Les Mills gym is doubling down on its decision to ban a national bodybuilding champion, amid allegations she was training gym members at the facility despite not working there.
Auckland bodybuilder Ashleigh Pope, who claimed the New Zealand open figure title in 2017, had her membership revoked at the Takapuna Les Mills for what the gym claims was a 'health and safety' issue - however the 25-year-old says she was only working out with friends.
Pope said she has been "bullied" and "harassed" by Les Mills employees, and was seeking legal advice after the "unjustified" cancellation of her membership.
But a Les Mills spokesman today said the evidence was carefully considered and the decision was a 'last resort'.
"While we can't comment on any individual cases due to privacy, what I can say in general is that, the cancellation of any membership is not taken lightly, all relevant evidence and rules are considered, any issues would have been previously raised and discussed with people concerned, and it is a last resort," said Guy Needham, Les Mills' Head of Marketing and Sales.
"When it comes to Health and Safety especially, we take this extremely seriously. We do not cancel people's memberships without reason or justifiable grounds."
Pope requested a copy of her contract over the phone on Tuesday when inquiring on what grounds the gym had terminated her membership.
Under the Privacy Act, organisations such as Les Mills are bound to release all information they hold on a person, if that person requests it.
A representative for Les Mills told Pope over the phone that various "notes" had been added to her file, but didn't elaborate, Pope told Stuff.
Two weeks ago, the North Shore woman went to work out at the Takapuna branch of the gym to find her membership had been cancelled.
"After much consideration we have decided to terminate your membership here at Les Mills," said an email from the gym's manager which Pope posted on Facebook.
"I have spoken to you on several occasions asking you to stop training, coaching or providing such services to members at our facility. As the Gym and Personal Training Manager of this facility, it is of my view that you have continued to provide these services despite our conversations to the contrary.
"Our policy is to enlist only qualified health and exercise professionals who are registered with the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals.
"Such professionals go through our recruitment process, then are exclusively contracted to our membership. Your actions to ignore my requests and in my opinion continue to provide coaching and training services to our members constitute a considerable Health and Safety risk to our members and is therefore a breach of both your membership contract and our policies in regards to Personal Training at our facilities.
"After consulting both the Les Mills National Office and our Club Manager, we have made the decision to terminate your Les Mills membership effective immediately.
"Should you wish to become qualified and registered in the future, I would be happy to consider you for an approved Personal Training position at this facility."
Pope told Stuff that she was just working out with friends and denies the claims.
"It's based on assumption, not facts."
"My sport requires me to push my body to the limits ... and for safety reasons I require a spotter."
"But I am not a personal trainer, therefore I do not train any member of the gym."