Kirkland woman outraged that 24 Hour Fitness cut classes geared towards elderly, disabled
By RAECHEL DAWSON
Kirkland Reporter Reporter
March 6, 2013 · Updated 4:44 PM
After years of battling a common foot disability, planters fasciitis, a Kirkland woman became motivated to join the Parkplace 24 Hour Fitness so she could take part in their low-impact workout class and resume control of her health.
This is why Jody Montague was upset after 24 Hour Fitness moved to the Totem Lake neighborhood on Jan. 26 and cut their SilverSneakers classes – a soft impact, strength training class designed for older adults and those with disabilities.
It was a move that left Montague and other longtime members wondering how they could get their money back.
“Some of the people in my class have been going to that class for over eight years,” said Montague. “And when they closed the club down, they cancelled all the senior classes and all of their focus now is on intense workouts, which people with disabilities and seniors can’t do.”
Montague recounts a rainy Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 29, when several seniors showed up for the class’s new time of 1:30 p.m., which was previously 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“So everybody shows up at 1:15 p.m. to get ready for the class and the instructor was there and all of the elderly people were standing out in the rain,” Montague said of the 35 to 40 regulars. “It’s raining cats and dogs and they’re told at the door that they’re no longer going to have that class at all.
“There was quite a big uproar and a lot of these seniors have oxygen tanks and had gotten rides there, so it was really quite a scene to see all of these seniors outside in the rain being turned away.”
Montague said before the gym moved locations the club program manager told everyone they would still have the class but it would be at a later time. She even received an updated printed schedule.
But after people showed up, the club manager simply “told everybody that she was sorry for the inconvenience but they had just made that decision the day before” with no prior notification, according to Montague.
“It was an intense workout club now and they were not going to have anything for low impact people,” Montague said, “which really upsets me because I wouldn’t have joined at all if I thought it was going to be that kind of a club.”
Montague said one of the SilverSneakers’ instructors also showed up and was just as “flabbergasted” to discover the class was cut.
Class members were told to go to Bellevue or Lynnwood 24 Hour Fitness gym locations but otherwise weren’t given a direct answer as to why they stopped providing the program, said Montague.
Montague’s two-year membership contract prevents her from looking elsewhere – such as LA Fitness – for the SilverSneakers classes.
“You’re saving money to be a part of 24 Hour Fitness and we did that because most people who are disabled or elderly are on a really fixed budget, so you can’t afford the higher prices for the more glamorous clubs,” said Montague. “It’s like their catering only to people that are wealthy and are intensely fit.”
The SilverSneakers program is for members who receive their gym membership through Healthways, a company designed to promote health and well being, which is often utilized by those with Medicare insurance. However, SilverSneakers classes are also open to regular gym members.
A 24 Hour Fitness spokesperson, who was unidentified in a Feb. 26 email, said the Totem Lake 24 Hour Fitness sports club still provides soft-impact Group X classes that are “popular among older adults,” which include yoga and Les Mills Bodyflow – which combines yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates – and members could use the Lynnwood or Bellevue location if they specifically wanted SilverSneakers workouts.
“After re-evaluation, it was decided to not offer SilverSneakers classes at the Kirkland Totem Lake sport club, due to the lack of member attendance at the Kirkland active club prior to its closure,” the anonymous spokesperson said. “24 Hour Fitness does not charge SilverSneakers members for their club membership. All SilverSneakers members receive 24 Hour Fitness memberships through Healthways, and can work out at any local 24 Hour Fitness club.”
SilverSneakers would not return the Reporter’s emails at the time of press deadline.
However, Montague confidently said the class “was a big class.”
“This wasn’t a little class,” she said. “And I don’t see them at the club any other time either. I’ve been in three or four times since this whole thing happened and none of these people are ever in that club now. I never see them. They were just displaced and it feels bad to me.”
Members are being told to go to 188 106th Ave. N.E., suite 500 Bellevue, or 18930 29th Ave. W. in Lynnwood for the SilverSneakers program offered at the 24 Hour Fitness clubs.
Contact Kirkland Reporter Reporter Raechel Dawson at email@example.com or 425-822-9166 X5052.