• Lose Weight
  • Healthy Life Change
  • Improve Appearance
  • Reduce Stress


  • Lost 78 pounds 
  • I have more energy
  • I’m healthier and happier

how bally helped:

how i did it:

  • Start somewhere, even slow walking on a treadmill
  • Set a goal, such as a certain number of pounds
  • Make good nutrition part of your plan
  • Join group exercise classes to stay motivated
  • Consult with a personal trainer for the most effective exercises
  • Surround yourself with like-minded, goal-oriented, positive people

Name: Yelena

Age: 23

Home: Gaithersburg, MD

Occupation: Urban and Real Estate Developer

I remember that moment. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Numbers never made me sweat before, but when I looked at the scale and saw 198 staring me in the face, I began to panic. "The only thing standing between me and the big 200 are a few slices of pizza," I thought to myself. I literally joined Bally Total Fitness the next day.

I was scared to work out at first. Just moving around was a challenge for me. But I had to start somewhere, so I began by walking slowly on the treadmill for about 30 minutes a day. Even with that “easy” workout, my heart was pounding and I was always short of breath. Every time I started it seemed like I was ready to stop. But at least I was moving away from that dreaded 200 pounds—not closer to it. So I kept walking.

I also started changing what I ate, choosing healthier and more nutritious meals. By working out regularly and watching what I ate, I lost almost 50 pounds within the first few months. And each day I felt stronger and better about myself.

With a Little Help from My Friends (and Mom)
I began to feel lonely exercising by myself, so I attended several group exercise classes at Bally. I fell in love with a class focusing on high- and low-impact fitness. I met people who had similar weight problems and were also trying to lose weight. We became a support system for each other. Working alongside my workout friends at Bally helped me to stay dedicated, so I attended these classes as often as I could.

At 150 pounds, I was definitely a lot healthier, but felt that I could make more progress. My mother, who was so proud of my progress, decided to hire a Bally Personal Trainer for me so that I could lose those last pounds to reach my goal of 120. My trainer’s name was Sonya and, almost immediately, she was a true inspiration.

You see, Sonya was once overweight too and was able to transform herself—I felt like she really understood my struggles and goals. She pushed me harder than I would have ever done on my own, but she also taught me that working out doesn't have to be painful as long as it's effective and enjoyable.

Sonya showed me the programs that would work best for me on the cardio machines, recommended the most effective free-weight exercises, and helped me select a Bally nutritional plan that was right for me. I completely trusted her and the Bally name, so I closely followed her instructions and ate according to the diet plan. It was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Because I was eating many smaller meals throughout the day, I never really felt hungry. I knew it would work and it did…I lost another 20 pounds!

My Self-Improvement Journey Continues
Weighing in at 130 pounds is a far cry from that eye-opening moment on the scale. I recently started taking a Reaction Cycling class and now do it four to nine times a week. I really enjoy the classes and they have helped me tone up and drop to my ultimate goal of 120 pounds. My fellow cyclists and I are a very close-knit group, and we have fun not just spinning wheels around, but also spending time together.

If it wasn't for Bally Total Fitness I don't know where I would be. I know that—with my weight and poor eating habits—I was in the early stages of Diabetes at 198 pounds. Not only has this been important to my health, but I’ve also developed friendships with a great group of people that have changed my life.

Exercise and good nutrition have been such an important part of my self-improvement journey, which continues today. The people at Bally, my group exercise friends, Mom, Sonya…they have all truly encouraged me to lose weight so I could be a healthier, and, most importantly, happier person.

I am so grateful!

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