As of October 2016, Bally Total Fitness is out of business. To view gyms still in business, click here
Bally's is considered one of the original pioneers and innovators of the "box gym" approach. They were considered a leader in the world of group fitness classes and new trends in physical fitness. Their culture and direction has changed quite drastically in the last few years. In November of 2011 they sold 171 of their locations to L.A. fitness, one of their largest competitors. And then again in April of 2012 they sold an additional 39 gyms to another competitor, Blast Fitness. Prior to their filing of the first of two chapter 11 bankruptcies, at their peak in 2007 they were operating nearly 440 facilities. Again on December 3, 2008 they filed for bankruptcy because of problems with the global credit crisis. At that time Bally had mentioned that they were open to exploring other options, and had mentioned possibilities of a sell-off, but that overall they hoped to emerge from the bankruptcy as soon as possible. With all of the changes and confusion surrounding their gym, their culture and community have been up and down over the last few years, and it is currently in a downward spiral, possibly headed towards a major sell-off sometime in the future.
- Great classes
- Equipment is in good condition
In former years, Bally was considered a leader in the gym industry. With completive pricing, great fitness classes, and world class trainers.
They still offer many great classes and many of the locations still have equipment in good condition. Their monthly fee of $19.99 might be worth a try if you have a location close to you and don't mind switching things up if there is a sell-off in the future. The good news is, if you're unhappy or feel uneasy with the set up, their memberships are month-to-month so you aren't locked in to anything.
- Major changes
- No longer a major contender
Bally's is currently a fitness location going through a time of major changes. If you're looking for a gym to join for a long period of time, you would be better off looking at different options in your area. Bally who was once a leader in the fitness world, no longer holds a spot at the table as a major contender.
The Bottom Line
Overall, if you're looking for something to fit your needs short term, and a Bally's location is close to you, for $20 a month, it might not be a bad setup. Just know going into your membership that it may not last for an extended period of time, and the facility you're currently working out at may be undergoing some major changes sometime in the future.
With that being said, I still think there are good things about Bally, they were once known for being the best in group fitness, so there may still be some great fitness instructors at a location close to you. Before signing up for a membership I would ask a lot of questions and ask for a free week trial before making any commitments.