A crumpled McDonald’s bag sat on a table in an office at Lifetime Fitness in Rockville.
Huh. That’s ironic, Grant Hill thought to himself on his way out after teaching a spinning class. He whipped out his cell phone, snapped a photo, and pressed the send tweet button.
He thought twice about sending that tweet, but did it anyway. “I’m always trying to hold other health practitioners and healthy-minded companies accountable.”
But apparently Lifetime Fitness felt Hill took it one step too far. “Corporate contacted the head of the group fitness department, who then asked me to remove the tweet,” Hill explained.
In an e-mail back to the company, Hill told them he was “reluctant” to take down the tweet, but would do so if he could have a discussion on the dangers of fast food in the company’s popular magazine, Experience Life.
Instead, Hill says the company’s reply defended McDonald’s, stating that the restaurant was making strides to provide healthier menu options to its customers. Soon after, the general manager told Hill that they would have to “part ways” professionally, because his response was insubordinate.
But then, Hill says, Lifetime backtracked, claiming he was fired for a different reason.
In an e-mail sent to ABC7, a spokesperson for the company said, “While our company has in place a social media policy . . . his separation was not due to social media interaction. Rather, he violated our company code of conduct, specifically by operating a business that was in violation of our conflict of interest policy.”
Hill does, in fact, operate a separate business—a training company called My Bootcamp. However, Hill says Lifetime was already aware of My Bootcamp. He’s been with Lifetime for three years and has had his own company for two years.
The instructor says he’s not losing much since being fired; after all, he was only teaching one spinning class a week. What he has lost, however, is the strong community of students he built up over the past three years. “It’s sad that it was just wiped away so quickly. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye.”
Now, Hill is looking to open his own cycle studio, called Shift. He plans for it to have a dance-club atmosphere with live deejays. Stay tuned.
Update: As of 5:15 PM, a request for a response from Lifetime Fitness today went unanswered.