Closed for business. A lockout notice at BodyWorX’s Dubai Motorcity branch. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/XPRESS

DUBAI Scores of gym goers in Dubai have been left in the cold after a fitness chain shut shop last week.

BodyWorX members said the closure was so “swift and sudden” they could not claim refunds. “We didn’t get enough notice. The money we paid is all gone now as there’s no one to ask from. It seems the owner has decided to leave behind everything and just flee. You just can’t get hold of anyone,” said Paul (name changed on request), who had joined the gym recently.

Paul said he received an email from a man claiming to be the BodyworX owner on July 20 saying the gym’s operations were “temporarily suspended until further notice” due to internal business issues. “When I went and checked the next day, the gym was shut,” said Paul.

According to him, BodyWorX had hundreds enrolled across its three branches in Murjan Plaza in Dubai Marina, Rimal Plaza in Jumeirah Beach Residence and one in Dubai Motorcity and the closures affect almost everyone.

Indian Philipose Thomas, 29, said he could use the gym’s facilities for only a month and a half until the night he got the same email from the owner. “That evening was the last time I had been to the gym and I did find a lot of things missing including something as basic as towels. There was just one attendant. Later that night most of us got the mail,” said Thomas, who had paid Dh1,800 upfront for an eight-month membership at the Motorcity branch.

Gym gone, money gone

Another gym goer, Mike, said he felt enraged at how the health club “ran away” with all his money. “They came after me with offers and I enrolled hoping I would save some money at a top of the line gym and here’s where we are after just a couple of months,” he said.

Many disgruntled members have taken to Facebook and other social media platforms to form communities affected by the lockout.

“Can anyone provide who I can contact personally other than the email they provided? I paid for a year and their contact numbers are dead,” asked Charlie in a post similar to several others. Another post suggested that instructors at the gyms hadn’t been paid since March. A Lebanese man said the gym’s closure has not just derailed his fitness plan, but also left a hole in his pocket. One of the owners, however, said he hoped the gyms would re-open in “the near future. If we don’t end up reopening we will honour the payments made by our members and will be issuing refunds,” he said.


YOUSPEAK: How has the gym closure affected you?