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Fitness Chain Starts to Sweat

It’s not news that most Americans are wider than they ought to be. It’s also not news that they’re spending big money each year ($30 billion each year, according to the American Obesity Association) to lose weight and prevent weight gain. But it is news when companies with millions of potential customers can’t capitalize on them–like Bally Total Fitness.

Bally announced today that its CEO Paul Toback is resigning and that, due to continued difficulty signing up new members, it will not only not meet its target cash contribution, but that its cash contribution will be lower than the $120 million it had in 2005.

The Chicago-based company already has more than 4 million members and close to 400 locations around the world–making it the largest American fitness club. So is the reason for its slowed growth as simple as the fact that it has already serviced all its customers? Probably not, as other gyms flourish and waistlines keep growing.

For a look at a fitness chain that’s doing things right, check out September’s issue of Fast Company, on sale Tuesday. Senior Editor David Lidsky immerses himself in an Illinois branch of Life Time Fitness–a FC Customers First Award-winner with 29.2% year-to-year revenue growth–to find out what works for companies focused on the work-out.

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