By: Scott B. Riddle, Esq.

Bally’s Total fitness, which has several clubs in the Atlanta area, has said it may file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.

Gym operator Bally Total Fitness Holding said on Thursday it may have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors if it is unable to restructure its debt.

The company said it has $45 million in cash and $827 million in outstanding debt, adding that it is "exploring a broad range of options" for reducing it. …

Bally also said it expects to post a loss from continuing operations in 2006, with membership revenue falling 3%, or more than $25 million less than 2005.

Bally has been struggling in recent years to attract new members. In 2005, the company put itself on the block, but was unable to find a buyer.

Elson said the company’s strained finances have prevented it from making much-needed upgrades to its facilities in recent years, making it vulnerable to competitors offering sleeker amenities to consumers.