Jason Pilon boasted about being a kinesiologist, a physiotherapist, a registered massage therapist and a Red Seal chef. But the Barrie-area personal trainer had none of the qualifications he claimed.
“He is a very smooth talker, very manipulative,” said Paula Stewart, who hired Pilon for personal training a few years ago. She says he took her money, but didn’t do the promised training.
“I got zero–he didn’t even show me how to use gym equipment,” says Stewart, who says Pilon still owes her more than $1,500.
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Complaints about Pilon, who didn’t even have the most basic personal training credential at the time of a Global News report in February, are mounting.
Pilon now has a certificate from Canfitpro, a corporate partner of the GoodLife fitness chain.
Many consumers contacted Global News to say Pilon and girlfriend and business partner Heather Smith failed to deliver promised services that had been paid for in advance.
“I would show up at the gym and no one would be there,” said Tammy Arboite of Midland, who says Smith did not fulfill commitments to provide twice-weekly training sessions.
“There were a million and one excuses, and if you questioned it, you were trying to cause trouble.”
Arboite says she was also due to receive customized meal plans on a regular basis but claims those didn’t come in a timely way.
“There were times I didn’t get a new meal plan for four weeks; I’d be eating the same meal every day six times a day,” she said.
Smith and Pilon accepted clients under a company called Complete Body Transformation, or CBT. They boast many success stories, including fitness models who have gone on to win competitions.
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“During workouts they were talking about other clients using their names, how they were idiots, lazy and made excuse —; and how they would be fat, disgusting pigs their whole life,” said Arboite, 43, who joined to lose weight and get in better shape.
Some clients of Smith have lost significant amounts of weight, including William Adeo, who was honoured for his achievement at the International Drug Free Athletics 94 in Mississauga on April 9. Adeo reduced his weight by about 200 pounds.
But critics of Smith and Pilon say they place most of their emphasis on competitive athletes, not customers who wish to tone up but not go on stage.
Pilon, who says he has been training athletes for “almost 20 years” claimed to customers to have various professional qualifications.
In a marketing video released in 2011, Pilon boasted about a host of specialties, some of which are regulated health professions.
“I’m a kinesiologist, a nutritionist, also a massage therapist, and Red Seal chef. So I think all of these combined into one makes a great pro trainer,” he said in the video.
Pilon provided no evidence of qualifications when asked.
Red Seal, a trades organization, said Pilon has no certificate from them. The same is true of the organization representing Ontario’s massage therapists.
“Jason Pilon is not, nor was he ever, a Registered Massage Therapist,” said the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario.
“RMT is a title that can only be used by registrants of the College, which sets standards for professional, safe and ethical care.”
Pilon’s published marketing material online indicates he is certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). When asked whether Pilon is accredited, the California organization said he is not.
“Why did I lie to my customers? What do you mean?,” Pilon told Global News after making a court appearance on an unrelated matter last week.
“I think it’s because my clients thought I said that.”
Pilon acknowledged that the statements about his credentials were published with his knowledge.
“Actually I didn’t write it down on websites–no,” said Pilon. “My ex-girlfriend did that for me.”
Unsatisfied clients say they want to be paid back for services not provided.
Arboite says Smith owes her more than $1,500 —; paid in cash —; and some clients say they now plan to pursue their claims through the courts to the Canada Revenue Agency.