Controversial gym set to close for major refurb

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A city gym which caused offence with its marketing campaign suggesting that aliens are coming to take fat people is set to close for several months.

The Fit4less gym in the Theatre District, part of the Milton Keynes-based énergie group, caused a stir last month with its tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign, encouraging people to ‘save themselves’ by losing weight in order to avoid an unwelcome visit from big-headed green aliens.

However, the gym is now set to close until “the first quarter of next year” to undergo a major refurbishment and create a “flagship” gym in the company’s home city.

The company says all members will be refunded in full for any membership paid for the month of September 2013.

But some members have been left disgruntled. One woman said: “Members have been left stunned by the shock announcement on Wednesday that they close on Sunday.

“The franchisee has made no steps to contact members to relay of the situation, there is just a small A4 notice on the board.

“The club is still actively advertising outside the gym to give a ‘business as usual’ feel, which is very misleading.

“The adverts displayed were recently subject to many complaints, featured in the paper.”

énergie chief executive Jan Spaticchia said: “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience to our current members and I can confirm that we are now moving forward to reinvest heavily into creating a flagship Fit4less in our home town.”

The énergie group, which has a portfolio of almost 100 fitness clubs across the UK and internationally, operates several of its branded clubs around Milton Keynes, including énergie Fitness for Women Newport Pagnell and énergie Fitness for Women Fenny Stratford.

“This year we celebrate the énergie group’s 10th anniversary and with almost 100,000 members and more than 30 clubs opening in the year ahead, this represents a huge landmark for the company that started from a small group of entrepreneurs gathered around a coffee table,” added Mr Spaticchia.

“Milton Keynes is our home and where we started a vision that has grown to us becoming a multi-awarding winning business and being named as the fastest growing fitness franchise in the UK. It is only right we continue to reinvest in MK.”