Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goodbye to you, Bally Total Fitness!

Yesterday, I canceled my membership to Bally Total Fitness, and I have to say...I couldn't be happier!

I have been working out at Bally for over 4 years now, mainly because it is very close to my house, and the membership was quite affordable.  However, after completely losing my inspiration to work out, I knew I had to make a change.

First of all, let me say that I appreciate all the comments, emails and even phone calls that I received from so many of you about yesterday's blog. 

I was just being completely honest with my feelings, and according to your messages I am not the only one who feels the same way about food.  It's nice to hear that we are all a little emotionally crazy!  haha!

But anyway...

I knew that I had to do something completely different.  I have been OVER Bally for some time now, and even willing myself to walk in there has been a struggle.

So, I went and got a membership at the brand new LA Fitness downtown!  I am so happy about it!  Not only is the place beautifully clean, but it also isn't incredibly crowded after work. 

It could be just that its a new place, but I am actually looking forward to going to the gym again.  I have a feeling that I won't need to refill my Boniva prescription anymore!

The Bally that i was going to was always so dirty, and rundown.  Random machines were always broken, and then it would take a good week or two for them to be fixed.  There were leaks in the ceiling whenever it rained, so there would be buckets on the gym floor to trip over in order to catch the water drops. 

One of the two elevators to get to the gym would randomly be 'Out of service' which was a major inconvenience.  The staff never once said a word to me the entire time I worked out there.  It was always so hot in there, as if the staff turned up the heat so that they wouldn't be cold, but HELLO...it's a gym!  People are sweating already!

The patrons of the gym were lazy, and the staff let them be!  Nobody ever re-racked their weights.  Dumbells are lying all over the weight room floor.  There is no towel service at Bally, so nobody wipes off their machines after use.

Because of the fact that the membership is probably the cheapest around, you would get all kinds of weirdos working out at the gym.  Some people have no respect towards others, and take over 2 peices of equipment at once.  Other members would wear all kinds of random crap fashions to work out in, many not washing their clothes in between workouts.  Ugh...

Thank God that is behind me!

My new gym, LA Fitness is just a few blocks from where I work.  I am really looking forward to getting back into the routine of going to the gym immediately after work, and getting it out of the way.

At Bally, because it was extremely packed right after work, i would wait and go around 9:00 at night...which meant that half the time, I would get home, eat dinner, be comfortable, and then end up not going.  Other times, some of you would call me up, asking me to hang out or go to dinner, and then once again I wouldn't go workout.

It felt weird to workout yesterday in a new environment where I don't know anyone!  At Bally, I found myself stopping to talk to people continuously, because I have a lot of acquaintances, or people that I met, that work out there.

Yesterday, in the locker room, I met my first LA Fitness friend.  I was looking at how to work the locker (yes, lockers that are digital and you don't need a lock!  Nice!)  and this guy asked me if I knew how to use it.  Then we started making small talk about how it was my first day there, and that I came from Bally, etc.  He's an investment broker who lives in the Loop.  He was very friendly, and ended up giving me his card.  Sweet!

I have to say, my workout went longer than normal because unlike Bally, there are actually TVs on every machine, and I couldn't leave without finishing the TV show I was watching!  I can see that this is going to be a good thing for me!

So, yes...I will continue eating what I want when I feel the need to, but now at least I hope to counter those calories with a nice, wonderful workout. 

At least until I get bored and need a NEW change of scenery.  :)


  1. I used to work out at Bally. You are absolutely right in your description. I mean, its an ok gym if all you want to do is get on a treadmill, but make sure you bring your own towel and waterbottle to spray it off. That place is a walking germ-fest!

  2. Wow, that gym sounds awful! I'm glad to hear that you found a new place to workout.

  3. Let's talk about your blog from yesterday for a second, mister! First of all, If you ever get depressed or feel low, then I want you to put down the fork and give me a call. I will always answer the phone for you, I hope you know that. Second, It is really nice to see how completely honest you are with your readers, sometimes too much so. I hope in some way that it is cathartic for you to write it and get it out there. Third, Congrats for leaving Bally. That place blows!

  4. Bally is pretty bad...There is no way they will stay in business. They can't compete with new gyms like LA Fitness because of the financial burden they carry from so many members, like me, who have lifetime memberships from an era ago - and pay only $4/month to go to all clubs across the United States. Since it's basically free for me - I maintain the membership, but I work out at a club downtown most of the time. Bally should file bankruptcy, get out of their legacy membership agreements and start over. That's their only hope.

  5. Hi Paul Benjamin. Just recently found your blog and I am enjoy it. I like your contrast between funny and serious. You seem like a very positive person, and I like your outlook on life. Look forward to reading more.

  6. Bally is the biggest shithole I have ever worked out at!

  7. Um first of all it's winter so you won't be putting your fork down because I need people to eat all my delicacies..hehe..second of all YAY!! Bally's sucks and I'm so glad you finally went over to LA Fitness. Canceling my old membership today was a huge hassle and I'm so glad I'm done and enjoying lifetime!

  8. I went to Bally for about 6 years. When I switched to a job in downtown Minneapolis, I discovered there was no Bally Fitness. I joined Lifetime and what a huge difference. I was having the same experience at Bally. It was a great change! Enjoy your new club!

  9. Paul, take me with you!!! I was at Ballys the other day and some guy said he was using those two machines...really I didnt know you could use 2 machines at once?! oh wait he was superman..duh.

  10. Man, with all this bad publicity, I'm surprised Bally hasn't done something to try to overhaul itself. I have never been to a Bally, and from the sound of it, I hope i never have to. LOL!

  11. I was considering getting a second membership at EVAC here in Evanston -- wasn't sure I should splurge. But, I'm here all the time. I guess this answers that. I was kind of thinking the same things about being more motivated and how dark the Bally's is in Lakeview, etc. I'm still going to keep my membership there, because it's cheap (and I don't go enough to pay more). But, I totally agree with you.

  12. LOVE this blog! You write about things that people relate to.

  13. Paul!

    Shame on Bally!

    I'm happy to hear you found something better. Your enthusiasm over your new gym makes me want to start working out!


    Well, on second thought, maybe I'll just revel in your newfound excitement instead. (^_^)

    Things sound like they're off to a great start!


  14. we dont have bally here across the lake from you....I work out at golds gym in new buffalo, it is my only option.....thankfully you had other options, glad you found one that works for you;)

    best of luck my friend.

  15. Sounds like a change for the better. Sometimes change is good! :-)

  16. I feel the same way about the BSC as you do about Bally. I find that I'd prefer to run than go.. although BSC is not as bad.

    You need to watch out.. I got MRSA at the gym. I am thinking of switching to Equinox or to a private gym that only does personal training.. I am SICK AND TIRED of dirty bathrooms.. and people confusing the gym with a bathhouse!

  17. Paul,
    found your blog, not sure how, through facebook?
    anyway, I couldn't agree more... Bally's has to be the worst Gym in town. Again I hold on to my membership cause it is paid off and only cost very little to hold on to but like you I needed a new place, Cheetah in Andersonville has been great and really increased my wanting to go to the gym. I am convinced you have to be happy at the gym you are going to or you will not go...:)
    Great Post!

  18. I haven't worked out in months and yesterday I went ice skating oh my.. my whole body is aching like hell!

    Anyways, change is always good. :)