further makes it difficult to stay in the industry

“The industry favours salesy trainers, not people who are good at helping people with their health.

“It’s quite a detriment to the career because good, knowledge trainers who care about health are pushed out for people who can make the most sales, regardless of whether they care for people.”

She went on to say that such practices were a “widespread problem” across the industry.”

Other personal trainers commented on the TikTok platform confirming they had gone through the same thing.

Responses included:

“I’m a trainer at Goodlife and this is 100% true, was at the gym for 10 hours this week and didn’t get paid a single cent.”

“As someone that user to be a membership consultant at Goodlife this is 100% true and I felt so bad every time I sold the package or booked someone in.”

The report went on to advise that CJ and a partner had opened GeekFit 24/7 at Sumner in Brisbane’s south west where she said trainers are on a wage and clients have access to quality advice without having to pay “excessive fees”.

Click here to view the original article in The Australian.

Images: 'CJ' (top), promoting her new GeekFit 24/7 gym (middle) and the interior of the gym, which opened in January (below). Credit: Facebook/GeekFit 24/7.

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14th February 2020 - Gold Coast personal training company Fitness Enhancement celebrates 20 years in business

25th November 2019 - Fitness and Lifestyle Group expands links with media agency PHD

20th September 2019 - Fitness Australia looks for constitution changes to add registered personal trainers on board

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19th August 2016 - Ardent Leisure sells Goodlife​ Health Clubs in $260 million deal

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26th February 2016 - Study finds Personal Training set to be a stable future job

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